A message I preached on Sunday, May 24, at Victory Assembly of God in Bonner Springs, KS.
“A part of our problem with understanding hell comes from the way we think about ehaven. We think about heaven as some kind of comfortable resort, but the greatest thing about heaven is going to be the presence of God. He has allowed us to avoid him here on earth in some measure if we want to, but if you go to heaven, God’s the biggest thing on the horizon. You’re no longer going to be able to avoid him. And that would be the supreme torture if you haven’t gotten over thinking of yourself as God. That’s why I sometimes say that the fires of heaven burn hotter than the fires of hell.” (The Allure of Gentleness, p. 67)
Let’s get this out of the way: Yes… ALL lives matter. Absolutely, positively, every one.
But each of us know when there are those neglected and there is a sense of, “Does MY life matter? Is anyone seeing?”
That is why, from time to time, we lift up a particular part of society to try and emphasize, YES… YOU matter!
This study really crushed me when it was released this week.
And let’s get THIS out of the way as well: It’s from the ACLU, which will automatically cause polarization. Conservatives will just dismiss it. Liberals will call it gospel. Everything has some hidden agenda, but this really goes to my point overall: when we SEE something, we label. Dear friends, it is my contention that we alone have the power to make that stop.
The trouble is… we don’t want to.
So, conservatives will dismiss this study because of who put it out.
Liberals will treat it as gospel and really spin up harsh attitudes toward police.
This is my contention: BOTH knee jerk responses are wrong.
I have grown up conservative. Generally, I am not a fan of the ACLU. But there are times I need to carefully work through something and face some facts.
But we need to NOT hate police as well. Minneapolis is not doing well in their policing in general. While blacks see that in aces, I see it as well. Not just over harassment. I see it generally. I just simply think they could do a better job. Even as an average white, they are not a very responsive department.
We had a murder a block from my house a couple of years ago and we never received any information other than, “This was a crime committed by people who knew each other. The general public is not at risk.” That’s not good enough. I want updates. I want to know you went out and FOUND the offender. There was absolutely no communication.
Generally, in Minneapolis, I just think policing could be better. But I don’t hate police. One of my close friends is a police chief. He works hard. He does community policing. He himself is a volunteer Big Brother and has his officers follow his lead. He hires officers to represent the community and went through an arduous process to hire a Somali and Ethiopian when he had two vacancies. I don’t hate police. They work hard as well. There are good cops.
But there is still an attitude that persists in our community. And WHITES need to do some owning up. THIS article has some hard introspection as well.
There are times I’ve just not done… well… anything. And I’m sorry.
So, I won’t ignore a study because it’s done by the devil… I mean the ACLU.
And I won’t hate all cops.
I have worked to reach out in some ways to some community leaders. That hasn’t really gone extremely well, but that’s okay. I keep trying.
We still have work to do. Work that is GOOD. Work that is RIGHT.
Let us work together to BLESS… not curse.
Help us, O God.
For the day, for your job, for the conversations you have, for the problem you need to solve at home… why not take Jesus with you?
Paul says this about Jesus:
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:3)
The One who made everything “probably” actually knows everything. He really does know how to make things work.
Dallas Willard puts it this way:
Regardless of what you’re working on, Jesus has the knowledge required to solve your problems.
Why NOT take Jesus with you today?
Our church has been in the process of selling our building over the last several months.
A journey that began almost a year ago is about to take a tremendous step up. Last June the Lord gave me the idea in prayer to sell the building and take the proceed to invest in a new place, including a coffee shop. We voted to put the church on the market, which went public in September of last year. We were told commercial property sits 12-24 months sometimes. By January we had a solid offer. By March we had an agreement to sell. It’s been a long march since then to get to a closing date, but suffice to say it’s WELL ahead of the 12 months mark.
This has been an amazing process. The Lord has been good.
We have prayed incredibly bold prayers and God has heard us. The reason, I think he has heard us is he ASKED US to pray these bold prayers.
I am so fully convinced I only want to pray what HE is asking me to pray!
In The Allure of Gentleness, Dallas Willard leads the reader in a path I wish I had offered to me when I was a teenager. I grew up with the concept that apologetics was winning the argument. My “rightness” would overwhelm their “wrongness” and then they would somehow just bow to Jesus.
Over the years I have adopted more of what Dallas writes about here, but more by fits and starts than a purposeful plan.
He lays out three basic attitudes to take in the subject of apologetics:
1. Have confidence in God and his truth. We need to understand God is on the throne and Satan can’t do a thing about it. No one can. Have confidence.
2. We are to be humble, generous, and open toward other people. Nothing is more damaging than telling a Muslim, for instance, what he believes, before HE has a chance to tell you what he believes. We need an openness to listen and walk with that respect toward others. Then, in kindness, we ask that same respect in return. I have watched Tim Keller do this time and again. It is marvelous to watch.
3. We need a true desire to lovingly serve.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 is a great example:
24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.