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Is the Church Helping or Hurting the Spread of the Gospel? 


Sweet friends, I am going to dig into some issues tonight because I want us to think about them, pray about them, and examine the question, “Are we representing God (Yahweh), the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, or trying to bully the world into thinking our way? Do we only love some people or everyone?”
Addressing the spirit of religion…

Sometimes the “Christian” way of thinking is not God at all. It is the spirit of religion which is oppressive, demeaning to women, hateful to those who are different or do not agree, full of control, legalism, pride, bullying, self righteousness, and manipulation. It is more concerned about being “right in it’s own eyes,” than loving thy neighbor. It’s void of agape love (unconditional, sacrificial, unselfish love). It is void of Jesus. It is antichrist. It is brutal. If you stand against the spirit of religion, or the idols behind it you may receive a tongue lashing or beating. 

If you do not live in America or do not know Jesus, please do not use the American church as the standard for what God is like. Look to Jesus. He perfectly represents the Father. Please open your bible and examine Jesus. He is still working on His Church so she loves like Him and follows Him. God loves you. 

Please do not allow the behavior of some unloving/misbehaving “Christians” to run you away from God. There are some incredible people who love Jesus and represent Him well in the western church, there is still room for improvement in the body of Christ overall. We are growing in maturity, hopefully. 🙂 

The aftermath of Election 2016…

Some of the evangelical church and charismatic church seemed to back one candidate and demonize the other and anyone who did not agree. It was okay to hurl insults, slander, gossip, dishonor, break friendships, verbally lash people, have a nasty attitude, and act like a crazy person all in the name of God. 

I want you to know God is not a manipulator or control freak. God is also not rude or spiteful. He is not the author of confusion or a lunatic. 

I have yet to see God try to guilt or bully me into doing something. He comes in love then allows me to choose. The devil is pushy, controlling, manipulative, arrogant, selfish, and gets very angry when he does not get his way. There were people who told me, “You need to vote for this person because this person had a prophesy. If you vote for that person, well you are going to hell.” No, I test all prophecies, and I need to pray and seek the Lord for myself. 

I am not a part of group think. I am following Jesus. People are not God. If we truly trusted God, bullying and manipulation would not be needed. Also regardless of the candidates positions, we are called to imitate Jesus. The nastiness that has been spewed out by some believers has been just as bad as the world. We are called to be salt and light. 

God is not a bully… 

We see in the Garden of Eden God gave Adam and Eve a choice. He told Adam not to eat from the tree of good and evil, yet Adam and Eve could still choose evil. 

I have been floored by the lack of God love from some believers during and after this election. I even went to God, “How do you feel about women, brown/yellow/dark brown people, foreigners…because some of Your children make it seem as though You only love some people. Please help me to understand. Please help.” My entire life I was taught God loves everyone. This election, some of the church sent the message, “God loves certain people. If you agree with us then He loves you. If you don’t, then you are not loved.” My views are attatched to the Gospel, to Jesus. Yet I did not feel the need to demonize anyone. Neither candidate stood as Jesus, nor represented fully His heart for the world in my opinion. And it’s not just over political views. This election brought out the inner bigot/racist in some people. What was hidden under praise the Lord surfaced in, “Those people.” 

I am being quite sincere in sharing my thoughts. At first I thought internally, “Do not put your thoughts out there.” It has gotten me pretty beat up by Christians in the past. Then I thought, ” Let them beat me because someone needs to say it loudly, ‘Refusing to love is sin. If you hate anyone, you can not claim to love God (1 John 4:8).’” Withholding love and apathy is a form of hatred. If we can watch another suffer and say, “That’s not my problem,” our love tank is running low or empty. Jesus loves everyone. If we lack love or compassion, we can not put that on God. 

You may be thinking, “How could you think this way, America just had 8 years under Obama. Hidden Figures is bringing in the money at the box office. Women are empowered. A woman ran for President. We are all one big happy family.”  I can say this as someone who walks around with tan/light brown skin and as a female; racism and sexism are still a problem in the world and it is still an issue in the global church. Not just racism or sexism, but the lack of love or honor for anyone who votes differently or has a varying opinion. If you do not believe me, scroll through some Facebook or Social Media or even church tv programs, look at the comments. I dare you to disagree with someone on an issue. 

Let me take out my bible and slap you senseless with it. I bet you feel stupid now.” And the Christian who proved to the internet or world how much Bible they know, just wounded a bunch of people and made God look like a unloving bully. Not sure how that makes people want to know Jesus, but it happens. I have encountered it over and over. 

I have athiest and agnostic associates who were driven away from God and the church by an unloving church and unloving Christians. I have had seasons in my own life where I have said,”God I love You, yet some of Your children are so very mean or unloving. Can I please have a pass not to fellowship today?

Hateful, unloving, apathetic Christians affect the spreading of the Gospel. The “I am saved. I can treat people how I want. You can’t judge me, there’s no condemnation for me,” is impacting the lost. Why seek a God with followers who are hateful and unloving when you can find some acceptance in the world? 

God is love…

Are we loving the world? Are we drawing people to Christ by our actions or repelling them? 

I have heard people say, “I have not seen any issues,” so that means the issue does not exist. Well, sweet friends, America and the entire world has a long way to go to represent Jesus as He is. I am sure He is not enjoying the fighting, offense, slander, judging, racism, sexism, I hate liberals, gossip, self righteousness, I’ve had enough of “those” people, beating people with the bible, lack of love, celebrating the suffering of another person, etc…He said very plainly, “As I have loved you, love one another. The world will know My disciples by their love. Love your enemies.” 

Jesus did not say you will know My followers by their opinions or political views, or their denomination or country of origin, or their skin color, nor by their church attendance or tithing. You can go to church and still go to hell. 

A country and world in need of an agape love revolution…

This election brought out the boil on the bottom of America we refused to acknowledge. We have some deep spiritual problems that need addressed in the church. While pointing a finger at the world, we have three pointed back at us. Do we know Jesus? We need Jesus. Are we representing Jesus?  We have some idols that need cast down. Some of them being politics, politicians, self, patriotism, and church leaders. Loving people and sharing the Gospel is far more important than who they voted for. 

We have some heart issues that need healed and mended. There is no amount of legislation that can fix heart issues. We need Jesus. There is still a void of agape love from the church for the world. There is still a void of receiving God’s love. We can only give away the love we have received. 

Ditching those people need Jesus…we all need Jesus. 

Oh those people, they just need Jesus!” We all need Jesus. Did you (we) love “those” people? “Well ‘those’ people are hurting our country or they are reprobate.” Are we sinless? Did we perfectly represent Jesus today? If not, we can put down our bible billy club and thank the good Lord for mercy. 

Not sure why, yet sometimes being saved leads to abounding self righteousness and pride. It is “us” vs. “them”. Do we forget no person was born saved? Do we (the global church) care about the spreading of the Gospel and loving our neighbor or just promoting our ideals and political agenda?

America the Melting Pot…

 “Those people need to go back to their country.” Well, America had inhabitants before European settlers arrived here. They were Natives, Mexicans, and some Africans. Some of my ancestors were on this land before it was “discovered.” 

America is a melting pot of immigrants. If you are not Native, slamming other ethnic groups and telling them they do not belong is childish. I believe in due process of citizenship, yet many ethnic groups including Europeans migrated to America. So if everyone has to go back to their country that leaves some Natives, some Mexicans, and a few Africans to stay. 

Are we loving the ones God sends…

Please come to our church, pay tithes, serve, and if you get out of line we are going to beat you senseless with the Bible and withhold love. Oh, and you need to think like us and vote like us or you’re going to hell.” Sounds harsh right. Yet I have seen it. I have experienced some of my worst verbal assaults, betrayals, heartaches from “Christians.” Singing and clapping on Sunday, cussing me out or talking crazy on Monday. On a positive note,  I thank God for the loving Christians there are in the world and this country. I pray we all have deep encounters with God’s love. May the global church be known by the agape love of God. 

Ditch us vs them…

In our world there are so many categories of them. Do we care about “them” or is it, “That’s their problem. Give me my Starbucks and leave me alone. I will pray for ‘them.’“Yet that is not the love Jesus showed the world. He did not say to the Father, “Forget them. They sinned. That’s their problem.” Jesus died for all even the most wicked of sinners. There was no “them” to be left behind or cast aside or ignored. What if God treated us the way we treat the world?

Is the church ignoring or mistreating the very people Jesus came to die for? How would Jesus treat “them”. 

I prefer we are all one race of people, human. Men and women have equal value to God. The foreigner and the native born are uniquely and passionately loved.

I stand with Jesus! 

God SO loved the world…

It is not enough for the church to love the unborn. We need to love the person right in front of us. We need to love the Native, the African, the Mexican, the South American, the Canadian, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Middle Easterner, the Indian, the Greek, the Norwegian, the Russian, the Australian, the British, the whole world! 

It is not God bless America and no place else! It is God bless the world! The entire world!! 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is everyone but Jesus has sinned and is in need of a Savior. Jesus gave His life for ALL. Repent (change your mind about sin), confess your sins to God, believe Jesus is the Son of God, ask Him to be Lord of your life. Do not stop there, follow Jesus! Do what you see Him doing. He loved the least, last, lost! 

God loves the whole world! 

May born again believers not only know the Gospel, but abide in Jesus to live the Gospel. Jesus loves the world! John 3:16. The lost need to see Jesus in us the hope of glory. 

Bless you, 

Erin Lamb 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Let the Healing Begin

  
God is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,~Psalm 34:18. 

If you are in America you have probably seen the news stories, the protests, and the excessive drama. Well, this post is hopefully an attempt at healing. 

Why do we need to heal? Because this election has brought out the very worst in some people. The slander, name calling, mud slinging, hateful memes, prejudice, labeling, lost friendships, fights, hate crimes, “God said vote for this person and if you don’t you are going to hell“, and hurting people is just well, sad. So many people have been hurt. On both sides of the party line, there has been a blood bath. 

I will honestly say, I have never felt more backed in a corner or unsafe. If you say the wrong thing, it may incite violence. I have tan/light brown skin, and I am a woman. There are some people who feel people like me are not worthy of respect, honor, or dignity. Some have been celebrating the new President by attacking people who are not “white” Americans. They have painted racial slurs on buildings “Make America White Again.” Others on the opposing side have been protesting, “Dump Trump” and calling those who supported him bad names or making threats. 

I wept bitterly today because I thought much of this nonsense and senseless fighting had died away. No, it rises over and over like an ugly boil on the bottom of America. 

America the Melting Pot

America was brown (full of Natives and some Mexicans) before it was ever full of immigrants from Europe and other parts of the world. We are a country that was filled and further developed by immigrants. America is a melting pot of cultures. My prayer is we can love and celebrate people who are different. 

A Volatile and Emotionally Charged Election

People have reported fear, anxiety, lost relationships, chest pain, and a host of issues from this election. 

I voted. I felt it was my civil duty. Yet I do not approve of the way the media handled campaigning or the mud slinging back and forth. Nor am I on the “God chose this person, get on board or go to hell train“. Why? Because God did not tell me to campaign for either person. He said, “Pray.” He said, “Love your neighbor. Love everyone. Even love your enemies.” Love does not require agreement to express honor, respect, or dignity. 

You see, God loves the entire world (John 3:16). God does not just love the people who claim Christian ideals, who vote a certain way, who look a certain way, who are a certain ethnic group, or think a certain way. He loves everyone on this planet; uniquely, passionately, and fully. 

God does not just love Americans or men. He loves the Chinese, Arab, Jewish, African, Japanese, Indian, South American, Canadian, Australian, Kiwi, European, Russian, Mexican, Native, and the entire world. God also loves and highly values women. He does not condone the mistreatment of people. God’s love, respect, and honor go to all. He loves…how He loves us. 

So how do we heal? How do we move past the insults, lewd tapes, mud slinging, accusations, shaming, fighting, and pain? 

We invite God right into the middle of the mess. We allow God to love us and bind up our wounds. We choose to forgive. 

Forgive those who are hateful. 

Forgive those who only care about winning or themselves. 

Forgive those who retaliate and seek revenge. 

Forgive those who harbor bitterness. 

Forgive those who released tapes, sound bites, and media feed that slimed us. 

Forgive those who told us support of one or the other meant we were the devil. 

Forgive those who filled our newsfeed with hatred or negativity.

Forgive those who exposed things we never wanted to know. 

Forgive those who harbor deep rooted racism or sexism or dislike based on beliefs/party affiliation. 

Forgive those committing hate crimes or unecessary unrest. 

Forgive those who pretend not to see the pain they are causing. 

Forgive those with zero compassion. 

Forgive those shaming us or calling us names. 

Forgive those who think politics are more important than loving people. 

Forgive those linking Christianity with promotion for White Supremacy. God is not racist by the way. He created one human race. Jesus was born into Middle Eastern Jewish lineage. If we hate anyone, God says we do not know Him (1 John 4:8). 

Forgive those who pretend racism and sexism do not exist in the world and in the church. 

Forgive those who hate followers of Jesus and His teachings. 

Forgive those who hurt us over this election. 

We forgive because God has forgiven us. We forgive because if we do not, we are not forgiven. 

Then we love! See the words of Jesus below. 

Luke 6:32-36 the Message (MSG)

“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

God love is so much higher! It costs us greatly to walk in His love and not pride…To walk in His love and not fear…To walk in grace and mercy instead of anger, rage, retaliation, and pain. Love is higher. 

I will not say it is easy. I have been saddened to my core. I am a thinker, not a feeler and this has still moved me to weeping. 

What I can say is hidden wounds do not heal. Our country and the entire world desperately need Jesus. There is no politician that can fix us. We need God. My prayer is we turn to Him. I pray we see God as He is and not the God made in our own image. 

  • Wherever you are, you are loved. 
  • Whatever your gender, you are respected, honored, and loved. 
  • Whatever your country of origin, you are loved. 
  • However you voted, you are loved. 

You see the love of God is based on who He is, not all the externals of our culture. 

May the healing begin! 

May you and I be instruments of love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy in the days and years to come. 

You are deeply loved and prayed for! 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

 
14 Comments

Posted by on November 11, 2016 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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