Cactus Christians

Ever wonder what people think about you? Sure you do. But you tell yourself it doesn’t really matter, right? I mean, who cares what people think? We tell ourselves, “It only matters what GOD thinks about me,” simultaneously affirming ourselves with an emotional pat on the back. Usually when you say something like that to yourself, you’re thinking about people who don’t treat you right, or who have an unflattering opinion of you. Some people just “don’t get” you. Others are stupid and clueless. (I see you nodding in agreement) After all, if you let what others think of you sink in, you’ll be so busy trying to please everybody that you’ll never really know who you are. So, yes, what God thinks about you actually is the only opinion that ultimately matters. 

But the question is, “What does God think about you?”

The answer is not as simple as you might think. We’re programmed to proclaimed “God loves me unconditionally!” and rightly so, and then we move on our merry way. But God also has other thoughts about you. He loves you just the way you are. That will never change. But He also loves you too much to let you stay that way. He doesn’t jut think about the “You” you are today, but He is actively planning the “You” you’ll be in 5 years if you keep faithfully following Him. He thinks about you growing. Changing. Becoming. Being better than you are now. Stronger. More mature. That’s because He’s not finished making you yet.

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Bottom Line: He wants you to be like His Son, so much so that He has ordained it from eternity past! (Romans 8:29). In reality, God thinks lots of thoughts about you. For example, He wants you to show amazing, unusual, countercultural love to His children – your brothers and sisters in Christ (John 13:35). He says this is even more important than feeding the hungry, serving in the community or caring for an orphan (Galatians 6:10). It’s a matter of priority. We begin with the family and move out with love in concentric circles from there (Matthew 22:37-39).

Being a loving person first means knowing you are deeply loved. It means you His love in you overflows to other believers.

Is that what others think about you?

Some “Christians” I know just don’t give love. It’s not one of the tools in their toolbox. They’re rough and “prickly”.

Gimme a Hug

Others are so insecure, they insulate themselves, preventing anyone from really getting close to them.

Insulated

These people are also difficult to spiritually hug.

It makes me wonder if they have ever truly experienced God’s love.

So what does God think of you? If we could interview Him, would He say you’re becoming a loving person?

After all, you can’t give away what you don’t have, right?

Why Macklemore is Not the Enemy

This years Grammy’s took music (and sleaze) to an all-time low, officially posturing itself as a mouthpiece for the a radical gay-rights agenda. Queen Latifah’s officiating of homosexual weddings on prime time television crossed a line, setting foot on new territory in mainstream media. Gay weddings at the Grammys.

Silly us. We thought the Grammys were all about celebrating music.

We were wrong. A new agenda has bullied it’s way into entertainment.

Now I totally get it that some artists’ music is so bad they simply have to surround themselves with stage performers just to entice you to listen. Even more sad is how some female singers (desperate for attention they never got from their daddies) feel compelled to take their clothes off or simulate sex on stage to get noticed. I mean, who would watch their performance if they didn’t, right? How pitiful is it when your career boils down to the point where you effectively say, “Ok, so like I know my music sucks (I don’t even sing it myself (lip-syncing is the way to go, baby!). Anyway, if I don’t do something outrageous like pretend to have sex on stage, then nobody would pay attention to me! And I NEED attention! Please watch me!”

Many years ago, performers like Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, KISS and Madonna also had their own brand of shock presentation. So previous generations are not without their own brands of glam/shock/gore/sensuality. While in high school, I was in a rock band who competed in a “Battle of the Bands”. After our time on stage, I thought, “We’re gonna win this thing going away!”

We got beat by a guy dressed up as a witch.

Ok, maybe our stage presence lacked a little pizzaz.

Obviously, some bands and artists have no real music merit of their own. It’s the “persona” of the presentation that makes them who they are (fill in the blank with the music/showperson that comes to mind. Brittany Spears is playing Vegas now, btw). But I’m actually okay with that. I get the performance part and musicians as entertainers. That’s part of what makes some people interesting and attractive. I even enjoyed Daft Punk’s Grammy performance.

But Macklemore’s musical agenda is another thing altogether. Here are some of his Grammy night lyrics (from the song “Same Love”).

“The right-wing conservatives think it’s a decision/And you can be cured with some treatment and religion/Man-made, rewiring of a pre-disposition, playing God/Ahh, nah, here we go/America the brave still fears what we don’t know/And “God loves all his children” is somehow forgotten/But we paraphrase a book written 3,500 years ago/I don’t know.”

So here’s the message of the song, broken down from his poetic rant.

  1. If you’re a homosexual, you can’t change, even if you wanted to.
  2. Even God can’t change you.
  3. And why would He? He made you this way.
  4. If you disagree with me, you’re homophobic.
  5. All people are God’s children.
  6. The Bible can’t be trusted.

Apart from faulty logic and amateur theology, Mr. Macklemore’s biggest mistake may be elevating himself above everyone who disagrees with him. And what authority does he cite for his absolute conclusions? Popular opinion? The way he “feels”? He goes on to twist more Scripture, redefining “love” and comparing gays to the struggles of black people. Again, if you happen to disagree, you’re a hater.

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All that said, Mr. Misguided Macklemore is not the enemy. And neither are homosexuals. Though Scripture is crystal clear on the morality of the subject, the homosexual issue – both from a personal and public perspective – is a complicated one. I go into much more detail about this in my new book – As It Was in the Days of Noah. But suffice it to say, there’s a bit more involved than simply shouting, “Hey, all you gays! Stop it!”

Jesus’ disciples should neither surrender our convictions nor allow themselves to be steamrolled by society’s blatant redefining of marriage and civilization itself. But we still hit a glitch when a certain sin becomes socially acceptable. It’s like they changed the rules of the game on us, and we’re left on the sidelines. And we don’t like that. We feel left out. Unpopular. Unliked.

We’re going to have to get over that.

And you’ll need to prepare yourself, because it’s only going to get more acute in the last days. As we rapidly approach the end times, those who follow Christ and His Scripture will become more marginalized. And hated.

Just for believing.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t currently fight to preserve the sanctity of marriage and morality. But it also doesn’t mean we demonize immoral people or those who think our faith is disgusting. Hey, news flash. Lost people do what lost people do. That’s why they’re “lost”. Why should you expect more of them? That’s not being fair to them.

According to Scripture, Christians have but one true “adversary”. Waging war against him means believing that only Jesus can change people. Don’t hate on Queen Latifah. And stop obsessing about ridding the world of immorality. Instead, focus on yourself. Major on being Jesus’ representative to those He’s placed in your life. You can still love your neighbor and not allow them to burn your house down. Love isn’t some pacifistic perversion or being a spineless creature. It means you have the strength to be compassionate towards those with whom you may strongly disagree. To do otherwise is to misrepresent the One who showed unconditional love to you in your own sinful state.

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In one sense, I agree with the words of “Same Love”, just not in the way Macklemore intended. He stumbled onto truth when he said that people can’t change themselves through a “decision” or external pressure from morality and religion. And neither can he change his own mind about homosexuality, especially since he has a hit song about it! Only a sovereign God can change the human heart.

If I’ve learned anything in 32 years of ministry, it’s that we should never underestimate the miracle-working power of God’s Spirit. And that means He sometimes surprises us with the ones He chooses to save. Keep praying and believing that people like Macklemore will one day experience the Same Love the Father has shown to you.