Matthew 7:1 the new John 3:16

Why Christians Should Judge Others.

via http://www.jeremywallace.net/

We live in a culture that no longer sees its sinfulness but is saturated by relativism and tolerance. It wasn’t that long ago that you would attend a sporting event, and someone had a John 3:16 sign they would hold up for the camera. It wasn’t long ago that nearly every child in America knew one verse by heart,  John 3:16.  Matthew 7:1 has replaced John 3:16 in our nation’s life and practice, particularly in personal and social media conversations. Judgment is out tolerance and love are in.

If “Judge not lest ye be judged” was an issue in the 20th century than it has become a monster in the 21st century.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains “there are many who say that ‘judge not’ must be taken simply and literally as it is, and as meaning that the truly Christian man should never express an opinion about others. They must do no judging whatsoever, that we must be easy, indulgent and tolerant, and allow almost anything for peace and quiet and especially unity …they say, what is needed today is unity and fellowship.”

What Christ is proclaiming in his sermon is not the absence of conviction for the sake of unity.

Why Teaching Your Kids to Say Sorry Isn’t Good.

Blurred boy holding a piece of paper with the word Sorry in front of her.; Shutterstock ID 203129515; PO: Brandon for Trending

Teaching kids to say they are sorry is important but it’s only a start. When kids are small they should learn to say sorry. As kids get older we must teach our kids that sorry is good when it leads to repentance. We live in a world that only knows how to say sorry but doesn’t even attempt to turn from the actions that created the need for the apology in the first place. We address the feelings of others “I’m sorry if I made you feel…” we most often fail to mention the very real gap our actions created. The problem with saying sorry is sorry can be used to gloss over sin. Repentance digs deeper to the root of sin.

I know of a very well-known minister who heads a denomination of churches who many years ago wronged another denomination in a very significant way. The breach came through core beliefs of the church. The well know minister recently said he was sorry to the other denomination without address the gap they had created and still perpetuates through false beliefs that are core to the church. He said sorry when he should have repented.

I don’t want my kids to be sorry saying appeasers, I want them to repent and ask for forgiveness for the gaps they create. Saying sorry is for the other person, to help them feel better, repentance is different it does a work in you. This is how I teach my kids to apologize I tell them to say “Mr./Mrs. ________ I am sorry for ___________ (specifically name what you did) I was wrong. Please forgive me. I won’t do it again. Apologizing in this way addresses what how you affected the other person asks them to forgive you as you were in the wrong and invites God into the process because what you mean by I won’t do it again is by grace and with his help, I won’t do it again.

5 Timeless Truths from Washington’s Farewell Speech.

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For the Fourth of July, I thought it fitting to revisit the final words of the greatest leader our Republic has ever seen. In the current political climate, we find ourselves in his words are particularly instructive. Here are a few things I found from George Washington’s farewell speech that if we apply we will be better citizens our great union.

1. George Washington was a man of great humility and honor.

In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it…..

2. Washington saw that public union was far more important that party affiliation. We must be more concerned with not alienating any portion of our society. It’s ok to dislike Trump or Clinton but when you think of the other as your enemy our nation is weakened.

The Forgotten Promise Of American Liberty

If You Can Keep It

It is during election years that the precarious nature of our republic is most evident to even the politically disengaged. Eric Metaxas newest book that releases today does a great service to our Republic by publishing a book that addresses the fault lines in our political system yet at the same time offer hope for the future by examining the foundations of the past.

A year ago I read A Free People’s Suicide by Os Guinness a fantastic read. Guinness builds the case that the greatest enemy of freedom is freedom. That the biggest danger to our republic is not from an external army but internal vice. Arnold Toynbee famously observed that

“History shows that all great nations commit suicide.”

Lincon said of this

“If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Metaxas address the precarious nature of liberty in the famous exchange between Mrs. Powell and Benjamin Franklin. At the conclusion of the constitutional congress, Mrs. Powell approached Franklin and asked “Well Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” Franklin famously responded: “A republic, madam- if you can keep it.”

Both Guinness and Metaxas build their case for sustainable freedom around Guinness’ “Golden Triangle of Freedom.” The Golden triangle of freedom states that for us as a country to maintain her freedoms we need three interdependent things, freedom, virtue, and faith. If you lose any of those there ingredients, our republic will decline and eventually commit suicide. Guinness uses a more philosophical approach to the idea of the Golden Triangle. Metaxas uses a more historical approach. Because of the similarities and the difference of each they compliment each other very well.

In light of the horrific terror attack in Orlando, I was deeply saddened by the loss of so many innocent lives. I found it interesting and disheartening that politicians on both sides of the aisle want to diminish or suspend our 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments. When we the people don’t do what our duty is the government will gladly step in as we hand over our freedom for the false sense of security they provide. We make the deadly mistake of thinking that gun laws or surveillance laws will save us. Metaxas says

“Some problems cannot be cured through legislation. But they must be attended to nonetheless. And here is the problem: The less the culture attends to these things, the more the government will attend to them and the less freedom there will be.”

Reading Eric’s book, I was deeply impacted by not only the tenuous nature of freedom but the responsibility I have to keep Ameria free. It is very easy to get cynical when our voting options are a potential tyrant and a potential inmate. As a Christian and a parent, we must do the follow to be faithful “keepers” of the freedoms we have been given.

  1. We must read biographies of great men and women who lived lives of faith and virtue. We must do more than just read them we must pass on the stories of their lives to our kids.

    “The proper role of the heroic, to call us higher than ourselves. To call us to fight not merely for what is ours but for what should belong to everyone – for what is right.” – Eric Metaxas

  2. We must live lives of virtue empowered by the grace that only the Spirit of God can provide. My desire as a Christ follower is that every person to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. I want to live a life that reflects the love of Christ and demonstrates the transformation the gospel provides.
  3. We must make goodness fashionable – If we as a country continue to be ruled by our vices rather than by virtues I fear for the world, we leave our grandkids.
  4. We must pray for personal and national revival. One of the things I never realized was how much the Great Awakening affected the birth of our nation.

The events in the news daily, the posture of our culture reveal that we are a country that has largely abandoned virtue and has so personalized and segmented faith that our freedom that was bought at such a high price is hanging by a thread. There is time to reverse the damage but to do so we must fight, we must love, and we must trust.

I completely enjoyed “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty.” In the next few months before you cast your vote for our next President do yourself a favor turn off CNN and Fox and read “If You Can Keep It” and “A Free People’s Suicide.” They will give you a new sense of gratitude for the blessings we have received and perhaps a fresh perspective to see past the craziness of our time to what has always made America so unique and so exceptional, flawed yes but still exceptional. The shining city on a hill that Reagan always said it could be.

[*I was provided a free copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review for you on my blog.]

If You Can Keep It: Q & A With Eric Metaxas

reprinted with permission

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I have been huge Metaxas fan since his voice work as the narrator of VeggieTales rendition of Ester. I joke. I frist became aware of his writing from his book on Bonhoeffer and have since read most of his books. In his writing, his candor, wit and wisdom always shine through. Eric’s newest book If You Can Keep It is no different. I will be posting a review on my blog of Eric’s book in the coming days. I really enjoyed it. It releases officially this Tuesday, June 14th. Here is the Amazon link to pre-order until then and to purchase after the 14th.

How did the idea for the book first come about?

Honestly, I’ll never forget it. I was listening to the author Os Guinness
give a speech about the Founders unique idea of “ordered liberty” and
he described it in terms of what he called the “Golden Triangle of41MVx69VbUL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Freedom.” It all made perfect sense, but I was shocked and
embarrassed to realize that somehow I’d managed never to have heard any of this before and that neither had most people I knew. So after I stopped perspiring, I tried to figure out how a reasonably well-educated American could miss these ideas that are utterly foundational and central to what America is and who we Americans are as a people? What could have happened? Then I read his book A Free People’s Suicide and was staggered further still, because I realized that if this country — which was expressly founded on these ideas — had ceased to understand them and pass them on to the next generation, it would eventually cease to be America in any real sense, and I realized that that’s precisely what had been happening in the last four or so decades. To say that I had a sense of urgency about it is an understatement. I talked about it whenever I went and pushed Os’s book on everyone I
knew, and as my thinking on it all expanded I realized I needed to get my own thoughts into a book — and to promote that book as widely and forcefully as any book I would ever write. Because I saw that once America devolved to being “America”, the whole world would suffer. Despite our ills and shortcomings, we have been a beacon of liberty to the whole world — my parents, for example, as I discuss in the book, who came from places of misery to this place that represented hope and a future — and if that beacon should go out in our generation, what Lincoln called the “last best hope of earth” would have vanished. It would be as though we had effectively committed suicide because we had forgotten to eat. So to cut to the chase, this book is about saving America, and in doing that, saving the world. That’s all. No pressure, right?

Throughout the book you refer to the popular quote “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” What does that mean to you and how has America strayed from that?

This has manifested itself differently between liberals and conservatives. For example, conservatives have sometimes felt that America’s greatness was indeed that kind of chest-beating pride that people have misunderstood as “American exceptionalism,” and have forgotten that we have an important role to play in reaching out to the rest of the world, in welcoming others to our shores and in sharing our blessings — whether ideas regarding freedom or material blessings — with others. They’ve sometimes acted as though greed were indeed good, as though laissez-faire capitalism didn’t require a moral component to work as it should. And they’ve sometimes acted as though self-government didn’t require virtue — and a people and ethos that that prized virtue and hailed it as a social good. On the other hand, liberals have mostly in recent decades misunderstood the role that faith has played in our history and will continue to play if we allow it to do so. People of faith have been at the forefront of the Abolitionist movement and the Civil Rights movement. These were not secular movements. Our history in doing good could not and did not happen without people of serious faith playing a vital role, so to allow a new secularism to push people of faith out of the cultural conversation is to deny our history and to prevent our future together in any meaningful sense.

In If You Can Keep It, you write that self-government cannot exist without virtuous leaders. What do you think has been the biggest cause of the erosion of virtue in our modern-day political leaders?