It’s All About A Relationship …

The Existential Jesus

The biggest lies involve half-truths, like the current fad of saying that “it’s all about a relationship with Jesus.”

But that begs the question: A relationship on whose terms?

Yes, Jesus wants a relationship and for us to feel His presence – as our Lord, on His terms, as we obey Him by doing the will of His Father.

Any other “relationship” is a lie and the day eventually will come when He declares: “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7:21-23)

Jesus: He’s more than a feeling.

~ Jim Wright

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Progressive Hypocrisy and Religious Liberty

“Progressive Christians” seem to think it’s fine for government to:

Ban street preachers from public places, because open evangelism is “offensive”.

muzzle

Intolerant “tolerance”

Bar side-walk counselors outside abortion clinics, because pro-life activists are “judgmental”.

Prohibit a fourth grader from reading her Bible in class, because she might become “close minded”.

Censure God from a valedictorian’s speech, because he can’t be “disrespectful” of other view points.

Force a bakery owner to cater homosexual weddings, because he’s an “intolerant” fundamentalist.

Compel an evangelical adoption agency to place babies with unmarried couples, because “discrimination” against other lifestyles is wrong.

Penalize churches that support marriage integrity referendums, because they’re engaged in “hate speech”.

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Liberty and Christian Cynicism

I applaud my brothers and sisters in Christ who stood firm in Ukraine against oppression and earned with their blood the right to now rebuild their nation.

Cynicism and retreat are popular today among some Christians who have never suffered national tyranny, corruption and malaise, but enjoy the ease of privileged comfort because of past sacrifices by others.

They have not earned the right to criticize those – in Ukraine or elsewhere – whose faith is big enough to redeem cultures, affirm virtue, and establish liberty.

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The Tyranny of Tolerance

One day soon, you are going to wake up to a new world where your liberty to pursue virtue as an expression of your faith – and your right to proclaim those beliefs in the public square – are gone.

muzzleVice is now using “tolerance” to bludgeon virtue, and virtue is currently losing.

This newest weapon in the war against virtue has met with great success – and, most disturbing of all, the naïve support of many “Christians”.

Somethings, it seems, never change.

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Christ is All

I came across this quote from professor Karen Swallow Prior:

“Christ belongs in places outside of my heart, too – indeed, in all places.”

god_loves_the_world

Christ is all, because He’s Lord of all.

 
Yes, indeed -

Over every square inch of creation…

Over all nations, societies and culture…

Over all spheres of human endeavor…

Christ now boldly proclaims “mine!”

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Breaking Out

What is the church and it’s purpose, what is God’s grand design, and what is our calling in Christ?

Talking about those questions often is muddled by all the either/or, false dichotomies touted by various voices in the Body of Christ who want:

  • the Living Word without the authority of His written Word
  • grace without transformation
  • relationship without discipleship
  • fellowship without accountability
  • favor without sacrifice

It often seems that these either/or false dichotomies are rooted in the prevailing existential, post-modern perspective of this age – which heavily influences many Christians and seems to stunt us from growing up and reaching out.

This produces a very self-content, “I’m OK, you’re OK” mentality that seldom breaks out of its insular cocoons.

With them, Jesus seems little more than a friend with benefits.

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A Timely Warning by Steve Hill

The Seven Great Lies in the Church Today, by Steve Hill

Amen and amen. I stand shoulder to shoulder with Steve Hill on this important article.

If you’ve read Crossroad Junction for very long, you’ve seen me also tackle most of these same, out-0f-balance issues. I’m glad to see others raising identical warnings, now to a broader audience, regarding:

  1. Overemphasis of Prosperity
  2. Exaggerated View of Grace
  3. Antinomianism
  4. Deification of Man (or, as I put it, creating Jesus in our own image)
  5. Challenging the Authority of the Word
  6. Rejecting Hell
  7. Universal Reconciliation

Really, folks, it’s kind of simple: He defines what is ultimately true, real and right, not us.

He’s God. We’re not. Get over it!

~ Jim

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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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Resurrection Sunday

Forty-eight years young in the Lord!

On Resurrection Sunday, 1965, I had a deep, deep conversion experience as I totally surrendered to the Lord. I’m told the tears on that old wooden floor made permanent stains.

graceWow, how time has passed. It’s been – and continues to be – a wonderful adventure, and even during some tough times I never once regretted belonging to Him.

Through it all, I’ve always felt His hand on my life and was blessed with a solid foundation from Godly parents and mature teachers, which has served me well over the years.

In an age of crazy doctrines and postmodern spiritual angst, that foundation yet stands firm for those willing to surrender their sensibilities to the Living Word and His written Word.

Really, it’s just not that complicated, but it does mean letting go of your own impulse to define Jesus – and what ultimately is right, real and true – on your own terms.

My life is a living testimony to His sovereign Lordship, and His passion is my very life.

I invite you to also surrender, and find life.

~ Jim

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Feed the Need

Sorry, Frank Viola, but when your “revelation” of Jesus looks a lot like your own sensibilities, I’m not impressed.

And when “deeper life” merely reinforces your own postmodern proclivities, I’m likewise not impressed.

Nor do I find a persistent failure to be a functional part of any healthy, local fellowship – despite all your books and blogs on organic church – to be a virtue.

Really, didn’t you get the memo? Postmodernism and existential angst just ain’t that compelling or counter-cultural anymore.

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Christocentric Buffoonery

Those with the hutzpa to claim that their personal perceptions of Christ are more accurate than His written word of scripture deceive themselves. They have rebelled against God’s own chosen revelation, and worship at the feet of postmodernism instead. I would rather that my sensibilities shatter against the rock of God’s Word than subvert Christ to their subjective, existential angst. 
 
Here’s a little song about the dilemmas facing my existentially-consumed friends:
Beyond Scripture? (Part 2).

Tyranny and Murder by Presidential Decree

In America, we’ve lost the right to be born, the right to practice our faith without government dictate or penalty, the right to proclaim moral sanity in the public square, and now the right to due process of law against a president who thinks he literally can pull the trigger and execute fellow citizens at his whim.

Who's Next?

Who’s Next?

In a bizarre “legal memo”, President Obama has asserted that he can target and assassinate Americans – at will – simply on his belief that they are subversives.

The memo’s specific focus is Americans who President Obama has unilaterally concluded are affiliated with al-Qaida (not that this makes it right), but its rationale and justification can now be applied to anyone else who he likewise concludes is a non-combatant subversive.

America was once a great nation, ruled by law under a Constitution that was consciously written to embody a Judeo-Christian worldview.

The bedrock of our constitutional republic – rooted in Biblical principles articulated by men like James Madison and his mentor John Witherspoon – was the liberty to pursue virtue by imposing checks and balances against the evil of unrestrained government power.

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Single Parents

single momSingle parents are ubiquitous in the church; however, often they are a very misunderstood group that usually doesn’t quite comfortably fit anywhere.

As a former single mom with 25 years of single parenting experience, these are some of the impressions I have collected. Maybe it is different if you are a single dad, but I don’t have any expertise in that area.

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Traction

treadmillI’m having an interesting online (but private) conversation with someone, talking about the state of things in his part of the country.

Here was my observation:

“My impression from interactions on Facebook with various folks in the [deleted] area is that there is a lot of angst that has driven folks from institutionalism and legalism, but not much in the way of any solid foundational Biblical principles operative among them.

“Your area seems to be a hotbed for interest in ‘organic’ things, but mired in lots of unrealistic sensibilities. They seem to have idealistic expectations rooted in those sensibilities but can’t seem to find traction, yet they are not willing to change and so they keep trying and trying without success.”

I wonder if this describes other areas around the country as well?

~ Jim

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Theology and Reality

Miguel Labrador has posted another thought provoking blog, entitled Theology Precedes Practice, Vice Versa, or Something Else?

Keeping Theology and Reality in Balance

In it, he states: “orthodoxy (theology) & orthopraxy (practice) are ‘simultaneous.’” I think he’s right, in the sense that we must seek to keep both in balance – our walk must match our talk, and our talk must match our walk.

Sometimes, however, the Lord allows one or the other – our doctrine or our practice – to be challenged in ways that force us to then adjust the other.

Regardless, it is important to keep them in sync, as much as possible, and not let one get too far ahead of the other.

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