Like a Little Child.

Thank you for making me feel like I can be a Christian without being “perfect”. I struggle so much & I forget that God knows this & still wants a relationship with me, just as much as I want a relationship with my 5 month old daughter who spits up, kicks, pinches, screams, makes me tired & stressed. Because despite all that she’s still one of the best things in my life & it doesn’t change my love. & if I can be like that with her, God sure can be like that with me! ❤
I said:
What a great point. See, Jessy gets it. Everybody’s homework- be more like Jessy.
-Matt from The Bridge
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Your mind, your body, and your spirit are all interconnected. So if you are sick, or tired, or sad, that can affect how you feel spiritually. Now, nothing has changed spiritually. You are not distant from God. He has not hidden His face from you. It’s important not to assume that every problem is a spiritual crisis.

Jed Brewer on episode 78 of the Say That podcast

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A recent live recording of our Say That Podcast was an exciting event for one of our inner-city teens. Can you imagine being a teenager and never having seen a college campus?

That was the case for Angie, who started out attending our children’s ministry at The Bridge, and now she’s a part of our teens bible study and attending our adult service.

Angie sat in the front row and loved every minute, cheering and laughing as the night went on. She adored every bit of that live podcast event, knowing she was art of something that reaches people around the globe. Afterward, she got autographs from the entire Say That team.

Angie has a chaotic home life with no adults showing her how to make good decisions, but this night was different. All evening Angie had a huge smile on her face knowing that she belonged to a new family of Christians all over the world who loved her.

You are Angie’s brothers and sisters too, because you believe in her and support our work with her. Your BridgeBox gift topped off her perfect evening with a teenage delight- a burger and fries at a cool local college hangout.

Support BridgeBox and help us change lives like Angie’s in Chicago, for only $8/month. Sign up at missionusa.com/bridgebox.

Cursing, Music, Comedy, and Not Inflicting Yourself on Others

Anonymous asked:

What are your views on a Christian who swears, is into very very secular music or jokes (to the point of vulgar), etc. and thinks it’s okay? This is a question that I was asked very recently and was unable to answer.

I answered:

Well, to be honest, I am a Christian who swears, listens to very secular music and enjoys humor that some people would classify as vulgar. I know that, for myself, none of those things are near the top of the list that God is calling me to work on right now. 

Let’s look at this in two separate categories. One is about taste in media. Some folks have an idea that music that is of sold in the “Christian” section of the store is somehow inherently holy. It’s not. The thing to look at is what do you get from music. Some people find truth and beauty in songs by Christian artists, and that is great. Some people find beauty and truth in the Beatles, or Beethoven, or Miles Davis, or a less pretentious example I can’t think of. Just because the Christian recording industry, which is an industry- meaning their primary goal is to move units, declares something “Christian” doesn’t mean it is approved by the Lord himself.

The same goes for humor. I don’t know if there is a “Christian comedy” subgenre like there is in music. And if there is, don’t tell me. I don’t know that I could take it. Just because comedy is family friendly, doesn’t mean it is godly. I am a bit of a stand up comedy nerd, and two of my all time favorites are so called “clean comedians”- Jim Gaffigan and Brian Regan, but their comedy is no more righteous than Chris Rock or a Judd Apatow movie.

The same goes for swearing. Nowhere in the Bible does it say “here is a list of naughty words thou must never utter.” It does say to only use language useful for building others up (Ephesians 4:29). That same verse not to let any “unwholesome talk” come from your mouth, though that doesn’t necessarily mean swearing. It is perfectly possible to be mean, cutting and judgmental without swearing, and I would consider those far more unwholesome than just a curse word.

To me, the key to all of this is found in Romans 14. Paul is talking about personal matters, like dietary restrictions. In that time, some people decided to keep the old Jewish dietary rules after they became Christians, and some didn’t. Paul basically said that both sides were free to do what they wanted. He said that people shouldn’t judge people for not following the voluntary restrictions they choose to. He also says that people who eat everything shouldn’t rub that in the face of people who choose to follow other rules.

Romans 14:19-20 says “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”

I make choices about my own life around media and language, but I am also very careful not to inflict those on someone else. I don’t think that cursing is inherently sinful. However, cursing around someone when you know it makes them uncomfortable is treating that person in an unloving way, and that is a big problem. We have freedom in Christ to like what we like in a lot of areas of life. We do not, however, have the freedom to flaunt our choices or make other people feel like less of a believer for choosing something else.

 

-Matt from The Bridge

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Healing, and When Church People Need To Just Keep Quiet

Anonymous asked:

My grandmother is sick with lung cancer. One well-meaning sister-in-Christ from my home church told me to: “rebuke the lung cancer and every cancer cell to die in Jesus’ name!” She also provided me Jer. 33:6 as a promise that God would heal my grandmother. When I hear stuff like this, I get a bit wary esp. with the whole charismatic healing stuff. But what is the Biblical view of God’s physical healing? Is there such a thing as rebuking sickness? Is all sickness caused by sin or demons?

I answered:

First of all, I am so sorry about your grandmother. I have had relatives deal with cancer and it is a terrible thing. I am praying for you and your family.

That is both absolutely the way I feel and a handy example for what to say when someone tells you their grandmother has cancer, if you want to act like a person.

Does God miraculously heal people? I believe so. He is God, He can do whatever He wants. There are biblical accounts of Jesus and the disciples healing people’s physical illnesses, but it does not say anyone else can heal. I have never personally known anyone it has happened to, and I believe it is a very rare thing. 

To be frank, your friend who told you to rebuke cancer (seriously, just take a look at that sentence) was wildly misinterpreting that verse. Maybe it was just out of ignorance, but there is a possibility that she just really wants on demand miraculous healing to be true, and will twist a verse to justify it. Jeremiah 33:6 refers to “bringing health and healing.” It is referring to bringing those to a city destroyed in the Israelites’ fight with the Babylonians. We know this because in verses 4 and 5, God says “For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword in the fight with the Babylonians.” Pretty cut and dry what He is talking about.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the cause of physical illness is sin or demons. In John 9, the disciples asked Jesus if a blind man was blind because of his own sins, or his parents (both popular theories at that time). Jesus shot that down when He answered “Neither this man not his parents sinned.” 

There are times when Jesus heals someone and tells them that their faith has healed them. Though it is reasonable to believe that Jesus was talking about how their faith has healed their spiritual problem. In Luke 5:17-26, Jesus heals a paralyzed man. First, He forgives his sins. The religious people are angered about that. Jesus heals the man physically because “I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Our faith effects our spiritual health, not our physical.

Cancer is caused because certain cells grow uncontrollably and form malignant tumors. No demons or sin involved. Telling someone that they have a disease because they aren’t praying hard enough (which is the clear, if unintended, implication of “rebuke those cancer cells”) is biblically false, medically stupid, and offensive on about every level.

Timothy wrote to Paul about having stomach sickness, among other things. Paul wrote back, in the letter that we know as 1 Timothy. He told him to take a little wine with his water to treat his stomach. He didn’t ask about secret sin, and didn’t say that Timothy’s problem was that he just didn’t believe hard enough. 

Illnesses like cancer are hard enough on families without church people running off at the mouth. Rebuking cancer cells won’t help your grandmother. Driving her to doctor’s appointments, helping her out around the house, sitting with her and chatting about something other than her sickness, that stuff will definitely help. Should you pray for her? Absolutely, but nowhere in the Bible does it say that if you have enough faith, God will do whatever you ask Him to. Don’t put that pressure on yourself.

 

-Matt from The Bridge

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