Heedless of Danger

I was reading a post over on Ben Arment’s blog about the sociological factors that are involved in the expansion of the Christian religion, and it reminded me of this quote from Rodney Stark’s book “The Rise of Christianity“. I’ll include the preceding paragraph so you’ll know the context:

“At the height of the second great epidemic, around 260, in the Easter letter already quoted above, Dionysius wrote a lengthy tribute to the heroic nursing efforts of local Christians, many whom lost their lives while caring for others.”

Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead…

When everyone else ran for the hills in fear, the Christians followed the Golden Rule. When everyone else was about self-preservation, Christians were about everyone else.

Perhaps the ultimate hope of the local church has very little to do with marketing. Perhaps it will have more to do with the small things we do with great love. Perhaps it was a good idea for Matthew Barnett to use an old hospital for their Dream Center.

forgive me for this post

I heard a sermon by Louie Giglio that has stuck with me called “Prayer: Remix“. It was about a handful of common prayers that people pray that are, well, pointless in his opinion. One of them was the prayer of Christians asking for forgiveness after they have already been forgiven.

I hear this all the time. It’s almost always 1 John 1:9 quoted. It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

But if we are already forgiven, why do we need to ask for forgiveness?

Is there, perhaps, a better prayer than this one?

Why do you think people feel the need to keep asking for it?

doubting ryan

Vodpod videos no longer available.

We played this video tonight at our high school group’s Wednesday night worship gathering. Melissa talked about her personal battles when it comes to doubt, and did some digging in Scripture to try and figure out what a healthy amount of doubt looks like. Because we all doubt sometimes, don’t we?

I know enough about God to know that he exists. Sometimes I have absolutely no idea what He is doing, but I have a pretty good picture of who He is based on what I’ve learned from the bible, the world we live in, and my own story. I believe in his divine benevolence, but this article is about a guy who simply couldn’t believe in God’s divine benevolence. That article stirred up some doubts for me about the accuracy of the picture I have of God. I believe God is good, and that ultimately God can and will restore and heal this broken planet. But I’m human, and worms eating eyes stirs up doubt for me.

This guy is convinced that there isn’t a God. He says he knows there isn’t a god. I say I know there is. I used to doubt whether or not there was pretty before I became a Christian and even afterward for a couple years. But those doubts have decreased dramatically over the years.

It’s tricky because I trust God, but I buckle my seat belt. I trust God, but I lock my door at night. I trust God, but I save money for emergencies. I trust God, but I sometimes think my plan is better. I trust God, but I sure would like to see those hands of His.

I feel like I have pretty solid faith in God. I talk about my relationship with God, because that is what it is.

But sometimes I doubt, and I think that’s ok. Right?

Do you doubt? All the time or just occasionally? How does it affect you? If you attend a church, do you feel like it is a safe place to talk about your doubts?

deadly viper

deadly-viper-book-cover

I’m about halfway through Deadly Viper Character Assassins, and I’m already recommending it.

Go check out their blog. They’ve got three great writers over there… people that don’t play the game very well. You know about the game, right? The one where everyone puffs out their chests, hides their weaknesses, memorizes the small talk scripts to keep things shallow, Photoshops and crops things to make them look perfect, etc, etc… The game nobody wins but people keep playing anyways.

We’re so drawn to people who are transparent and brutally honest, but somehow the fakers get so much glory in our culture.