Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why You SHOULD Care What Other People Think About You

So this is the antithesis of everything American. We are a people of individuality and of live and let live and of "mind your own business". No doubt about it, our society inundates us from day 1 to not give a you know what about what others think about us. Its my life and I will do what I want as long as it doesn't hurt others. Even if it does hurt others, as long as its not criminal. Even if its criminal, sometimes its ok as long as you don't get caught. I don't care what you think about me, you don't care what I think about you and thats how it should be. That is the social programming of our great nation.

While there is some merit to this thought process, it is important to understand the Biblical perspective on this topic. As Christians, we are supposed to care about what others think about us. Romans 12: 17-18 says, 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. We should care how people see us. Our reputations are important. We are supposed to be the manifestations of God's love and spirit on Earth. I'm not saying we should be perfect but we should be aware of how our actions help or hurt the process of furthering the Kingdom. When we sin, we not only hurt our own relationship with God, we also hurt our witness with other people. 

The one area where this "lie" is not a total lie is when it comes to sharing God's love. When we are doing Kingdom work, we should not care at that time if someone judges us to be zealous, "holy" (in a negative context), stupid or mislead. We shouldn't care about judgement like that but even then we should be aware of what people think. We should be respectful and humble, not boastful about it. We should be caring and loving instead of forceful and pushy. We should take care of the people first, before we try to evangelize. We should evangelize gently and not try to "thump" people. Remember that our role in conversion may be very, very, very small. 

Bottom line is this, the Bible tells us to be aware of what other people think of us and to try to maintain good standing with everyone we meet. The notion of "individuality over all" and not caring one bit about what someone thinks about you is not scriptural. I don't know that we have to worry about people liking us but we do have to worry about reputation and how our actions affect our ability to carry out the Great Commission. My 2 cents. What do you think?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Next Lie--Christianity is About Loving Everyone

This one is fun. Most people think that Christianity is all about loving everyone and is nothing but love, love, love. The problem is that we have a completely screwed up view of what it means to love someone. We also, as humans, tend to "average" things together. Basically, I think there are two very big problems with this lie so I am going to go two directions with this one.

Problem Number 1--Christianity is not about loving everyone. Christianity is about earnestly seeking to be more like Christ. We get so caught up in our version of loving everyone that we forget about holiness and seeking God's will. We tend to see "loving everyone" as "accepting everyone" where they are and not seeking or desiring holiness. We also think we can love people without taking into consideration their souls and their salvation. Sometimes love is painful. Sometimes I  address an issue with you because I love you. Sometimes (think Jesus with the moneychangers in the temple) love is angry. The point is, love is an outcropping from holiness. If we seek holiness and seek to be more like Christ, all the other stuff we try to manufacture and re-create within Christianity will follow.

Problem Number 2--Humans average things together. If I say, "love everyone", then it is easy for you to see "everyone" as a singular person. In other words--that body of people over there is everyone. "Sure I love them all." It is very impersonal. There may, in fact, be someone in that group that you don't really love but all the others "cancel" him out. A tougher challenge is to love each one. Think about that. You can't average that out. I love each one. I love the guy that smells bad, the girl that is super mean, the gossip, the cheat, the thief. Each one of them is deserving of my love--especially once we figure out what holy love looks like.

It is entirely too easy to get caught up in "yeah, sure, I love everyone." God calls us to holiness and to following Jesus example. We are to love each one and to do so in a holy way. That's what Christianity is all about. Buying into this lie is LAZY. Don't be lazy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Listed In Cedar Forest Subdivision

Hi All! I hope everyone is ready for this holiday weekend! It's supposed to be nice out! Speaking of nice- there are several beautiful homes available in the Cedar Forest Subdivision in Smyrna! Check them out!

2,197 sq ft

404 Shadowood Dr
2,785 sq ft

129 Cedar Forest Dr
3,117 sq ft

Thursday, April 10, 2014

But You're Still a Sinner...

Untruth Number 2:
Hate the sin, love the sinner.

This one is a bit tougher to make my case because at its very core, this is completely scriptural. The problem is that we, as the church, screw it up. We want God to love us, sinners, despite our many failings and abominations. We want God to say, "I cannot love what you are doing, it is detestable in my eyes BUT I still love you, fully and completely." If God says that to us, we should be able to say the same thing to others. But we can't.

By living out this mantra, we put conditions on our love for others. We are not capable of fully loving someone as long as we label them "sinner." Now, before you get your feathers ruffled and say, "I am a sinner too" and you are a sinner and we are all God's children, etc. etc., consider this, if my pet sin was gossip and my best friend's pet sin were pornography, and you knew about both, would you treat us the same? Most people would give me a pass and would treat my friend as "hate the sin, love the sinner." They would keep reminding him over and over that he is a sinner. Make sure he wears that label like a scarlet "A" until he changes (and usually expect him to change on his own).

My point is this, if we live by that code, we put a barrier between us and the other person. We remind them over and over that they are a sinner. We treat them differently. We attach a label to them. It is very difficult for our brains to fully love someone that we have labeled. How about instead of "hate the sin, love the sinner" we just simply go with "love." We are ALL sinners. ALL of our sins are detestable, whether our sin is gossip, pornography, rage, alcoholism, homosexuality, fornication, lying, stealing, murdering or worshipping an idol. All are the same. I know, for a fact, that anyone I talk to is a sinner. So drop that part of the phrase and just say "love." For clarity sake, I'm also not saying we should embrace sin and forget the part about hating sin. We absolutely should hate sin. BUT we should start with hating our OWN sin. If we love others and hate our own sin, then we barely start to earn the right to help others with their sins.

Its ok to rebuke sin. Its ok to help others recognize their sin. Its ok to hate the sin. BUT you have to start with love. Before you ever start calling them out. Before you ever want to "help someone recognize," you have to start with love--and it is love without labels. Love without reminding them of their failings. I will end with some scripture to feed this thought. Jesus loved first, corrected second (most of the time). Check out this scripture and see what I mean:

John 8: 2-11
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

He loved her first. He saved her life. He forgave her completely. Only after all that did he rebuke her. And he even did that very gently.  We are not called to remind people constantly of the sin in their lives--that's Jesus' job. He is the mirror we all look into and see how filthy and corrupt we are. We are called to love others and help others and show the love of Christ. We are called simply to love without labels. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Young People Are The Future Of The Church

Two weeks ago I wrote a teaser for my upcoming blog topics. Then I went to Weichert National Convention and failed to write last week's blog. I do apologize for that if anyone was looking forward to my blog about lies and slight untruths in the church/Christianity. That said, here is Untruth number 1:

Young People Are the Future of the Church

This phrase is extremely popular amongst anyone about 30 years old or older when they are teaching people 20 years old or younger. They use this as a mission, a rallying cry. "I must impart my wisdom upon the youth because they are the future, they are the ones who will carry the torch." Though I understand where they are coming from and I agree partially with this statement, it is at least 3/4 of the way untrue. It is such an oversimplification that it becomes a lie. It is, in fact a dangerous oversimplification and one that could contribute to the youth drain that the church has experienced for so many years.

I don't want 15, 16, 17, 20 year olds to think of themselves as the "future of the church." Doing so does a few dangerous things:
1) It says that they are absolved from making decisions now because they are the future of the church. Basically, live it up now because you have responsibilities later.
2) It can also create a sense of anxiety. "I am not old enough or wise enough to make decisions or help out now. I wonder if I will ever be."
3) It positions young and old even farther apart than they already are. It communicates to the young people and the old people that there is a great divide and we don't work in the church together. You are the future, that old timer is the past and I am the present. It is my place as a 40, 50, 60 year old to be in charge. Wait your turn.

I think the church should leave these distinctions out altogether. Old timers should bring along middle lifers and young people. Young people should try (I know it can be hard) to include themselves with the other two groups and also include the other two groups with them when possible. Middle lifers should try to learn from and work with the old timers and should also learn from and work with the young people. It is not as simple as age strata. The church is a family and it is also a living being. All the parts should work together and quit segregating itself based on arbitrary factors such as age.*

Let's be honest, we like to exclude younger people in decision making because "they just don't get it." They haven't been hurt by the world as much as us and they still think the world is worth saving--and they think they can help do it. They aren't realistic. Folks, Jesus wasn't realistic. Jesus left his earthly ministry when he was in his early 30s. By our standards, there is no way he could have become "wise" yet.

So what would I say instead of "you are the future of the church? I would tell young people that you are emerging Christians. You are the present and the future of the church. You are learning and working and gaining experience now that will expand your role in the church. You are valuable and viable and integral parts of the church NOW. The church will fail NOW and will fail in the future if you aren't active NOW. Don't wait to get involved. We need your outlook, your optimism, your naivety, your lack of deep rooted cynicism, your sense of wonder, your energy, your view on how the world is ripe for redemption. We need all those things NOW before time and the world erodes them.

*I do think there are times when, due to relevance of subject matter
, you separate due to age- a high school senior may not want to sit in a class for mothers of toddlers where they talk about parenting for example. But that is more due to content relevance.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Available in Nolensville!

Happy Tuesday!! It is gorgeous outside and perfect weather to check out all the beautiful homes on the market! Today I wanted to feature a few fabulous homes in Nolensville...check them out!

505 Dante Ranch Ln
2,008 sq ft
Built 2010
3 bed/2bath

1806 Turner Dr
2,786 sq ft
Built 2007
4bed/3bath/1/half bath

9113 Macauley Lane
2,568 sq ft
Built 2014
4 bed/3 bath

4608 Van Leer Ct
2,661 sq ft
Built 2006
3 bed/ 2bath/ 1 half bath