Monday, February 25, 2019

Real Men Sing?

The mantra is, "Men don't sing." Countless articles, programs, and talking heads in the worship world tell us that men in the congregation just will not sing. Experience seems to line up with this idea. Perhaps we need to be asking what will men engage with when it comes to music? Is there a way for a Real Man to sing? ©2019 Mike Kerby & Jesus' Outsider Ministries

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Part of The Solution

The last two episodes of the Jesus' Outsider Podcast have focused on different aspects of being the church in a time when we are no longer the dominant force in American culture. The first, Cultural Tipping Points and Revival, showed that we are past the point of no return yet there is still a role for a revived Body of Christ. The second, The Unity Mandate, is about the need to unite across denominational, racial, and ethnic lines upon the sure foundation of Christ to fulfill the mission of reaching the world with the Gospel. Both of these are challenging to hear and, at least for me, moreso to speak. They are a hard word, if you will.

Both episodes speak to a stirring in my heart and, I hope, in the hearts of many Christians in this nation. We are long past the point of any political solutions to the nation's and the church's ills. We are in a huge crisis. However, it is exactly where God needs us to be.

Crisis causes things to happen. It's painful. It flies in the face of a comfortable Western church's theology. In truth, we are soft and have allowed doctrines of comfort, ease, wealth, and complacency to dominate our pulpits, bookshelves, and media. To paraphrase I Samuel 18:7, "Poverty has slain its thousand, Prosperity its ten thousands." Pardon the use out of context but there is truth in this statement. The overall wealth and political power of the American Christian Church have left us ill-prepared for the dark days to come. Fragmentation, division, and doctrinal arguments about minutiae are a luxury of a church that has few battles to fight and has lost its identity. So, as the crisis grows, what shall we do?

Our instincts are to do what we have always done. Fight the war in the public arena, shout our beliefs from the mountaintops, and declare our rights in the streets and social media from the safety of our church bunkers. Hunker down, dig our trenches, and stand against the world in our separate congregations. I wish I was exaggerating but that is what has happened. We want to cling to what we've already done thinking it will work.

The second option is to compromise. Go along to get along, as the old idiom goes. Ignore or utterly refute Biblical teachings on sin, repentance, and the need to live holy, pure lives before God and man. Join in the calls for secular versions of justice and disregard the deeper understanding offered in the Word of God. Become just like the world or preach doctrines that allow us to look like the world while still believing we are right with God. This too is happening all too often.

Based upon what I've seen on social media and heard in conversation, one of these first two options are being taken by an increasing majority of those who call themselves Christians. Politics, protests, speeches, and often mean-spirited debate dominate the cultural landscapes and too many Christians are in the forefront. Infighting is growing even if much of the specifics have changed. We are as divided as we have ever been. However, there is a third and better way.

In times of persecution, the church thrives. Why? Because we are forced to focus on what matters. When we are fighting to grow the Kingdom of God against great adversity, we don't have time to argue doctrinal nuances or about denominational loyalty. We are on a rescue mission behind enemy lines and we need to be equipped with the power of God, His Word, and, above all, His love. We need to demonstrate a difference between us and the world that can only be done when we are truly obedient to the Word, pursue holiness and love, and cast aside the divisions that become prisons. Bind yourself to true brethren in Christ and work as a united force for Christ our Lord and King.

It's time to cast off the old loyalties, reliance on programs and church staff, and minute differences and center who we are upon Jesus, the only true King of Kings. We are citizens of His kingdom and need to act accordingly. Our purpose is to be the light of the world as we shine with the light of Jesus and bear His mark. We are to be different and by that difference, bring more into His life, His Kingdom, and His family. Once that is done, we are to equip them through teaching, encouragement, and example to do the same.

Will you join us and be part of the change? Will you help purge sin from the Body of Christ so that we will no longer resemble the world? Will you live humility, love, and true justice before a world that hates you? Will you love your enemies? Will you fight for those you love on your knees not caring about the so-called big picture? Will you trust the Lord for that? Can you love and work with someone whose doctrine isn't exactly like yours? (That's assuming they're not ignoring sections or adding to the Word.)

We cannot afford to remain as we have been. We can start to change now while we're still in the opening days of persecution and be prepared when it falls or we can wait and take much greater casualties. Which will you do?

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Unity Mandate

Our culture has changed. We're no longer living in an environment that supports the church. In fact, if they think of us at all, it's with hostility. In this climate, who are we to be? It's time to get back to the basics and rediscover what it means to be a holy nation and to live Christ's mandate that we be one. However, there are some caveats on that unity from the Word we need to address for the health of the Body. ©2019 Mike Kerby & Jesus' Outsider Ministries

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Cultural Tipping Points and Revivlal

Our culture has changed dramatically in recent years. It's the most turbulent and divided it's been in my memory. This brings up the question, have we passed the tipping point, the point of no return? What role, if any, would a revival play in transforming the culture? Will we see a Christian nation, or at least Christian friendly nation again? ©2019 Mike Kerby & Jesus' Outsider Ministries

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Realities of Abortion

Abortion is a huge issue for our culture and recent developments in politics have made the lines clearer than they have been in decades. However, the reality of abortion is more than just a political talking point or part of a candidate's platform. There's a very real personal side of it. In studio is a special guest, My Lovely Bride and Pastoral Care Director for Jesus' Outsider Ministries Kimberly Kerby, sharing her experience with abortion and talking about how we can handle women who have had or are considering one. ©2019 Mike Kerby & Jesus' Outsider Ministries

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