With election season well upon us, it seems like the right time to talk politics. Specifically, how has the Evangelical church used its platform as a means to change the political landscape and at what cost?
Having grown up in the ’70s and ’80s, we’ve seen the church raise its banner high in an effort to bring salvation to our nation. Now, in the 20-teens we are watching our nation divide over the political and evangelical agendas of so many.
So what does Jesus say? How should we view our politics in light of our faith? Should the two intermix and if so, to what extent?
Join Matt and Brandy as they talk about what they experienced growing up in the era of the political church and how that’s impacted them and those around them.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” – Matthew 5:7
Mentioned well over 300 times in the Bible, mercy is a word we probably ought to pay more attention to. Especially in this day and age when politics and religion are getting co-mingled in ways that often make us forget that first and foremost, we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
The biblical definition for the word mercy, as used by Jesus in his sermon on the mount, is this: to be compassionate (by word or deed, specifically by divine grace); have compassion (pity on).
Meanwhile, Webster’s New World Dictionary defines it this way: 1. a refraining from harming offenders, enemies, etc., 2. imprisonment rather than death for a capital crime, 3. a disposition to forgive or be kind, 4. the power to forgive, 5. a lucky thing; blessing.
This episode, as well as talking about what mercy is, we also focus on how to live a life of mercy in our day to day lives. We’ll look at 1 Peter 3:8-12 in the ERV (Easy to Read Version).
So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind [compassionate; merciful] and humble. Don’t do wrong to anyone to pay them back for doing wrong to you. Or don’t insult anyone to pay them back for insulting you. But ask God to bless them. Do this because you yourselves were chosen to receive a blessing. The Scriptures say,
‘If you want to enjoy true life and have only good days, then avoid saying anything hurtful, and never let a lie come out of your mouth. Stop doing what is wrong, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. The Lord watches over those who do what is right, an, and he listens to their prayers. But he is against those who do evil.’
Listen in to this week’s episode to see some examples of how this might look in your own life.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5
If the best inheritance I can get by being humble is the earth, I’m not sure that sounds like a very good deal.
Let’s face it, the earth is kinda falling apart. We’ve got natural disasters galore, terrorism everywhere, racism that lingers despite our ‘enlightenment’, climate change and social injustice every direction you turn. It’s a mess.
But God only gives good gifts, so there must be more to it than what we currently see.
Turns out, there’s a lot packed into this one tiny verse in Matthew 5.
Often, when we think about the words meek, gentle or humble, we envision someone who is quiet and unassuming. This tends to be, in our mind’s eye someone who’s a bit of a wallflower. While this may be true in some cases, I think the best way to determine what a humble person looks like is to look first at what a non-humble person looks likes.
And boy, do we have some great examples. I’m not going to name names; I assume you don’t have to think too hard to come up with a list of at least 10 people who are, in fact, quite arrogant and loud about it. And beyond that list, all I really need to do is look in the mirror to find someone who’s far less humble than she’d care to admit.
While an arrogant person is often perceived to be loud and abrasive while a humble person is quiet and demure, God doesn’t look at what’s being projected out of us. He merely looks at our hearts and knows the state of our pride.
Arrogance is a lack of dependence on God. Humility is recognizing God’s rightful place in our lives and ceding that place to Him. It’s giving up our own agenda and right to rule our lives in order to seek God’s will in all things.
Tune in to this week’s episode as Brandy examines the third beatitude and what humility looks like, as well as the inheritance we’re longing for.
At every stoplight, merge, on or off-ramp…everywhere. And I hate them. I get so easily angered by their lack of consideration, their downright ineptitude at doing what is really, so easy. They take up more room than necessary and shouldn’t even be allowed out, in my opinion. You know who I’m talking about. You may even be one of them. (I’m sorry, by the way, if you are).
They are…slow drivers.
Gah!!! I can’t tell you how often I feel like ripping off my very own face because the person in front of me in the passing lane is going 5 miles under the speed limit. Not to mention the yahoo in the right lane who is doing the same.
Or what about the people who are turning off, either into a parking lot, a road or an exit off the highway? They’re no better when they start applying the brakes well before it’s necessary, their blinker disengaged so that I’m not even sure what their intentions are.
Seriously. I have very little patience for most people who are behind the wheel. I’ve been known to say, more than once, “No one should even be allowed to drive when I’m driving because they’re all idiots.”
Listen, I know it isn’t nice. I know I need to work on my attitude. And I’m trying. Honest.
But I imagine, my thoughts and feelings toward ‘bad’ drivers aren’t a whole lot different from Jonah’s thoughts and feelings toward the Ninevites.
Think about it. The Ninevites were described by God in Jonah 1:1 as wicked. Jonah, on the other hand, was a prophet. He had been given a job by God, to take a message of repentance and redemption to the Ninevites, his enemies. And Jonah didn’t want to do it.
It’s easy for me to look at this story and think, ‘Come on, Jonah. Get up and preach this message of salvation to people who obviously need it.’ I mean, really…why can’t he show them a little bit of love and grace?
But then I remember my attitude when I drive. (Zoinks!) If I apply the same principles, I’m no better than Jonah. Sure, I’m not preaching the gospel as I drive, but I am still representing Christ, even if it isn’t blatant.
I think it’s easy to say and do all the right things when we know that people are aware of Who we belong to. But in the safety of my own car, where I have very intentionally not put up any Christian bumper stickers, I can feel pretty confident that no one is going to call me out on my lack of patience hollering, “What would Jesus do?”
Jonah didn’t want his enemies to have what he’d been given – a path to God. Likewise, I don’t want to extend to my ‘enemies’ the grace that I’ve been given. It’s really all the same, isn’t it?
God has called us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44). He’s called us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:37-40). He has called us to do the greatest job of all, to go into ALL the world and make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20).
It’s hard, isn’t it, to want to give what we’ve been given to people we don’t think deserve it? Then again, God gave us grace and a message of repentance, hope, and redemption when we didn’t deserve it. So…who are we to say who’s worthy and who isn’t?
Who are your Ninevites? Who is it that God is calling you to share the good news with, or even just extend a little extra patience and grace? And what can you do today to start running toward the call that God has given you?
Now, excuse me while I go repent and please…don’t drive in the passing lane unless you’re passing.
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Today, Matt takes a look at Jonah’s trip in a fish. More specifically, he talks about how Jonah ran away from God’s will for him and ended up in the fish to begin with.
Jonah has a whole book all his own in the Bible and you can read his story there. In my Bible, it starts on page 1421. That won’t really help you, though. Anyway, even if you’ve heard this story a bunch of times, it’s a quick little read and we highly encourage you to read it again. It will only take a few minutes, I promise!
Some points to consider and scripture to read:
* Like Jonah, we’ve been given a job to do and that’s to bring a message of hope and redemption to a lost and broken world. Even if we think the world isn’t worthy of the message (and we don’t really want them to get in on the best deal ever), we’ve been given a job and we must do it.
*Like the prophet Jeremiah, we must recognize that this life is not our own. We have been given this life for God’s purpose and pleasure. He is the navigator of our lives because he sees the map in its entirety. We just get to steer the car (be obedient).
A little thing to note: Not all of life’s storms are a result of our disobedience. Any number of things simply happen to or around us because we live in a fallen and sinful world. It is, however, always best to stay obedient to God so He doesn’t have to use painful means to get our attention, which He’ll do if necessary. Because He’s a good Dad and He wants the best for us. Email us you show ideas, guest requests, prayer requests or just to say hi! Join us on Facebook!
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“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” -Proverbs 16:18
I hate Pilates.
This is a relatively new discovery for me, as I have recently taken up exercising regularly for the first time in a long time. Part of my routine includes both Pilates and Yoga, two days a week. Here’s the thing: I keep hearing from everyone how much they love it! So as I warmed up for my first round, I was pretty excited, thinking that I’d finally be one of those sleek mamas, wearing her yoga pants and feeling great.
Nope. Didn’t happen. Not even a little.
Here’s what does happen when I partake of this particular endeavor: I get angry. Seeing. Red. Angry. Like, I want to punch someone in the face kind of angry! Now, I thought Pilates and Yoga were meant to not only work out your body, elongating your muscles and such, but also, to help you focus and bring clarity and peace into your mind. Let me tell you, that is a bald-faced lie.
Here’s a little back story:
I grew up in a little mountain town with only boys for neighbors. We ran loose in the woods for days on end, jumping creeks and building forts. It was required that I kept up if I wanted to have any friends to play with. The one thing I couldn’t/wouldn’t do was climb. (My fear of heights was real, y’all.) But everything else…oh, you can be sure, if the boys did it, I was going to do it, too. I hated being made to feel like I wasn’t tough enough or strong enough or smart enough.
As a kid, every time something came up in my life that I wasn’t good at, I felt the crushing weight of being ‘less than’ or ‘not good enough.’ I hated that feeling. As an adult, I learned that I could, for the most part avoid having to do those types of things. I mean, how often does the average person really need to use algebra? (Honestly, I don’t know…I don’t even like balancing our check-book because you guessed it, I’m no good at math.)
The other day I got to doing some self-reflecting while I was praying and felt kind of burdened by this word: humility. So I did the only rational thing and asked that God would teach me humility. But, y’all, I’m not stupid. I’ve prayed for things like patience before and then been stalled out on the freeway behind the world’s S L O W E S T drivers, so I know not to just write that kind of blank check when I pray for God to teach me things. So I phrased it real smart. I said, “Lord, please teach me humility in little bite-size chunks – in little ways – so I don’t have to have a monumental fall.” See how smart that was?
The next day I did Pilates.
I was humbled. And here’s why: my body, created by the God of this Universe, has been endowed with a very short little torso. Add to that the extra weight I’m packing (hence the exercise) and the absurdly short arms I have (painting quite a picture here, aren’t I?), and what you have is the very picture of a person who will never – no matter what – ever be able to do some of the moves that Pilates and Yoga require a person to do. Even with modifications. I have tried. It does not work. It will not matter if I lose every ounce of fat and become as flexible as I was the day I was born, my body will not do it. And that makes me super mad!!! I don’t want to do something that I’m not good at!
So, apparently I’m not going to be stretching my body as much as I will hopefully be stretching my spirit twice a week as I work to do what cannot be done. And hopefully I will realize that it’s okay to struggle and even fail and not be good at everything you try. Maybe I’ll even learn to accept that my body (as goofy as it is) is fearfully and wonderfully made.
But the biggest lesson is this (and I’m giving it to you for free): be careful how you pray, people. Because even when you think you are being clever, God knows your heart and He will do what must be done.