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12/24/15

CHRISTMAS AT CROSSPOINT

Last night was CHRISTMAS AT CROSSPOINT.  Four services.  Four awesome services.  Here's what was accomplished:

*I think I can say with some sense of accuracy that we saw over 2,000 people come through our doors.  I say that based on the fact that we tracked the first 2 services well, and then there was the 6:00 service.  We had every seat filled, kids in parents laps, people lining all 3 walls, more chairs brought in, and even some giving up their seats and watching from the lobby.

*We had hundreds of people decorating cookies, making ornaments, and taking family photos in the Factory.

*We caused a traffic jam on Old Alvin road that backed up all the way to McHard Road.

*Our "I Love Christmas" video has had over 12,000 views just since last night.

*Jesus won a $250 gift card to Killen's Steakhouse. That's right! (Jesus Montemayor II)

*78 First-Time Guests turned in Communication Cards.

*And, most importantly, people came to faith in Christ.  And really...that's the only fact that really matters.  We exist to Introduce Real People to a Real God.

Have yourselves a merry little Christmas.

God's BEST!
Pastor Tom

11/4/15

WHAT I LEARNED FROM VACATION

Susan and I just got back from a week on a boat in the southern Caribbean.  I am, by nature, a learner, so I learned a few things on vacation that you might find helpful.  Some of these were little things.  Some, mind-blowing.  You be the judge.

1.  I am an extravert. Maybe that's not news to you, but it kind of was to me.  My wife reminded me more than once that it wasn't a requirement that I talk to everyone on the ship personally. (especially the non-English-speaking travelers)

2.  Life is better with friends.  I haven't always believed this.  I like my space.  I like my peace and quiet.  I like to be alone sometimes.  But, we actually made friends on the boat.  We would run into them, start talking, get lost in conversation and say, "Can you believe what time it is?".  One time they found us having coffee, sat down and started chatting with us...then I pronounced we had been talking 4 hours and we probably should go eat.  We did.  Ran into them at lunch...and continued where we left off for a few more hours.  We've already heard from them since the cruise.  They can't come over for dinner as they live in Florida, but if they could they would.  Life is better when you do it with friends.  I wish I would have learned that one a lot earlier in life.  And, I wish they lived closer.

3.  I have no hobbies.  I read a book or two onboard.  One of them talked about the importance of hobbies in life to reveal and enhance hidden passions.  After Susan tried to convince me that numerous things were my hobbies, we came to conclusion I have none.  Any suggestions will be considered. (Tommy is a dull boy)

4.  I am not the best at determining when I am burned-out and in need of time away from the office.  I'm not sure what stress feels like.  I've never "felt" stressed.  I've never "felt" burned-out.  I've never thought I "needed" a vacation.  "Wanted" one?  Yes.  But, not "needed".  Apparently, I did.  We failed to get away together for a year and a half.  It wasn't a good time for a pastor or it wasn't a good time for a realtor.  Or, it wasn't a good time for our bank account.  Or, it wasn't a good time for the family.  Or,........  That's just stupid.  When you fail to plan intentional white space in your calendar and in your life, you're just playing with fire.  It's not wise.  You probably won't "feel" stressed, but you most likely will be.  You'll put yourself, your marriage, your family, your job, etc., etc., etc., at risk.  Not wise.  Since you don't know when you need some white space, you might be well-served to have someone to tell you when you do.  Listen to them.  Act on it.  Get lost.

5.  When I take a vacation from being a pastor, I read books on how to be a better pastor.  What else am I supposed to read?  Romance novels?  Tips on gardening?  Stuff about my hobby I DON'T HAVE?  Give me a small break here.  Sometimes Susan read me her book.  It wasn't on pastoring!  But, it was a Jen Hatmaker book.  Oh, well.  (Tommy is a dull boy)

6.  I am constantly amazed at the stuff God took the time to make.  He just didn't make islands in the middle of the Caribbean, He made them beautiful.  It's beauty on steroids.  God's made more colors than I knew existed. (I'm limited to the Crayola box...the BIG one)

7.  My wife, who was afraid to snorkel, isn't afraid when I hold her hand.  Amazing!  I had learned to like snorkeling (although I'm not a real drift too far from the shore kind of guy), but Susan didn't like it and it really isn't too much fun for me all alone.  Then....EUREKA!  I reached out and grabbed her hand and she relaxed and began to actually enjoy it.  We snorkeled all over Trunk Bay on St. John's Island.  Then, at Aruba, we snorkeled all over Palm Island. (we even heard this siren go off and realized someone must be in trouble...only to find out it was us...we were out beyond the buoy.  Then, (it's gets better!) she volunteered us for a personally guided tour out deep beyond where the reef drops off!  Amazing chick!  I think she can go anywhere as long as I hold her hand.

8.  I wish whoever trains the ship's staff could train our greeters.  No offense, greeters.  You rock!  But, those peeps on that boat amazed me.  They all knew my name even before I met them.  Our waiter, Soccoro,  greeted us at our table each night by asking us, "Tom and Susan, how was your day?".  The steward in the hallway where our cabin was located yelled from 4 cabins down, "Tom & Susan, how are you!".  Wait a minute...we hadn't even been to our cabin yet!  Our assistant waiter, Carlos, remembered that Susan asked for iced tea one night.  She automatically had it every night thereafter.  She also liked this one kind of little roll they served.  There weren't any in our breadbasket one night. I told him and she had 3 or 4 every night after that.  I guess...sometimes you want to go....where everybody knows your name!

9.  Sex can be better at 60 than it was at 25.  Yeah, that one surprised me too.  Who knew?  If you're only like 30 or 40, chin up.  Think of all you've got to look forward to!  Maybe it's just the sea air.  Who cares?  It's worth staying married for...trust me.

10.  I mentioned life is better with friends.  Therefore, I always travel with my best friend.  What a challenge it must be to have stayed marred to me for the last 35 years.  Amazingly, she has.  I doubt I would have, but she did.  Thank goodness I married a hard-headed woman who ain't got no quit in her.  Otherwise, who would I snorkel with...or other things?

PS: I may take up writing as a hobby.


10/16/15

DOUBTING IS A SIGN OF DISBELIEF

     Let's face it, most, if not all of us, have struggled through this one.  "If I REALLY believed...if I REALLY had faith, I wouldn't ever wrestle with doubts".  DOUBTS are for the uncommitted.  DOUBTS are for the unconvinced.  DOUBTS are for the...well...unbelievers.  Because DOUBT is the opposite of FAITH.  It's the opposite of true BELIEF.  DOUBT and FAITH are like oil and water...they just don't mix.  
     
OK, let's consult the authorities on this subject.  Let's go straight to the Bible.  What does it say about FAITH and DOUBT?  The best source in all of scriptures has to be Hebrews 11.  It starts off like this...

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.  By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.  By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.  By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going."

     God begins by telling us that faith is a confidence in what we hope for.  It's a calm assurance in what we do not see.  In other words, faith can't be proven in a laboratory.  It doesn't necessarily come with proof.  We live in a world that says, "Show me proof and I'll believe". Yet, to that same world, God says, "Believe, and I'll show you proof".  In other words, based on what you cannot prove, take your questions and your misgivings and even your doubts, and believe...doubts and all...and then, and only then, I'll show you proof.
     
The world says, "Proof comes first, then belief". But, God challenges conventional wisdom and says, "Belief comes first, then I'll show you proof".  Faith is always rewarded, because it's always so hard to arrive at without our seeing it first.
    
 God's Word even gives us very practical, human examples.  "By faith Abel", "By faith Enoch", "By faith Enoch"...they all believed first, then were rewarded for their faith.  But, look at those next two examples.  "By faith Noah"...by faith Noah did what?  He built a giant boat where there was no body of water and where it had never, ever rained, simply because God told him to.  For 100 years Noah built the ark.  Do you think Noah had doubts over the course of those 100 years?  He was faithful, but he was also human.  
     
What about Abraham?  He left his home for a place to be named later.  When asked, "where are we going?",  all Abraham could answer was, "I have no idea".  He was promised a child that seemingly never came, and when he did come, he was told to kill him.  Doubts?  That's a recipe for doubts if there ever was one.  
     
Example after example after example pepper the Bible of men and women who were full of doubts and rewarded by God because of their faith.
    
 Here's what we have to get right once and for all: FAITH IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF DOUBTS, BUT THE WILLINGNESS TO MOVE FORWARD IN SPITE OF THEM.
   
  In fact, it could be said this way, DOUBTS are necessary for FAITH to even exist.  DOUBTS make FAITH possible.  DOUBTS are the substance from which FAITH is given birth.
     
DOUBTING is a sign of humanity.  FAITH is a sign we have chosen to believe GOD rather than the DOUBTS.

9/25/15

CHRISTIANS DON'T KEEP COMPANY WITH SINNERS

     Ever heard that one?  Oh, my hand is up.  I heard that.  I heard it all my years growing up in a Christian home.  Christians aren't to hang out with non-Christians.  Why?  Because that's what the Bible says.  Duh!  1 Corinthians 15:33 says it plainly...“Bad company corrupts good character.”  There it is.  Christians are not to be hanging around with sinners...lost people...unbelievers...people who don't follow Jesus.  It will corrupt their good character.  So, just say no!
 
 If you're a Christian parent ...a good Christian parent, you'll get your kid in a Christian school, playing in a Christian T-Ball league, playing some good instrument (that is appropriate for use at church, of course), make sure their radio only tunes into KSBJ (God's Listening, right?), and most of all, DO NOT LET THEM HAVE FRIENDS THAT AREN'T CHRISTIANS...from good Christian families.  Real Christians.  If you don't watch their every step, I mean every step, they'll make friends with some infidels and it's all down the drain...and, it's all your fault.  You failed and their bound for Hell.  Feel better?
 
Say what?  Jesus called himself what?  Friend of sinners?  Must be a misprint.  You say what?  Jesus said we were to be in this world, but not of this world?  OK, I'm confused.  Are we "in"or "not of"?  Which is it?  He needs to pick one.  And the one needs to be "not of" AND "not in".

OK, everyone just stop for a minute and take a deep breath.  Don't hang with anything un-Christian is so much easier.  It's neat.  It's clear.  It's not convoluted.  Bad people with bad people.  Good people with good people.  Black and white.  Good and bad.  It's a dirty, creepy world out there and if we can just keep the lines of demarcation intact, I think maybe we could pull  this off.
   
What?  There's more?  Seriously?  I haven't filtered the first stuff yet.  OK, let me have it.  "And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and Samaria...Samaria?...no one likes those guys...and to the ends of the earth".  So, you're saying we gotta hang with those folks?  Like, actually hang?  We have to like them?  Be friends with them?  They're going to mess us up.  They're really going to mess up our kids.  We've got to ISOLATE ourselves from them or they'll start to influence us.
   
What's that?  You say Jesus never intended us to ISOLATE ourselves so they don't influence us.  Instead, we're supposed to INSULATE ourselves with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit who lives inside us and influence them?  But, can't we just do that from a distance?  That's not the way Jesus did it...and we're supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus?  Yikes!  That's pretty challenging.

So, you're saying Jesus never locked eyes with a human being he didn't love?  And, as his disciples we won't either?  So, to be his disciples...his witnesses, we have got to be in the world.  To be fishers of men, we gotta get out on the water.

OK, I'm with you, but what about the "Bad company corrupts good character"?  Where does that come in?  It's gotta come in somewhere.  You say it's a warning?  "Don't be misled.  Bad company corrupts good character".  In other words, Paul is warning us that out in the ugly, sinful world, we can be influenced by it if we're not careful.  We have to be IN the world, in order to influence it like Jesus did.  But, while we're IN the world, we've got to be careful that we're not OF the world.  Jesus' distinction was that he was the friend of sinners.  That he ate with tax-collectors and publicans.  That he pardoned prostitutes and simply told them to sin no more.  That he showed mercy to adulterers and adulteresses.  That he was a glutton and a wine-bibber (anyone know what a bibber is?  Whatever it is, it sounds bad.)

IN THE WORLD...rubbing elbows with people far from God...but, NOT OF THE WORLD...loving them like Jesus did, but not becoming them.  INSULATED, but not ISOLATED. 

This is way harder...but way more powerful.  I'm gonna need some help.  Oh, that was the idea all along!
   


9/24/15

THE POPE COMES TO AMERICA

   
I've read innumerable posts and been asked more questions than I can remember about the Pope's visit to America.  Two things have been surprising to me:

1.  How much media coverage has been allocated to his visit.  It seems that every show on television has been preempted at some point for coverage of the pope doing something.  Landing his plane, shaking the president's hand, riding in his Pope-mobile.  Everything he does is a major breaking story.
2.  How everybody...I mean everybody, has an opinion on his visit.  Some think it's the greatest event in their lifetime.  Other's are less impressed, but still put a really positive spin on it because it draws attention to Christianity, even if it doesn't happen to be their particular brand of Christianity.  Kind of the "all publicity is good publicity" mentality.

   
So, what's my take on this papal visit to America?  OK, I'll play along.  Here's some random takes:

*I like this guy.  Let's face it, as pope's go, he hasn't had much competition.  His predecessors haven't been the most likable guys.  Popes? Yes.  Personalities? Not so much.  Saying a lot of good things, getting rid of those ridiculous red shoes (brilliant), leaving the palace for a hotel room, acting like a real approachable person...all brilliant moves.  He's likable.  He's human.  As the single most visible representative of the Catholic Church, he has brought positive attention to Catholicism.  That's a good thing.

*He's talked a lot about grace and mercy and forgiveness and reconciliation.  I'm encouraged by that.

*He has the guts to stand for politically incorrect issues.  He stands up and says abortion is wrong.  He believes in the dignity and sanctity of every life.  Some of my protestant brothers could learn a thing from him.  He believes in the sanctity of marriage.  Preach it, pope!

*For those who think he's brought great attention to Christianity, well, that's a matter of opinion.  In his mind he is doing that very thing, because, as the leader of the Catholic Church, he believes that Catholicism and Christianity are synonymous.  In other words, that outside the Catholic Church, there is no Christianity.  So, he's here bringing attention to Catholicism, not Christianity in general.

*I do like that his visit is bringing attention to the Church, and there may be some reciprocal effects that come to all of Christianity.  But, it's hard for me to get excited about a guy coming who thinks when I die I'm going to hell.  As the pope, he totes the party line of Catholicism, which believes that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.  If you were raised a Catholic and you decided you would rather be a Baptist or a Methodist or a Non-Denominational Christian....sorry, you left your Christianity behind when you left the Catholic Church.  That's not one of the places you can find faith in Christ.  It's the ONLY place!  I just can't get excited about a guy coming and addressing Congress that believes I'm going to Hell when I die.  Call me picky, but I just can't.  In fact, I actually think he got it wrong.  And...if he got that wrong, what else has he gotten wrong?

*Oh, and if you use or have ever used contraception, your salvation is in question as well.

*Yet, when he speaks ex cathedra...he speaks for God.  His words have equal authority to the Word of God, the Bible.  How do you speak for God AND get things wrong?

*Unlike him, I don't think he's going to hell when he dies.  I don't know.  But, I'm not writing him off because he doesn't wear the same brand as I do.

*Maybe I'm just jealous of the TV coverage he gets.  Who knows.  I am a little ticked that he keeps preempting the things I'm trying to watch.

Is there good that can come out of this?  Absolutely.  Is it all good?  I think not.  If you're listening to him as a man who loves God and has some personal opinions...Great!  Feel free to agree or disagree.  If you're listening a man who speaks for Christ, Christians and the Christian Church...not so much.

I'd say to him, "Welcome to America, brother.  We're glad to have you!"

9/18/15

A SIN IS A SIN IS A SIN..

That's what we've been told...a sin is a sin is a sin...  Very democratic.  All sins are created equal.  That's what so many believe.  That's what I believed for most of my life.  So, we had to get that idea from somewhere.  So,...where?

James 2:10 helps us out there.  "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."  There you have it.  One sin.  All sins.  Equal guilt.  Equal sins.  I rest my case.

But, is that what James is saying?  No, I don't think so.  In fact, James isn't talking about the equity of sins at all.  His point is a simple one.  Once we sin, we are sinners.  We are guilty in the eyes of a perfect and holy God.  Holiness and sin are like oil and water.  They just don't mix.  People who have been contaminated by the virus we call sin have a number of consequences directly related to that sin.  The major one, being a broken relationship with the God who made us, loves us and desperately wants a relationship with us.

But, at the same time listen to what Paul writes to the church at Corinth..."Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body."  Paul says, "Not all sins are the same.  Not all sins have the same consequences".

Every sin has one thing in common...they break our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Every sin is different...they all have different consequences in regard to its effect on the world around us, the people around us, and on ourselves, as well.

Think of a sin as a stone dropped in a lake.  Every rock has something in common...they send out concentric circles...ripples, if you will.  But, likewise, every stone is different.  The larger the stone, the farther the ripples go.  Or, in our case, the more destruction happens and the more people's lives are impacted.

Sins are all the same.  Sins are all different.  It's that simple.

9/10/15

GOD NEVER SAID THAT!

POOR GOD...That may sound a little strange to hear, but it really is true.  Seriously, He has to be the most misquoted guy who's ever uttered a word.  His words are even written down...in a book...that's inspired...by God (for Pete's sake!).  And He doesn't get a chance at rebuttal.

For six weeks we'll take a look at a few of the misquotes, misunderstandings, and out-right misrepresentations of what God has said.  Obviously, we can't cover them all in six weeks, so we'll take a shot at a few others during the week.  How about this one...

"If you had more faith, God would answer your prayers"

Have a marriage that's on the rocks?  Well, if you have enough faith, it will all turn around.
Get diagnosed with some life-threatening disease?  Enough faith...you get well.  Not enough faith...well, nice knowing you.
Need a job?  Pray hard.  If you've got big faith, then employment is just a prayer away.  Not so much?  There's always welfare.

BOTTOM LINE:  It's all about how much faith you have.  Got faith?  You can write your own ticket.  Don't quite measure up in the faith department.  Well, let's face it...God's answer is "No".  But, don't blame God.  It's you with the wimpy faith.

It's SIMPLE:  If you have enough faith, the answer is always, "YES", but if you don't, then it's always "NO".  Right?  When the apostles prayed God answered, God healed, God set free, God did miracles.  So, just ask one of those faith-filled apostles.  They'll tell you.  Right?  What?  They're not here?  They're not around any more?  They're all DEAD?  That can't be.  They had faith...a lot of it.  They must have all died at ripe old ages after fun-filled lives full of health and wealth and all things rosey.  What's that you say?  They lived hard lives and with the exception of John they all met untimely, horrific deaths?  Well, that blows that FAITH=YES idea.

Apparently, sometimes you can have all the faith in the world and God still says, "NOPE".  Doesn't quite fit into a nice, neat equation.  But, God seldom fits into any equation or box we try to fit Him into.  

Remember the story of the man who desperately needed Jesus to touch him and heal him.  Problem was, he couldn't even get inside the place where Jesus was.  In fact, there's not even any evidence that the guy even believed in Jesus.  But, his friends did.  They believed so much that they wouldn't take "NO" for an answer.  They cut a hole in the roof and lowered him down to where Jesus was.  And Jesus...healed him.  Not because of his faith, but because of the faith of his friends.

It would be so neat and tidy and simple if it were just MY FAITH + GOD'S POWER = YES to whatever I ask.  But, sometimes, with all the faith a man can muster up, God says "NO".  And, other times, God chooses to say "YES" to those who have no faith...who aren't deserving...who earned a "NO".  Why?  Because He's God and you're not and His plans are bigger than our plans and his ways are higher than our ways.

TWO THINGS YOU HAVE TO KNOW:  1) There is a God, and  2) You're not Him.

7/9/15

ACCIDENTAL RACIST

If your question had been, "Are you a racist?", that would simply have been too easy.  No.  I grew up in "really white" America.  My parents used the "N" word, without impunity, because it was the common term used in their homes growing up.  I went to completely white schools and had no black friends in my formative years.  So, the deck was stacked against me, but I overcame.

I remember the 2 weeks my mom worked at our church in place of the vacationing secretary.  I went with her to work every day.  But, I spent all my days hanging out with the janitor.  She was black.  Her name was Ollie Tatum.  She and I had lunch together every day.  We became the best of friends.  When the 2 weeks were over, I asked my mom if I could kiss her good-bye.  She said "No".  I obeyed, but thought that was so wrong.  She had a problem.  I didn't.

In my college days I made friends with people of color that I still consider friends to this day.

My first pastorate was in a redneck town where time had stood still for about 40 years.  I invited a black man in town to church.  He explained to me why that wouldn't be such a good idea for him or me.  I told him, if he came I wouldn't sit on the platform as I usually did.  I'd come sit right beside him.  He appreciated the thought, but declined my offer.

When my sons grew up and were in High School, they would invite guys over.  Sometimes before basketball home games they needed a place to chill for a few hours.  My son would bring 5 or 6 guys home with him...all black.  I asked him one day if he realized he wasn't black?  He got all up in my face and asked if I had a problem with his black friends.  I explained, 
"Not at all. I'm so proud my sons have the opportunities to grow up in a more color-blind society than I did.  Just wanted to make sure you were aware you're a white kid, that's all".

I could go on, but you get the picture.  Me, a racist?  No way!

Then, this whole Confederate flag thing came up.  Look, I'm an open-minded guy, but, I've never understood all the hullabaloo over some dumb flag.  It's a flag.  It's a southern thing.  It's about history and culture.  Get over it, for Pete's sake.

Then, I read something.  One simple question: "What if you traveled to Germany for vacation and saw Swastikas flying, and when you asked about them they just said, "Oh, it's a cultural thing...a historical thing.  No big deal.  Get over it."?

No.  It's a symbol of hatred and racism and a justification to not only hate a race of people, but to attempt to wipe them off the face of the earth.  It's a symbol of superiority from a people who were inferior in their thinking, compassion and morality.  I would be disgusted.  You would too.

That's when it hit me...it is a big deal.  Call it what you like.  Justify it any way your conscience allows you to.  But, in the bottom line, there's NO DIFFERENCE.  I was wrong.  It IS a big deal. It's a symbol of our past when we chose to fight over the right to call a race of people inferior.  And, to hoist it over our capitol or to stick it on our bumper or to wear it on a t-shirt says very plainly, "I don't care who won the war, THEY are still inferior to me".

This may not sit well with some of you.  So be it.  I'm here to confess today I was wrong.  I was an accidental racist.  Plain and simple.  I get it now.  I will do better.

7/4/15

OUR NATION'S ANTHEM

As we pause to celebrate our nations's freedom and independence today, I hope it's more than just a day off from work for you.  I hope you pause and think of just how much sacrifice went into the things you and I take for granted.

I hope you remember where that all came from, too.  This week, I was reminded that, although we only sing one, there are actually four verses to the Star Spangled Banner.  Verse four happens to be my personal favorite...

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Maybe we should sing that one more.  Happy 4th!  In God is our trust!

7/2/15

A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO THE SUPREME COURT


This past week the Supreme Court redefined marriage in the United States to be any union between two people, regardless of gender.  Marriage, as defined uniquely by scripture, is a thing of the past in this country.  

Few, if any, have been without response to this decision.  The Gay/Lesbian community have celebrated it as a great victory and a day for freedom and equality for all in America to finally be celebrated, as have most of the media and those with anything other than a biblical worldview.  

So, the question is apparent:  How are we, as Christ-followers to respond?  
 

SHOCKING? 

Many have responded with shock that such a thing would happen.  I don’t understand that response.  I would have been shocked had it been decided any other way.  In case you haven’t noticed, we live in a Post-Christian time in a Post-Christian nation.  Fewer and fewer people, even those who attend our churches and claim to be “Christians”, have a biblical worldview and hold to biblical moral absolutes.  What’s more, this decision was reached by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), the ultimate Judicial branch of our government.  A group, that is intended to be impartial and simply interpret the constitution.  However, as you should be aware, that is the furthest thing from fact.  Judges appointed to the SCOTUS are appointed by presidents and affirmed by congress.  That is not an apolitical exercise.  SCOTUS is more of a partisan political group than most political parties themselves.  They are appointed according, not to their impartiality, but for their political agendas.  That this decision would be rendered was a forgone conclusion.  No one should be surprised.  The fact that the future of a nation and its moral underpinnings could turn on a 5-4 vote is frightening, but not surprising at all.
 

THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER

I have seen individual’s emotions run the entire gambit….from elation to anger to total dismay.  I, personally, believe all these are misplaced.  I think the proper emotion for the Christ-follower should be sadness.  Whenever anything that God calls sin is elevated to be the law of the land, we should be saddened.  For those of you who are elated, I suggest you consult the scriptures.  God calls this sin.  It’s not the only thing, nor the worst thing that God calls sin.  But, whenever, and for whatever reason, the logic of man is elevated over the sovereignty of God, it is a problem for a nation and its inhabitants.  Furthermore, the scriptures state that “God will not be mocked”, and “whatever we sow, we will reap”.  When we mock God’s law, God’s moral absolutes, God’s best plan for mankind, there will be repercussions.  God will judge this nation.  Mark it down.  For those of you who are angry, get over it.  Who are you going to be angry at?  Godless lawmakers?  We elected them.  We always get the government we deserve.  The Gay/Lesbian community?  Well, these are people…sinful, like you and I…but made in God’s image.  We’re commanded to love them.  We’re commanded that by Jesus himself.  To do otherwise would make you as rebellious as those whose rebellion you want to hate.  That would make you a hypocrite.  Furthermore, they too, like you and I, are Americans, and as such have civil rights.  They should have the rights to do things we don’t agree with.  Our issue should be with calling those unions marriage.  Total dismay?  Really?  Is God wringing His hands in Heaven and saying, “Oh my gosh, what am I gonna do now?”  No, SCOTUS may have the term Supreme at the front of its name, but God remains the Supreme Authority.  He’s large and in charge and He’s not fretting one minute.
 

ASSIGNING BLAME

So, whose fault is this?  Who are we to blame?  I’m glad you asked.  The Bible, if you believe that thing, says that “judgment begins with the House of God”.  That’s us.  You and me.  Christians.  When a nation falls apart morally it’s because the ones who were assigned to be Salt and Light have failed to be salty and bright enough.  Looking for the culprit?  Look no further than the mirror.  We have found the enemy and it is us!  Let’s face it folks, we’ve tried to create a godly nation at the ballot box, when what our nation has isn’t a government problem, but a heart problem.  We have the only answer…we’ve just kept it a closely guarded secret.  
 

POOR LITTLE US

If we are now a minority, then what hope does our nation have?  Interesting things about salt and light…just a little bit of salt can change everything.  It only takes a little to have a big impact…but, only when it gets out of the salt-shaker.  And light?  Well, one sun provides all the light for our entire galaxy.  Just one.  A little salt and light go a long ways.
 

AND THE GOOD NEWS IS…

Any good news?  Sure!  Jesus said about his return, “as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be when I return”.  So, how was it in the days of Noah?  It can be summed up in one sentence…”each man did what was right in his own eyes”.  In other words, there were no moral absolutes.  Everybody disregarded the law of God and the laws of nature and everyone just decided what was right for them.  Sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it?  Jesus predicted it, now it’s coming true…so why are we surprised?

Maybe today would be a good day to remember, “Greater is he who is in you, than he who is in the world”.  Head’s up!  Hope big.  Love bigger!  The Supreme Authority is still on the throne!!!