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thursday swap

April 29, 2009

ive known todays swapper for almost 19 years. we go way back. in fact, i knew him before he had his first mullet. i sometimes refer to him as my ex-fiance. but most of you know him as inworship. yup…brent has actually written a post! too bad it aint for his own blog. but ive taken care of that.

so brents here. and likely to stir up an interesting little discussion 😉 brent isnt one to shy away from a debate. and hes definitely not afraid to ask the hard questions. and today, his post is one that i think is very thought provoking and well written! jump on in and share your thoughts…


Hot buttons…

What are hot buttons for you? What are the things that immediately put the red flags up, make you concerned? Maybe even make you angry or defensive.

Being in ministry, I am constantly reminded of hot buttons. Everyday, I hear opinion. I hear criticism. I am told this is right or this is wrong. Sometimes it wears on me. I am finding more and more that Christians continue to live religious lives. Based on…”something”.

Why do I say “something”? Because most often, the opinions I hear have nothing to do with scripture. Like people’s thoughts on shorts or sandals in church. Or, music styles and volumes. Or an actual cross on the wall verses on the screen. There are much deeper opinions that center around movies, alcohol and even foods you can or can’t eat.

So what am I getting to?

I heard a statement the other day. I was listening to a Pastor teach and a statement he made will stick with me forever. He passionately spoke. “Please do not mishandle the Bible and make the Bible say something to fit your preference”. This statement hit me hard. How many times do we teach someone something and play it off as “God says”. or “its the Christian thing to do”. I am guilty.

Take alcohol use. When I teach my kids about drinking, am I going to tell them they can’t because it’s “not the Christian thing to do”? I would be lying. I would be using God to control or to make a point. I can teach them about being an example, about discernment, about the concerns of alcohol use. But, I can’t tell them “God says” don’t drink it.

Now, this is not about alcohol. It’s about religion. It’s about control. It’s about fear and pride.

So, next time you think of the hot buttons in your life, take a moment and think about how you combat them. Are you just attacking one, while creating another?

36 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2009 2:11 am

    Great point, Brent. I often feel challenged with some of the stuff my girls come home with from school. Sometimes it just feels like the moral compass that parents should be, is lacking in a lot of the kids the girls hang out with. I’m constantly talking about respecting others and ourselves and reinforcing the question “Would God be happy with how you handled that?” Though I know ultimately giving the girls this compass is essential, I worry sometimes. My oldest has a hard time not showing her disgust, when she sees a wrong or someone being disrespectful. I’m sure the apple does not fall far from the tree, and I am working on this. I guess this is where we need to concentrate on not judging others. Just something that concerns me at times.

    PS. The schedule your wife set up for you looks good. I’m with Pastor_T, waiting with anticipation.

    • April 30, 2009 7:46 am

      The “compass” is crucial. An understanding of right and wrong. Of appropriate and inappropriate. Well done. Keep it up. And, I too can be very judgmental, but I am continually reading scripture after scripture that tell me to love. That doesn’t mean I sit down and turn from wisdom and truth, but I am no the judge.

  2. April 30, 2009 3:26 am

    There is just so much to argue about, but I’m gonna leave that to Driscol and the rest of the scholars.
    While I continue to learn, I, like Bryan, am more concerned with my kids. There are so many times my son has come home from school and asked me why he gets in trouble for talking about Jesus in school. That’s just about my only “hot button” these days. How do you answer that? “Well son, God’s rules don’t apply at school”??? Sounds harsh, but it’s true. So, my answer is one of pride because if he’s getting in trouble, he’s talking about Christ…and he is SEVEN! I tell him,”it’s a crazy world we live in and there are some people who just don’t get it, but I’m proud of you, cuz you do!” Isn’t there some Scripture to be used in teaching them in the way they should go??? 🙂

    Have ya ever read The Purpose Driven Life?? Analyze that book and find MASSIVE amounts of examples where Scripture is used to fit the examples laid out in the book. Not a slam on Warren at all as The Purpose Driven Church is one of the best I’ve read. But just to point out that most of us in ministry will “use” the Bible to make “our” case instead of “His”.

    • April 30, 2009 7:50 am

      I would say that God’s rules apply at school as well as everywhere. Some people choose not to follow them. And you understand that and sound like yoour boy does too. awesome! as to your thoughts on Warren, it fits my point nicely. we can use scripture to fit our opinion. I can find scripture right now that will tell me I can’t wear shorts. But has God told me not to wear shorts? Even worse, am I goung to teach people that they can’t and say, “the bible says so”? The one difference with Warren and an issue like wearing shorts is that Warren is pointing us to Spiritual fruit and not legalistic action. So, in this case, i’d cut him the slack 🙂

  3. pokinatcha permalink
    April 30, 2009 3:41 am

    Ha, a mullet! Did Brent wear Op corduroy shorts and tube socks too?
    I think this is too deep for me to answer at 1:30 in the morning.

    • April 30, 2009 7:50 am

      corduroy and tube socks… Yup!

      • pokinatcha permalink
        April 30, 2009 1:46 pm

        You have something in common with my hubby! He about cried when the discontinued those shorts a couple of years ago!

        I have a hard time with irresponsible people. Even in the church. But, I’ve learned that we are all at different places in our walks with the Lord. Even though I think someone must be at x place it doesn’t mean they are and that I don’t know what they are going through to make them act the way they do.

  4. Heidi permalink
    April 30, 2009 4:47 am

    I can’t stay here and talk today. But wow I wish I could.
    Another hotspot or MISUSED part of the bible is about submission.

    Don’t get me wrong I beleive in submission but if its handled correctly, churches, pastor’s, spouses, kids, and even society like to twist submission so it fits them and their mission of life.

    It’s like loud music, sandals, and tattoos, if you are in church worshipping and spreading the gospel, WHO CARES!!

    Submission is the same. Submit healthy… Recieve healthy submission.

    Sorry this is all fragments, but I have a big day and got to run.

    • April 30, 2009 7:51 am

      Heidi have a great day. I agree with you, there are many issues that are stretched to fit opinion or even abused.

  5. April 30, 2009 6:05 am

    I grew up in a ‘legalistic’ type church. I couldn’t wear shorts – ever. I couldn’t go to the movies or a restaurant that served alcohol. Had to always have a shirt on and no long hair.

    I go to a church now that maybe pushes the other side of the envelope on some Christian ‘Freedoms’.

    So, this is what I have come up with after many years of thinking about it.

    Truth + Love. Whoa.. that’s deep, isn’t it? I have also heard it referred to as, now get this, Doctrine + Community.

    Love’em with the truth and you will build true community.

    I think most times that we are guilty of wanting others to look like us instead of looking like Christ. And here is the kicker – we haven’t done a very good job of understanding what Christ looked like.

    Great points.

    • April 30, 2009 7:53 am

      “I think most times that we are guilty of wanting others to look like us instead of looking like Christ. And here is the kicker – we haven’t done a very good job of understanding what Christ looked like.”

      Tony, very well said. Usually when our opinions are placed in the forefront, we forget love, we forget what Jesus would have done (that would make a cool bracelet 🙂 We get to concerned over what we feel is right.

  6. April 30, 2009 7:42 am

    **Standing ovation** clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap

    Couldn’t agree more. Really. I could write a comment equally as long agreeing with everything you said. But no one wants to read that. So … RIGHT ON.

  7. April 30, 2009 7:53 am

    My hot button? there are a few.

    “God Placed it on my heart to tell you……” (your wrong, why didn’t God ever place it on your heart to tell me you like what i said? It’s always your idea when your opinion of me is good….)

    and.. pretty much what you said… haha.

    • April 30, 2009 7:55 am

      Andy, that’s a big one for me. Being in ministry, I hear that a lot. I do however take it with a grain of salt. i listen and apply what I can, but most often it is someone trying to push there opinion on me. That is where I draw the line. I am not intereste in opinion, but I am interested in hearing God’s truth.

      • May 7, 2009 12:11 pm

        Just got back to this one Brent. Great wisdom in what you said. I hear it a lot, because I push the envelope a lot. SOOO God places it on a lot of peoples hearts to tell me I’m not a real Christian..

        That’s cute and all, but I do try to seek his word.

        Thanks for this advice. (yes, it’s advice)

    • April 30, 2009 9:35 am

      I read a book recently that said the mouthpieces for the Divine rarely know they are being used that way. The point was that God works more in the listener than in the speaker… He wants the listener to hear His word and can send it in many different ways. The problem with someone saying “God told me you should do this…” is that we are human and there is always that sense of self included. I know the few times someone has told me that God told them what was best for me, it was said with a pride and self-righteousness that didn’t feel Godly to me.

      So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’ll trust what I hear more than the words that are spoken.

  8. April 30, 2009 8:02 am

    and this is exactly why brenty should blog more!

  9. April 30, 2009 8:11 am

    whew. this is good. seriously good.

  10. TheNorEaster permalink
    April 30, 2009 8:49 am

    Shorts? Music? Sandals? “A cross on the wall versus a cross on the screen”…?

    I know a lot of people who are not Christians because of Christians like that.

    And I am convinced that those non-believers understand Christ better than those Christians.

    • April 30, 2009 9:45 am

      I believe your right. Unfortunately, as Tony was saying, Christians are often more interested in how they look, then how Jesus looks, through them.

  11. April 30, 2009 9:39 am

    My hot button is intolerance. I have a brother who has switched religions many times and is always first to tell everyone what they are doing wrong, how they should live and who is a sinner. Sadly, he’s so busy judging everyone that he’s turning a blind eye to his own family that is coming apart at the seams. It breaks my heart.

    The truth is, we all make bad choices. We all do our best to find our way and if we would all start looking more for our commonalities than our differences, we’d be able to be Christ for each other in ways that honor Him. In your example, Brent, we could look at the shorts they’re wearing to church, or we could look at the heart that brought them through the door. I’m pretty sure I know which one Jesus would notice.

    • April 30, 2009 9:48 am

      I am continually reminded that judgment is not a spiritual gift, nor a fruit of the spirit. And you are so correct in peaking to the heart. There is a difference in mistakes and intentions. Jesus wants our intentions to please Him, He knows we will make mistakes.

  12. April 30, 2009 10:35 am

    “Please do not mishandle the Bible and make the Bible say something to fit your preference”
    THANK YOU for putting this in your post….

  13. April 30, 2009 6:11 pm

    I don’t have anything deep to add. But good stuff, Brent. I know from friends and my brother who are in music ministry that criticism is rampant and often disguised as God’s “word.”

    But I think I need to think about how I’ve done this. And how I can NOT do this in the future. Thanks for this post.

  14. TheNorEaster permalink
    April 30, 2009 9:55 pm

    Hey, it’s Friday. Don’t you have a game or something like that we’re supposed to play…? I mean, Darla is on break so if we don’t have something to do here…Well, it’s just not Friday without a game!

    • April 30, 2009 10:36 pm

      ha! youre just a big kid arent ya, nor?

      well, we can turn this thread into a game.

      you pick – we’ll play!

  15. April 30, 2009 10:51 pm

    Wonderful post Brent. I am amazed at how many Christians believe that it is “more sinful” to have a drink once in a while than it is to gossip or be a false witness (lie) against your neighbor. I always love Joyce Meyer’s quote about how sitting all day in a garage doesn’t make you a car just like being in Church doesn’t make you a Christian. Similarly knowing scripture doesn’t make us knowledgeable about God and His Word until and unless we allow the Holy Spirit to give us understanding. Unfortunately too often people don’t wait for that; they take scripture and twist it for their own convenience. We have to learn how to become better at moulding ourselves to scripture and being spirit-led rather than the opposite.

    • May 1, 2009 9:18 am

      Well said!

      It is best to let God’s Spirit go to work in us. We may find out, that we were the issue all along.

  16. TheNorEaster permalink
    May 1, 2009 2:22 pm

    Too good a post to start a game. 😕

  17. May 5, 2009 5:50 am

    This was a great post Brent. I can relate, as most of my life I approached the text of scripture and Christian tradition with my presuppositions. You know, “how can I make this verse fit my beliefs…”

    And then those verse that I just wouldn’t fit, I had to ignore. Anyway, my beliefs have changed radically the past five years as I made a commitment to God to approach him objectively, as you said…let him be in control.


  1. Thursday Swap… | brent(inWorship)

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