It’s ok if you’re wrong


Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance. Proverbs 11:14

What a strange place to be right now for an evangelical. There was a time when the world made sense, when everyone, at least everyone I knew, voted Republican. We voted that way because that was the party that stood for the things we cared about. Things like being pro-life, protecting religious liberty, and promoting conservative values. We could, for the most part, agree upon the issues and the candidate that most reflected our values. There was a unity, or at least a majority, in our voting.

But then came 2016 and Donald Trump and all of that assuredness flew out the window! Actually, for some it may have started prior to Trump. Whenever it started, now things are complicated. Now decisions are messy and, along with it, the unity that we once had appears to be all but gone.

Never-Trump evangelicals accuse Pro-Trump and even Reluctant-Trump evangelicals of being motivated by fear and/or hatred to vote for a man who has no moral bearing. Or being idolaters who would sell out their moral credibility to push for an agenda.

Pro-Trump and Reluctant-Trump Evangelicals accuse Never-Trump evangelicals of acting like Pharisees and demonstrating hypocrisy. They argue that no one is perfect and therefore we have to vote for the platform, and besides the alternative is just too horrible to allow it to happen.

The arguments fly back and forth. Posting article after article, tweet after tweet, position, counter position. And you know what? I think that, for the most part, it’s a good thing as long as we don’t allow it to form a wedge between us. I hope that the watching world can see us an example of brothers with differing opinions. A peculiar people that don’t shrink from disagreements, but a people, who through living in community and sharing opinions, can sharpen one another.

Many people will preach that Christians should always be unified, but throughout history that has rarely been the case. Even the early church encountered disagreements on multiple occasions. The book of Acts records many of these disagreements. The leaders of the early church had a problem with the way the gospel was being spread to the Gentiles. They had some real issues with both Peter and Paul, but they worked it out through listening to each other and addressing each other’s concerns, not by censuring all opposing views. Later Paul would disagree with both Peter and Barnabas but they worked it out each time.

I know that reading opposing views and sparring with my fellow Christians has made me introspective on more than one occasion. We can’t afford to live in a world where there is only one opinion, where all think alike. How will we even know if we are correct in our thinking if no one is there to challenge us?

The culture today cries out for “safe spaces” and cringes at trigger words. We feel insulted and belittled if someone challenges our beliefs or philosophies. But we need to hear a differing view. A “safe space” may separate us from feeling uncomfortable, but it won’t help us grow, it won’t help us to refine our position or our beliefs.

Of course, the most important thing is that we don’t allow our differences to tear us apart, that we don’t take it personally that someone might have a different opinion than us. Instead we should listen to others, consider their position and evaluate it against ours. This process will make us stronger, it will sharpen our minds, it might even cause us to reevaluate or change our thoughts.
Would you rather be delusional in your rightness or actually right? Would you rather argue from a position of strength, having considered all the sides of a position, or just comfortably naive in your positions?

So, let’s state our positions with respect, love, and concern for those who disagree with us. Let’s not resort to name calling and character assassinations. Let’s listen to opposing views with a desire to understand and evaluate, not with a closed mind. It’s the only way we can grow in our perspectives and sharpen our minds.

So listen and state your opinions with honor and respect. And remember, at least we aren’t as wrong as the evangelicals who will vote for Hillary right? 😉

The World is Not Safe! Man Up! (Why banning Muslims is not a good idea)

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I get it. I do. We all want to be safe where we sleep, work, shop, and live. We see a threat and we want to eliminate it. We naively believe that if we simply rid ourselves of all perceived threats that we will be safe, or at least be safer. The reality is that the world is not a safe place! It ceased to be safe the moment Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit and handed it to Adam. Murder and mayhem have ensued ever since Cain struck Able with a rock. We live in a world where evil and good are at war. There have been many horrendous acts of terror throughout history and there will be many more before it is through.

With every shooting – well not every shooting only those the media or politicians feel they can use for their agendas – we witness a call to action. These actions take many forms. We should ban all weapons. We should ban some weapons. We should make it harder to get weapons. We should beef up our monitoring of phone calls and social media. The latest, and perhaps the most audacious: we should ban all Muslims from entering the US, monitor or shut down their places of worship, and develop a nation wide database of all Muslims in our country.

Some of these have merit, some are simply unattainable and therefore unrealistic, and some of these are absolutely ridiculous and completely dangerous to the American way of life and Christianity.

I, and many others, would argue that actions targeting Muslims falls into the latter category. On the surface it would appear to make sense that we target Muslims. It is radical Islamic teachings that inspire jihadists to take up arms and commit despicable acts of evil in the name of their god. And these are not just isolated incidents committed by a few lunatics. I will admit that it is pretty widespread throughout the world.

However when we allow the targeting of a specific religion in the US and begin to infringe upon their religious liberties, liberties granted Muslims in the same constitution that grants Christians those same liberties, we open the door to losing our own freedoms. We corrupt the very principles our great nation was found upon.

If you don’t understand how this could happen, then you are either living under the false assumption that the world around you likes Christianity or you are living out a such a milquetoast version of Christianity that no one finds it offensive.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the argument that you would make to justify stripping away the Muslim’s religious liberties is that your right to live in relative safety far outweighs a Muslim’s right to practice his or her religion. That is to say, the teachings of Islam are contrary to the American way of life and therefore it is a justifiable action to shut them down or at least monitor and control what they are teaching to make sure they don’t infringe upon your rights or safety.
Perhaps you have already followed the trail in your head, but in case you are still so incensed and angered over the latest shooting that you can’t see the future, let me spell it out for you. These are the very same arguments that the LGBT community has been saying about Christianity. Or, for that matter, even Planned Parenthood made the same argument that Christian teaching and the actions of those who are pro-life caused the lunatic in Colorado to walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic and open fire.

If you want to help make that argument for the Left, then go ahead but don’t be so naïve to believe it wont come back to haunt you. Christians should always stand for religious freedom and liberty. Because when we allow our country to become selective in it’s application, we cut our own throats. But then again, perhaps you are too busy running scared or angry to see the truth. If that’s the case, man up!

What is the Answer?

Listen to me, we live in a dangerous world. We won’t be truly safe until the Lord returns and restores order. I understand that you want to live in relative safety, I do, but let’s be smart about how we seek that safety. Let’s not overreact in fear, or anger. Neither is an option for the Christian. Let us be smart in our actions, not reacting but being proactive. So what can we do?

First, live out your faith, really live it out! Share with your family, friends, and co-workers about the love of a redemptive Father; the radical love of our God, so radical that he would send his son on a rescue mission to save all who would believe. But don’t stop at talking about love; show it by how you live. Look out for the poor, orphaned and widowed. Look around you there is someone in need close by. Put more into caring for others than you do for yourself. Pray for your enemies and seek to do good.

Second, prepare yourself for the inevitable confrontation with evil. I assure you It will come whether we ban all Muslims from our country or not. It wasn’t a Muslims who opened fire on a school in Colorado, or a church in Texas, or Movie Theater, or a college in Virginia and the list goes on and on.

So actively prepare yourself to defend your loved ones and other peaceful citizens from those who would seek to do us physical harm. Be watchful and alert. If you are trained, carry a weapon and visit your local gun range on a regular basis to stay sharp. I believe that the our government should establish a program whereby veterans who are willing, can receive training and be equipped to defend others in the event of a mass shooting or other act of terror. We train rebels and equip foreign rebels, why not our own citizens.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are 5.2 million veterans who have served in the Gulf War era. This is the demographic that I fit into. These are citizens who have already received some training with firearms from the government and have already demonstrated the willingness to defend our nation and it’s citizens. I say, arm and train us on how to react in the event of a mass shooting or other terrorist event. Give us access to shooting ranges, weapons and ammunition so that we can stay sharp.

Above all accept the fact that we do not live in a safe place, we never have, so man up! Refuse to give into fear, anger, hatred or the desire to seek revenge. Live each day with uninhibited love for your fellow man and with the reality that you may be called upon to give your life in the defense of another, either figuratively or literally.

– James Brown

Cautious Compassion: The Syrian Refugee Crisis

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He we are again. Caught in the middle of a raging debate that has quickly divided and then devolved into name calling and demonizing our opponents. On one side you have the zealots who are calling for a complete shutting down of our borders to keep out the crazies insisting that ISIS is hiding thousands of jihadist amongst the refugees bent on our destruction. On the other side you have calls for throwing open the doors in the name of Jesus and letting everyone stream in without regards to a responsibility for the personal safety of those we are called to protect. They try desperately to paint all refugees as widows and orphans driven from their homeland. And if you disagree with either side you are either and ignorant US-hating liberal or a people-hating bigot.

If ever there was a need for a middle ground this is it. And I believe this is where we would find our Christian faith. To be fair, I think that despite what we hear from either side, this is where most of us would fall. We need to find a way to show and demonstrate compassion for the hurting and displaced, not just because we are called to love everyone, but also because the US bears a huge responsibility for creating the refugee crisis in the first place. But this post is not about that.

We need to come together and find a way to aid refugees that includes allowing them to come to the US, but also looks for ways to help them stay in their home land. This is where they grew up and where they will feel most comfortable and at home. I believe that the US needs to be more aggressive in defeating ISIS so that there is no need for these poor people to leave theirs homes.
I realize that the US is a great place to live, and I am thankful to God that I live here, but I don’t believe that many people really want to leave everything they have and everything they are used to, journey tens of thousands of miles to travel to a foreign land with strange customs, where they will be looked upon with suspicion just because there is a Starbucks on every corner. If we believe that, we truly are an arrogant people.

That being said, we must show compassion and love for a people being driven from their homes. We must be a part of making sure they are cared for and given provision until we can make their homeland safe again. However, we should strive to do it in a way that sets up common sense protections for the people living in the US. We know that ISIS was successful in sending fighters to France. We can’t and shouldn’t deny that, but we also must not be ruled by fear or crippled by the complexity of the task before us. We must act, and we must act quickly. In order to find a solution, we need to come together. Stop the name-calling and senseless divisive rhetoric.

Politics and Dating

Do you date outside your political views?

The current hostile political environment in America can affect dating relationships. We’ve heard stories of first dates asking what political party their potential mate is affiliated with. Christians in America are guilty of making a person’s political allegiances dictate their relationship interactions. For that matter, so are non-Believers.

When politics is added to dating, it becomes an even more high stakes game of selecting a life partner.

If you choose to date, politics can matter.

However, that does not mean you cannot date outside of your political party. Political camps have their own values and core issues they tend to address. These are something a person agrees with when they align with a party. However, their political affiliation does not entirely define who they are as an individual. Very rarely do people agree 100% with a political party. Political parties are simply too large an organization with an ever-changing agenda. And, it may be that a person selects a party based off one issue dear to them and that important value drives their political selection.

So which party is the correct one?

We are a 501c3, meaning we do not and never will endorse a political party. Regardless of this legal restriction, we would not favor one political party, because we select something even more important.

We select God’s Word as our allegiance.

The correct choice has always been and will always be to follow God’s Word. Both major parties in America have Biblical stances. Yet, both have views that are not found in Scripture or even mentioned in God’s Word. Instead of having a political conversation in a dating relationship, the better conversation is how each of you align with God’s Word.

God’s Word is the Final Word.

We know happy couples that vote opposite parties in every election, some married for decades. Some choose to make it an issue of debate, while others eliminate political talk altogether to avoid confrontation. The happy medium in political issues is to seek God’s Word first and have the common ground that God’s Word is the final authority on all issues. The Bible may not directly speak to every political situation, but its values certainly gives guidance to all situations.

Politics and dating can be an issue in some relationships. The importance should be placed on being equally yoked with one another.

“ Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness

have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

– 2 Corinthians 6:14

It boils down to the common factor of having fellowship with one another in Christ as the foundation for all other relationships. Being joined in spiritual community is vital to select a person to date and perhaps even marry.

There are several factors to consider when dating, but one thing is certain–do not date based on political allegiance.

Date based on spiritual allegiance to Christ.

The Right to Die

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You have the right to die.

Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman  with terminal cancer chose to end her life by assisted suicide. For weeks the media followed her every move, videotaping her best and worst moments. Politicians flocked to support her or speak against her, all the while Christians were and are heartbroken as Brittany Maynard missed the point of dying.

She needed to die.

The truth is, she needed to die, not a physical death, but a death to personal preference. She needed to die to her right to live and die as she chose, She needed to surrender to life as God has ordered it. Only then would Christ be glorified in her weakness and not vilified as the one who allowed her tumor.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians  2:20

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Matthew 16:24-25

Just as each of you have the right to die to yourself. Not a literal death, but a symbolic one that declares to the world that you are a new person in Christ.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Romans 6:4

Let’s be very clear in this, every moment is worth living. When Christ is your Lord and savior, every second of your life is for Kingdom-living, for pointing others to Christ, for growing to be more and more like Christ. Life is not for seeking personal comfort, not for fleshly gain or avoiding every inconvenience of life whether big or small. When we face trials in this life it should not distract us from our mission. So even in the midst of tragic circumstances you can still share your faith often, love God and love others and serve them! All of these are an overflow of truly accepting that to die to oneself and submitting to life no matter what comes, is to gain eternity.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10


When faced with a terminal illness, as a Christ-follower die to yourself so that He may be given the glory!

One living example is Ed’s Story. Ed is dying from ALS but he chooses to live every moment for God. Given only 2-5 years to live, 10 years later Ed is making a statement every day that affirms we do not have the control. God does, and the time we have left is what matters most.

Dying to self is something Christians should practice every day. If you have never taken the step to die to self, you can pray to receive Christ today. Die to yourself and live every moment for The One who died for you!