Let this be YOUR Independence Day!

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Today is the 4th of July and a time that American’s celebrate coming together and deciding to start a new life for themselves from the rule of British government. But today can also be YOUR independence day from fear and things that hold you back from being mentally and emotionally free.

When people are in pain, one of the WORST things that happens is worry. Worry is a very interesting animal in that it can cause a person to stop moving forward in life while causing a fear of the future. I know that with my eye situation I have at times been paralyzed by the fear that comes from the unknown. Today is the day to possibly give God an opportunity to help keep your focus away from the worries of life and on the potential of the GOOD that is around the corner.

I want my life to help people see a different definition of being a follower of Jesus. He has brought a level of freedom to me that I want to share with people and offer it to them. If people don’t feel like a relationship with Jesus is something they want right now that’s ok. Everyone is different and God has a special plan of freedom just for you but you need to be willing and ready to accept it. Don’t let people try and coerce or force your into something you don’t want for yourself. The most powerful changes in life come from discovering the need for change on your own and then deciding to make a change.
The people who created America 240 years ago were only willing to make a change when they saw the need for it. The same is true with each of us and a relationship with Jesus.

Praying for you to see the need for God in your life. He has never let me down and you can have that same assurance in this life that God is in control.

Have a great 4th of July and don’t get meat sweats from all those hamburgers and hotdogs!

The Supreme Court Decision about Gay Marriage Made Me a Better Christian

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The past week’s supreme court decision concerning gay marriage has been a lot to process. I have read a lot of things that I agree with and things I disagree with (on both sides of the subject) since social media caught fire with everything. I do know, however, that this decision and the climate of our country right now has helped me become a better Christian. Now you may say, “Brian, how has this decision that you disagree with from the supreme court made you a better follower of Christ?” It has helped me evaluate what I really believe and the level of persecution I am willing to endure because of my beliefs.

I think the decision to restrict and limit my Facebook interaction was wise because I can tell you that it doesn’t feel real good when I see posts on my feed that are basically calling me a homophobic bigot.  I have noticed that I am not getting mad at the posts or people who share or like articles like this but it makes me cry and have compassion on them. My question for people in the church is who is going to cry for the people we believe are broken and hurting? Who is going to keep relationships with people we disagree with so that we can be a safe harbor for people to ask us for help or to pray with them or just to listen to them?

In my opinion, the climate of our country has partly to do with people in the church (including myself) who disagree with people who are against basic Biblical values, but have not shown people a different way to live. We gossip as much as anyone, the divorce rate is as high or even higher than people who don’t profess a relationship with Jesus and the list goes on and on and on. I have been a follower of Christ pretty much my entire life and I can say, that without a doubt, most Christian’s classify sins as “the really bad ones” and the “ones that everyone does so we just kind of look the other way.” I believe that it does say sexual acts with the same sex are a sin but it also says that sex outside of marriage is wrong or that if I look lustfully at a woman that I have already committed sin in my heart. We all have struggles that we deal with and have the option to present those things to God and have him help us walk through life or we take on the job ourselves and try and figure stuff out on our own.

The one thing I appreciate about the Bible and my relationship with Jesus is that there is no “sin-o-meter” that says some sins are really, really bad and others are ok and that God will let slide. The reason why these things are in the Bible is because God knows that they are not healthy for us. We need to all be the best citizens of heaven AND earth that we can be. We all fall short sometimes, but as believers in Christ, we should always strive to let Jesus shine through us and accept and love EVERYONE we come in contact with. In fact, I feel like I try and go out of my way to be more friendly and more loving to people who I disagree with on subjects like same sex relationships. My intent is not to patronize people but to show them that I can disagree with a lifestyle choice but still love them. If they don’t believe me it doesn’t matter because I know that I did my part to show a different kind of follower of Christ who can love and still disagree with them. Jesus NEVER expected to get the same kind of response he was giving when he loved anyone in the Bible, and as a followers of Christ, we should not expect anything in return either. If we love someone and expect something back in return that is actually CONDITIONAL love and not Jesus’ UNCONDITIONAL love.

So the reason I can say that the supreme court decision has made me a better Christian is that I am not just considering in my mind what I can LOSE (tax exempt status as a pastor, being fined or thrown in jail just because I believe something different about marriage, etc.) but what I can actually GIVE to those people that hate me because of my beliefs. I know that by sharing what I believe it is not going to change people’s minds about what THEY believe. I must love LOUDER than anything in my life and keep my convictions about what I think the Bible says about ALL sins, then maybe, just maybe someone will inquire why I STILL love them and can disagree with their actions. Jesus was the greatest example of love to ever walk the earth, but EVERY story in the Bible about his love didn’t stop at the act of love. There was always an inquiry or a transitional point where people who were not happy with the life they were living would be changed by the convictions of Christ. Love started the conversations, but Jesus’ convictions brought the healing. I have to believe that if the words I read in the Bible are true, then God will give me the strength to set the example for healing that I believe we ALL need, not just people who deal with their sexual identity.