Ellen Martin | @ellenmartin03
Have you ever felt judged when you walked into a church? Let’s get more real: Have you ever judged someone either in or out of church?
I have been judged.
And I am guilty of judging others.
Unfortunately I think it’s safe to say that most people have both judged and been judged. Judgement in church is a huge problem. As a teen, one of the reasons that I stopped going to youth group was because I felt that I wasn’t “good enough” to be with the other people there. My heart breaks for those who feel judged in church on a regular basis because they aren’t “good enough” in the congregation’s eyes. In a way, no one is “good enough”. No one deserves the grace of God. Despite this, Jesus died for everyone.
Let’s be real with each other. We are all sinners. We all need Jesus’ forgiveness. Should we dwell on our past mistakes? No, we need to grab hold of the new creation Christ makes us. Should we recognize that we all need grace and forgiveness? Yes.
Jeff Weddle | @anti_itcher
“Please hold for an important business call,” says the familiar recorded female voice on the telephone that recently rang in my house.
How stupid is that? Why does a place call me to put me on hold? And why do they call me every day?
I recently got a new phone number. Apparently the previous owner of this number was on a first name basis with every telemarketer in the known universe. Every day we are getting multiple calls for Mike, Tami, Max, and others. Maybe a whole universe of people previously had this number. I don’t know.
What I do know is that they keep calling me and they don’t stop. Getting telemarketing calls is annoying; repeatedly getting them for other people is nigh on infuriating.
I know you are itching to solve this problem for me. I can hear your breathing quickening, your mouth moistening, and see the smoke coming out of your churning brain-wheels. I know you want to give me advice. Advice like:
Kevin Welborn | @theKevinWelborn
My oldest daughter is inquisitive to say the least. Daily, I have to explain a myriad of principles of the universe to her. She NEEDS to know these things. Too often, my explanations are not sufficient for her. I apologize for my lack of knowledge in the areas of astronomy, thermodynamics, and My Little Pony.
The hardest question she ever asks is, “why?”. Sunday we were discussing the Hebrew name for God, YHWH. I don’t remember the catalyst for this conversation, but she mispronounced the name and I corrected her. In her opinion, YHWH is a funny sounding name. I responded with, “Well, it is a Hebrew name and not an English one.”
She then drops a “why” bomb on me. Why is it Hebrew? It just is. I had, nor have, any better explanation than that.
Why is a 403(b) different than a 401(k)? Why are there all these parentheses in these terms? Did I have to google the plural from of parenthesis? And why are there bears and bulls in our stock market? Is it because bulls are better stewards of their money than bears are? Vice versa? They are both terrifying in their own way, I don’t want to ignite the ire of either!
Some people who read this blog will be able to respond to those stock market questions. For those educated or experienced in finance, these would be fairly simple to answer.
But, the “why” of the matter is often more difficult and complex.
Brian McKay | @RealBrianMcKay
I recently chose to skip church one Sunday.
I didn't have a valid reason. I mean, I was feeling confused about life, and in a way, maybe a bit discouraged. But that wasn't the main cause. I just didn't feel like going.
So, I stayed home. It was actually really nice. Usually, when I stay home from church (unfortunately, it happens more often than it should), I just play video games or something. I waste the time.
This time, though, I started listening to music, and I actually focused on the words. I listened to two songs, and in that time, I experienced one of the most worshipful moments I've had in quite some time.
I sometimes deal with doubts in my faith. I decided to listen to "Jesus, Use Me, I'm Yours." Those who know me know that I loooove Jason Gray. His lyrics hit me in a way that no one else's do. I listened to this song because I needed to speak its prayer: "I'm not much to look at, but whatever I am, I'm yours."
Daniel Foster | @danielfoster07
Growing up, Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays. Not because of the demons and miniature devils running around, but because it was the one day of the year I could be something other than myself. Superman, a Ninja Turtle, the red Power Ranger, I could be just about anything I wanted.
As I grew older though, I realized we never really quit dressing up. Especially as Christians, we walk around 365 days a year wearing these masks and try our absolute best at hiding who we really are. We walk into church every Sunday morning with these great big smiles, hiding the hurt, discouragement, or depression we may be battling with on the inside.
This is mostly because the church culture has made us believe that in order to walk through the doors and be accepted, we have to have our lives put together. But that’s not what church is about. That’s not what the Gospel is about. The Gospel is good news for everyone, not just those who are already good, those who have their entire lives together, or those who have all their ducks in a row. It’s for those whose lives are a disaster, those who don’t even know where their ducks are.
Matthew 11:28 says “Come to Me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
In this passage, I believe Jesus is saying come to Him wherever you are. Not once you are righteous and have it all figured out. Take off the masks you are wearing and quit acting like you have everything together, when the truth is, you don’t. Come to church as you are, with pain, addictions, depression, or whatever else you may be carrying, and lay them at the feet of Jesus. The healing begins when you remove your mask.
Daniel Foster comes from the outskirts of Atlanta. He serves on staff at DeVotie Baptist Church where he is the student pastor. Daniel is a fan of the Georgia Bulldogs and the Atlanta Braves. You can find him on Twitter at @danielfoster07.