For this last show, I figured it would be a great idea to end on a good note, especially after that last show. I went all out, and I still feel like I held back. But I believe some of the things I really, truly wanted to say, were better off left unsaid. Why? Not because I believe the content of them would have been untrue, but because it would not have edified myself or others. I really wanted to go all through the misdeeds of people in my life…especially members of my own family. Would God Bless that? Especially on a Christian show? So, I am not ending off on a good note because it’s the Christian cliche thing to do, or even *gasp* that it’s the right thing to do. But because it’s the humble thing to do. It is the meek thing to do. I would love nothing more than to say, “LOOK AT ALL THIS CRAP I HAVE DONE OR HAVE GONE THROUGH.” So that others may feel bad for me or pity me or whatever. The older I get, the more WEAK that sounds. I mean it is truly pathetic to have that mentality. Yeah, I grew up and got abused at home and at school. Yes that may be a REASON for how I am today, but it’s surely not an excuse. There is grace, mercy and love for me…and God has shown it. But at some point He is like, “COME ON NOW JAY, this is getting just a little absurd, don’t you think?”
I could go on and on and on about all the crap I have dealt with. I know people in life who have had it FAR worse than I. There is a lot of junk out there, even in the church. It’s ok to call it for what it is, but only for the sake of edifying the church. Too often we have this false sense of humility that we are all sinners and we all screw up. SO…since it is to be expected of us that we will, we become grace abusers. Then on the other side we have a bunch of Christians, especially that grew up in the church (such as myself) who, at least at the beginning, have this larger than life view of Church leaders and even their brothers and sisters. They are so naive to think this holy brother would never dare cheat on his wife with her mother or sister, or her best friend. Oh, and they are all believers too. Yeah, that’s the real, raw Christian talk stuff. I realize though that we can’t all be about shock value here. The radio industry lends itself to it so they can keep an audience. Lord, may it never be said of me that I did the shock jock crap just to keep an audience. If it is to be done, may it be for a means to an end AT THE MOST…meaning some redeeming purpose.
Here is a story to expound upon this point: A couple of months ago I had a girl on this show. Her name was Pyper. She was the victim of rape. She decided because of her faith, she was going to keep the baby. At first even her own mother wanted to abort the baby. Then they realized that LIFE is a gift only God can give and that it would be murder. It’s not the baby’s fault it was brought into this world in such a sinful way. And then those closest to her were attacking her and calling her the most obscene things for going through with the birth. The family became an outcast…for choosing life? REALLY? Worst of all, they took the rapist to court and he got away with it. When the family decided to go to court to have them recognize that this is her baby and that the rapist had no parental rights to the baby, the rapist counter-sued for parental rights as well! What a nightmare. After years of being tormented, I am thankful to announce that they finally WON permanent rights and the rapist, who admittedly didn’t care about Pyper at all…. lost. Praise the Lord!
There is an example of something REAL AND RAW…in your face, and no apology. Yes, there may be some shocking stuff in that story. But God see to it that it had a good ending. What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good! So, this is the kind of stuff we like to talk about, that some in the mainline Christian church avoid. That’s what I mean by real, raw Christian talk. Not getting up here and ranting and calling out all the sinners and preaching hell-fire and brimstone. But the junk that Christians deal with and dish out needs to talked about and dealt with.
I have seen it all— mighty leaders who fall, cults and cults-of-personality, punishing those who suffer with addictions and genuinely struggling with sin, seeing churches trying to “force” the spirit, including speaking in tongues, hypocrisy in leadership, even people who just fall away—ones you thought were good Christians who say “screw you God, I don’t believe in you anymore”. We have to be strong. The first thing I suggest is stay humble, man, stay humble. Never say to yourself that you’re a strong Christian and that you would never fall away. Be humble against a pompous attitude. Like your some Christian superhero. Do you see prophets in the bible calling themselves that? No, there are no self-proclaimed prophets to be found. Others called them that. They would tell you that they are just doing God’s will. May we not think too highly of ourselves as if Satan can’t touch us because we’re “strong in the word”.
HOWEVER on the same token, don’t let Satan walk all over you either. We must know who we are in Christ. I struggle with this area all the time. How quickly we forget that we are more than conqueres in Christ. That he provides for us…even when I can say personally that God has provided for me more than anything else. That he gives us peace that passes ALL understanding when we choose to do what is right even when it is unpopular. In a generation that thinks what is wrong is right and what is right is wrong, we really stand out and they hate us for that. But they really hate the Christ in you, not necessarily you.
Why is that? Why does the world hate us? Because we remind them that we are pathetic sinners who are nothing without God. We remind them that they are A SLAVE TO SIN. They can’t help themselves. And worst (or best) of all, we remind them that they must be accountable to someone and take responsibility for their actions at that point. Woe to the Christian that reminds an atheist that when they die, they are gone forever with no hope….as they go on their little crusade of trying to “unbrainwash” the world of all the perils of religion and the evils it has wrought upon humanity. Sadly for them, they are wasting their time because they will die anyways. Either way they lose.
We have to realize as Christians that we all have some kind of vice and not be shocked when we hear another Christian friend or family member struggles with some stronghold. They may have this picture-perfect image of a great, godly believer, but EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE has a thorn in their side of some sort. I have to contend with that personally. (I have been asked to censor this part of my article by an agency I work with. I had reluctantly done so and decided not to explore legal options to keep the peace.)
God I ask you right now that you use everything about me…the good, the bad, AND the ugly for your glory. There has to be a reason for what we all go through and I know you see the whole picture. Please keep me humble yet allow me to experience your joy through victory of overcoming my problems for your glory. In Christ name, AMEN!
We have to realize that God don’t make no junk and he truly does have a purpose for our lives. God doesn’t do ANYTHING to waste his time. We have to truly believe that because it’s easy to think that. Growing up in the church, I was the outcast (just like in school). And whether intentional or not, Satan can even try to twist church culture against us. Like seeing other people speaking in tongues, or doing a great job on the worship team, or doing a really awesome prayer, doing something awesome like missionary work or most of all—FEELING GOD’S SPIRIT ALL OVER YOU and being overwhelmed with joy. And for a struggling Christian who struggles with self-worth, he can look at that and say, “Man I’m a terrible Christian. I don’t feel any of that, or do anything good for the kingdom.”. I remember telling God that I feel like I’m the only person that Christianity doesn’t work for. WHAT LIES FROM THE PIT OF HELL! It still feels real to this day, but thank God salvation is not a feeling! We have to remember that we all grow at different paces. I have never spoken in tongues, and the more I read the bible it becomes apparent that some people who do it don’t even understand what the bible actually says about it. It’s actually to help others who never heard the gospel in their language to hear it. I’m sure that God has used it to edify people but Paul is clear that there are far better gifts than speaking in tongues! Yet there are some churches that will tell their congregation to start corporately praying in tongues. This should not be! But God will even use that. However, we should never make other Christians feel sub-par because they can’t do what other Christians can do after a certain period of time. I think that is counterproductive.
Another thought on the topic of growing up in the church: we need to open up a lot more and be willing to speak to those who DO seem (on a fleshly level) lower than us. I know for a fact I gave off that vibe in youth group, LOL! I realize though that a lot of those kids were not much different than those at my school. Instead of making fun of me, they would barely acknowledge me or be nice on a superficial level, but I rarely had any friends. In fact, I only have one lasting friendship from the church i used to go to, and he’s in Colorado now! Too many cliques and Christians trying to live up to some standard of society that looks too much like the world and too little like the church. Worst of all, taboo and controversial subjects were never brought up. I remember one day after a youth group altar call, I wanted so bad to tell someone about what I was struggling with…I was in the car with my dad trying to find some way to tell him, and I think I did but I didn’t go into too much detail as I was so ashamed. Now this is not ALL the church’s fault because we do have the enemy as well, but this is something that needs to be discussed on some level. So many kids grow up with so much shame and they never truly have that freedom that the bible talks about and it’s sad.
Sometimes I almost wish I grew up outside the church. I see a lot of people who grew up unbelievers and then they became saved and had so much joy. I believe it’s almost harder for kids who grew up in the church because they become jaded by the whole church culture and the gospel is rehashed and also watered down to the point where it’s like, “Sure yeah, I’m a Christian…yes, I’m saved. Yay.” It shouldn’t be like that. We need to take those filters off and just get back to the bible and read it with no preconceived ideas. Yes, we all are sinners to start, in the church or not. We all have to make that decision to follow Christ at some point. When we take our faith for ourselves and don’t live it vicariously through someone else, then it becomes real. Yeah, you may never get all those warm and fuzzy feelings that some people get, but we all have different personalities. There is plenty to be passionate about even if you are stoic and boring individual. Most of all, we can’t expect to get all the answers to things…especially like Why did God allow evil in this world, or why do bad things happen to good people, or other philosophical ideas that get in the way. These are great questions, and deserve to be asked. But NEVER let it get in the way of FACTS. No matter what, we know there is a God and he created the universe. He sent his Son to die for us and He is coming back again to give us eternal life! We can take comfort in that. The Lord will make all things new in the heavens and the garden of Eden will restored on the new Earth. Praise the Lord!