It’s true that the world is acting worldly and that sinners are sinning, but should we care? Should we get involved? Or does this distract us from fellowship with God and preaching the gospel?
Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: If we have the heart of God, we will care. If the Holy Spirit lives in us we will care. If we walk as Jesus did in this world, we will care. What does Scripture say? “As He is, so are we in this world.”
Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Yes, we have been set apart to the Lord. Yes, we have been snatched out of the kingdom of darkness, and brought into the kingdom of God’s only son. How then should we live? What does God expect from us?
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Hi there, Dr. Brown. Thanks for letting me be part of the discussion on the air today.
Just a few extras we didn’t get to (in case anybody’s curious). I have answers for three questions you asked, plus a few extra comments to refocus us on what truly matters.
Main idea: Above all, we can either give to others for a while until we’re exhausted, then give up because we are limited -OR- we can rely on God to help us use the gifts, talents, and calling He’s given us in healthy, balanced, wise ways according to his guidance. Serving and ministering the second way is true obedience. The first, like with any works that aren’t done while relying on God, will often be relatively temporary, empty, and unfruitful. Sustainable ministry needs an infinite source: God. [book that helped me a lot with this is “What Matters Most” by Doug Fields]
Q 1. Should we care (about injustice, sin, and ridiculous stuff in the world today)?
A. Yes!! Just like Jesus’s heart broke, he showed pity, he had compassion, and he took time to listen and heal, we should. Number one, he offered everybody salvation and true healing. Secondly, he addressed other concerns, always pointing back to the true, living water that quenches us forever. As we become disciples of Christ, we learn that our heart should move as His does: we must also care. We must care deeply, truly, honestly, and openly. As we Know God and Make Him Known (our purpose), we are shaped to love others more like He does.
Would Jesus ever ignore someone hurting so badly that they resort to shooting up each night? No, he would offer them the true rush/joy and peace they seek. Would the God of Love and Salvation ever ignore a hungry or homeless person in town? No, he would offer them living bread and water. We know from scripture that he went beyond this and also healed, fed, and comforted his people in their physical state of need. He didn’t heal everybody but he sure did put this physical aspect of ministry high up on his daily “To Do” list!
Q 2. If we should care, as Christ did, how much should we care? How much should we let ourselves be burdened? How do we handle seeing and addressing agony without our brains exploding?
A. Ok, so if Jesus cares about peoples’ souls and bodies, and if I’m supposed to do so too, how do I go about it?
Remember that He has already died for and paid for every sin that has/will ever exist. He also took upon himself (as far as I understand it – Bible scholars, affirm or deny please) the consequences of sin, the agony of sin, the depression and frustration over our sin. He brought it all to obliteration and emerged intact.
I am incapable of watching the news very often. I am a bipolar Christian, so it’s very important to meter how much agony I listen to. It’s also important to distinguish listening to agony and taking it on emotionally – any therapist should be able to explain this. It helps to visualize and remember that the things I’m watching/hearing/experiencing are on Christ’s shoulders, not on mine. I do not have to die for it again.
(Trust in God) It makes me very sad that many callers to and speakers on Christian radio sound very angry – like they’re spitting all over microphone and making their cardiologist nervous. That’s nuts. I’m guessing that they do it because they’re forgotten that God has conquered all, because they’re afraid that God’s way won’t be as good or efficient as their way, or that they don’t truly trust God’s salvation to be sufficient. I’m not sure, but it’s ruining our message and forming a HUGE us vs. them gap between normal people and the stereotypical evangelical Christian. I’m sorry you had a few wacko callers today – do you need earplugs? Let’s remember what our battle is against: Not against people, but against dark forces and the lies of evil. Never against people!!! Nor against groups of people. We battle the darkness that oppresses and possesses people and groups of people, including the darkness that we give into when we fail. This includes a deep disillusionment with and fear of God, which repels most people from Him. People seek to worship the Self via power, possessions, and pleasure, when they’re afraid that God won’t fully satisfy them. By “people” I mean everybody, including Christians. We all forget God and must be redirected to Him over and over.
People who live for power, possessions, or pleasure (including many Christians) do so when they need God the most. When empty, ravenous, craving, lonely, longing, and desperate, nothing will save us but Christ. When a person is desperate for Grace, the best thing a believer can do for them is empathize (we’ve all been there many times) and share honestly how Christ has fulfilled them. Instead, unfortunately, the red-faced stereotypical evangelical rants and raves about sin in the hypothetical, condemning the seeker and withholding the gospel of truth. This is a serious hindrance to the gospel.
(No one righteous) To minister effectively, we must remember first and foremost that we, like Paul, are the worst of sinners. The mass-murdering *%&#head, Paul, who went door to door killing believers, was used by God to demonstrate how salvation works to save the sick, not to glorify the “relatively good” people. I think many of the people I talk with about God don’t trust him or accept him because his people are so hard to be around! Before an infinitely Holy God, we’re all abysmal failures in need of grace.
(Motivation) Motivations are never pure (we’re human) but as we’re sanctified God changes our MO to match His. We cannot properly serve God and we cannot let our service point to Him and His salvation if we’re preaching the gospel of “be a good Christian.” It’s impossible! So as we step up to the line of fire, we need to remember that the battle is both within and without. We must continue to take up our cross or we won’t be effective in helping others do the same. When we do, we remember our deep, universal need as humans for God’s salvation – without it, even a moment of our imperfection is sufficient for our damnation. If we serve others without knowing this deeply, we might as well not pretend to serve for God – we’re only acting selfishly.
Q 3. How should we act?
A. I’ve tried a few ways and have learned, with God’s guidance and the advice of other believers, that it is important to think strategically about how we dispense our resources. Jesus tells us the parable of the talents. The man who wisely managed his money and made it grow was admired. We apply this not just to our finances, but to our gifts, talents, energy, mental focus, time, and other resources. God has given us plenty of tools to serve others to His glory. We need to invest in what matters: other peoples’ hearts and futures with Christ.
(resource management) I can invest every minute, every dime, every thought, every breath, every phone call, every email, etc. that I have into one person and they may not end up healed or any better. I can also give one person a casual smile or a ten minute chat or a text or a call or a hug and it may renew their hope that God can save them from anything. It’s all about where and how God wants us to invest.
Some concrete ideas: Learn about healthy psychological boundaries (remembering that psychological health is not the same as spiritual health), give money to more than just one charity / person, invest time and energy both into others and into your own family / own spiritual life, and ask God constantly for wisdom and guidance.
4. Extra stuff:
Jesus taught us that we’re blessed (“super freaking lucky,” as the proper translation goes) when we’re poor in spirit. When we remember and deeply know our desperate need for God and his grace, we are able to accept it and help others do the same.
Jesus taught us that we’re super freaking lucky when we mourn. We don’t have to wait until somebody dies (many commentaries make me think this includes mourning over the sinful state of the world, our hearts, our actions) to mourn. We don’t have to obsess, but we should be moved by how off the mark things are, both in our lives and in the world, equally. Before a Holy God, any offense would be condemning without salvation. When I mourn, I shouldn’t get angry or afraid. Darkness is overcome and anger isn’t as useful or effective as compassion, evangelism, and action. I shouldn’t even “get busy” for the sake of being a good Christian who is busy. I should rather get on my knees and ask for guidance and the ability to give and serve where He needs me most. With or without the guidance received yet, I should follow the broken, mourning part of my heart to find wounds. Then I should point to the true healer as I do first aid.
We cannot tell somebody to abide by the standards in scripture before they truly know and believe that God loves them, has saved them, and has offered them a better, fulfilled way. It’s just insulting and manipulative not to. As Jesus healed, he pointed to the true reason He came: salvation. We must do the same.
The Scripture says to pray for those who are in charge that we may live in peace – thankfully, for the time being, in America, we can do MORE than pray.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” [1 Ti 2:1]
In America, the “ruling class” is “the people”; the government is “by the people; for the people” – in America, we are the “kings” and the ones in “high positions”.
Should we care? I wonder why we do not care? Prise God for you Dr. Brown because these topics are never brought up in my neighborhood. Should we care? This is someones child is what I asked my church small group leader. (mega church can’t talk to pastor) I just became a Christian and became aware of some gangs trying to sell junk to middle school students at a park by the church. Long story short no men in church wanted to step up and have a presence at the park and offer to pray for the gangbangers. A brother from the south side drove an hour with another brother and a NON BELIEVER friend of mine went to the park a couple of times and let the ganbangers know we were there for them if they wanted to pray and hear about the Gospel. Dr. Brown it was peaceful. And the seeds of salvation were planted. They never came back to the park or school. I think the reason so many youth and women are converting to other religions is because Christian men really don’t act like men. We are good at growing a mega church and going hundreds of miles away but two blocks from the church you have young people lost and are being ignored.
This program was very eye opening. Dr. Brown has a way of bringing things out into the brightest reality.
Caring also means not dropping the ball on the beginnings of Inner Court dialog; by that I mean mature believers concerned with spreading the gospel together in shared blessing.
The antithesis of the meagchurch I have found both on Cape Cod and in the Smoky Mtns. is the minichurch of a handful of believers who assume they are doing everything more right than everyone else; no cooperation is as deadly as being lost in the crowd. There are also several ‘christian’ pyramid schemes (e.g. you disciple your twelve; the senior pastor reaps all the money) that are also highly suspect. I thank GOD that this is beginning to be brought to the Light.
In Him, Ron M.
We are a body and each has it’s own functions some may feel lead to get into politics some may feel lead to get into apologetics some may feel lead to preach some may feel lead to go to another land and spread the word…ect,ect.
We should all support each other but not be distracted from our First Love. I dont think we should criticize others members of the body for not being what we are.
There is a huge difference in criticism and “come, let us reason together.” This is about the only place I have found to do the latter.
Before all the blame begins, I want to say that I don’t think Chief Judge Roberts is a ‘traitor’; I think he had to come to his conclusion based on, if he had agreed with his conservative colleagues, the door would have been open to find the Federal Income Tax unconstitutional, which would make immediate anarchy here; let’s be reasonable.
As to a ‘new wineskin’, I have great concern over a new ‘networking’ strategy that CAN favor a few leaders at the expense of a vast majority of ‘students’; remembering what Jesus said about “calling no man Master”. This COULD be very dangerous; or, if done properly, could expand the gospel. Now that TAX OR TITHE has been brought to the forefront, we would be negligent not to discuss it!
In Him, Ron M.
Let me give an example:
If we all cast ballots on the statement: “Christian leaders have the right to spend GOD’s money however they please” I don’t know how the vote would turn out; but this doesn’t answer a procedural question first: “Does democracy usurp Biblical Law?” ‘New wineskin’ discussion would have to come to an agreement on the latter issue before the former could be validated. As a Christian, I should be more concerned on what the Tithe really means, than politics over what obligation I have to ‘render to Caesar’. I have been persecuted for saying such; some who have gone before me, drawn and quartered, and their bones burned.
In Him, Ron M.
God is involved with the birds that fly and the clouds that move across the sky. I take it then that God does indeed care.
We have to care.
I’m about a quarter of the way through the Supreme Court decision, which is much more instructive than just listening to all the naysayers.
Judge Roberts is brilliant, and has already referred to John Marshall twice. What no one seems to understand is that Obamacare is being made a mockery- duh!
Roberts says several times that if you pay the fine (penalty, tax) you have DONE YOUR DUTY. What is not answered, because it wasn’t questioned, is, if I have “payed my dues”, and am not “illegal”, then wouldn’t a hospital not be able to refuse me? Maybe we should read something before we condemn it.
In Him, Ron M.
Wow. There seems to be a lot of angst, hate, bitterness, malice toward individuals in power, “my church is better/worse than your church,” and other distractions posted here (the blog, the comments, etc.). I’m not the kind of person who listens to radio shows like this one. I get frustrated listening to peoples’ off-topic angst. I just happened across it on the radio and thought the answer to “should we care?” so obvious that I had to speak up. I’m sorry you all have such deep wounds. Only God will heal you. As we all let Him deeper into our hearts and lives, let’s keep focused on what matters:
1. All people are equal before God. Since we’re all equal before God, we must remember to treat all people equally, with the love of God he’s lavished on the world.
2. All people are equally hopeless without God’s salvation. We must never participate in any us vs. them thinking; it destroys unity and prevents people from coming to Christians for direction.
3. We all receive salvation and are touched by God in a unique way, while at the same time there is only one Savior, one salvation, one Life. There is no gospel of being a good Christian. There is only the gospel of wretched people saved miraculously by gracious God.
4. Once saved, we are doubly responsible for the times we ignore, run from, reject, or think we’re better than God (when we sin and distract ourselves/others from God). We’re leaders/teachers/priests in the world and must be careful about what we communicate to the world through our lives.
5. The church is severely messed up, just as each individual in the church is severely messed up. People look at Christians and think, “You say that God has saved and changed you, but you’re so hateful. Why would I want to get to know the God you worship?!”
We must each continue to lay our burdens on Christ, on the cross, at his feet. We must continually die to self. We must give up our agendas daily and ask God for guidance as we fulfill His agenda: love others, love God, make disciples.
Yes, Lauren, but wouldn’t it be great if we could do this together BECAUSE of our leaders, instead of IN SPITE of our leaders? This is where we can start a discussion instead of a debate; and explore the possibilities of the Way it should be. In other words, we agree that the Church is messed up; now how do we go about fixing it?
In fact, this may be closer to real prayer than a long. flowery intercession list. Jesus gave us one example of how to pray- look how we turned it into Ultimate Religion. GOD made us, so He knows we tend to do that; so Following the Rules for a change wouldn’t hurt; though many have forgotten the Rules.
Our local pastor asked that yesteday: “How many like to follow the rules?” and my wife and I were two of a handful to raise our hands. He was preaching on Hebrews, and made the statement that he would NEVER preach about the Tabernacle (because the congregation leans toward Unlimited Grace); so I wrote a note to a deacon saying:
“The outer court is not an open or revolving door; there are seven steps leading up to it”; and listed 1) Believe 2) Repent and 3) Love to begin with. I concluded with, “The street is still not your friend!”
Mow, in years past, this could have brought me before a ‘tribunal’; but it doesn’t matter anymore; I won’t compromise to be socially acceptable. So this isn’t about kicking leadership; it’s seeing how things are, and talking about how we might do something differently to make everything better, run smoother, and advance the Kingdom of GOD instead of being spectators every Sunday watching the Show.
In Him, Ron M.
I’m curious about your post here, since your closing words mirror my heart and the responses of many of the callers. First, where was the “off-topic angst” of which you speak? Second, where are all the deep wounds you mention?
Looking forward to your response.
Sure. I’m terrible at this sort of thing (haven’t participated in comment board for years)
The off-topic stuff was mostly on air (people ranting about politics and socio-political issues, lack of love for gay people, instead of answering “should we care?” and “how to care?”). The deep wounds, which we all have, on air, on this site, etc. seem to mostly fit categories of having imperfect local church bodies, “my church is better than your church,” legal discussions, anger at nonbelievers for not adhering to a believer’s moral code (much less important than discussing salvation and grace, then once somebody wants to live for God discussing behavior), etc. I am concerned about some racism and other hate I saw on the site, too – so hurtful!
I’m sure that my comments also seem off-topic to you guys, too.
Basically, even just participating in this super-awkward post amplifies the issue: we should all sing God’s praises, tell of his salvation and healing, and share what he’s done in our lives with everybody and throw aside these petty discussions. It’s very hard to do (maybe I never should have posted at all – I’m very bad at this) but it’s essential if others will have a chance to get to know our Savior.
*(typo) “a comment board”
1)sing GOD’s praises, 2)tell of His salvation, 3) share His goodness. Agreed; now, “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Early on in my rededication (going on 23 years ago) GOD allowed me to gather an interdenominational P&W team in our local community from @ ten small congregations. It has gotten much harder since; showing me what a blessing it was, though it seemed so insignificant at the time. GOD set me down in a little upper room as a worship leader to The One for a year-and-a-half (occasionally someone would join me for a bit, but it was my job to keep the recorded music going). We were blessed to be part of the GOD’s Summer of Love cross-country tour following The Call Nashville in ’07.
But in all of this, there was more jockying over control of money, pastor, evangelist, and musician egos, betrayal of friendship, and other ugly issues than I could write a short book on. This is the ‘curse’ downside of the Tremendous Blessing. Oh yes, we were more a part of the Florida Outpouring in ’08 than I dare mention, being warned not to start naming names. This may be my last posting on LOF; I want you to know that I want the same as you; but have had to deal with some of the administrative infighting also.
In Him, Ron M.
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