Categories
Life Theology

Distinguishing Between Love and Lust

Augustine of Hippo, the great Christian theologian of the 4th Century, struggled mightily with sexual addiction before his conversion to Jesus.  In his autobiography, Confessions, he writes about his problem between figuring out what was love and what was lust in his early life:

Bodily desire, like morass, and adolescent sex welling up within me exuded mists which clouded over and obscured my heart, so that I could not distinguish the clear light of true love from the murk of lust.

I doubt that this is uncommon for most people — especially for nonbelievers, but for Christians as well.  So often we “feel” with our bodies and seldom understand what true love is.

In Proverbs, Solomon says to his son, “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it” (5:3-6).  Obviously, this “love” is really love.  It’s lust.  It’s deceptive.  It’s adulterous (7:19).  This “love” gets you place in line to hell.  This “love” will lead to death, not an abundant life.  It seeks to steal, kill, and destroy true happiness.

I’m not a counselor, or a doctor, or a pastor  yet.  But I know that true romantic love is rooted in the gospel of Christ.  It is reflective of Ephesians 5:22-33.  True love is about service and sacrifice and joy and delight and rejoicing in Christ, not the person.  C.S. Lewis talked about gifts from the Lord being “the sunbeam” and God himself as the sun.  The beam from the sun is not to be delighted in, the sun is.  In the same way, God’s gifts are like sunbeams.  They lead us to the greater glory of God himself.  That is what true love should do.  Lust only distracts us from God and causes us to be idolaters.

Seek your satisfaction in Jesus above all things, and soon the murky fog of distinguishing between love and lust will clear into a bright summer day filled with heavenly delight and joy, not guilt and shame.

Categories
Ministry

Good Works is the Christian’s Symphony

Good works are the melodies that non-Christians hear.  Nearly all of the time, they cannot read our sheet music.  They can’t understand what the notes and chords mean, but they know a good song when they experience it.

Categories
Ministry

Go Hard or Go Home

Yesterday at Lincoln Berean Church, pastor Bryan Clark’s sermon was on sacrfice.  The focus was on sacrificing financially for the sake of ministries/churches that have a spiritual impact on you.  At the end of the message however, Bryan switched gears and simply talked about sacrificing your life.  He said he doesn’t know why anyone would want to work in ministry because of how hard it can be on you and your wife and family.  His point was that unless the Lord had specifically called him, he wouldn’t do it.  Then he said, finger pointing toward the congregation, “Everyone has that same call, it just looks differently for all of us.”

I couldn’t help but think of a song by Lecrae during Bryan’s sermon because nothing says hip-hop like a mega-church sermon in Lincoln, Nebraska.  On Lecrae’s new album Rebel there is a song called “Go Hard.”  In it, Lecrae challenges Christians to listen to the missionary call that God has put on his people.  We are compelled by Jesus to share his good news.  We must do it.  “Woe to us if we do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).

Go Hard (feat. Tadashii)

Lord kill me If I don’t preach the gospel
I’m still in my 20’s but I’ll die if I got to
Eh man I’m already dead- man forget my flesh
I done been crossed over, see the full court press
I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Running from my trials thinkin’ everythangs groovy
If the Cross don’t move me then I don’t wanna breath no more
If I ain’t seeing Christ potna I don’t wanna see no mo
Rep Him every day without worrying about bruising
I been to china mayne I seen some real persecution
If U didn’t know Christ would ya life look the same
Can they tell you value Jesus by the way you rep his name?
man what’s the point of living if I’m living for myself
Lord empty out my life before I put you on the shelf
So for God I go hard I don’t wanna die tonight
But It’s too many people living who ain’t heard about the Christ

Read the whole song.

Categories
Life

Obama on Abortion at Planned Parenthood

Here is a video from an Obama speech at Planned Parenthood in July 2007.  It’s a speech about partial birth abortion.  Watch the first 15 minutes or so and notice, among many others, this quote:

“Even the most conservative person will say that they want their daughters to have the same rights as their sons.” 

I did’t know that our sons had the right to kill babies?  Maybe I missed something.

When it comes down to it, this issue is not about “a mother’s right to choose” or “equal rights”; it’s about murdering a child who eats, breathes, and sleeps in another person’s womb.  When does that baby actually become a human?  You’d be hard pressed to find a doctor (or a mother) who wouldn’t say at conception. 

Categories
Life

Martin Luther King Day

Today is more than just a day off of school if you are still a student. It’s more than just vacation day if you are a government worker. Most people don’t realize what Martin Luther King was all about. For the most part, I have a finite understand of his legacy in the United States. One thing I do know is that what he did, what he said, what he stood for, and how he initiated change has forever impacted this country.

Stop and think for a minute: King was killed April 4, 1968. That will be 40 years ago this April. Forty years. My parents were eight years-old. That is not very long ago. When I was born in 1984, his death had only been 16 years removed. That is incredible. This great “affluent” nation that is so “developed” and “sophisticated”, was lynching blacks and burning down churches just a couple decades before I was born.

If you think this country is free from racism even today, I would challenge you to open your eyes and look around. Maybe not in Lincoln. Maybe not in Hastings or Holdrege or Norfolk or Grand Island. But what about Omaha? What about Kansas City? What about St. Louis and Chicago and L.A. and New York and Memphis? My contention would be that we are still so racist that we don’t realize it. And if you are a follower of Christ today, as I am, my desire would be that we pray hard and trust the Lord to remove all those sinful negative attitudes toward people of a different color–or nationality or gender for that matter as well. It’s natural to have those attitudes–natural–but not spiritual. And when we have Jesus as King, we are no longer only natural.

I hope today would not just be a day off for you. I hope that it would be a day of praise to God for the way this country has turned around from racism, but that it would also be a day of pleading God for him to still work more change in us. Below is a excerpt from Martin Luther King that he wrote in April of 1963, five years before he died. I pray it convicts, teaches, encourages, and humbles you. I know it did that for me.

Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dart of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six- year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.