Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fractious Times

I recently announced on my personal page that I would no longer watch my beloved NFL. That simple announcement with a short accompanying reason got more response than posts that actually matter. I have friends on both sides of the issue. The truth for me is deeper than some form of entertainment. I am choosing not to support anything that contributes to the fragmentation and tribalism that divides us.

In the long run, my decision isn't about who's right and who's wrong. It's about not wanting to see everything I enjoy or watch mired in politics and division. There was a time when playing the National Anthem wasn't considered political but part of the unifying factor that no matter your race, political views, gender, or any other distinction, we were still bound by the commonality of being Americans. It was nothing more than that. When even something so time honored has been turned into something divisive, I can't participate. That's true whether it's a sport, movie, or television program. Propagandize in the guise of entertainment and I don't watch. If I want to watch political programming, then I'll turn it on although that almost never happens. My life isn't made richer by watching people argue and I'm certainly not drawn closer to Jesus by it.

As I've discussed on a number of episodes of the Jesus' Outsider Podcast, we are growing more and more fractured and divided not only as a nation but as a church. We are separating ourselves into ever more narrowly defined tribes. Political affiliations, denominations, minor issues of doctrine, and even sport team fandoms are just a few of the growing camps of us versus them. We are wrathful and wrangling over words and concepts that mean little to our purpose in Christ. In fact, these divisions, protests, counter protests and all the rest of the nonsense happening are huge hindrances to the fulfillment of The Great Commission. That was the point of the episode, Stay Focused.

Consider this quote from C.S. Lewis and his groundbreaking book, The Screwtape Letters:

My Dear Wormwood,
Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves as an excellent distraction from advancing in personal virtue, character, and the things the patient can control. Make sure to keep the patient in a constant state of angst, frustration, and general disdain towards the rest of the human race in order to to avoid any kind of charity or inner peace from further developing. Ensure teh patient continues to believe that the problem is "out there" in the "broken system" rather than recognizing there is a problem with himself.
Keep up the good work,
Uncle Screwtape
What better way to keep the Church from being effective than to keep us angry and divided? Jesus himself prayed that we would be one just and He and the Father are one (John 17). The greatest times of church growth and power was when we were united and our good works were visible to all men. Even a cursory reading of Acts reveal how when the church was united and devoted their lives to living the Gospel, their number was added to daily. Can any of us say that anymore?

To put is simply, the enemy is doing a great job of keeping the Body of Christ divided and focused on the wrong things. I know that all of us have a specific part to play in His church and in advancing the Kingdom of God. If we are spending all of our time on these useless distractions, can we actually achieve them? Paul warns Timothy to avoid foolish and arrogant arguments. (2 Tim 2:23-26) as well as in Romans and Titus. There's a reason for these and all the other warnings throughout Scripture.

We're not here to change the world through political action, protests, or arguments. That's not why Jesus came. He came to seek and save that which is lost. How far can we deviate from that purpose because an entertainer expresses an opinion or because we support an earthly political party or agenda? Nothing is worth more than living Jesus in front of a lost and dying world. Consider that when you post on Facebook or take a stand.

If you want to make a real difference, be Jesus to someone. Examine your own heart for hatred and sin. Or, if you're willing to take a greater risk, do what David did and ask the Lord to examine your heart and see if there be any wicked way in me. (Psalm 139:23-24) Pursuing the Lord diligently and letting your good works speak for themselves to bring glory not to you but to God is what we're here for and nothing else. Listen to the episode Purpose in Victory for more details. You're here for a reason. Don't let this world's nonsense, anger, and sin distract you and draw you in. You can choose the higher road and just not participate.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Stay Focused

During my tenure with a small, innercity ministry and church in Peoria, the senior pastor liked to use the statement, "Keep the main thing the main thing!" In this day and age, that sage counsel seems to be harder and harder to keep. It's no longer even a given that American Christians know what the main thing is anymore. Rediscover it in a charged climate and find some real peace. ©2017 Mike Kerby & Jesus' Outsider Ministries

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Purpose in Victory

Once you've achieved #VictoryinJesus, there has to be something more. Such a huge gift could not possibly just to make you happy. There's more to the Victorious Christian Life than just thrills and chills and it might just be the most important thing you hear all week. ©2017 Mike Kerby & Jesus' Outsider Ministries

Check out this episode!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Maintaining The Victory

Okay, so you've discovered the real victorious Christian life. Now what? Walking it out isn't all that easy. There are pitfalls along the way that we all must be aware of. Victory, once won, must be kept and maintained. ©2017 Mike Kerby & Jesus' Outsider Ministries

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Victorious Life

We all want to live a #VictoriousChristianLife! The Scriptures teach us what that means and how we can do it. This life is so unique that it may be hard to recognize by any standard we know. However, the world is looking for it, for the difference.  ©2017 Mike Kerby & Jesus' Outsider Ministries

Check out this episode!