What Started Out As a Question Ended Up Being a Lesson In Gods Love

(Originally posted January of 2011)

During a Q&A with Ravi Zacharias and RZIM at Oxford, a homosexual man asks a question but really ends up encouraging those in the faith of the miraculous work of God in peoples changed lives.

Something said during this exchange that really clicks with my understanding of this very important issue. Love. Most often — as I note often in my debates and posts on this topic (see below) — there is abuse or some family issue that drives these young men and women into this lifestyle. While I am more of a political-animal/armchair-philosopher and I deal with this issue in a “cut-n-dry” fashion, love is the motivating factor of change….

Gay Christians?

….Usually the Christian [at the time of conversion] has this immense connection with their Creator and what He has done for him/her and the depths of their depravity that has been covered. Dorothy Sayers says it best:

  • “None of us feels the true love of God till we realize how wicked we are. But you can’t teach people that — they have to learn by experience.”

There is love and change available to those who seek it (GREGALOGUE). the problem has become a society that perpetuates the PC status quo, i.e, egalitarianism. To keep the quoting of Mrs. Sayers going, she comments well on tolerance:

  • “In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”

This is such a great expansion to my video library and writings on this topic. I highly suggest getting the entire Q&A by Ravi.

Brandt Jean Carries His Brothers Legacy On – Well

(Finally, a heartwarming humanity story! Especially after watching this — SMH) BTW, for a young man that lost his brother… to have the coherence to forgive, speak as nicely and lovingly as this man did in speaking to the woman who murdered his brother… is a testimony to God in HIS life.

After former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for the murder of Botham Jean, his brother embraced her and said he forgives her. Brandt Jean went over to Guyger and the two hugged. Jean told her he doesn’t want her to go to prison. “I love you as a person and I don’t want to wish anything bad on you,” Jean said before they hugged for nearly 30 seconds. Jurors on Tuesday had found Guyger, 31, guilty of murder for fatally shooting Jean in his Dallas apartment in 2018. She had faced between five years and 99 years for the shooting.

Has Jim Carrey Come To Know Jesus Christ As Savior? (No)

Carrey has struggled with depression, and in the past has said (among other things),

  • “I’m a Buddhist, I’m a Christian, I’m a Muslim, I’m whatever you want me to be. It all comes down to the same thing. You’re in a loving place or you’re in an unloving place, if you’re with me right now you cannot be unhappy, it’s not possible.”

But what about this more recent video? Has he encountered Christ? Or is he speaking from a Buddhist perspective? (I say he is speaking as a Buddhist.) His claim about suffering leading to salvation (grace) is very Biblical (see here). Here is Jim discussing the issue at HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES:

BTW, Father Gregory Boyle could be a fan of THOMAS MERTON… another “taboo” in my mind’s eye.

Here is more of Jim Carry trying to convince one mind through his mind that no mind’s exist”

Jim Carrey explains to the tee the Buddhist philosophy as proposed by ALAN WATTS in this following explanation of the above:

A Satanic Church Leader (and his family) Saved and Baptized!

In the video, you see this Church of Satan founder (Texas), baptize his wife in the name of the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” and then is baptized in front of his young sister and daughter. God Is Good! The video is a bit drawn out, but a wonder call to those involved in the occult to come to a Savior that IS Love and first loved us. Here is CBN’S article on this:

The founder of a satanic church in Texas has converted to Christianity.

We love Him because He first loved us. The only reason we love at all is because He first loved us. The Ten Commandments require that a man should love his God and neighbor, but the law could not produce this love. How then could God obtain this love which His righteousness required? He solved the problem by sending His Son to die for us. Such wonderful love draws out our hearts to Him in return. We say, “You have bled and died for me; from now on I will live for You.”

  • William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995).

Jacob McKelvy, formerly known as Jacob No, was instrumental in bringing together a group of “Luciferians” to form a Luciferian church.

But on February 5, 2017, McKelvy and his wife renounced their ties with the Luciferian church, after becoming born-again Christians.

[….]

McKelvy now speaks in churches to prove the power of prayer and the love of God.

“The power and peace and wholeness I feel today is far greater than anything that I’ve ever felt before,” he said.

“I created a church to destroy dogmatic religion and he still loved me. So if he could still love me for me to be here today talking to you than there are no excuses anymore.”

Pastor Hogan said he is working very closely with McKelvy to make sure that he has a solid foundation and that he becomes rooted and grounded in the word of God.

Meanwhile, the Greater Church of Lucifer has closed its doors.

LOVE did this… and only a Holy Love! (1 JOHN 4:7-21)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Iron-Sharpening-Iron… At Toyota

As one is reading this, keep in mind that a few things are weighing in on this person spoken of below. First, he is an immigrant from Columbia, so being “culturally passionate” about issues is common place. Second, the person is a newer Christian and so has the natural zeal of such a fresh believer. Third, with cultural barriers comes a frustration to express oneself well… so shorter statements are often preferred (bumper sticker mantras). The person this post is about actually has a VERY powerful background to speak on his faith, his love for his country, and the like — if only he could reign it in and hone his thoughts.

While sitting at Toyota waiting for the 40,000 mile tune-up on my car, Fox News was on in the waiting room (always is at this dealer). As the waiting area began to fill, an immigrant guy sits down next to an Asian gal who has headphones on and is — from what I can gather with books and binders by her side — studying something for a child development class of some sort. Another woman is sitting catty corner to them.

The man tried to engage in conversation with the Asian gal, he had a very heavy accent. Because Fox News was on his mind was political and he blurted out his dislike for Democrats. Very boisterously mind you. I could tell she wanted to study, but was going to engage a bit with him, but shied away after the many statements about Democrats that went something like this:

  • “Trump will be the best president ever. Democrats are low-class. Trash. They are all communists. They are homosexual. They hate God…”

One has to be in my mind while I was thinking that the most immigrant guy here is SUPER pro-Trump and the “raised in America her whole life college student” probably learning about multicultural studies was not computing.

Just then a press conference of some sort with Trump starts up on Fox as a couple more people enter in to watch the TV. Just as Trump starts speaking, ANOTHER immigrant gentleman comes in and mentions in a similar “south of the border accent” that Trump is a mess.

The first guy — in a very thick accent — says:

  • “Trump will be the best president ever. Democrats are low-class. Trash. They are all communists. They are homosexual. They hate God…” [or some combination of that

Again, inwardly I was laughing. Because you had two immigrants with accents (the pro-Trump guy’s was thicker… giving him more authority using a leftist scale of classes — this could also be due to one was more educated in the English language from a younger age) in front of a student probably steeped in the idea that those South of the border are all anti-Trump… being privy with the others to a forceful rejection of Democrats — rightly or wrongly.

Too forceful, but hilarious to me nonetheless. I noted to myself the example we [conservatives] usually use of Democrats and their adherence to their emotional state being represented in bumper sticker responses. THIS guy was an example of the opposite. (I recalled a post of mine where some Trump supporters tried to discuss issues with Ted Cruz. I think many people voted for Trump because he speaks like they do — and wears his emotions on his sleeve as well as in general discussion. >>> Rightly or Wrongly.)

He eventually got up to go handle some business about his car, the waiting room settled down, and I got back to my reading of Michael Reeves, The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation. The previous interactions were fading into my memory and was reading the following…

Underpinning the whole system and mentality of medieval Roman Catholicism was an understanding of salvation that went back to Augustine (AD 354-430); Augustine’s theology of love, to be precise (how ironic that this theology of love would come to inspire great fear). Augustine taught that we exist in order to love God. However, we cannot naturally do so, but must pray for God to help us. This he does by justifying’ us, which, Augustine said, is the act in which God pours his love into our hearts (Romans 5:5). This is the effect of the grace that God was said to channel through the sacraments: by making us more and more loving, more and more just, God ‘justifies’ us. God’s grace, on this model, was the fuel needed to become a better, more just, righteous and loving person. And this was the sort of person who finally merited salvation, according to Augustine. This was what Augustine had meant when he spoke of salvation by grace.

Talk of God pouring out his grace so that we become loving and so merit salvation might have sounded lovely on Augustine’s lips; over the centuries, however, such thoughts took on a darker hue.

Michael Reeves (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009), 19-20.

As I was finishing the paragraph this person walks back in to the waiting room, repeats his mantra above [see above], and then turns my way to walk past where I was sitting. I caught his gave and asked him if he wanted to sit down and talk. He said yes and gladly sat down next to me.

Carlos is his name. He is from Columbia.

He opened up immediately about his political and religious affiliation. I had him pause and said “as conservatives and as Christians we are suppose to change minds with speaking truth in love to people.” I continued, “by merely stating ‘x-y-z’ you are playing into a stereotype that will chase people away from your positions rather than endear them to these truths.” I then gave an example[s]:

Carlos, I asked quite a few Democrat friends I know to give me the best example of why they think Trump is a ‘bigot, racist, or xenophobe’ (or any combination thereof).” I mentioned I got three recurring themes from them. “I will explain one of them,” I said. “I usually ask a Democrat in conversation who has stated his dislike for if they agree that Trump’s statement about ‘Mexico sending their rapists and drug dealers across the border is an evidence of Trump’s bigotry, or xenophobia, or racism.'”?

“Typically,” I continued, “I get a yes. I then ask if I can share how I view this statement to share with them a perspective they probably have not heard.” Continuing in the conversation…

“Almost always they say yes. I then share that while I think Trump generalized this to Mexico he and we know that many from Honduras and El Salvador and other countries make this trip… even from Columbia.” He agreed. I continued on, “The Left-leaning human rights organization and other organizations that help these people have said that during their travels, 80% of the women and girls are raped. Eighty-Percent. I explain that by controlling our border we will stop this mass raping of those coming to get across our porous border, thus protecting these women by making it more likely they will stay with their families. NOT only that, but many of these rapists ARE crossing over the border… and by controlling our border we will protect women of all nationalities in our country from being subjected to this heinous crime.”

I explained that by having such a conversation we are not forcing a change on the person, but merely offering information that they may not heard of before, giving them a different perspective OTHER THAN this is merely a bigoted, racist, xenophobic position.

I explained as well that in the past I have met with fellow conservative/libertarian gay men and women who vote Republican. Many of whom are against gay marriage saying that the States have the AUTHORITY to set the meaning of marriage, NOT the Federal government or the Courts (like the Constitution enumerates). Others are against it because they believe heterosexual marriages have an inherent quality that under-girds society that same-sex relationships do not.

So, I explained, “homosexuals” know and love freedom and voted for Trump along a line of thinking that his (Carlos’) adamant statement does not fairly reflect — THUS building walls in people’s hearts rather than knocking them down.

We shared testimonies, he is a newer Christian of three years… he shared that his wife has mentioned to him his “exuberance.” Sometimes men need to hear it from men for it to register. We talked about iron-sharpening-iron and his obvious passion that he displays that is very cultural, and that I felt moved to talk to him out of love. He goes to a wonderful local church. He brought up Islam and his travels and speaking to Arab Muslims in other countries. Relaying their hatred for Christians and especially Jews. I shared how I approach persons of the Muslim faith… getting them to agree that the followers of Jesus and the followers Muhammad are fallen and not always the best representation of their faith. I always get an agreement with this. I then compare Jesus’ life to Muhammad’s life.

JESUS — when Peter struck off the ear of the soldier, healed it. Christ said if his followers were of any other kingdom, they would fight to get him off the cross. He also told Peter if he lived by the sword he would die by it.; Christ invited and used children as examples of how Jewish adults should view their faith… something culturally radical – inviting children into an inner-circle of a group of status oriented men such as the Pharisees was unheard of. Especially saying to them their faith must be similar; Jesus, and thusly us, can access true love because the Triune God has eternally loved (The Father loves the Son, etc. ~ unlike the Unitarian God of Islam). Love between us then: (1) my wife and I for instance, as well as family, (2) the love in community/Body of Christ, (3) love for our enemies, etc., has eternal foundations in God; This love from God towards us has caused a Sacrifice to ensure our salvation. Jesus said as well that he has “spoken openly to the world…  always teaching in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. ‘I said nothing in secret.’” The Bible also states that God cannot lie… and Jesus is God in orthodoxy. The love of Christ and the relationship he offers is bar-none the center piece of our faith… something the Muslim does not have. Which is why the Church evolved because they have a point of reference in Christ to come back to.

MUHAMMAD — (a) ordered his followers, and (b) and participated in both digging their graves and cutting the throats of between 600-to-900 men, women, and children. Some of the women and boy and girl children were taken as property. He was a military tactician that lied and told others to use deception that ultimately led to the death of many people (taqiyya): The word “Taqiyya” literally means: “Concealing, precaution, guarding.” Lying and cheating in the Arab world is not really a moral matter but a method of safeguarding honor and status, avoiding shame, and at all times exploiting possibilities, for those with the wits for it, deftly and expeditiously to convert shame into honor on their own account and vice versa for their opponents. If honor so demands, lies and cheating may become absolute imperatives.” [David PryceJones, “The Closed Circle” An interpretation of the Arabs, p4] We never see any depictions of Muhammad with children, we just know that he most likely acquired a child bride at age 6 and consummated that “marriage” when she was nine — he was a pedophile in other words; While the Qu’ran states that a follower of this book should have no more than 4 wives, we know of course that he had many more. Many more; Even the most ardent/obedient Muslim still leaves his or her entrance into “heaven” is an arbitrary choice of “Allah” … no story of love and sacrifice.

I told Carlos if this encounter looks uneasy for the Muslim person I am speaking with, I will end with:

  • “I pray you try to model your life more-and-more like Jesus’ rather than Muhammad’s.”

You see, knowing your worldview, being ready to give an antithesis that points to Christ and the Gospel message when witnessing, should be honed. The same applies for speaking about other important issues as well, LIKE POLITICS. If one shows a grace in interactions face-to-face with people on a political level, they are more readily apt to give you time when speaking about your faith.

The Apostle Paul was trained his whole life… and God used and transformed that training for His glory. We should all continually do the same… train as ambassadors for Christ. Carlos has a powerful story…

Carlos has a great testimony and story of his family

coming to America in the 1870’s, then leaving

for Colombia after being established for a generation here.

coming back and loving our freedoms.

…if only he would reign in the VERY obvious passion he has and redirect it a more constructive communication. Paul had a passion and zeal as well.

This takes practice by the way.
Patience.
Grace.
As well as care.

We all fall short in these and other areas of life. BUT (I shared), like a sail ship going to a point, it has to tack… as it approaches it’s destination those lines of crossing get tighter-and-tighter. We are ALL in a learning mode and ALL look forward in our race to glorify Christ and our ultimate glory. As we learn more about God, our faith, how the church interacts with one-another and the world… our “tacking” gets tighter. (He mentioned he likes to sail.)

I was told my car was ready

I ended with a quick reading of Roman’s 5:5 (which I had just read… God is good!):

“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

And then we said a quick prayer for God’s grace and love to always wash over us, building us up in His truth.

That was it. Hopefully Carlos contacts me, I would love to fellowship with him more.

Improvised Baptisms

I just had to share what this wonderful picture of the faith is with our military people. This first example is a picture of an old freezer used for a baptismal on Easter morning in Iraq many years ago, the second example is a video of a front-loader used as a baptismal. God bless His Church and especially the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.

Freezer Baptism

Jennifer Garner’s Return to “Faith”

May I say, not only is the movie about a miracle, but the miracle continued on in Jennifer Garner’s life and kids life. I just hope it is a church that can guard their walk in their faith by teaching them the completeness of God’s Word and our worldview.

Raising one’s self-consciousness [awareness] about worldviews is an essential part of intellectual maturity…. The right eyeglasses can put the world into clearer focus, and the correct worldview can function in much the same way. When someone looks at the world from the perspective of the wrong worldview, the world won’t make much sense to him. Or what he thinks makes sense will, in fact, be wrong in important respects. Putting on the right conceptual scheme, that is, viewing the world through the correct worldview, can have important repercussions for the rest of the person’s understanding of events and ideas…. Instead of thinking of Christianity as a collection of theological bits and pieces to be believed or debated, we should approach our faith as a conceptual system, as a total world-and-life view.

Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 9, 17-18, 19.

THAT BEING SAID, if that is T.D. Jakes sitting next to her (in the below video)… and that is the church she is going to… well, good luck. There are some well founded concerns about his teachingsto say the least.

This comes by way of NewsBusters:

….During a Q&A, Garner admitted that Los Angeles, her current home, is a difficult place to openly discuss faith.

“[Faith] has become very political,” she said. “If you’re a person of faith, you are so on the outside, that there’s no way to bridge to somebody that’s ‘normal.’”

But, she stressed, this movie was different: people would discuss faith on set constantly. Besides that, the film itself normalizes faith.

“[I]t’s a normal, wonderful family who happened to have leaned on their faith, to guide them through the hardest thing in their lives,” Garner pressed.

Those aspects of the film led her and her family back to church.

I will say that being around this community, and while I’ve always gone to church back home in West Virginia, when we got back to Los Angeles… I was talking to my kids about the movie and they said, ‘Mom, you don’t take us to church,’ and we went that Sunday, and we – they went today without me. I mean, they – that, that decision – and that was a direct gift from this movie and so, for that, I’m very grateful.

[….]

Garner wanted a part in the film as soon as she read Beam’s best-selling memoir, the movie’s inspiration.

“I stayed awake all night after reading Miracles from Heaven,” Garner told People magazine last year. “There was something about this family, this mother and daughter, and this telling of the story that I felt I just had to be a part of.” …

Josh McDowell Shares His Struggle With Circumstances and Coming to Faith

We have had some great commencement and convocation speeches these past few weeks, and some really horrible ones. But Liberty University — I don’t think — was ready for this honest, and at times, raw, testimony. Josh McDowell’s struggle against the odds and his hatred/blame of God creating seemingly insurmountable hurdles in his life that made coming to faith in Jesus Christ impossible to the natural mind. But we deal with a miraculous God:

Matthew 19:26

  • But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
  • Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” (The Message)

Josh McDowell is a prolific apologetic writer who has written classics in the defense of the Christian faith, based on his own skepticism. But only recently has he talked about his childhood and expanded on what drove him to this skepticism. The movie of this is called Undaunted (2012), and it is a must watch.

I wish to thank Pastor Matt in bringing this speech to my attention. And I ask you settle in and enjoy the huge dose of God’s hand working in one man’s life: