Tag Archives: misconception

Social prejudice causing gender confusion

We all have prejudices – we just seem unable to prevent it. However how we allow them to influence us is a matter of choice.

In our churches, I sometimes find that prejudice causes tremendous harm to the body of Christ.

Allow me to illustrate some of the prejudice I am talking of by giving a few illustrated examples:

  1. If a young man loves to play rugby, soccer or tennis we are 100% fine with that.

If a young man loves to do pantomime, clownery, theater… well that                         is odd, but ok.

However if a young man loves to do ballet, rhythmic dancing or the                           likes, we presume he is homosexual.

  1. If a lady decides to choose to be a hairdresser, teacher or secretary, we seem ok with it.

What if a woman chooses to become a car mechanic for trucks and                              big machinery… and does so with absolute passion?

  1. If teenage boys hold hands to express their friendship and give hugs to one another to express their friendship when greeting one another…
  2. If men love knitting, sowing wedding dresses, become a make-up artist, …
  3. If woman become the president of a huge corporate company full of men in the management department, or if a woman becomes the president…
  4. If a young boy loves playing with dolls for a change …

What would your honest and most inward reaction be? Can you see how some of these touch on prejudice you carry?

While I am sure, we all have prejudice regarding some matters, and while I agree that at large we need to redeem the purpose and meaning and office of true manhood or womanhood, this is not the matter at stake here.

I have met young men in churches, who passionately worship God with rhythmic dance. They are men of God, in love with Jesus and fully steadfast in their gender as a man. However they are stigmatized due to our humanistic societal view of such behavior. They struggle, and if it weren’t for their love for God, they’d probably had left long ago.

But now let us stop and think here for a minute:

Would that not mean that we as a church are somewhat an “exclusive club” where people need to fit into pattern A or B? Do we thus perhaps even promote gender confusion?

What if a young man, were to leave church, find social acceptance in a society outside of church, to just be able to live their passion? And if with that comes the deception of the world, tempting them to enter sin as an unfortunate, yet life-destroying add-on to their passion?

I fear, many do.

I say, in that way we as a church fail all too often. We collect burning coals on our heads, as a consequence of our ignorance and lack of Christ-likeness, driving those seeking to sin.

What if today a lesbian couple were to enter our church, with an earnest longing for God. Would we facilitate an encounter for them, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict of sin? Or would we treat them as lepers and try doing the job of the Holy Spirit ourselves?

We as a church should be different from the world but without the help of God, we will be no different. Changing our reactions to prejudice, facilitating God encounters for everyone, and creating space for people who are different, even if they might be just as broken and imperfect as we are, is something that needs divine enablement!

Let us be the change so longed for by a broken world. Let us love in spite of prejudice, let us embrace difference as what it is: Gods beauty in diversity on display.

And let us stand in unity on a path of conversion and transformation, where incomplete, broken people come to stand side by side to – by the grace of God – achieve advancement of His kingdom!

I am not saying, let us approve of sin, but I am taking a stand, that we should be able to discern when it is our lack of sensitivity and love, that keeps people from God.

Let us seek His face and trust for Him to reveal to us, where we can become more Christ-like in our daily walks, in our churches and communities.

May God bless you abundantly!

When God says “NO”

There are moments in our Christian lives when God says neither “yes” nor “wait” but contrary to our religious ideas gives us a loud “no” when we least expect it.

To make a long story short that is exactly what happened to me this year. I had a desire on my heart that I had brought before God time and time again. Knowing part of my calling from God, I got frustrated with where I was and started longing for where I could eventually be. Don’t get me wrong…I believe we should constantly strive to reach the best we can be at what God gives us, however I started despising what God had given me. Deep inside my heart, there were moments when I only exercised frustrated obedience to what God had last instructed me to do. However that is a long way from being submissive and surrendering unto God.

So beginning of this year, it finally seemed as if God was getting to move in the direction I had hoped for so long. I made an enquiry… a short one…doubting if I’d ever get any answer to it (as I had not received answers to similar enquiries in the past) and within hours basically got offered a job. My dream job as it seemed. They continued to pursue me and over the next couple of months ALL doors imaginable seemed to open. It even seemed God was preparing me for the job.

I then went overseas to meet the team in May. The idea was to see if I fit the team before signing contracts. Two weeks before my flight, I broke my foot surfing. From that moment on, it strangely seemed like doors that God had opened were closing. The question remaining: “Is it God showing me that this is not what He has for me, or is it the devil trying to keep me from my destiny with God?” I decided it was the latter. So I still went overseas…on crutches.

When I got there, everything seemed perfect. The teaching was solid, the possible colleagues were really friendly, the ministry seemed to flourish. However the joy I had had up to the point of breaking my foot about it, didn’t set in. So I started to pray for God to reveal to me what was going on.

I received verses from people I trust… and from God, which I didn’t quite understand…and although they seemed to imply something positive, I was hesitant. Only when receiving the full verse I understood why. Psalm 106:15

Then a dear friend that I shared my dilemma with made me aware of something essential. For the past 6 years, I had been reluctant in my obedience to God. I had never embraced what He had given me, but instead had behaved like being on the platform of a train station, waiting for my train that would say: “calling”. Whilst I was still talking to my friend, God’s voice clearly called out from my inside: “Is what I have for you, not enough?”

Long story short, I didn’t need more invitations to repent than that. I deeply repented, then put my dream and the prospective job on Gods’ altar, allowing Him to do with it what He seemed fit.

The next day it happened that I was reading the story of Balaam (Numbers 22:23-27). It was one of those moments, when the Bible starts becoming alive. It matched my own story SO much… Balaam going where he believed he was supposed to go, the donkey moving off track to avoid an angel from God with a drawn sword, Balaam hitting the donkey, the next time the donkey thus moves aside to the other side, crushing Balaams foot. Only THEN Balaam sees the messenger from God.

To me Gods’ will was clear now. I declined the job. Shortly after the event, joy was restored. My heart was even filled with gratitude for Gods’ correction to my life.  When I returned home, it truly felt like home for the first time. I decided to fully embrace my job, not waiting impatiently for Gods’ next move, but loving with all my strength, leaving it to God whether He thinks it’s time to move or not.

This “NO” was clearer than most “no’s” I have ever had in my life. It was painful and humiliating to accept it initially. But God provided even in these moments. Often we fear Gods’ “no” so much, however all He wants is to help us stay on track so we can walk within His will. I trust Gods’ plans are higher than mine and His thoughts better than mine. I am grateful for His “no” and am excited about God.

Comparison Christianity and Islam Part 3

The idea behind this post is to educate. Further comparisons will follow in similar fashion.

(Information will partially be taken from: thereligionofpeace.com . That is not to say that I agree with all of their content, but I judge the content in this case as unbiased and a good representation of it.)

Differences Between 
Early Muslims and Early Christians

Muhammad’s Companions…

Jesus’ Disciples…

Lived as warriors.

Lived like harmless hippies.

Slew and persecuted religious minorities.

Were slain and persecuted
as a religious minority.

Emphasis on Jihad (the way of Muhammad)

“He who fights that Allah’s word should
be superior fights in Allah’s cause”
(Bukhari 53:355)

Emphasis on Evangelism (the way of Jesus)

“Go ye into all the world and preach
the gospel to every creature”

(Matthew 15:16)

Attacked and conquered the populations in
parts of 28 modern countries in just the first
three decades following Muhammad’s death.

Did not resort to violence of any sort,
despite tremendous persecution.

Declared holy war on the people of five
major world religions in just the first
100 years following Muhammad’s death.

Went centuries without declaring ‘holy war’.

Plundered and lived off the wealth of others.

Gave away their possessions to those in need.
(Acts 2:44-45)

Captured and enslaved non-Muslim people.

Considered themselves to be slaves of others.

Waged war to keep members from leaving
the religion.  Put apostates to death.

No record of aggression toward apostates.

Muhammad’s own family members quickly
fell into armed warfare against each other.

Jesus’ disciples never resorted to violence
against one another (or anyone else).

First 240 Years:
11 of the first 32 caliphs were
murdered by fellow Muslims.

First 240 Years: 
14 of the first 25 popes were martyred by
pagans (none by fellow Christians).

Caliphs were polygamous and maintained  harems of hundreds of captured sex slaves.

Popes were expected to be celibate.

Islamic mosques sustained by taxes forced from subjugated non-Muslims (the jizya).

Christian churches sustained
by voluntary tithes from Christians.

Our Superhero died, and we bolted

We all have Superhero’s … some of them are more obvious than others: rock stars, TV actors, top athletes, the pope, pastors, our fathers … and so did the disciples.

They had wondered the face of the earth for about three years with their master and mentor, Jesus. They had reached situations where there was clearly NO way out… but every time Jesus came through with the solution…always a bit late but never too late it seems.

Let’s look at some of them:

A hungry mass of people (5000 to be exact – counting only the men; add a fair 10000 to get the total) walking after Jesus, waiting for a touch, a word, an encouragement from Him, followed the disciples and Jesus from morning until late afternoon. Jesus is clearly done teaching and the disciples are tired and hungry too, but instead of sending them home it’s suggested the disciples give these 15000 followers something to eat. However a mere 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish will not do. (John 6:1-13) But in the last instant, AFTER the disciples had to settle these masses in groups of 50 (try doing that for a change), JESUS comes through… and SOMEHOW when he breaks the bread and fish… it becomes more. All the people get food until they are FULL and 12 BASKETS full of crumbs remain.

Jesus tells his disciples to row out onto the Sea of Galilee (that is known for fierce storms with immense high waves). (Luke 8:22-25) Whilst He takes a nap in the boat, the disciples enter a storm (one of these fierce ones – and mind me say… these men KNEW how to steer a boat, they were fishermen). Whilst they are fighting to keep the ship OVER water, Jesus continues sleeping. When Peter wakes Him, shouting at Him to make it clear they are about to drown, JESUS gets up, tells the storm to stop, and immediately even nature obeys His command. What a superhero.

When friends during one of His crusades through the country approach Him with the news, that his friend, Lazarus is severely ill and needs His healing powers, Jesus makes His way there (healing many along the way and being delayed). (John 11:1-45) So when He arrives Lazarus is dead already and Martha, one of his sisters approaches Jesus in despair and tells him he’s too late. Jesus is deeply touched by this moment – He even cries. However, again the disciples are to witness yet another miracle, when Jesus tells Lazarus to get up from the dead, and he does.

So here we had only three incidents… one of power over the amount of supplies, one where power of the forces of nature is displayed and one where even Hades seems to buckle under His command. There are even more, when looking at all the healing miracles, but I guess you get my point. Here is a genuine SUPERhero. He was a Superhero to the nation that got touched by His powers, to the people whose lives had been changed forever, to His disciples (for even though they spend time with Him constantly, He never seemed to fail in His superpowers).

Now comes the events around Jesus crucifixion and the disciples for the first time witness a Jesus different from their self made Superhero. Jesus seems to be in despair (they had never seen Him like that before), He talked things they more and more did not understand (about temples being destroyed and rebuilt (John 2:19), Him dying (Mark 10:32-34)) and here HE is, seemingly suddenly powerless when they come to arrest Him, try Him, sentence Him (John18) and crucify Him. HE DIES.

Of course they bolted. Wouldn’t you have? They were scared! They had never seen their Master like that! He didn’t seem to have any super powers any longer, which meant that they as His followers might be in dire straits too. They bolted.

And so would you, and so would I. And so we have.

Often our superhero’s are less obvious... they are our pastors, mentors, parents, friends… and when they mess up, we are quick to drop them. I have seen many leave churches, for their superhero’s were defeated (they were eventually only human) pastors, leaders, mentors. I have seen many, leave a ministry, when their superhero leader of it, fails to fulfil their dream goals.

Following a pastor, a mentor, a leader OTHER than JESUS was never intended. People leave churches, ministries etc due to lack of performance according to their standards. They leave because their focus… their superhero was a human being. Instead of praying for them and giving support.

In the body of Christ, we should never deify people. Unless JESUS is our superhero and the reason why we are in it – all is in vain. I therefore ask you to think and pray about your own life. Change perspective and make JESUS your focus and aim to please HIM instead of people.

May God bless you!

10 Steps, a Recipe or Christianity?

We are human. We love a recipe… for every aspect of life; to cook, to lose weight, to get fit, to escape burn-out, to define ourselves, to success,…

Then we look at the Old Testament Pharisees and we condemn them of giving the Israelites a recipe on how to live life that is pleasing to God. We call it dead religion.

Then comes Jesus. Radical, NON religious as it gets, revolutionist, DIFFERENT from every recipe or 10 step plan mankind knows up to then… and changes it all! He is disgusted by ‘dead religion’, by all the rules set out to please our need for a recipe to fix and do it all and get it all right.

Today, here we stand… and again most of us are stuck with a recipe on how to be a Christian and a 10 step plan on living sanctified lives. We often are no different from these Pharisees… our rules just SEEM different. They sound something like this:

–          go to church on a regular basis

–          don’t smoke, drink, etc

–          don’t watch movies like…

–          do good works for God

–          pray a prayer of salvation and let the pastor affirm you are saved now

–          cleanse your house of anything that might deny God

–          …

And I imagine Jesus standing by and shouting out to get heard through the haze of tradition and religion, weeping because what we follow is a 10 step plan or some modern recipe that is NO different from the Pharisees tradition… but we miss the point. We are to follow HIM.

All we are to do…is get to know Jesus/God more. Know Him more today than yesterday, tomorrow more than today.

How do we do that, if not by our newly created religion? Easy…and difficult at the same time:

Instead of following instructions by people who claim to be Christians (and authors at times, of Christian books)… read the Bible, pray…read it again, pray… and again! Every time you fail to understand what it means, get down on your knees and pray. Don’t give up… continue to pray. Your knees are sore?… then get on your feet and pray… talk to GOD… scream out for Jesus… ask for wisdom (for God promises to give it to us if we ask for it). If you feel you cannot go on, on your own…get a brother or sister in Christ… now both of you… get down on your knees… pray!

Draw near to God! Draw closer to Jesus! Let the Holy Spirit confirm your salvation to you… let Him confirm God’s will to you by allowing you to understand the Bible! Let GOD speak to you!

And many of the things that you would have done out of purely following recipes before, now will follow out of conviction and a relationship to God!

You will not KNOW GOD more by following the religious recipe of Christians! You will miss the point if that is all you do. Even if you do it with an upright heart and devoted soul.

Unless JESUS and a relationship to HIM is the centre of your being… the rest is dead works…and will lead to death… not to the life you so dearly desire.

Change your life today! DRAW NEAR TO GOD!

Misconceptions

I look and I see: … Christians going to church only on Christmas and Easter, other going daily… Christians that are one person on Sunday and another on Monday… Christians, not going to church at all… Christians making war – hating, hurting, harassing … Christians not allowing others to “Be”… Christians thinking a liberal view on what the Bible says is normal and the rest of the people thinking otherwise are radicals… I see… a confused Christianity.

Let us look at it some more. If you are Christian… let’s allow God to correct us… if you are not Christian… perhaps behind all our flaws you will discover of who God is. Let’s read on.

Being a Christian who is living her faith for 12 years now, I have come across many of the above forms of Christianity… some of them were part of my life just as well. However why do I write? Perhaps I am fed up… perhaps only in thought… perhaps full of love. You decide.

Here some of the misconceptions and what the Bible says accordingly:

1. Christians have their faith only as a crutch in times of need.

Well… true that is. Many use their faith like that. However this is a misconception as soon as faith is being used as an excuse for faulty behaviour or lacking reactions. On the contrary: Christians should live up to the highest standards of all…being different…and yes, they do ask God about what to do and what not to do… but whatever they do they WILL be held responsible for it! Many times God asks us to be different (look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 or at 1.Corinthians 13) and even if society would not hold us responsible – God does… even for our thoughts.

2. Christians say one thing but do another

TOO MANY Christians do exactly that. However the Bible clearly states in James 5: 12 ‘But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. ‘  We are called upon to be reliable with the highest degree of reliance. If you commit to do something… DO IT with all your heart and be diligent in it! We should bring BEST RESULTS in everything we do. For we do it not for men… but for God we work and do.

3. Christians are boring

Many are. Sorry to say so… . However a Christians life is as exciting as life can get! We have every genre of music with Christian lyrics… parties of true and pure joy… true friends… love without condition… exciting outreaches where by the grace and power of God people get healed… miraculously… blind see… crippled walk… dead rise… and mute speak… deaf hear… broken hearted become whole…and souls get saved. And all of these not as subjective experiences… but with lasting effects and medical proof. If your life as a Christian doesn’t contain this… speak to God about it. Christ means ‘anointed one’ … as Christians we therefore should carry the anointing Jesus had and signs and wonders should follow us.

4. There are less and less Christians in the world

Not true. Looking at Europe that impression might last. But looking at the world, Christianity is on the rise. Sadly persecution of Christians is on the rise too! In 2009 250 000 Christians died as martyrs for their faith. That is 3 every minute.

5. Being Christian is going to church.

Not true. Being Christian is allowing Jesus Christ to be LORD over every area of your life. Growing in intimacy and relationship to God on a daily basis. i.e. knowing God more today than you did yesterday and more tomorrow than you did today. As Christians we should not go to church, but BE the church. And church goes beyond a building… church is where you come in contact with the people that GOD created and loves… it is at your working place… at home… in school or kindergarden or university… at the market place… at the cashier when going shopping. And when coming together in a church service our mouths should be filled with testimonies of how God influenced the people around us through His presence in our lives… our mouths should be filled with the testimonies of signs and wonders and salvation…full of praise and awe for an almighty God.

These are only a few of many possible points of misconception. Feel free to post other statements and I will write on them as well.

As for you…that read the article and that does not consider himself/herself to be Christian… Perhaps you have become interested in knowing more…getting to know such a personal God.

The Bible tells us in Romans 10:9 ‘if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’

Try it and experience God.