Today’s Hot Topic: Homosexuality

Posted in Hope, Love, Marriage by PCraig on January 30, 2014

This is something our culture just can’t seem to stop talking about these days: homosexuality.  Recently, on the Grammys a mass “wedding” was performed that included both same sex and opposite sex partners, officiated by Queen Latifah.  Then, in our own state of Indiana, a recent bill named HJR 3 was being considered by the House to allow voters to decide on whether marriage should only be for one man and one woman in the November elections.  It is now going back to the State Senate because the House changed the language in the bill.  You can learn more about it here:

What does all of this debate, talk and controversy mean for the believer in Christ?  Does God condemn gays to hell?  Can a person change that has same-sex attraction?

I decided I would weigh in on this a little today, since it is all over the media, and on the minds of many.  Here are a few initial thoughts for all of us:

  • We are all sinners in need of God’s grace & mercy (Romans 3:23)
  • Just because my sin is different from yours, doesn’t make me better
  • We all need a substitute to pay for our sins and it is Jesus (Ro. 6:23, 10:13)
  • Any and all sin can be forgiven when confessed to God (1 John 1:9)

Here are specifics about homosexuality:

  • No one goes to hell for homosexuality; we go for rejecting God’s Son.
  • We cannot just do “whatever is right for me” because that attitude affects those around you.
  • We are given control over our bodies through our will and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-21)
  • God’s plan was one woman for one man from the beginning (Adam & Eve).
  • Jesus referenced marriage as one man and one woman (Mt. 19:4-6)
  • We can master our bodies for God’s glory rather than our bodies mastering us (1 Cor. 6:12-19)

Finally, God loves us all and He is our hope.  As a result, to be like God (which should be the goal of every Christian), I should love everyone the same.  I will never reach anyone with the hope of God by being bigoted and hate-filled.

Jesus has compassion on each of us now matter what our particular sin-bend is like.  All of the guidelines for sexuality that He gives are for our good and ultimate fulfillment.  My hope is that all Christ followers will live as Jesus lived and love as He loved.  That’s how Jesus said the world will know we’re His.

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Lessons From A Meat-Lover

Well, today I get to eat meat again!  I’m ending my fast of meat that I started at the first of this year.  Here’s some lessons I have learned:

  • I miss meat in my diet, but I didn’t die without it.
  • Every time I got hunger or empty feelings I thought about what this was for and it helped me stay focused.
  • My heart was open to hearing from God and was more aware of Him over these past three weeks.
  • It has given me a great start to a New Year where I am hungry for His presence in my life.
  • There are things I need to delete or take less time for in my life to make time for what’s more important.

This is why fasting and spiritual growth activities are important in our lives.  There’s just nothing like a spiritual retreat (Discipleship Walk), fasting, or spiritual growth campaigns (40 Days of Purpose) to ignite our lives to burn brighter.

What lessons have your learned in times of fasting, prayer or spiritual retreat?  If you are struggling for an answer, it may be time to do it.

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The #1 Ingredient

Posted in Character, Integrity, Leadership by PCraig on January 16, 2014

In my meeting with our Trustees today, we discussed another portion from the book, Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft.  Chapter 8 gives the statement, “Character counts.”  Dave quotes John Wooden, “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Who you are will take you much further than what you can do.  So, we looked around the room and gave the challenge to be people of integrity.

My question is: how’s it going with you?  Anything you’re afraid of being discovered?  Are you the same person in private as well as public?

In a culture that is more concerned with competence than character, let’s be a stand out example for others to follow.  Integrity is the number one ingredient people want in their leaders.  It should be a no-brainer for those who are followers of Christ.

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Don’t you wish life had a refresh button?  I love how you can hit the refresh button on your browser and everything on the page gets reloaded and updated.

As we begin a New Year, have you ever thought of making a new you?  Over the next few weeks as a church we’ll examine renewing our lives.  Each week we’ll discuss a portion of Scripture that addresses helping us to refresh our lives.

Here’s the definition of renew according to Merriam-Webster:

re·new verb \ri-ˈnü, -ˈnyü\

: to make (something) new, fresh, or strong again

: to make (a promise, vow, etc.) again

I hope you can join us for the next four weeks of RENEW and allow God to make you new, fresh or strong again.  He CAN renew, refresh and restore us.  Pray that God will use this series your life personally and in our church corporately for His glory!

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Steps To Progress

Do you find that there’s a gap between wanting to make advancement and actually seeing progress?  Especially at this time of year, we determine to lose weight, get in shape, take classes, or accomplish a project, but six months from now will there be any change?  How many years now have you been frustrated by your own lack of progress?  What can make this year different from all the others?

For me, there has to be a combination of things to get me going and keep me going toward my desired destination.  First of all, I have to have a resolve to really do it.  It can’t just be one of these, “It sure would be nice to be in better shape.”  It’s got to be, “I will not tolerate this anymore, I must change!”

Second, I’ve got to have a goal in mind of where I want to be.  “I will lose one inch in my waist in 60 days.”  That’s a clear goal that gives me something to aim at and be inspired to reach.

Third, I need some steps to be able to put my desire into action.  The question I ask, “What should be my first step toward my intended destination?”

Here’s some things you might want to consider to help you reach spiritual goals:

  • Sign up on Crossroads for Scripture to be delivered each day electronically
  • Participate in our 21 day fast by giving up something in surrender to God
  • Come to our one hour Night of Prayer on Jan 8 from 7-8 p.m.
  • Register for a Crossroads University class this weekend (classes start soon)
  • Join a Lifegroup if you haven’t already to do life with others in 2014
  • Determine to be in weekend worship unless on vacation or sick
  • Get baptized in water (next baptism is in 2 weeks!)

Those are just a few next steps that can take you to a better place spiritually in 2014, than you were in 2013.  What step do you need to take?

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