Aaron Summers

#blessed

In Gospel Living on March 24, 2015 at 8:32 am

#blessed

I see this a lot these days and it usually follows something wonderful that happened to somebody.

  • My kids didn’t kill themselves today…#blessed
  • My hair came together this morning…#blessed
  • My grandchild was born…#blessed
  • My husband bought me flowers…#blessed
  • I got a raise…#blessed
  • What a beautiful sunrise/sunset…#blessed
  • Sitting with my family around the fire…#blessed
  • Got to see old friends today…#blessed

It goes on and on.  For those who like to use it as a way of giving thanks to God, be #blessed.  However, I think our culture is shaping us to only think of being #blessed by God when good things happen.  In fact, I would suggest to you that we are so controlled by our culture that it would feel awkward to say you were #blessed when something goes wrong.  People would comment that you might be losing it.  Others might tell you that you are being spiteful, hateful, rude, crude, and otherwise inhumane to speak of being #blessed even when bad things happen. Gary Smalley’s 10th Key is to allow the trials of your life to become #blessed moments for you today.

Was Abraham #blessed to be chosen by God to sacrifice Isaac or only when God stopped him?  MOST of us would say the latter.  How could we say someone is #blessed by the former?  God called Abraham.  God provided him with a son.  God was purifying his faith and motives through this moment.  I believe Abraham was #blessed both ways.

Was Noah #blessed during the years of building or just when he was safe in the boat?  When we are criticized for our beliefs we do not think that as a wonderful thing.  We don’t like to be singled out, made fun of, or rejected because of our faith.  We want to hide it, relax the standards, or ignore Christ because being persecuted is not being #blessed by today’s standards.  However, Jesus said we are blessed when we are persecuted for His name’s sake as the Gospel is being lived out.  I guess the 21 were #blessed, then.

It is really a matter of perspective.  It takes an enormous amount of energy to acknowledge that you are #blessed even during the difficult times.

  • When the car breaks down you can still be #blessed since God is teaching you trust.
  • When you fight with your child you can still be #blessed because God is increasing your patience and communication.
  • When you face loss, grief, or tragedy you can still be #blessed because God is teaching you reliance on Him.
  • When find yourself alone and in the dark you can still be #blessed because God is there with you.
  • When your kids move away you can still be #blessed

Being #blessed is more than publicizing all the good things that happen to you.  Swim on out into the deeper waters of spiritual maturity.  The water may be colder and you can’t touch the bottom, but you are #blessed because God is there too!

Challenge:  Find a way to express that you are #blessed no matter the situation.

Roman Togas to Racism: What Can We Learn?

In Life and Culture on March 12, 2015 at 8:56 pm

A-Toga-Party

From Animal House to Old School, fraternities have received much recognition for their antics over the years, but none so like what we have watched these past few days.  The SAE chant that has gone viral is terrible.  The fact that in the same week NYT posts a Selma march with Bush and Obama makes it incredulous!  Racism has no place in our world today, though it still rises from the ashes from time to time.  There is to be no value judgment based on color.

Neither Jew nor Greek

Racism is such an ugly business.  Regardless of your spiritual, economic, or political position racism must stop.  As a believer, we ought to understand that none of that matters when it comes to evangelism.  Paul wrote to Rome that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, slave or free…”  Sharing the Gospel has no racial boundaries.  Racial differences will not matter when we stand before Jesus.  It should not make any difference today either.  One is no better than another.  We all have sinned and fallen short.  We all must go through Jesus.  All of us.

Where it all started…

The idea that some are better than others has been going on for years. Jon Acuff raised awareness in his book Stuff Christians Like. I am not sure where it started. I think it might have started with Noah, unintentionally of course, since he walked with God and all. However, when you have been chosen to build and ride the boat while everyone else drowns you might be tempted to start thinking you’re better than others. At least, Russell Crowe did, but that doesn’t count (Read more).   Maybe it was Samson who killed the donkey then took the jawbone and killed a bunch of Philistines. Maybe it was the monarchy. It could have started with Charlemagne when he forced the conversion of thousands. Was it the Crusades? I am thinking this may have been the high point of the “we-are-better-than-you” debate. When politics and the church agree to unleash holy terror on any group we have a problem.

Cease and Desist

The time to stop is now.  Dr. King addressed the crowd with the sentiment that the content of one’s character should outweigh the color of their skin.  Here we are years later embroiled in the same issues.  I applaud SAE National for shutting down the chapter.  I hope that UT-Austin does not find the same problem.  When will it end?  When we all come to the same understanding that it is by the same God we are created.  It is by one God that we will be judged.  There are not different lines for different types.  There is one line, one God, one faith, one baptism, one Heaven.

All Nations, Tribes, and Tongues

What we do on Earth is a warm-up for Heaven.  There is no segregation in Heaven and there should be none on Earth.  We are one family in Jesus, for those who have placed their trust in His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient.  Let us stand together.  Let us serve together.  Let us share together.  May we salvage for our children a more honest future than our past.  I champion the truth today that none are better than anyone else. No one is righteous. Not even one, except for Jesus. None of us are right. When those words were penned by Paul to the church at Rome he was writing to Christians. None were right. None are right. The “right-ness” we claim to have is not even our own, it is Jesus’. The stain of sin all over our lives has been cleansed. We now have access to God, Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. May the attitude of being “better-than-you” never surface.

The Church Needs to STOP Lying

In Church on March 10, 2015 at 7:54 am

Liar2

Walk into just about any church and you will find people that lie to you!  Your friends, your foes, and those you don’t even know will lie to you.  I don’t think they mean to lie.  In fact, I am not sure they would admit that lying is what they were doing.  Some would say they are putting on a good front.  Others might say that they are just being optimistic.

Most of this is centered in our greetings.  The truth is that people lie outside of the church just as often.  We ask people when we see them in class or in worship, “How are you today?”  Two things are at play: it is a mindless form of greeting, and no one really wants the answer.  The reason for the 2nd is because if your moment is not good trending toward bad, then it becomes awkward as you dump your troubles. Watch someone’s face as you begin to discuss, at length,

  • the diaper issues of your youngest because of the stomach flu going around and how it got in your eye…
  • how you hugged the toilet throughout the day yesterday…
  • how you can’t pay the bills…
  • your latest fight with your spouse…
  • how cranky you are because your favorite manicurist couldn’t fit you in…

I digress.  Here are a few pointers on greeting others so we will stop lying.

Greetings you SHOULD use

  • Hello.
  • Hi.
  • I am so glad you are here.
  • It is good to see you today.

Questions that lead to LIES

  • How are you?
  • How has your week been?
  • Haven’t seen you lately, where have you been? (Also adds guilt and shame)
  • How was Sunday School today?
  • Wasn’t worship wonderful?
  • I am so blessed, aren’t you?

If we would stop asking the wrong questions, people might stop lying at church.  Answers like “Fine”, “Blessed”, “Wonderful” may be true, but often they are not.  Our lives tend to focus on the fights, money issues, sickness, and tragedy. We, who have the hope of Jesus and help of the Spirit, must find a balance.  We have hope.  We have problems today.  Somewhere in the middle is the integrity we need.

Let’s be honest.

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