Browsing Category: Christian Life

LGBT & The Condemning Church

A letter to the Christian church, from a follower of Christ.

If you read my blog, you know I’m a Christian. I am a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. He is my everything. I live my life for Him, because He gave His life for me. It’s simple, really. He loves me passionately, so I love Him passionately.

What’s crazy is that God loves me no matter what.

He loves YOU no matter what.

He’s not always happy with the choices we make, but He still loves us. If you’re a parent this concept isn’t difficult to grasp. We will always love our kids, but we won’t always be happy with the choices they make. I find understanding God is a lot simpler when I view him as a parent.

Jesus came to save the lost. He pursues us as we are… broken, hurting, sinful people. Once we turn to Him, he begins a new work in us. Thankfully, we don’t have to clean up our mess before we can come to Christ. We come to Christ, GIVE Him our mess, and he turns it into something beautiful. We become new creations in Christ. Why would I expect anyone to clean up their act BEFORE coming to Christ? That’s backwards.

Church, let me ask you a question, “Are you trying to pick a speck out of your brother’s eye, while you have a plank in your own eye?” Look at these verses in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11

When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. (NLT, emphasis mine)

The church is full of people who are committing all sorts of sin, sexual or otherwise, but we’ve come to accept these sins as excusable. We can relate to the difficulty of saving sex for marriage. We can understand being in a loveless marriage where you are undervalued and unappreciated, so we can’t blame you for going elsewhere to find the love and attention you crave. Or money! We all love money and nice things, so let’s spend, spend, spend until we’ve created idols out of STUFF. Now, however, we are confronted with a sin that a majority of us CAN’T relate to, and we are waving the red flag and pointing out the speck in our gay brother’s eye while we ignore the plank in our own!

Come on, Church! When will you see that it is love that draws people to Christ? Not condemnation! We are casting stones at those Christ has called us to love!

When Jesus Christ walked this earth he was mocked by the religious leaders for eating with sinners. His response was, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Are you being Jesus in this earth? Are you the one sitting at the table with the sinners, or are you the pompous religious leaders mocking the Son of God?

Dear God, please forgive us.

The doors of the church should absolutely be open to homosexuals. But this is a double-edged sword. If somebody claims to be a believer yet continues to live a homosexual lifestyle and believes it to be acceptable, then the Bible clearly says we are not to associate with them. The same goes for those who claim to be believers and have sex outside of marriage, cheat people, or are alcoholics. We shouldn’t associate with those people either. May we NOT be found living by a double standard!

Stay with me here… Please hear my heart. Anybody who asks Jesus into their life WILL BE CHANGED. If you don’t see evidence of a change, then I would question if that person has truly made Jesus the Lord of his or her life.

We all struggle with relinquishing control of our lives. We all struggle with temptations, sexual or otherwise, but if a person truly gives their life to Christ, he will desire the things of God. And I think that is what this scripture really means. It means do not spend time with anyone who claims to be a believer, but doesn’t act like it. We call those people hypocrites. (Lord knows the world loves to point out those in the church!) But we should be spending time with unbelievers too and inviting them into our churches. How else will they come to know Jesus? The real Jesus. The Jesus who ate with sinners and corrupt tax collectors.

The beauty of Jesus is that he pours out love unconditionally. The ugliness of sin is that it draws us away from Jesus. Whether that sin is homosexuality or judging those Christ calls us to love.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)

 

 

Why You Need Girlfriends: from the Girl who Hangs with the Guys

girl friends lisamuccio.com

I used to dislike “girlfriends”. There was a time in my life when I just hung out with guys, because they were easier. I didn’t have to worry they were judging me for not being pretty enough or funny enough or just… enough. Some of this was based on my own insecurities, but you know full well my fears weren’t completely unfounded. Girls can be mean.

Let me also state that I hate “fake”. I hate when people are fake with me, and I hate when that, in turn, forces me to be fake with them. I despise it. This cut out about two-thirds of all girls as potential friends growing up. (I always had one close friend who was a girl, but otherwise I surrounded myself with guys – it was safer.) 

Fast forward to tonight. Five women. Different cultures, different walks of life, different situations, gathered in a Starbucks being totally REAL with each other. Walls down. Hearts open. Talking about life and God and love and there is not a hint of “fake-ness”. Not a drop. Nor a smidgen. Just 100 percent real-ness and we are having the time of our lives.

We’re hitting every topic from loving God to inappropriate ways to wear bikini bottoms. And I love it. God, I love it! So much. I love that we can all be real and open and there is no judgment. I love that we can all be godly, christian women and yet no one is pretending to have it together, and no one is playing the holier-than-thou-card. It’s just so beautiful. So gloriously beautiful. This is what girlfriends are supposed to be.

It’s figuring out life together. It’s having someone to relate to. It’s someone to text when your day has gone down the crapper and you just need some prayer and an encouraging word. Oh my word! I don’t know what I would do without my girlfriends now! Thank God for them. Thank God I didn’t stay the way I was. Thank God I didn’t let the fear of rejection or judgment keep me from making friends. I would be missing out on so much! I’d be missing out on the fun, the laughter, the support, the quality time. I would be missing out on LIFE!

Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let insecurity steal your friendships. The beautiful thing about women is that we are all different. We are different shapes, sizes, and colors. We have different strengths, talents, and abilities. It’s what makes us strong. Together we are unbeatable – a force to be reckoned with. Find yourself some girlfriends, and go do life with them. We are not meant to go it alone.

Live Generously

Last night began our 6 week study of the book Story of Marriage by John & Lisa Bevere. A group of women married 3 years to 30 years. We were discussing the chapter, what we liked, what stuck out to us when a little tidbit of truth revealed itself… When we give to others, when we live selflessly, it feels good, right? We’ve all heard it’s better to give than to receive. And you’ve probably experienced that feeling of joy when you’re able to help someone and give of yourself. But there’s a double bonus here. When you give to others, they want to give back to you. The selflessness we exhibit is attractive. It draws people to us. They want to be generous with us and invest in us.

“Selflessness is attractive”

This works wonders in a marriage. If I’m pulling on my husband all the time, drawing on him, thinking only of my needs it 1) drains him and 2) makes him resent me. He starts thinking, “What about my needs, and what I want?” Or he thinks, “All she does is nag me all the time!” But if I’m giving of myself, being selfless, focusing on Josh’s needs instead of just my own, he totally recognizes it. It softens his heart towards me, and he wants to give back to me. He starts thinking “What can I do for Lisa?”

You can have a marriage with two people both thinking of themselves and pulling on each other.

Picture: Tug-of-war. Nobody wins. Both parties usually end up in the mud.

OR

You can have a marriage with two people living selflessly, constantly giving to each other.

Picture: A cycle (I give. Then, you give. So, I want to give, so you want to give…) Everybody wins.

Selfless Cycle

In the first scenario no one’s happy, and no one’s getting what they want. Stalemate.

In the second scenario both people are happy and both are getting what they want. It just takes one person to make the first move.

Conclusion: When you think only of your own needs, they don’t get met. 

When you put your spouse’s needs first, YOUR needs are met.

Mind. Blown.

So why aren’t we generous, selfless people all the time? It goes against human nature – look out for number one. We can try and override that, and do a halfway decent job. But there’s a better way than striving to do it on our own. It’s through Jesus. When you love Christ and live your life immersed in Him, it is SO much easier to live selflessly. When I’m focused on Christ – not on myself and not on the things that are temporary (this world and all the stuff in it) – then loving others is easy. It doesn’t feel like a “HAVE to” anymore. Loving and living selflessly is a “WANT to”. You probably know the old hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

The temporary things that will all pass away – the things that I let get to me that don’t really matter – all of it grows so dim when I’m focused on Jesus. Then I can love my husband, my kids, my friends, my family, the poor and broken, because I’m focused on something of SIGNIFICANCE. I’m focused on the things that matter. When you turn your eyes upon Jesus, living selflessly just flows out of that.

Turn your eyes upon Him. Live Selflessly. Live Generously. LIVE life!

What can you do to live generously, today? Test my theory. I’m confident you’ll like the results.

 

What RSV Proved to Me about the Church

Last week our baby boy ended up in the hospital with RSV for 5 days. The week was not easy… lack of sleep, hospital food, separation from my husband and daughter. And, of course, the fear that tried to creep in through “What ifs..?” and my overactive imagination. The evenings ended with me fighting tears as my husband went home without me and exhaustion got the best of my emotions. As our son slowly got better the rest of our family got worse. RSV is extremely contagious. By the time I was home I was fully sick, dealing with a sick 2 year old whose time away from mom brought on tantrums like I’ve never seen before.

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