Two Truths

I have been reflecting on two parts of the New Testament recently.

Firstly, there is the Great Commission:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) (Emphasis added)

This clearly shows Christians that we must be outward focused. Going, befriending, discipling, teaching people to follow God and how to follow God. Teaching people about the commandments of God.

The second verse I have been pondering if found in Hebrews:

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Hebrews 9:4 (ESV)

We live in a world where Christians are being martyred for their faith. They are being martyred at an alarming rate. Recently, we have seen the brutal, highly publicized accounts of Christians being shot and beheaded.

I am saddened that we live in a world where we have Christians becoming martyrs along side Christians who want to ban, hate, and discriminate against people who aren’t following God’s commandments.

I don’t see how we can take a verse like Hebrews 9:4 and use it to tell someone they can’t come to our stores. We are called to make disciples, to teach people how to follow God.

If someone who lives a lifestyle that is contrary to yours, pray for them. Tell them your praying for them. Ask them questions, tell them the truth in love. At least give them the chance to hear the Good News of Jesus. Don’t hate and judge and condemn someone. At least take the time to pray for them. Ask God how you can be used in your life, at your store, with your service to minister to people who need to hear the truth of God.

An Open Letter

Some of you may have heard the sad and shocking news that came out in West Michigan last week. An accomplished Christian radio DJ was arrested on 1st and 2nd degree CSC. I was horrified and appalled to read the details of the case. I was challenged and angry.

I had to spend time praying and seeking God’s heart.

After a few days, I realized what God wanted me to bring out of this terrible tragedy.

The heart of Father God is with those boys and girls enslaved in sex trafficking. This is a disgusting “practice” that should not exist in our world. I would imagine that many Christians felt betrayed by this story. However, the simple truth is that in all walks of life, there are men and women who are indulging in their sick desire for sexual gratification. These people fuel the demand for child prostitution. And this story highlights that even in West Michigan, this despicable trade of innocent children is thriving.

In light of this story, I would like to write an open letter and in the words of Beautiful Eulogy:

Dear whoever has ears to hear,

Please do not let this story become about the selfish actions of a Christian radio DJ. Please do not get stuck in a hate and reject cycle for this man. Please, please, please, fight to set the children free that are enslaved in prostitution and pornography. These are children that could be the same age as your kids. These are children who did not choose to be violated, they did not choose to end up in hotels with older men, with older women. These are not children who chose to have their innocence decimated, their will crushed, and their bodies mutilated.

Please, dear church, let this story intrude in your lives. Please let this story break your heart. Please research ways to fight human trafficking in your area. Please become informed. Please become aware.

Be ready to act, to be the hands and feet of Christ. Please know that you are challenged now to use this information to set free the captives. This issue needs to be given light, this issue needs to be addressed.

We need to send this message: this is not ok, this is not acceptable. If you are involved in this terrible tragedy against life and against God, seek help, seek healing, stop abusing children.

We easily find ourselves in cozy Christian bubbles. Maybe this story has intruded into life and caused you to see a wrong and injustice that you can’t ignore. You aren’t made to ignore this injustice. You aren’t made to ignore this abuse.

Stand with the afflicted, protect the downtrodden. And remember the words of Jesus, “It would be better for a millstone to be tied to your neck and then tossed into the sea than to cause one of the least of these to stumble.” And that Jesus came to bring life and life abundantly. He came to set free the captives, to open the eyes of the blind, to heal the sick, to proclaim liberty to captives.

We are the church. We are the body of Christ.

-Ben

PS. Here is an article describing human trafficking in Michigan

PPS. Here is a series run by Moody Radio on human trafficking

 

 

Refresh

Refresh. To renew, to liven, to restore, to recharge, to stimulate. To make fresh again.

How long has it been since the fragrance of God was fresh in my life?

New years have served as a impetus to change, but this year, my impetus is not for change but for reformation, restructuring  refreshing.

As I spent time praying, the Lord filled my mind with images of the past, where I knew I was living in his will. Where I felt the pulse of his heart and the breath in his lungs. He made it clear to me that he was calling me back to the burdens, the cares, the struggles that have slowly taken the back seat. That have become old, diminished, tired, and stale.

He was urging me to make fresh again my desire to be his, to be like Christ.

My heart is being enlarged. I am transformed daily by the renewal of my mind into the likeness of Christ.

I don’t know what 2013 has in store but I want to burn like a bright light for my Creator and my Lover. I want to run with endurance the race set before me. I don’t want to leave behind any opportunity to do His will.

Join me as I imitate Christ. Refresh your hope. Refresh the joy of your salvation. Refresh.

Come and let Your Presence

The song that plays on my 8 pm reminder to pray for the city is Come and let Your Presence by Merchant Band.
I really enjoy this song because I want to experience and praise our worthy God and I also want his presence to fill this city!

Come and let Your presence
Fill our praise, fill our praise
Come and let Your presence fill this place

You are the One we want to meet
Jesus shine through all the praises that we sing

We have come to give You
Highest praise, highest praise
We have come to love You in this place.

It’s all for You
Here we are, here we are.

For ways to pray for Grand Rapids, check out gatheringgr