Jen Hatmaker's statements on same-sex marriage, the phrase that continually rings in my ears is Rosario Butterfield's: "The cross is ruthless." She referred first to the ruthlessness between the cross and an unconverted person and then described how the cross is equally relentless toward the converted. This latter relentlessness--how the cross requires me daily to come and die to self and live to God--is something I've not always understood. Nonetheless, the cross has been relentless in my life, pursuing and crucifying my claims on self-rule and self-glory. The gospel, because it is by nature sacrificial, requires my self-sacrifice.
We certainly can't lay
out the benefits without the costs for the unconverted, but perhaps even
more so we must be careful about this within the church. We must be talking about the costs of following Christ with one another. What
does the gospel cost you, unmarried Christian? What does the gospel
cost you, Christian businessman? What does the gospel cost you,
Christian mother pregnant with a baby the doctors tell you to abort?
What does the gospel cost you, faithful pastor? What about you, college
student studying at a public university antagonistic to faith? What does
the gospel cost you, widow or widower? What does it cost you, dear reader?
costs and demands of the gospel are some of the most vulnerable stories
we hold, because they are sensitive and they are difficult and we're
not always sure we're getting it right. These are the stories where our
doubt and wrestling reside.
I can tell you what the gospel has
demanded of me. Even typing that sentence brings tears to my eyes. I
live where I live, write what I write, parent the way I parent, spend my
money and my time the way I do because of the gospel. I've said goodbye
to people and places I didn't want to say goodbye to, I've struggled
with loneliness, I've overlooked offenses, I've had to place others
before myself in ways that has made me feel invisible at times--all for
the sake of the gospel. The cost of following Christ has seemed
unbearable at times, especially when self rises up, bucking for a fight.
truth is that there is beauty in self-sacrifice. I look back at all my
wrestling against the claims of the cross and I'm beyond grateful that
the cross has won. I'm still here. I'm still walking forward. The
benefits of submission to Christ are becoming more and more joy-filled
to me. And I also see the goodness of God to work on me slowly,
otherwise I'd be crushed.
Do you know what encourages me when I'm
faced with the call of the cross in a newly exposed area of my life?
It's when I look around at the beloved people in my church and see that
the cross is just as relentless in their lives. My single friends who
want to be married could be traipsing around the city dating and
sleeping with anyone and everyone. They could be taking their future
into their own hands rather than waiting on the Lord and entrusting
themselves to Him. My married friends who have experienced difficulties
in their marriages could be taking their husbands to divorce court. My
same-sex attracted friends could be succumbing to their desires. They
hold steady in truth and grace for the sake of the gospel, and their
stories not only compel me to do the same, but they also solidify our
bonds of unity and friendship and show me anew the surpassing worth of
We're in a new day, Church. We can no longer think of
church as something we do, as if its a social club or somewhere we go
to get a shot of "feel better." We must instead help create a culture
within our churches of familial friendship. Kevin DeYoung says that friendship is the most important-least talked about relationship in the church,
and I tend to agree. We must be actively pursuing deep relationships
with others within our churches in which we bravely share how the gospel
is laying claim to our lives. Of course, this requires vulnerability,
and not vulnerability simply for its own sake, but so that we can know
and be known in a way that helps us endure in truth and grace. If we
don't do this, everyone stands apart as individuals, either not
realizing how the gospel lays claim to them or believing they're the
only ones having to give something up and, therefore, counting the cost
as too great.
Church, this is a call to pursue and value familial
friendship. We cannot call, for example, same-sex attracted people to
submit their desires to Christ, quite possibly abandoning a dream for
marriage, without offering the safe haven and deep companionship of
lifelong family. We cannot call for singles to submit their sexual
desires and hopes for marriage and children to Christ without also
offering ourselves as their family. Church, listen to the words of our
"Peter began to say to [Jesus], 'See, we have left
everything and followed you.' Jesus said, 'Truly, I say to you, there is
no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or
children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive
a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to
come eternal life.'" (Mark 10:28-30)
The call of the gospel is
to walk away and never come back. We belong now to Jesus. But He says
that those who leave everything behind will be enveloped into
family--the Church. He describes the benefits of the Christian family as
far outweighing the costs of submitting ourselves to Christ.
is our way forward in these times. This is how we hold both grace and
truth together rather than simply condemning or, on the other hand,
loving without truth attached. We share our stories--because we all have
them--of how Christ has laid claim to us and how we're wrestling to
submit to Him. We continually call our friends to die to self and live
to God. (I believe this willingness to address sin is what makes
friendship distinctly Christian.) We allow our friends to do the same
for us. And as we call each other to walk away from who we once were,
never to return, we invite them into a Church that looks like family
more than anything else.
Senin, 14 November 2016
A Call to PraiseMy child today is the time to dance in my presences, knowing that I watch jealously over you. For in the dark times, my hand covered you. In the difficult times, I prepared the way for you. Now I am opening the way before you and I invite you to dance.
For joy is your greatest weapon against the enemy and it is also what draws you closer to me. So walk in this fruit of the spirit today and see how it pushes back every dark cloud and opens up the way before you.
For when the enemy has stolen your joy, he has stolen your hope and you no longer see ahead. You no longer want to keep walking. So do not look at what you see. Do not dwell on how you feel in the natural. Rather step into joy! Stand in faith, knowing that I am watching over you as a jealous groom - standing to protect and cover you, everywhere you go!
Come now and shake off the remnants of the past. Shake off the last traces of fear and dance before me in praise today and watch the heavens open on your circumstances says the Lord.
Draw up a New Battle LineRise up and take the land that is set before you my child, for I fight on your behalf. Did I lead you to this land for you to be defeated? Did I lead you to the gates of the enemy, only to be overcome? No, I led you to this place so that you might have the victory!
For you have asked me why I led you into darkness. You wonder why I led you into situations that seemed impossible to overcome. I did not lead you here to overcome you my child! I led you here so that you might become the overcomer!
For you cried out to me and I answered your prayer. You sought me and I led you into this direction. You wanted change and so I have given you the power to bring about that change. You cannot bring the change though in the safety of your own battle lines! To take this land, you need to reach beyond what you have had before and take new land.
To reach the goals you have asked me for, means taking land you did not have before! This means taking the enemy's land. So do not be discouraged, but realize that I have led you right to where you asked me to take you. I have put a sword in your hand. I am giving you the opportunity to take this new land. All that is left for you now child... is to fight!
Time for RefreshingMy living water is inside of you my child. So no matter how thirsty or hungry you are, I have put the answer inside of you already. When you look over your life and see a wilderness or a lack, realize that the answer is not very far away. It is within you!
So take your eyes off the lack and the dryness in your life and put your eyes on me instead. Realize that I have answered even before you have asked. For when you put your eyes on me and begin to praise me, those living waters begin to bubble up from deep inside of you, watering every need.
For it is hard to see clearly when you feel so dry, but when my anointing comes on you, everything is clear again. All you need is a moment in my presence. All you need is a taste of living waters to understand everything that is going on in your life. Your answers will not be found out in the world. The answers will not be found in your escape and they will not be found in the desert. They will be found within you! They will be found in my presence.
So stop now and listen. Listen to my voice. Stop and praise! Allow those waters to bubble up from deep within. In that moment, as my living water washes over you, your mind will become clear. You will feel the peace you seek and you will understand the road that you are on. Then you will begin to walk in wisdom and see things as I see them. So come away now into my presence and experience the blessings I have in store for you, says the Lord. Amen
Sabtu, 12 November 2016
I am Calling You
Listen to my voice today and hear that I am calling you out my child. I know that you feel uncomfortable and do not feel worthy to walk out the call that I have placed on your life. I know that it is sometimes easier to just hide away.
But I have called you and I have created you for a reason my child. I have place a sword in your hand and a treasure in your heart so that you can go out and change this world for me. So do not wait any longer but listen to my command. Listen to the words that I am speaking to you for I will guide you a step at a time.
I will give you what you need to embark the journey that lies ahead of you. It is for you though to take the first step so that I can form you into the vessel that I have called you to be.
Selasa, 08 November 2016
The Conjuring 2
Sadarlah dan berjaga-jagalah! Lawanmu, si Iblis, berjalan keliling sama seperti singa yang mengaum-aum dan mencari orang yang dapat ditelannya (1 Petrus 5:8)
Orang-orang begitu heboh menyatakan bahwa film The Conjuring2 itu seru dan menegangkan. Bagi para penggemar film horror, ini merupakan film yang telah ditunggu-tunggu. Pada bagian awal film tersebut, saya melihat adegan dimana seorang anak kecil bermain-main iseng menggunakan oujia board (papan oujia untuk memanggil arwah). Tanpa sadar ia telah mengundang “makhluk lain” hadir dalam keluarga tersebut.
Melihat film tersebut, saya teringat masa ketika saya saat SD dan SMP dulu. Kami juga sering “iseng-iseng” bermain jailangkung, menanyakan hal-hal sepele seperti siapa yang naksir kita sampai nomor judi angka. Kami tidak menyadari bahwa kami juga telah mengundang kehadiran roh jahat dalam hidup kami sebagaimana anak dalam film tersebut.
Manusia kadang penasaran, mengatakan tidak percaya hal gaib tapi lalu mencoba-coba mencari tahu sebab penasaran. Sering kali dalam ketidaktahuan itu akhirnya manusia malah terpedaya oleh Iblis. Ada orang yang kecanduan untuk diramal, tiap hari dia membaca apa kata bintangnya, atau diramal menggunakan kartu tarot, ada yang mengunjungi paranormal. Para pecandu ramalan ini sangat terobsesi untuk mendapatkan petunjuk dari alam gaib. Sayangnya sumbernya salah, yaitu dari Iblis. Untuk sementara waktu mungkin semua tampak baik-baik saja tetapi perjanjian dengan Iblis akan berujung pada maut.
Tuhan menghendaki agar kita mencari jawaban pada sumber yang benar, yaitu diriNYA. Tuhan menjawab setiap doa kita, termasuk pertanyaan yang ada dalam benak kita. Yeremia 33:3 menyatakan,”Berserulah kepadaKu, maka Aku akan menjawab engkau dan akan memberitahukan kepadamu hal-hal yang besar dan yang tidak terpahami, yakni hal-hal yang tidak kauketahui.” Ayat ini merupakan jaminan dari Tuhan bahwa IA akan mendengar dan menjawab kita.
Datanglah pada sumber yang benar yaitu Tuhan dan jangan menyimpang ke jalan yang lain.
Doa: Tuhan ampuni kami bila pernah bermain api dengan Iblis, hari ini kami datang padaMU, Sumber Kehidupan dan Tuhan kami yang hidup.
Firman Tuhan: 1 Petrus 5:6-11