Aiming our guns the right direction.

March 2, 2007 at 4:42 pm 7 comments

My friend Kasey’s comments under “Build Greg a new playlist” have created a bit of a stir.  Kasey has a right to his opinions and the right to post them in a public forum.  I love Kasey like a son and I agree with much of what he had to say, even what he had to say about me, yet I find what I am moved to say in response is more theological than personal.

For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities in the unseen world, against the mighty powers of darkness who rule this world and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

Most of the time what we have to say about this verse has to do with who the battle is against-the enemy and not who the battle is not against-people.  The most important directive in this verse is, as followers of Jesus we are not to spend energy fighting people.

One of the main reasons the evil one is so consistently beating a so-called victorious church is because we spend so much time and energy fighting each other.  The hours spent by churches trying to keep themselves “clean”, fighting over perceived injustice or slights and beating down straw men is atrocious and the main reason many, if not most churches, are impotent and making no difference at all in this dying culture.  Churches spend countless hours and obscene amounts of money having study groups and doing strategic planning to find out why they aren’t growing when the main reason they don’t grow is because they are too busy fighting each other and whining about petty injustices and personal slights instead of loving their neighbor.

What I did was wrong on a number of levels and I have confessed my sin to God and to man, repented, been forgiven and been living in freedom for more than 16 months.  Many things were done wrong in the aftermath of my resignation and the enemy has continued to win right up until Brad locked the door and walked away last Wednesday night.  I am not privy to why most decisions were made but I know that decision makers can be deceived in groups as easily as you and I are deceived.  But the point is, whatever form the deception takes, the enemy wins.

The enemy is running rampant in the world and it is mostly the fault of Christians.  The battle is miss-directed.  My family and I are not the enemy and neither are the decision makers in churches-the evil one is the enemy and he is winning.  All of our struggles with each other, our fleshly battles throughout history, right up until today have only served to strengthen the enemy’s hold on the earth, the lost and the Family of God. 

Pride pushes us into battles in which any participation at all is certain defeat.  Fighting each other never ever advances the Kingdom, no matter how right you or I think we are and no matter how certain a group is that they have done what was right.   Being right is not the point.

Sure, I want to be seen as right and the other side as wrong.  We all do.  But the amount of energy expended to be right turns out to be wrong every time.   People sin and mistakes get made and there are consequences to be paid for sin and for mistakes.  But “love (and grace always) covers a multitude of sins” – yours, mine and others.

Humility is perhaps the most critical of all the clothes of righteousness we are to put on and it is impossible to fight to prove yourself right in battles with flesh and blood and remain humble.  Can’t be done.

The enemy’s single minded purpose on this earth is to lie, to steal and to destroy or kill.  His primary focus is on the Family-Christ’s Body.  Humanity will destroy itself but the Church can only be destroyed by the enemy and the primary weapon he uses is dissension in the Family (ultimately he won’t be able to destroy it, but that is another story).  When we fight each other the evil one is simply getting what he wants.

We can’t blame Kasey for what he had to say.  He is hurt and disappointed and like a lot of people he simply wants to be heard and see things change.  He is disappointed in me and he is disappointed in those who responded to my failures and I certainly understand the way he feels. 

But isn’t it time to aim our guns in the right direction and do some damage against the forces of evil and darkness and see the the Family win one? 

I know it is possible though I do not know how.  Perhaps you do.  I would be willing to listen if you want to share a victory strategy.

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Entry filed under: Christianity, Church, Faith, Friendship, Jesus.

Build Greg a new playlist. If another Christian is overcome by some sin…

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Damon  |  March 4, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Greetings:)

    I would have to agree that our trials and tribulations are not always welcomed with joy as James writes in James 1:2-3.

    We do tend to get off the path Jesus instructed us to follow during difficult times; we follow the secular path and if we are lucky we end up back on the path of Truth.

    When I learned of Brad’s situation; as I felt when I followed the administration of your situation; I was disappointed and frustrated. Running away from God and church in 1978, I felt the urge to do this again, due to disappointment in man.

    I returned to give my life to Christ 8 years ago; I have had difficulty with commitment to regular church fellowship for many reasons, many of which you have experienced and shared. As you know, I have continued to attend FBC because of the reason you are suggesting…………..we need to aim our guns at the right target……………..FBC is a builiding…………………the people, the elders, the children, the pastors need from us what we expected them to give to you. I just did not need an “excuse” to leave God again, because that was in part the reason I left in 1978……….essentially what I felt was hypocrisy of the man.

    Coming back, I now realize that I can pray, pray, pray, and instead of running…….stay in the battle, with the buckle, breastplate, readiness, shield and helmet ; “the armor of God” with knowledge that my family in Christ will be doing the same.

    I am seeing healing in your heart Greg, and that is good to see………..I know this is needed for Brad as well.

  • 2. BS  |  March 4, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    maybe this is saying the same thing, but…
    i heard a guy named floyd speak a while back and he said something that really stuck out to me…
    he said, ‘we need to stop focusing on what the enemy is doing and start focusing on what GOD is doing.’
    [because, the reality is, GOD is moving and doing things all around us and very rarely do we notice]
    yeah, this might be saying the same thing, but i also think it says it in way that is short, impactul and to the point.
    it’s good.
    i am also reminded of psalm 73 when i see evil ‘winning’ all around me and become depressed and even lose some heart.
    and sometimes, as the psalmist says, i even become envious of what evil ‘they’ are able to get away with.
    i am reminded of the ‘slippery slope’ that evil doers are on and what their ‘end’ is but i am only reminded of this when i enter GOD’s sanctuary and be still before HIM.
    but, does this bring comfort?
    sometimes.
    does this bring satifaction?
    again, sometimes.
    when i get frustrated, though, i MUST make a concerted effort to TRUST GOD.
    because, as someone smarter than me once told me, ‘GOD is much better at bringing the judgement than i and HE will do a much better job of it anyway.
    so just get out of HIS way and let HIM do HIS thing.’
    so hard to do especially if you are someone like me who has a hard time keeping his mouth shut in the face of injustice.
    but, i’m learning…

  • 3. Danna  |  March 4, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    I am catching up on the blogs. I try not to get too blogged down with them. . . *S* While I agree that we are not fighting against people and that the enemy goes around seeking whom he can destroy.. . . there is one very vital enemy and that is the enemy of our own minds. In them lies every wicked thought, deed and desire, not to mention the “pride” issue that is right there in the list. Out of those comes every evil act. . . . So in this journey we are on called earth, we are graciously reminded by the Lord that if any of us thinks we are lookin’ pretty darn good spiritually and in some sort of control of our lives spiritually and successfully, or even maybe none of the above He just wants to add a new depth to our spiritual health, He just kinda lets go a little so we can see how wicked we really are. Without the Lord none of us stands a chance. Lets take a look at David. Now I kinda think David was a looker. You know the type. . . . Dreamy eyes, perfect smile, musician and beautiful voice and a personality to melt your heart (just in case the rest didn’t get you). . . . And look at what David did when following his own deceitful heart. . . Was he any different then the rest of us? Not at all. He did however, pick himself up or better yet called out to God in desperation and said some very important prayers . . . David was a man after God’s own heart. Rather then letting his sin overcome him and destroy him, he turned that into seeking God with humility, tenderness, openness to the Holy Spirit. The Psalms are a result of the work done in his heart, both the pain and the healing. We see the foregiveness of sins by grace, how sinful we really all are, and how faithful God is to restore us. Pslams deal with the pain of life , the deception of the heart and where we can go when we truly worship God. . all the betweeners. . . .
    Just let it go. Put the finger down that is pointing to anyone and everyone. I have to laugh when I hear someone say so and so is so judgemental, , cause with those very words that person is doing the same. . . and when that person reminds that other person that they are doing the same, then they are doing the same. . . . (OK that was a little out there but I think you get the point). . . . It’s okay to cry out to God and say you are angry, confused, hurt, etc. . . .But Seek First the Kingdom of God (which is not the church building). . . . and seek His Righteousness. . .and all these things will be added unto you. . . . . . Every man is right in his own eyes. . . . But a heart that seeks after God and can break through all the garbage that the enemy throws at us, what our deceitful mind tortures us with and just look up at Jesus. . . . .. Cry. . .Cry big time. It’s your life and it’s your God. What else matters? Your beef is really with the Lord anyway. . . I mean really. God, you didn’t do things like I wanted and expected and that makes me feel insecure and unloved and unappreciated. Lord, you allowed this and that and the next thing. . . . .. . Lord you let me fall, etc. You get the point. So take it up with the Lord. . . .I remember an evening that I sat on my little stool in my living room, all by myself, so mad at the church and so hurt and broken hearted. I pounded my fists on that stool and cried out to God (loudly). . . .I expressed how mad I was and how unfair I thought everything was. . . . . I cried and cried and pounded my fists. And that is one of the most memorable personal experiences I’ve had with the Lord. He gently touched me. He dried my eyes and put a song in my heart. Did I get up and walk in victory for the rest of my years? For awhile. Then I listened to the reasoning of my heart . . . . . I only hope you aren’t as stubborn as I am. It’s all just life folks. . . You are all awesome children of God. He has an incredible plan for each life. What matters is that we lay up the treasures in heaven. . . God is so good. . . . . so perfect. . . . . Let’s face it. We are sinners, stupid, out of control, and prideful. . . . Hey, all of those things are hanging on me all the time. . I still can’t believe how stinking undisciplined I am . .But when I cloth myself in righteousness which can only come from humbleness . . . . . . . Look at those things just fall right off. . . . When we master it we will have arrives in. . .HEAVEN. . . .God Bess your JOURNEY. . . .
    Danna
    P.S. I apologize that I didn’t have time to look up the references. . . I am amazed how many scriptures I can rattle off but for some odd reason those references seem to escape me. . . I’m sure there is some psychoogical explanation for that. . . .

  • 4. kcronquist  |  March 3, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    I don’t think anyone reading this is going to disagree with what your suggesting, but to me it only begs the question, “what do we do?” What is the appropriate response to the evil that’s running rampant here on earth?

    What is the appropriate Christian response to his or her sense of betrayal? By either a believer or a non-believer?

    When and how should a Christian speak out when he or she recognizes deception or manipulation?

    Because if I take the advice of Diana, to “keep our eyes on JESUS, not the men who try with imperfection to represent Him,” do I remain silent?

    Does a focus on JESUS mean we don’t hold our brothers and sisters accountable?

    Is their another handbook that i should be aware of that will help guide and calm the frustrations of a Christian?

    All three of the previous responses are so uniquely different, but i especially appreciated the contradictory statement shared by Ron Marrs that might actually sum up my confusion and conclusion, “So critical to fight against the destructive results of sin and Satan. May God grant me the grace to truly be a peacemaker. It’s not easy!”

    Here Mr. Marrs suggests that it is indeed CRITICAL that we FIGHT against the destructive results of sin and Satan, while in almost the same breath asking God for the grace to be a peacemaker. How does that work? Is this a suggestion that fighting is sometimes necessary to bring about peace?

    Clearly, these are not just Christian questions. Consider our country’s presence in Iraq. We’re taking the fight to our enemy in hopes that it brings about peace. Is that a realistic expectation? Maybe we should have not responded at all and suggested to our fellow citizens that we should aim our guns at an invisible thief that “comes to steal, kill and destroy.” What would that look like?

    If this sounds sarcastic, I apologize, because these are truly my questions and I don’t hear answers, either spiritually, politically or socially. If I tell you that my previous post was a God inspired communication, how many others would say that it was really a personal opinion piece fueled by the enemy’s desire to spread hate and discontent?

    My previous post was not an attack, it was certainly critical, but it was simply any expression of my deep sense of disappointment and frustration.

    I know I’m not alone either, so maybe through this conversation there might be some healthy suggestions on how we as Christians might know how to best handle ourselves despite ourselves.

    I welcome anyone to email me directly their thoughts or feelings on this important matter, either about this post or the one I sent on Thursday, my email address is kasey.cronquist@gmail.com.

    P.S. Greg, do I get an award for the longest posts?

  • 5. Diana Burke  |  March 3, 2007 at 12:45 am

    So what we need to do is pray for the leadership of the Church (universal). Pray for protection and for discernment. Start there. And then pray for ourselves because we are just as susceptible, just a bit less public and so not quite so tasty a morsel to spread abroad for public display. But the enemy will take the shot and shout for victory no matter the result of the aim as long as it hits a target. He is angry because he knows his end and “so the dragon was furious at the woman, and he went away to wage war on the remainder of her descendants – on those who obey God’s commandments and who have the testimony of Jesus Christ and adhere to it and bear witness to HIM.” (Rev. 12:17 AMP). “…Let us fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace, the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners, that we may receive mercy for our failures and find grace to help in good time for every need, appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it.” (Heb 4:…-16 AMP). “Now to HIM WHO IS ABLE to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present you unblemished blameless and faultless before the presence of HIS glory in triumphant joy and exultation with unspeakable, ecstatic delight – To the ONE ONLY GOD, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, splendor, majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority, before all time and now and forever unto all the ages of eternity. Amen so be it.” (Jude 24-25 AMP). And let’s remember to keep our eyes on JESUS, not on the men who try with imperfection to represent Him. He is our standard, not we, mere sheep.

  • 6. Ron Marrs  |  March 2, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    I am consistently reminded that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). So critical to fight against the destructive results of sin and Satan. May God grant me the grace to truly be a peacemaker. It’s not easy!

  • 7. renversgirl  |  March 2, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    well said. i don’t know that i have a plan but just a few nights ago i had the opportunity to discuss some of what has come up here with a husband who loves God but is VERY private. His words to me mirrored a little of what you said. It is good to be able to voice our hurts and even whine a little bit but i would agree that we need to all stand together and remember that we are ALL human and therefore fallible, i for one intend to keep going as i am, which in itself is not perfect i know as we are told we need fellowship, but i will also continue to pray for the Church, (not just FBC either) as whole. There is in my mind no victory strategy, we can only muddle along, pray for guidance from our Maker, and no that in the end we win.

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