The Lessons of Ferguson

It’s time to speak plainly and listen to each other, even if we don’t like what the other side has to say.

black_and_white_handshakeUntil White America understands the pent-up frustration of Black America over the suspicion, marginalization and humiliation they are forced to endure from predominately White power structures…

Until Black America understands the pent-up frustration of While America over the crime, entitlement and social disarray they are forced to subsidize in predominately Black neighborhoods…

Neither side will learn the lessons of Ferguson.

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Abundance

Abundance often emerges from the impossible. Many times the very fact that the impossibility exists creates the opportunity for the Lord to bring forth His abundance.

starsSometimes an act of faith is required. For Abraham, he had to believe in the midst of impossibility that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens.

Abundance wears many faces. Some assume that abundance implies health, wealth and prosperity and for some people that may be true.

However, God’s abundance does not come with a guarantee of those things. The churches of Macedonia experienced great trials of afflictions, but they possessed an abundance of joy even in the midst of deep poverty.

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Everyone Loves…

 

Everyone loves the poor, until asked to share a meal in their home with one.

Everyone loves mercy, until they have to embrace the actual mess of inconvenient victims.

Everyone loves justice, until it disturbs their comfort zones.

 

Everyone loves the prophetic, until it exposes sin among them.

Everyone loves grace, until it calls them to repent.

Everyone loves love, until it speaks truth.

 

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The Problem of Evil

Embrace

Someone asked if it is God’s will when evil happens.

I suspect it is God’s will that we have the right to reject Him and choose evil, because He wants us to have the related ability to freely choose the love, grace and rule He offers us.

I also suspect that He grieves with us at what some have done with those choices.

~ Jim Wright

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A Simple Cure for a Terminal Condition

Is it any wonder that a generation raised to believe it’s all about them has a hard time grasping that it’s all about God?snake-oil-salesman

They are easy prey for those peddling God’s amazing grace, love and acceptance, while rejecting repentance, truth and change.

The greatest deceptions, however, involve half truths.

Unfortunately, there’s just too much of this going around these days, and it’s terminal when it comes to healthy believers and healthy ekklesia.

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Generations

Treasures from the Past

 
This old-world clematis goes back at least three generations in my family.

It originally grew in my grandmother’s yard in Maryland, then was transplanted to my parent’s home when I was a young man, and finally came with me to Virginia when I moved here with my own family many years ago.

In all, I figure it has been cared for by a Wright, in one place or another, at least sixty years.

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Pursuing Love and Spiritual Gifts

Tim Day, a fellow elder here in Virginia, is co-teaching a Biblical Foundations discipleship class with Sheri Warren and me on Sunday evenings.

That class pulls together folks from indigenous, participatory fellowships that are relating together in our county. Through it, the three of us – with help from other local elders – are helping to lay a foundation of sound doctrine in those churches through their emerging leaders.

Over the last few weeks we have focused on spiritual gifts, and the importance of everyone being able to encourage and minister to one another in our local fellowships as we each use the gifts God gives us for our mutual benefit.

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Real Grace

Facebook seems to be a hot bed for the new distorted view of “grace”.

taking-up-your-crossThe other day someone posted that through grace, God finds our sin acceptable. He thus no longer “deals” with sin in our lives – and we are free of sin – because it no long exists.

According to their “logic”, sin ceases to an issue in our lives because it ceases to be considered sin by God.

That neat theological sleight of hand was followed by lots of “likes” and “amens”.

To deny the reality of sin and its bondage – and to say God doesn’t deal with sin in our lives or that we are free of sin – is an abuse of grace.

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Voices from Jail

A rap/poem by a brother in fellowship in the local jail, who is learning to become the man God created him to be.

A Brother in Jail

A Brother in Jail

Perfect Wisdom

When I reached out
You took me in
When there wasn’t a soul in sight
And all I saw was you
You took me in
Dusted me off
Cleaned me up
Asked me if I’d yet had enough?
Knew about my past
Had been there through the struggles
Said you’d carry my burdens
If I’d give you my troubles

I grabbed to my shirt
Expressed a cold smirk
Yeah I’d heard that before
Seems never to work

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Sexuality and the Church

I often have people send me links to articles and blogs, and here are several that deal with different aspects of sexuality in the Church.

Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University, by Brandon Ambrosino

A very candid personal story of a man who struggled over his homosexuality, yet found friendship as the Christian community at a leading conservative university expressed love and grace while remaining faithful to their Biblical convictions.

You Cannot Heal What You Cannot Talk About, by Survivor Girl

Survivor Girl is a frequent commenter here, and this is her very personal story about sexual predation in the church. Please, read this. When a leader uses his position and spiritual gifts to prey on women in the church, it is not an affair, it is sexual abuse. This article will help you understand how sexual predators groom their victims, and also provides links to good resources for dealing with these issues.

Predators in the Pulpit, by Susan McKenzie

Another first person account of sexual predation and grooming in our churches. This too provides good background on how this happens, so we can be on guard and protect others.

Sexual Sin is a Corporate Affair, by Harry Schaumburg

“When we take the gospel seriously we not only correctly understand the nature of sexual immorality, we must become proactive in taking corporate responsibility for the sexual maturity and sexual problems within our local church.”

~ Jim

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Self-Control

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Gal 5:22-23 NIV

Self-control is the last fruit of the spirit. In life no one wants to be last. Somehow last implies that you don’t measure up, didn’t try hard enough or couldn’t quite do it. However, I don’t think being at the end of the list of fruit puts self-control in that same category.
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I think self-control is like the parenthesis in math. For example, with (3+2) x (8+2) the math inside the parenthesis has to be completed first. You would get a totally different answer if the parentheses were missing from the equation.

In a sense love and self-control are like the parenthesis. They help group the other fruit. 1 Corinthians 13, the front parenthesis, reminds us that without love we can do nothing. Self-control comprises the back parenthesis.

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Storing Up Riches?

walking_with_JesusYesterday, as some folks in our fellowship prayed for me, I had one of those rare times when I heard the Lord very directly speak to my inner man.

He said I had laid up many treasures in heaven from a life spend serving Him and His people.

He let me know I could begin a new season of life, in transition toward my life to come, with the settled peace of His pleasure and honor.

Then He asked, however, if I was willing to spend those treasures, over whatever remaining time He chooses to give me, by investing them in others?

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Beyond Scripture? (Part 3)

The low view of God in the Old Testament, found among those touting a so-called “Christocentric hermeneutic”, comes from too high a view of themselves.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

They often take personal offense at how God dealt with humanity in the Old Testament – including His sometimes fierce display of holiness and punishment of sin and rebellion.

So they make God in the Old Testament an aberration. They substitute their own perceptions of Christ – rooted in their post-modern sensibilities – for the totality of scripture, and make their resulting “Christology” higher revelation than God’s own external Word of scripture.

They have joined Adam and Eve in choosing the moral autonomy of deciding for themselves what is right and wrong, and have the further hubris of then imposing it on God Himself.

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