“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I had the idea to write about Convenient Jesus two weeks ago during the NFL season kickoff. I wrote it down but didn’t do much with it. 2Two weeks later after skipping church twice the message hits close to home for me so I figured it was time.
The church I go to averages around 300-400 people on a given Sunday. I am located in Washington State home of the 12th man. The first week of the season the Seahawks were playing a 10:00 AM game. 10:00 AM games are always rough for church. Combine that with the fact it was week 1 and that made it even rougher. Church was down 150 people from the previous week. 150, and it’s not like the previous week was Easter either. The previous week was Labor Day with people out of town for the three day weekend.
Whether we like it or not this is what are actions are saying.
I love going to church except for when the Seahawks are playing. I love Jesus so much except for when my friends want to go out drinking. I hate sin except if it is a sin I do all the time. I pray every night except for when I am tired. I would read my bible more except that I am super busy. I would give to the poor except I don’t make enough money. I would pay attention in church except I need to update my fantasy roster. I would be on fire for the Lord except…
We have turned Jesus into someone we go to and spend time with only when nothing else is going on. How many times have you read about Moses and laughed when they made a gold cow to worship instead of God? It is quite humorous to me. That is until I skip church to watch grown men play a game and spend more time on my fantasy team than I do in the bible. Then it’s not so funny. It’s actually depressing.
The reason we do all the above things is simple…
We don’t need Jesus.
Or at least we act like we don’t.
You hear stories in India where pastors are digging their own graves before they go out and preach knowing they could get killed in doing so. You also hear in India about a place where God is doing great things. How can we count it all joy when we endure trials if we never go through trials? We all have housing, clothing, food, and water. We have more right now than at any time in the history of the world. We have it all. Except for a REAL relationship with Jesus. The places where the Holy Spirit is doing the greatest work are also places where the Devil is trying to do is greatest work.
One of my favorites quotes is “I hope to live a life worthy of the devil noticing me and have him send a demon to try and stop me.”
I do have good news though. Being a Christian in America is getting tougher. Try being against homosexuality right, you will get some push back. Try saying you are waiting for marriage to have sex. Try not swearing regularly when everyone around you is. All of that is considered crazy. All of that is good news. It is joy.
When you lean into the Lord and you fight addiction, you fight sin, you fight unrighteous. Those are the times when you feel Him the most. Look at Job who was the most righteous man on earth. Read all he went through. Being a Christian is not supposed to be easy because when life is easy you start to feel like you don’t need Jesus.
Know what you believe in and take a stand. Go through struggles for being a Christian because that is when you will feel joy. Have so much hope and faith in the Lord that you choose him over everything else on a daily basis.
Deny yourself in order to find your true self.
For the last year or so it feels like a have been hearing a lot about the $10 dollar bill. I have been hearing that a woman needs to be on it. Even a couple nights ago during the GOP debate a question about it popped up. They asked who should be on it and the candidates answered Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Truman, Rosa Parks, their wives, etc…
Anyone who picked there wife I immediately lost all respect for. I hate that answer. Who is your best friend? My wife. That is false. Calling your wife you best friend should be insulting for her. Being married should transcend friendship. It is something far greater because people have many best friends but only one wife. My wife will never be my best friend! I should mention that I am single and the reason I am single is making a lot more sense to me now.
I have never understood why woman weren’t more offended of Bruce now Cate Jenner. What he did was basically say the only thing it takes to be a woman is to put makeup on and wear ladies clothes. That should have infuriated woman everywhere. There is so SO much more to woman than that. Like their ability to do laundry…:) Kidding. The $10 bill does the same thing.
Woman I know you have struggled in this country. I know you were denied voting rights until 1920 and make 77 cents to our dollar, but I know how to fix it. If we put a woman on the $10 bill, all will be forgotten. The way you fix all the problems woman have is by simply putting a woman on the $10 bill. They should be burning down buildings for that type of mindset. Woman should be insulted that people think currency is holding them back.
If we are going to change a bill in the year 2020, wouldn’t it make more sense to change the $20? There are a few reasons why.
Last I checked graduations rates in this country aren’t great. We have a national debt that is skyrocketing, and far too many single parents. What I like to do is work big to small on my problems. If my roof is leaking and my bathroom is dirty I am going to fix the roof first. I am very pragmatic that way. Once the roof is fixed then I will clean bathroom. Changing a bill seems like we are cleaning the bathroom before we fix the leak.
Why don’t we worry about are national debt first? Then move onto the $10 bill? The national debt is a real problem and changing the bill won’t mean anything in 25 years when we are forced to use the Chinese Yuan.
If you are a woman and you are reading this let me tell you something. Nobody can hold you back. If you really want something you can get it. Don’t let anyone tell you a $10 bill will change anything. I don’t know a single woman that is held back because she is woman. The company I work for is owned by a woman. My boss is a woman. Nothing has held them back because they didn’t allow anything to hold them back.
The best advice I have ever got in life was this. The only person who can hold you back is yourself. Nobody else cares enough about you to hold you back.
If you are a woman and are waiting for 2020 to go after your goals/dreams I have bad news. Changing the $10 bill will not help you one bit! Success is all about mindset. We all have different journey’s in life, some easier than others. The day you give up and say the system is against me is the day you lose. The system may be against me or it may be against you. I really don’t know and I really don’t care. I am going to go out and bust my butt trying to succeed in life. I am confident that even if the system is trying to hold me back it won’t be able to.
Don’t use a crutch in life if you have no injury.
I have been sitting at my computer meaning to write something but wasn’t sure what it should be about. Like all good writers my process begins with 2 hours of FB time prior to writing. While on FB I stumbled across an article by George Takei about the Kim Davis situation. If you want to know my beliefs on pretty much any topic, get George’s opinion on it and mine will be the exact opposite.
If you ever want to think the world is ending or that you need new people to pray for all you need to do is go on the comments section of a divisive issue. It is impossible to gain traction on an online argument with 45 people arguing at the same time. I spent about an hour reading through them and am pretty convinced 80% of the people all agreed on the same thing. They were only arguing because it was worded a little differently than they worded it. The argument broke down the following way:
50% of the people saying God is a myth and the bible is a fairytale.
30% of the people saying they don’t believe in God but he may exist.
15% of people telling everyone they were going to hell.
5% of people raising up good points on either side and having an actual debate.
The 50% Group
I don’t believe in Bigfoot. Whoa, that felt good to get off my chest. One of my best friends does. Every once in a while I hang out with him and some of his friends who do and we will have a fun discussion about Bigfoot. Not once does it ever border on being hateful. Not once. I think part of the reason it doesn’t because in the end it really doesn’t matter. Whether Bigfoot is real or not doesn’t impact my life at all unless he kidnaps me on a hike up Mt. Si. The most hate filled arguments you ever see online are about religion. You have people absolutely destroying other people and using names that shouldn’t be repeated.
As somebody who wants the best for others it is sad to see people trash God. It hurts my heart when I see what path there on. As somebody who believes in the bible it is refreshing for lack of a better word.
In Luke 12:51 it says “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
I am reminded just how divisive the Word can be. It makes me sad but it also reminds me this is how it is supposed to be. We were never promised that this would unite us with our family or the world and make us popular. In fact we were told that families would split up because of God and in a weird way when I see people arguing like this it puts me at peace.
The 30% Group
I am confused by these people. The majority of people are saying they don’t believe in God in this particular comment section. You agree with them. But you feel like arguing just cause? Saying you don’t believe in God but that he exist seems like an insane oxymoron. I would like to think they are doing it just to troll people but I don’t think they are.
The 15% Group
There are a lot of overweight people in this world. Does that mean every time I see one I tell them how fat they are? I would never do that. Just as I hope when they see me they won’t tell me how ugly I am. Both are true, but something’s are better left unsaid. When I see a post that says “Jay you better take back what you said or you’re going to hell. You’re going to burn there for eternity.” Note: that is a direct quote by the way. I don’t understand the need to say that? Don’t speak the truth just because you feel like saying it. Don’t speak the truth simply to get a rise out of people. The best advice I have ever gotten in life is don’t talk just to hear your own voice.
I would like to make an app for your phone and computer for when you are tempted to tell someone they are going to burn in hell. When you get that urge and start to write, I want a giant fist to come out and hit you right in the nuts. That would fix a lot of problems.
The 5% Group
I would like to think that if I choose to partake in FB arguments I would fall in this category. All around there are black holes trying to swallow everyone up and these people are a ray of sunshine debating calmly. It would be like if a massive street fight broke where everybody was brawling expect for 2 people who were peacefully trying to talk it out. I think your best bet in this case is to DM the person you are debating with and get away from the other people. I am someone who truly like to debate with people, just not crazy people. If someone wants to have a calm debate where we can each share our sides I am all for it. When people want to debate me in an insane asylum that is trapped in a tornado, I bid them good day as we go our separate ways.
I have been trying to limit my social media time over the past couple weeks especially when it comes to FB. Thankfully last night I went on FB to catch up on some stuff. I was scrolling through when I saw a post and got inspired to write about it.
Before I begin let me add this. I started serving at a youth group just a short time ago. This post was written by one of the other small group leaders that helps there and made me angry. Not at the person who wrote this but at the culture of the youth group and the church.
ATTENTION NEWLIFE BREMERTON YOUTH: ONE LAST TIME! It’s time for our final B-town youth at Lions field tomorrow! Let’s make it big and make it reign! We’re going to play a lot of games! School has started and so shall Bremerton.youth! Bring your all your friends, because we have plenty of room for them all! Bremerton.youth is about to blow up large, so get your friends there at the ground floor! Something is coming…
A lot of you may find nothing wrong with that. For a long period of my life it wouldn’t have bothered me one bit. But it does now. Oh it bothers me so much.
I am going to look at a few sentences that were written and break them down.
Let’s make it big and make it reign!
The first time I went to youth group all they were talking about is how to grow it. Let’s make it big. People have decided that the way you define the success of a church event is attendance. That is such a false way to look at. I went to a youth group of over 400 kids growing up. My “small” group had 60 kids and 10 leaders in it. Every single one of my friends that were in the small group I was in is no longer a Christian. I had small group leaders get their girlfriends pregnant, get divorced, call off weddings, and leave the church all together.
From an outside view this youth group was successful. Look at all the people!!! It wasn’t though. We got so caught up in body count that we completely forgot about rooting people in Christ. I will say this until I die and that is I would rather have a youth group of 1 person that loved Jesus with all their heart, than a youth group of 400 where everyone put on a front and acted like they did.
We’re going to play a lot of games.
I have something that is truly incredible. I have something that comforts, forgives, loves, and cherishes me. I have the King of kings and the Lord of lords. I have someone who created me in his image. Who says I am worthy even when I don’t feel like it. Who forgives no matter what I have done. Who truly wants the best for me. Who has promised me eternal life. Who loves me even when I sin against him.
Let’s not mention that though. Let’s mention that we are going to play games instead. We all know ultimate Frisbee is far important than reading the bible. HOW INSANE IS THE FACT THAT ARE PITCH TO COME TO YOUTH GROUP DOESN’T MENTION JESUS, GOD, OR THE BIBLE?!?! Nope let’s leave all that out. Instead let’s mention games.
If we are truly going to be Christians then shouldn’t His love pour out from us? Shouldn’t we be in such a good relationship with him that are pitch isn’t about games? It’s about savior who created them and loves them. Shouldn’t we want to create an environment where youth group is more about God than it is fun? Shouldn’t we? Or maybe I’m just crazy.
Bremerton.youth is about to blow up large, so get your friends there at the ground floor!
Are we talking about a startup company here? Is this Netflix in 1997? You need to get in now! This company is going to take off and when the company grows you will have you high ranking position because you were there from the beginning! Or are we talking about youth group? Like I said before shouldn’t are pitch be about Jesus? What does getting your friends in at the ground floor have to do with anything? I don’t remember Jesus preaching “Follow me so you can get in on the ground floor of this.” No he said “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
The ground floor means nothing. I hope for the sake of this youth group at this time that it never leaves the ground floor. I can already feel the “look at how we big we are “coming. I can already see the workings of a place that only cares about body count. You tell me you care about the students but your actions show me otherwise.
We don’t have a sturdy ground floor and we are already trying to build on it. It may work for a few stories but the more you add to it, the harder it will fall. Let’s make a sturdy ground floor. Let’s disciple the students and get them ready to disciple others. When we add a story let’s build it on a firm foundation in Christ that disciples people and turns out true God fearing Christians. Please invite your friends please do, but invite them because you care about them. Not because you want them to get in on the ground floor of a building that is built on sand.
I am going to be honest it made question whether or not I ever wanted to go back. It made me question whether I wanted to get involved in something like this. It made me question a lot. It answered this for me though. This is exactly the place I need to be. Instead of complaining about it from the outside I need to help fix it from the inside. I know the great things the Lord can do when you are rooted in him. I have felt them, I have seen them, I have about read them. I also know how badly things can turn out when you are not. I have watched my friends turn from the Lord because in part of a bad youth group. I can see this one starting down the same wide path and I don’t like it.
I don’t like the wide path were on. I like the narrow path a lot more.