Seek the things above!
Set your mind on things above! Set your mind on Heaven, where Jesus rules and reigns!
Put to death your members, the desires of your flesh body (be a doer) – put to death fornication (living together and having sexual relations outside of marriage), put to death uncleanness, put to death evil lusts and passions, covetousness and idolatry! Putting to death requires doing! To be a doer of God’s word is not legalism, His grace provides power. You cannot even know or see to be a doer – to put to death the deeds of the flesh without grace. The question becomes, “Will you humble yourself to receive God’s empowering grace?”
Receive the warning that the wrath of God is on those who practice such things… in other words, if you justify the sinful behaviors found in Colossians Chapter 3 and elsewhere found in the New Testament, you are already under the wrath of God = equals = being turned over to your sins.
IF you are truly a believer in Jesus Christ as Lord, you put to death the deeds of the flesh – damnable behavior, because of GRACE. His grace actually gives you the ability to see it is a life and death matter!
You also put away: anger, hatefulness, wrath, evil communication from your mouth, and you do not practice lying.
Because you are now holy, you PUT ON tender mercies, kindness and humility, with all longsuffering and patience walking out forgiveness because you have been forgiven. Putting on, is being a doer of God’s word.
Wives truly submit to your husbands, and husbands truly love your wives and forgive them. Children are to always obey, respect and honor their parents. Fathers be kind to your children and do not provoke them to bitter roots. Obey your bosses. Submission, loving, forgiving, obeying respecting and honoring all require being a doer.
So the grace of God has appeared instructing us to live godly lives, and to be doers of the word of God, not merely hearers. We are not under grace by merely having a mental assent to the word of God. Grace actually gives us empowerment to be doers of the Word of God!
Just a few commands in this ONE chapter of Colossians Chapter 3 to be a doer and not merely a hear of God’s word and the power of grace.
A Must See Heart-Rending Life Story
During the Exodus International Freedom Conference, I and the other delegates received an unexpected blessing. We were invited by Movie Director Chad Ahrendt to screen his new film, RECONCILIATION. I’d seen the trailer and knew a bit about the story line, so I admit to some pre-conceptions. “It will most-likely be a nice story, but I doubt it will be a real tear-jerker or pack an emotional punch as others reported,” I thought, and . . . “it probably won’t convey a real Christian message; it will most-likely compromise in some way.”
WOW, was I ever so blessedly wrong! RECONCILIATION is not only very tastefully done; it is believable, realistic and definitely packs that emotional punch, and not at all contrived. Based upon a very real and gut-wrenching life story, this movie confronts complicated life issues in an honest way without any sugar-coating.
Just the opening scenes dismissed any doubts on quality. I was concerned that it wouldn’t be well-done. Many low-budget films sacrifice story-telling and film artistry. Again . . . I was so wrong. RECONCILIATION is excellent. The actors are professional, believable; the editing and artistry of the film top-notch. Writer-Director Chad Ahrendt crafted an amazing heart-rending movie. In meeting with Chad, I could see that his personal passion is reflected in his artistic expression. This movie affirms his depth, conviction and vision. I’ve seen a lot of movies in my time; this one is definitely on the top of my movie list, EVER!
RECONCILIATION provoked a lot of questions for me. Why does this movie so bless me? Will it bless others as deeply? Why do I feel so strongly about this movie in particular? Are my strong feelings only because I can SO relate to this movie in SO many ways? Is it because I lived as a gay identified man for eight years? Is it the acknowledgment in the film of the struggles I have lived over the past 28 years within the Church and in ministry? Is it because I know what it is like to hate my father and then to be reconciled to him? Is it the raw emotional impact of the movie’s closing scenes, so similar to scenes I lived out with my own father?
The answer to all of these questions is “yes.”
Some who know me might just say, “well that’s Stephen, he’s so emotional.” And, it’s true. I am. However, it would take a hard-hearted soul indeed to not be moved by this movie. People in audiences vary greatly in everyday emotional expression, but all were clearly moved to tears at this screening. Was it because these viewers were delegates to the Exodus International Freedom Conference? Perhaps that plays a part because they can so relate. But I think it goes well beyond that. People love it when reconciliation takes place and the truth is presented in a real life story. It gives us all hope as we view whatever brokenness lies around us, and that reconciliation is possible.
My tears began to flow in the middle of the movie and were present through the final credits. My heart leaped for joy when the truth was presented to the Dad-Jeff McDowell, (played by Jack Maxwell). The presentation of truth is so freeing . . . and I was finally able to let my guard down and embrace this beautiful movie. This movie affected me so deeply because it is obviously truthful to real life. It confronted my own need to love more deeply and in truthful compassion. It demonstrates deep LOVE and FORGIVENESS. The power of grace is presented and treasured. My tears flowed as I relived my relationship with my own dad though this message of hope and great kindness. The Son-Grant Taylor, (played by Eric Nenninger) demonstrates accurately the battle that many Christians have in dealing with a loved one in homosexuality; yet the Son-Grant prevails with dignity, love and forgiveness.
RECONCILIATION reveals how very kind and long-suffering God IS with every last one of us. So many gay men and women have been deeply wounded by the Church; God desires reconciliation. Here we see it and it gives us hope.
The movie is honest and realistic, revealing varying views on the issue of homosexuality. Thank God it rises above the temptation to be politically correct and commits itself to just be about real life and the struggle we all face to overcome grief and hatred. It respects the real “issues” of hurt from both perspectives, gay and Christian.
I highly recommend this movie to everyone I know, gay, straight, Christian or uncertain. This is a must-watch movie for everyone that has been touched by the issue of a gay lifestyle. Whether you have a loved one involved in homosexuality, or you are someone trying to reconcile your own homosexuality/same-sex attractions and Christianity, this movie will speak to you in your journey. Every Christian should see it to help us deal with the issues with which our fellow brothers and sisters struggle in the Church and those who struggle outside the Church.
A film about the issue of homosexuality and the impact it has on families must, to be real, express the raw emotions of misunderstanding and pain. That realistic expression makes this movie a bit intense for children. The film does not avoid the impact of living in a fallen world. However, this movie is not just for those who struggle with same-sex attractions or those with surrounding relationships. It is for anyone who desires forgiveness and to love more deeply. It is for those who hope for better relating in any broken relationship.
Chad Ahrendt created an excellent and impacting movie; one he will never regret. As a courageous telling of the truth and a willingness to look beyond what many deny, this movie has the potential to be a sneaker-blockbuster. Some may mock it, as they did Mel Gibson’s the Passion of The Christ movie. Remember, many mocked the Billy Graham Association, saying The Hiding Place was lame. However, both movies are timeless and continue to express powerful truths. Both movies are watched over and over and are becoming multi-generational. RECONCILIATION will join these two as one of my favorite Christian movies. Why? Because RECONCILIATION is truly redemptive. Yes, it is the story of reconciling a father to his son, but it speaks to the inner need of all us, the desire to be reconciled. I loved this movie and I will definitely see it again on the big screen, with friends and tissues.
Please join with me in supporting the message of RECONCILIATION and help bring it to the Big Screen in your community.
Watch the Trailer:
I was recently introduced to this amazing short film: The Butterfly Circus. It’s message is very powerful. I highly recommend that you take a small block of time, an uninterrupted 20 minutes to watch this short film. It gives helpful perspective and helps with true identity and good attitude in life. If you don’t have time to watch it now, please come back and watch this in it’s entirety. I pray and hope that this short film will bless you as much or more than the blessing I received in watching it myself. I am so grateful to God for the wonderful courage and fantastic attitude of Nick Vujicic. Please watch the Butterfly Circus now… it will bless your life!
Today I had the pleasure to be with over 5000 Okalhomans who are tired of the “Out-of-Control Washington Government” wasteful spenders! 5000 plus Oklahomans enjoyed protesting at the Oklahoma Tax Day – Taxed Enough Already “TEA” Party! Taxes are too high and they are going to get higher. The Obama-ites are raising taxes on businesses. Businesses will continue to reduce employment rolls. Unemployment will increase under this fiscal irresponsibility! Business will close, services and goods will cost more. The Obama-ite congressional solution will be more taxes on fuel, goods and services. The cost of living will go up, and the American standard of living will continue to go down towards a depression. Our children and grandchildren will have less and many on the edge of poverty will go into poverty.
This must be the beginning of a new revolution. 2010 is when we vote a new congress into office! 2012 is when we vote in a new President! It is amazing how Americans have become so apathetic concerning this outrageous tax code we have with the IRS. The Boston Tea Party was a revolt over taxation without representation in British Parlament. The tax was actually very little, some say less than 3%. Why are Americans now willing to pay 20% to 50% in their income taxes, or even more taxes IF Obama has it his way? There needs to be a fair tax. It is time to revolt against Washington, DC and elect true representation of the people. The United States of America is the oldest Republic form of governement in the world.! A government of the people representing the people, governed by a constitution. However, the US Congress and rogue judges are governing this country as a tyranny or an oligarchy. This must be stopped before they destroy this country. We need to protect State’s Rights! Texas Governor Perry is calling for Texas Independence as the federal goverment is out of control! Let’s keep this country strong militarily and protect the USA from foriegn invasion through illegal immigration. We need to stop bowing down to the United Nations. Let’s educate and influence those around us to stop being complacent and vote out the socialists and tryannists; and let’s return to a Republic form of government rule that made this country great! Above all, as Christian ministers (as servants) of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we must humble ourselves and pray, then ask God to help give us leaders that love and desire HIS WAYS!
Today at my church home, Bridgeway, our pastoral leader, Alex Absalom shared a message on being a Person of Peace bringing influence into our world. The Lord used this message as a reminder of His mandate on those who wish us harm. We overcome evil by doing good. Pastor Alex didn’t share this particular verses found in Romans 12:20-21. His message was the “Definition of a Person of Peace” and his text was Mark 5, and Acts 10 a look at Cornelius’ life. You can listen to this message by downloading it from the Bridgeway Church web site or iTunes, key search “Bridgeway Church Podcasts” and there you will find several excellent messages.
Pastor Alex’s message: “Definition of a Person of Peace” was: 1) shows Receptivity – (be friendly and outgoing, make a way), 2) has a good Reputation – (being relational to influence the surrounding community) and 3) having Referrals – (a life of peace will manifest a testimony by where people in your community will see real help, lives changed, God’s grace & mercy poured out, answers to prayer and the miracles of God). Anyone living in the context of these three R’s will have no problem with evangelism.
Pastor Alex then brought the challenge! How do we make a difference in these economic challenging and chaotic times? What sacrifices are we willing to make as individuals and in our church community? Good question!
He challenged us to make a difference in sacrifice by asking us to consider prayerfully more soul-searching questions: What preferences are we willing to lay down? What desires need to become secondary to others? What fears do we need to overcome about certain individuals, like people who are sworn faithful to fundamental Islamic beliefs? What expectations must we lay down, and what should our expectations be?
My Personal Challenge
I was personally challenged by the Holy Spirit to look at the fruit of kindness. I immediately thought of the verse about overcoming evil by doing good (Romans 12:20-21) and being kind even when certain individuals and groups of people are hell bent to make your life miserable. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not communicating a boundary-less existence, on the contrary, overcoming evil is to have godly boundaries, but with a gentle meek and kind heart. Those who know me well, know that I am a very direct prophetic choleric personality type and do not back down from a conflict. Conflict doesn’t scary me, I can even create it to bring a healthier relationship if I believe it is helpful.
However, I am excited about the grace of God today being poured out to overcome evil by doing good through His love. This takes asking the Lord about where people are from His perspective. Perspective can be everything. If we can see the deception and brokenness from God’s perspective and what the possible outcome of where a person will end eternally, the heart can be graced into Christ-like compassion and kindness. Attitude is 90% of the victory, as God gives us the victory by faith (or attitude) in Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 John 5:4-5) & (1 Cor. 15:57). I thank God for ministering to my heart with His grace and challenge today. May HIS perfect Ways found in the Holy Scriptures, HIS Truth and HIS Life be yours!