Should Atheists Be Altruistic?

Recently, I had the pleasure of enjoying a local, annual festival near where I live. There are a lot of vendors there, local organizations, political booths, my favorite Pai Lum school was there. I got to spend it with my family and people that I love. And I had some awesome Turkish coffee.

Mixed in with all of this was a local atheist organization who is very dedicated to atheism. They were selling your typical bumper stickers that read things like “My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma” and “Hell Doesn’t Scare Me” and “I believe in life before death”.

You know, the typical atheist response to religion of any form.

(BTW, atheism is a religion, but we’ll get into that another time.)

Seeing this booth forced me to ask the question (sadly, not to them):

Should atheists be altruistic?

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The Struggle to Love

As I turn from my sins and turn closer to God, I see just how evil I truly am. I slowly see the darkness of my own heart and how much I suck at what once seemed simple.

Like love.

I don’t mean the love I show for God or even my wife and daughter.

It is my love for my fellow man and those I spend my time with.

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Tim Tebow on Trusting God

This morning, Tim Tebow spoke on KLOVE radio regarding his upcoming event “Night to Shine” that celebrates special needs. This takes place in 7 countries, including the United States, in which 48 states participate.

Students with special needs come to this event all dressed up, sometimes with a date, mostly with their parents, and they get to dance and have fun and enjoy prom, because odds are good that they wouldn’t get to do it in real life. For one night, these young men and women get to be princes and princesses.

First things first, God bless you, Tim Tebow, and your willingness to use your fame and worldwide recognition to spread the message about the uniqueness of special needs and using these opportunities to give those with special needs something they might never have.

Secondly, Tim has amazing things to say regarding trusting God with your life, and I have to say that it was definitely something I needed to hear this morning, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

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Who is My Neighbor?

“The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'” – Luke 10:29

We all know the story that comes next. The story of the Samaritan man who rescued a poor beaten Israelite from certain death on the roadside. But let’s put this whole thing in cultural perspective real quick.

Who walks by this man? First, a priest walks by. This guy was constantly in the presence of God. Some translations have Jesus portray this man as a Pharisee. But we get the point here that this man was extremely religious. Someone who spent his time in the Law, reading and praying and ministering before God. And his response to the half-dead bleeding man on the side of the road? He goes around the man, crossing to the OTHER SIDE of the road.

Continue reading “Who is My Neighbor?”

The End of Me

I recently reached the end of me. I reached that point that I hope and pray that no one ever reaches in their lives because it is painful and scary and full of so much confusion and doubt.

At the same time, I hope and pray that the people who need to reach the end of them, do reach that point.

Continue reading “The End of Me”

How Jesus Dealt With Sin

So, we have a serious problem in the Church, and just in our world in general.

This is something I’ve talked about before, and I’ll talk about it again and again, because we always need a refresher course in something that we struggle with the most. As a matter of fact, before Jesus’ crucifixion, He told the apostles that when the Holy Spirit comes, “He will remind you of all the things I have told you.” (John 14:26; The Message) So, it makes sense that I talk about this again.

I spoke about this in my last post regarding judgment and how we don’t have the right to judge anyone in this world, primarily because we ourselves struggle with our own sins and problems. After that post, I got to thinking.

I began to wonder, “If we aren’t supposed to judge others for their sins, then how are we supposed to respond in a world where sin abounds?”

That led to another question that practically answered the first one, “How did Jesus deal with the sin that abounded in the world and community around him?”

When you look at Jesus’ earthly ministry, His most “judgmental” language was toward those who thought themselves better than everyone else, those members of the religious elite, the ones who were supposed to be leading the people to God. When it came to everyone else, Jesus was nothing but loving and caring and understanding.

Not once did Jesus every criticize a single person who came to Him for the sins they had committed or the way they lived their lives. You never read about Jesus saying “God hates fags” or “You’re a slut, you’re going to hell” or spewing any words of hate toward the sinners and tax collectors who approached Him for teaching and healing and forgiveness.

Instead, Jesus just loved them. That’s all. It was simply the fact that they spend time with Someone Who loved them instead of judging them, like the Pharisees and the religious elite did. It was the mere amazingness of being in the presence of Jesus and being cared for by Him that caused many to change their lives radically. No one who came into contact with Jesus as He truly is ever walked away the same again. They were changed simply by His love and presence.

Church, let me tell you that *THIS* is how we should respond to a world that is drowning in sin and disregard for God and His Word. Instead of being like Westboro Baptist and going to military, police and gay funerals and protesting them and screaming words of hate and judgment, we should be loving them, mourning with them in their loss, and loving them, not pointing out their sins and failures, but showing them the God of love.

We need to deal with sin the way Jesus dealt with sin: not necessarily ignoring it, but loving despite the person’s sin(s) and allowing our love, our example of the true and loving Christ, to wash over them. And we need to hope and pray that we show Jesus as He truly is and that it will cause curiosity in their lives and cause them to turn to Him as well and that simply being in His presence, their lives will change and they will be transformed.

Remember, Jesus was and still is a friend of sinners. As a result, we should be the same

The Church: Separate but Equal?

Recently, I came across this Facebook post: “I’m not perfect. my relationship with God is just that. Mine. And I will find MY strength on MY own with MY realtionship with Heavenly Father.”

This is, sadly, the face of the young American church today: “I will figure out my way to God, my own way, by myself. I don’t need your help or your advice or your suggestions. I don’t care how you did it. Let me figure it out on my own.”

We live in a world where independence is the norm. We want to do everything ourselves. And if we can’t figure it out, we go to the internet for information or instructions.

This isn’t how it is supposed to be at all, especially in the Church.

Let’s take a look at the early Church, the group of believers who were gathered together after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles.

According to the book of Acts, “..the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” (4:32; emphasis mine).

Note that they were all together, worshiping together, sharing everything. They submitted to the teachings of the Apostles and even sold land and possessions to help out with the needs of others. These men and women were all together, learning from each other, teaching each other, caring for one another.

This is just one image of the early Church. The book of Acts is filled with examples of people joining together to learn and to teach and to care for other members of the Church. None of them thought it was up to them, by themselves, to learn about God and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Church was meant to be a community. If we weren’t meant to learn from others, then why does the Bible insist that we join together?

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25; emphasis mine)

It is essential to meet together as a body of believers and to learn from each other, not to go it alone. Churches were formed to continue the building up of good works and love, and you can’t do that if you are on your own. If you are neglecting meeting with Christians, if you are refusing to seek or to listen to the words of those who have walked this path before, then you will surely be lost.

When Jesus sent out the apostles, He sent them two by two. When Paul when on his missionary journeys, he took people with him. There are extremely rare instances where you find any believer by themselves, trying to figure the Christian life out on their own. It’s just not possible.

So, to my friends who choose to walk the line alone, I pity you. I pray that you will return to the fellowship of believers and that you choose to live in community with those who are powerful, mature and sincere Christians, and that you do not walk alone. For the walk with Christ is meant to be walked in community, not by yourself.

We are the Body of Christ, not individual members walking alone, without a home, without a host, without a family.

Rejoin the Body of Christ…live in community…be co-dependent…depend on someone to lead and teach and help you…there are others who need the same from you.

The Disciple(s) Whom Jesus Loved

It took me a while to figure out the words for this, and even now, I don’t have the “right” words, but I’m going to let this one go how the Spirit of God leads me.

As many people who know me are aware, I don’t spend time with the most reputable people. While they have successful jobs and wonderful relationships with one another and their significant others, they are not the kind of people most people would want to spend time with.

They are arrogant, self-centered, overbearing, proud, cocky men and women. They are drunkards, partakers of drugs, sexually immoral and promiscuous. They curse, they lie, they make and break promises. They are a crazy group of people that I see on a weekly or semi-weekly basis.

They are my friends. I love them dearly. 

Right now you’re asking yourself, “Why does he spend time with them? What about the gospel of Christ?”

That is where the gospel of Christ lies. God has chosen the foolish and the unlikely to carry the message to the world.

And have you never read of the people with whom Jesus spent His time. They were tax collectors (the worst type of people in His world and ours), prostitutes, sinners, Romans, Samaritans, Zealots (passionate believers known to murder for their cause), and drunkards. I’m sure many of them had their own vulgarities that the Pharisees found offensive, but Jesus tolerated. And why?

Because He loved them. And today, He loves my little band of ruffians. He loves that crew the thumbs their nose at Him day in and day out. That is why I stay.

Granted, I make sure that His message and my witness is not damaged by my association with them. I share Christ when I am able,  and I have slowly changed my lifestyle to reflect that of Christ and not of the world.

So, it’s okay to spend time with those whom the Pharisees of this world deem “unclean”. Remember, Jesus loves the outcasts. He loves the ones this world loves to hate.

However, be careful that your association with them does not cause you to leave Christ. For as Paul said, quoting from a popular work of his time, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Don’t forget, Jesus was a friend of sinners, forgetting and forgiving the things that divide them and loving them. So should you, for you were once a desperate sinner, separated from God in your darkness, but He reached across the void and forgave and loved you, and still loves you.

Do the same to the outcasts, the sinners, the leper and the lame.

“You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet.”