Monday, May 31, 2010

Don't begin your prayers with "if."

I saw in a movie long ago a girl after a date said to herself about the boy walking away, "if he likes me he'll turn around and look at me." He turned around. "Yes!" she squealed to herself. Cute. But come on. How real is that? Did the guy actually like her or was he just being nice? He might have liked her but was him turning around the signal? She could have said, "if he likes me he'll stop and tie his shoelace." Ridiculous.

People will give you advice, say about a girl. They'll say "you have to be direct with her. Tell her your intentions right away before you enter the 'friend zone.' Most girls appreciate guys being direct." But what about the girl who likes to move slow? What about the girl you HAVE to befriend first? Well, the advice giver will say "if being direct doesn't work out, then she's not the girl for you." WHAT A COP OUT! How ridiculous is that? He's saying one of two things, either HIS ADVICE is what MADE her the right girl for you, or the 5% of girls that this "advice" doesn't work on aren't right for anyone, because, after all, his advice is supposed to work for every guy. He doesn't realize that if you had followed the advice her GIRL friend told you, to befriend the girl first and approach things slowly, she would have grown to realize how compatible the two of you really are. If you do that, all of a sudden she's the right girl for you? Just because you chose someone else's advice? The advice has no connection at all to her being the right girl. You are either compatible or you aren't. All you can do is be yourself and try to win her heart the best way you can.

How many people are we compatible with? A lot. A whole lot. I think we are compatible with a lot more people than we realize. But how many do we end up with? One. Ideally. Does that mean you aren't compatible with the other people? No. Compatibility is a constant. You are either compatible with someone or you aren't. Sure it changes over time, but generally speaking you either are compatible or you are not. So the reason you don't end up with someone, even though you are compatible, isn't because you are only compatible with just one person. It's because conditions weren't right when the opportunity was at its best. Opportunity wasn't good enough, no matter how compatible you two are.

I hate it when people say things like "if so and so then it wasn't meant to be." No. You don't get to dictate the terms of a cause and effect relationship. Nature does. God does. It's like praying for something. I read in Boy Meets Girl, how Joshua Harris's girl prayed to God, "please if it's your will that Joshua be the man for me, tell him NOT to call me tonight." She believed that if Joshua was strong enough in Christ that he would hear God's word and fight the temptation to call. Nice idea, but completely faulty. Sure, in this case God said yes, but what if God had said, "no?" What if Joshua prayed a contradictory prayer? Would she have known? What if God had bigger plans? What if His plan was BETTER than hers? What if God said "no" to this girl? If Joshua hadn't called, then maybe he just wasn't interested. Or worse, what if he DID call but God said NO to this girl's prayer because He wanted Joshua to be proactive and to chase after her. Now he calls her and she loses interest, all because she THOUGHT she had a bargain with God. She didn't necessarily have a bargain. God doesn't say yes to every prayer, and if you give him an ultimatum or a bargain, watch out.

Think about how ridiculous this prayer would be... "If you don't want me to be with this guy, let me win the lottery tonight." Wouldn't it be great if God worked that way? I'd get both. I'd get the girl of my dreams one day then the next day say, "Ok God, if you want me to be with her then can you confirm it by letting me win the lottery? Thanks." Riiiight. God's not a vending machine.

Don't dictate to God. Don't bargain. Ask? Sure. Pray? Definitely. Beg? I guess. Fast? Yes. But don't think a bargain is going to work.

In short, don't begin your prayers with "if." He might say "yes." But then again, He might say "no." You'll never know if he said "yes" or "no," even if your condition is met. Just because you prayed for a condition, and the condition was met, it doesn't mean He said "yes" to the prayer. Be very careful about these sorts of prayers.

I do believe Jesus told us not to test God. You tread on thin ice when asking these sorts of questions.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quick Movie Review: Gran Torino

I didn't expect the ending of Gran Torino, but I wasn't surprised it ended the way it did. Clint Eastwood understands what it means to be a man: Strength, Responsibility, Doing the Right Thing, and most importantly Sacrifice.

If you want to see a man being a man, watch this movie. Clint portrays a vulgar abrasive racist old war veteran, but in the end he exhibits true manliness. The character might be a bit difficult for some Christian people to watch through most of the movie, but he more than makes up for it in the end.

Watch this movie.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Do you separate yourself from Christianity by denying the church?

What's wrong with Christianity today? The good Christians are leaving the religion.

Do you call yourself spiritual but not religious? Do you say you believe in Christ but you don't like the religion of Christianity?

I don't find it necessary to qualify my relationship with God with words like Spiritual or Anti-Religious Christian.  I am a Christian.  Protestant is the only qualification I need.  Okay, non-denominational Christian.  If people don't understand what it truly means to be Christian, my denying it and separating myself from the overall Christian community (dogmatic as they are) only supports the mistaken belief that all Christians are bad people.  I don't need to defend my faith from people who hate Christians.  If they even only dislike the judgmental hypocritical fair-weather Christians, they aren't much better.  I am Christian.  The Christian faith isn't the problem.  Bad Christians might give the rest of us a bad name, but denying the name Christian because of some bad apples is shameful.  The problem isn't the religion.  It's some people in the religion.  I'm not going to deny the religion because some people give it a bad name.

There are a lot of atheists, agnostics, new agers, witches, Muslims, Buddhists, even satanists who are genuinely nice people. You need to separate yourself from THEM, not Christians. When you say that you are a believer but not Christian, you join the crowd that includes nice atheist, good witch, and peaceful Muslim. Do you want to be one of them? Do you want people to associate you with atheist? Or witch?? Or SATANIST???? Or do you want people to think the reason you are special is the fact that you follow Christ? What do you want the world to think causes you to be so nice? Good genes? Good upbringing? Your pride? No. THAT isn't what it means to love God. You glorify God, not yourself. THAT is what will separate yourself from non-believers.

You aren't supposed to point the finger at yourself. "Yeah I'm a nice guy. I worship Jesus, but I'm not one of THOSE Christians." That statement glorifies YOU! Not God. Not Jesus. You are telling the other person that you are nice DESPITE the fact that Christ dwells in your heart. Are you kidding me???? That's not the way you communicate Christ's love. That only glorifies you. Stop it!

To clarify to non-believers that you aren't like those other bad Christians gives the bad Christians power.  Show your non-believing brethren what a true Christian is like.  If you exemplify Christ's love and the non-believer has heard you say that you don't affiliate yourself with the overall Christian religion, you only prove to him that the overall Christian faith is flawed.  But if you defend the Christian faith and you exemplify Christ's love, then the non-believer will more likely associate Christ's love with Christianity, not you. They aren't supposed to associate Christ's love with you. Not you exclusively. You aren't the only good person in the world. You aren't the only good believer. You are supposed to be just one of millions or billions of good Christians. To deny and separate yourself from the overall Christian community points the glory of being good back right at you. That is virtual blasphemy.

YOU aren't great. GOD is great.

Get over yourself. Defend your faith. Prove to the world what it means to be a good Christian.