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Explain this to me…

This post has been a long time coming.  (And I mean years.)

The last year has been a year of Jesus really working on my heart when it comes to loving people regardless of who they are. First, let me give you some background, though.

After getting engaged last June, I started trying to figure out who would be in my bridal party.  In the process of picking my bridesmaids, I almost didn’t pick one of my best friends and cousin who I run this blog with.  Why?  Because I was worried about what other people would think about Ryan being a “bridesmaid” (a title he’s okay with) and not a “groomsman.”

Can I gently explain something to you?  It doesn’t matter how feel about Ryan being transgender.  It doesn’t matter how you feel about it.

Here’s what matters:

  • We’re not to judge anyone else.

Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3 ESV)

  • That we treat everyone in the LGBTQ community with love and respect.  Because, guess what, church?  They’re not getting it.  I see it all the time.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34 ESV)

  • Realize that although someone may identify as LGBTQ, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily acting on it.  (Do I have to say that?)
  • Stop ostracizing them!
  • If someone tells you they’re LGBTQ, don’t tell them they’re wrong.  (Seriously?) Understand that there’s a difference between an educated, biblical discussion about the matter and a rude, ignorant one that’s going to ruin your relationship with them.

So, if anyone has a problem with one of my bridesmaids wearing pants… that’s your issue, not mine.  Because Ryan will be in my wedding party along with the rest of my bridesmaids.  

Disclaimer  By no means am I supporting or affirming same sex marriage or relationships.  However, I have heard enough stories on my own (and my circle isn’t that big!) of the church flat out rejecting people that have admitted they were LGBTQ. ***

So, why is this post titled, explain this to me?

As someone whose heart breaks for those who many churches leave behind and just tend to forget and overlook (not all churches, please do not think I’m saying all churches here).  The churches that do exceedingly well here, please keep doing what you’re doing!  You’re doing amazing work fulfilling the Great Commission.  While the church as a whole has made strides when it comes to helping others in need and becoming more diversified.  Why can we not allow our brothers and sisters who identify as LGBTQ to serve and be a part of the body of believers? It still amazes me and irritates me.

Check out these previous posts!

Take Me to Church … Literally

Yeah, I Wanna Get Married Young (Original Post)

Dating Someone Who Doesn’t Love Jesus

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Fear of Fulfilling the Great Comission

White_Church_Building_Fear_of_Fulfilling_The_Great_Commission

This week’s Verse of the Week is Acts 1:8- Stop.  Do you know what this verse is?  Before I include it, (I’ve linked to it, so you can look at the whole verse at the bottom of this post!) this should be one of the defining verses of our faith. So why isn’t it one that we know by heart?  It’s been on my heart a lot lately that we do not know this enough and therefore fail to act on it, so you’ll probably see this verse popping up a lot.  And when I say a lot take my word for it. 🙂

Acts 1:8

How come this statement of Jesus isn’t written everywhere? I’m going to break it in half, because I believe there are two reasons that have are also one in the same.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” Acts 1:8a NLT

To be completely honest, I think we’ve gotten really good at focusing on God the Father and Jesus Christ in the church and shying away from truly talking about the Holy Spirit.  Why?  We’re scared.

We’re scared we might scare people.

We’re scared we might say the wrong thing (we probably will and we do all the time about other things too which is okay because we’re humans, too.)

We’re scared people might get too spiritual.

Yep, I said that.  What if people actually started doing crazy things in the name of Jesus instead of sitting in church on Sundays and Wednesdays and went and did something about what they believed.  What if they started saying people were going to be healed and believed it? What if they started a new business that was completely and totally honoring to God?  What if that drew them away from the amount of time they spent at church?  I think the church is afraid of that.

“‘I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.’ You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.  Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!'” John 14:12-14 NLT

Why?

We’re scared that the this “radical” faith might scare people that are totally comfortable not living that way and they might stop coming to church.

We, as in the Western church, might actually face some sort of persecution.  People aren’t particularly bothered by others going to a meeting on Sundays and Wednesdays.  When they start to get annoyed is when they actually defend and live out their beliefs.  That’s when we’ll run into some road blocks.  Here’s the thing.  Jesus said we are supposed to be persecuted, right?  So when we’re not being persecuted I think we need to look around and say, “We’re doing something wrong.” John 15:20

The Holy Spirit is a gift.  Why would we not appreciate and focus on such a gift?

“If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11:13 NLT

My second point still revolves around fear, but more around the fear of literally going and fulfilling the Great Commission which we are empowered to do because of the Holy Spirit.

“You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8b NLT

We shake at the call to tell people about Jesus, especially if it means going out of our comfort zone as Jesus was saying we are to do here.  Sometimes that might mean moving halfway across the world.  To others it may mean staying where you are but going way beyond yourself in your ministry.  Reaching out to someone you would really rather not. Moving to that area of town where no one else really wants to go but you know that that’s where Jesus have you.    Whatever it means for you personally the function of the church as a whole depends on each individual member? Don’t believe me?

“The church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.” Ephesians 1:23 NLT

Can’t one body part being out of commission mean the whole body is as well? We don’t want the church to walk with a limp, do we?  We want it to thrive and for that to happen, it must be one, depending on each individual part to function as intended by God.

We have to trust that God has a plan for each individual member of the church.  We don’t get to choose that, as much as we might like to.  (When I was in high school I always hated writing, but it’s literally one of my favorite things to do now.  Why? Because I’m doing it to glorify God and it gives me joy.)

 

 

“But you receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere– in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NLT  This is the Great Commission! Jesus’ last words; we value all of Jesus words but we should especially value these.

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“Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you.” John 15:20 NLT

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