It Is Time

I don’t know about you, but I am to the point where I can hardly listen to the news anymore. The chaos and evilness that is occurring in America, let alone the whole world, is overwhelming at times. Reports of wars, innocent blood shed, bullying, brink of a financial collapse, prices increasing, propaganda, healthcare being shoved down our throats, IRS scandals, VA scandals, lying, deception, murders…it is enough to make someone want to go hide under a rock! I have come to the point of limiting my news consumption and to focus on other things. However, among the chaos, my question is: where is the Church? Where are the Christians?

In Revelation, it talks about the seven churches. Each church received a warning and urged to repent. One church that was mentioned: the Lukewarm Church. Revelation 3:14-22 is directed to the Church in Laodicea, but I believe it is so relevant for the Church in America today. Jesus said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”-Revelation 3:15-16 [NIV]. There are too many Christians and too many churches in America that are lukewarm. They are neither cold or hot. You are either for Christ or not. You are either grateful for what He did on the cross for you, or not. You either love Him sincerely or you don’t. It can’t be both ways. What I don’t understand is how some pastors and Christians can be only “Sunday” Christians and not Christians 24/7. IF you boldly profess to be a Christ follower, yet contradict everything you preach…how is that even possible? There are too many pastors and Christians who willingly compromise their convictions to be loved by the world. Therefore, they steer away from preaching about sin and the power of salvation, that Jesus dying on the cross for the world will free them from their bondage of sin, addiction, fear, doubt, anxiety, depression, loneliness, etc. That is too controversial, I guess. No wonder America is messed up!

I truly believe that Jesus’ return is so near and closer than we think. It Is Time for the Church to be the Church. It Is Time for Christians to take their relationship with Jesus Christ seriously. It Is Time for Churches to STOP being so focused on fame and fortune, and get outside their four walls and help America. Something that just absolutely cooks my grits, is when pastors and Christians in churches think they are “too good” to approach other people who may not be in the same “league”, “socioeconomic”, “status” as them. Did Jesus ever do that? OF COURSE NOT!! He was right there with the humble. Jesus reached out to those hurting. He healed the blind, caused the lame to walk, walked among the lepers…Jesus was never “too good” to be around those who were in need of help. I want to ask some of these pastors and Christians, “Who do you think you are? You didn’t get where you are at by your own works. You got where you are at because of God. Don’t forget it!” I wouldn’t actually say that to them, but you get my point. James 2:1-4 [AMP] says, “My brethren, pay no servile regard to people [show no prejudice, no partiality]. Do not [attempt to] hold and practice the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ [the Lord] of glory [together with snobbery]! For if a person comes into your congregation whose hands are adorned with gold rings and who is wearing splendid apparel, and also a poor [man] in shabby clothes comes in, and you pay special attention to the one who wears the splendid clothes and say to him, “Sit here in this preferable seat!” while you tell the poor [man], “Stand there!” or, “Sit there on the floor at my feet!” Are you not discriminating among your own and becoming critics and judges with wrong motives?”

It Is Time for Christians to be Christians. This whole “I will be holy on Sunday” and act like the world Monday-Saturday is sad. People who are not Christians are looking. Those who are trying to make a decision whether or not to be a Christian, watch too. They look to see if Christianity is real. Those who profess Christianity, they are walking testimonies and it would be a shame if their message became tainted and discredited because they were seen at a bar kicking back 5 shots of whiskey, 3 shots of rum, and 2 large glasses of beer, cussing profusely. Or, what is worse…is when you see the worship leader at a church buying a variety of cases of beer. If I didn’t know he was a worship leader, I would have thought no big deal. But, because I knew he was the worship leader, it changed my views of him (I actually saw this happen). You never know who is watching.

As Christians, we are ambassadors of Jesus Christ. When people see us, they should be seeing Jesus. We are called to be light in this dark world. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus-not just saying it but doing it. America needs help! If the Church would just stand on the Word of God and do what God commanded, to love one another…oh my gosh, can you imagine!?! Pastors need to stop being afraid of mentioning Jesus, sin, or America because they don’t want to “offend” people. Jesus said in John 12:32 [NIV] “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” When we honor Him, He will honor us. Christians can help America by electing politicians who uphold values, morals…better yet, Godly principles. Christians can help America by feeding the poor, help clothe the less fortunate, help the widows and orphans. Christians can help guide the youth in America by helping them reach their fullest potential and encourage them that God has a purpose for their life. Christians can stop bullying in the church by helping the bully and the victim. The Church can be a safe haven for those who are lost, scared, or have no hope. When people walk into church, they should be able to experience the love that the Father has for them, not judgment.

The good news: there is hope! It is not too late and it starts with you and me. Together, lets be the change the Church needs. We can start by showing kindness and God’s love to those around us. We can start by sharing words of kindness to those we come in contact with. We can start by encouraging our friends and family. We can start by posting encouraging tweets on Twitter and statuses on Facebook that are uplifting to the Father. I challenge you today to make a difference. Each day, purpose to make a difference in the life of someone else. Like I mentioned before, there is so much evil in this world. But, let us not be shaken and share hope. As hate increases, let our love increase. Together, we can share the faith, hope, and love that we have in Jesus Christ. Jesus said that when we lift Him up, He will draw all men near to Him. Jesus’ return is so near and there is no time to waste. Together, we can be the change and show the world that we are Christians who mean what we say and do.

It Is Time!

 

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Enough is Enough!

Every day 160,000 students stay home in fear of bullying. When bullying occurs, 4% of adults intervene, while 11% of peers intervene. However, a whopping 85% do NOTHING! When people see bullying, 85% do NOTHING! Are those not tragic statistics? I am firm believer of the saying “10% of a problem is 90% how you handle it.” When people just stand there and watch the bullying occur, they are (I believe) contributing to the problem rather than handling it. They are just as much to blame. This even includes the church.

What I am about to say may sound harsh, but it is something that needs to be said because I am sure there are those of you reading this who have thought or felt the same way. It is time for the Church TO BE THE CHURCH. Enough is Enough! It breaks my heart when Christians bully and churches allow it. Are we not supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus? Did not Jesus say He “did not come to be served but to serve”? Why then are there Christians who act like they need to be served? Why are there Christians who usurp their will upon others? Why are there Christians who feel like they can label people? Jesus said he without sin cast the first stone. No one is greater than another in the sight of God. God shows no partiality. Galatians 5:26 [MSG] says, “…we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” James 2 is very clear on partiality, that we should not look at someone who has fine jewelry and favor them, while we snub those who don’t look the same. James 2:2-4 [NKJV] says, “For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You stand there,” or “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?”

Time and time again, I have seen this very thing happen in churches. The worst part of it is, I have seen pastors show partiality, and participate in the bullying or excusing it, “sweeping it under the rug” so to speak. All throughout my life, I was bullied by “Christians” in the Christian schools and church. It broke my heart because I didn’t understand why people would treat me so hatefully. I share my story in my book, “Bullied Yet Victorious: How I Overcame Fear with Faith.” In high school, I was bullied at a church. To make a long story short, two women spread vicious rumors about me that spread like wildfire in this church my family and I attended. Sad thing is, I was 16 at the time and these women were 36 years old. To make matters worse, the youth pastor believed the lies and would not give me an opportunity to defend myself. My parents decided that it would be best if we left the church because we were not going to continue staying at a church that professed “Christ”, yet accepted the lies spoken over my family and me. After we left the church, my mom received an email from the pastor’s wife (pastor of the church) asking why we left. My mom emailed her back telling her what occurred and how two women spread vicious lies and gossip across the church. My family and I were flabbergasted when we received the pastor’s wife’s response. She sent us a very hateful email, not believing us because the two women who spread the lies…were her best friends! For the longest time, I struggled going to church and looking at people in the eyes. I was traumatized by what occurred, but somehow, I knew it was not God’s fault. I didn’t know why I was going through that trial, but now I do. I don’t regret going through what I went through because it gives me the opportunity to share my story with you. It blows me away how God gives beauty for ashes.

One summer, I was at a church in Dallas. One of the youth pastors spoke and talked about showing kindness. He told us that one summer he was leading camp and encouraged students to make a difference. He said one boy came up to him crying because he was being bullied by other peers at camp. The other boys accused him of being “gay” because he was happy, smiling, and full of joy. I was saddened when I heard that story. The youth pastor went on to say the boys began spreading that accusation on Instagram by posting hurtful things on this young man’s account. However, NOT once did I hear the pastor say what he DID to stop it! The young man was not gay, he was just happy. Is it wrong for a young man to be happy and joyful? Of course not! I don’t know who those bullies are, but to put labels on others are wrong. I am so tired of people professing to be “Christians” and go to church singing “Hallelujah” and turn around and start bullying. Where is Jesus in all of this? Churches treat bullying like it’s a taboo topic, but maybe if they actually talked about bullying and how words hurt….just maybe it would stop in the church. The church needs to stop putting its head in the sand!

This is the problem, Christians are taught to “turn the other cheek” because Jesus said so. But, I also believe that if Jesus were here on earth right now, he would intervene by addressing the situation. After all, he intervened when the religious were about to stone a woman accused of adultery. I can’t imagine Him standing there seeing bullying occur and walking by, not saying anything. Therefore, I do not think it is right for Christians to just stand there and do nothing. When bullying occurs in the church, it wounds people. People can become bitter, resentful, and even lose faith. And guess what? That will lay heavily on the church.

In 1 John, John is constantly telling us to “love one another.” Why then, is it so hard for Christians to love one another? We are the Body of Christ! We can’t exclude or cut out a member, just because he or she may look different or act different. We are all working toward the same common goal. That goal is sharing the hope and love of Jesus Christ.

I want to encourage those of you reading this, if you were ever bullied by the Church, I apologize. Hurting others is not the heart of God. I apologize to you if you have been bullied or hurt by the Church. God has you in His hands and He has an amazing purpose for you. A counselor once told me, “Don’t put your trust in people, for people will fail you. Rather, put your trust in God because He will NEVER fail you.” If there are people who have put negative labels on you, don’t listen to them. Who are they anyway? It doesn’t matter what others say about you; what matters is what God says about you. You are a blessing. You are priceless. You are valuable. You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are an overcomer. You are victorious. God has a way of turning things around on your behalf. What the enemy meant for harm, God turns around for our good for those who love Him according to His purpose-Romans 8:28. One of the greatest things you can do is pray for those who have bullied you. Ask God to heal your heart, to help you forgive those who hurt you, but more importantly, for Him to change the hearts of those who have bullied. God can do it! He helped me to overcome bullying. I know He can help you too!

The church is a place for worship, praise, healing, help, guidance, and fellowship. How does bullying fit into this? It doesn’t. Enough is Enough!

 

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