How “Alien” Is Your Christianity?

Peter pulls no punches as he calls Christians for what they are (or perhaps what they really should be): aliens … strangers … peculiar people.

But how can that be, especially in the United States of America? Survey after survey says that upwards of 95% of Americans claim to believe in God, and fully 8-out-of-10 of every American call themselves a Christian.

You only need to take a look at our schools, our government, or our entertainment to see how “alien” biblical values are with current cultural trends. I think all of us have experienced that when we try to live by a biblical standard, people roll their eyes at us (at best) or maybe outright mock us. Perhaps the term “aliens” is not so much for what we say we believe, but how we live what we believe.

That’s why Peter calls us peculiar (1 Peter 2:9). This word means a people so focused on what God wants, that they don’t have time to worry about what the world wants. Peculiar people are so focused on “Your kingdom come and Your will be done” that they don’t pay attention to “keeping up with the times.”

Peter says that the inevitable outcomes of this peculiar lifestyle are accusations of wrong doing, unjust treatment, insults, and slander, just to name a few (see 1 Peter 2:12, 19, 21-23; 3:16).

When we are treated this way, Peter tells Christians about their alien response:

  • Love one another deeply
  • Live good lives doing good deeds
  • Do not retaliate with insults or threats
  • Live in such a hope-filled way that others can’t help to ask you about it (see 1:22; 2:12, 23; 3:15)

So… how “alien” is your Christianity? Are you doing so many good things that it catches the attention of others? Are you responding to mistreatment in a Christ-honoring manner? Do you speak with others gently and respectfully? Is your life so full of hope in your eternal home in Heaven that people can’t help but ask you for the reason for the hope you have?

Don’t worry about being popular; be peculiar. Be so alien to this world’s values that you compel others to encounter Jesus Christ as you have! 

Join me next Sunday as we continue our look at how citizens of Heaven are supposed to live while visiting Earth.

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New Year New Attitude

New YearIf you’re looking to challenge yourself to be a better person in the New Year, you couldn’t go wrong with this list—

  1. Hate what is evil
  2. Cling to what is good
  3. Love others with real compassion
  4. Honor others above yourselves
  5. Work hard
  6. Keep growing spiritually
  7. Find new ways to serve the Lord
  8. Be joyful in hope
  9. Be patient in hard times
  10. Be faithful in prayer
  11. Share with others who are in need
  12. Practice hospitality
  13. Bless those who persecute you
  14. Laugh with your friends when they’re happy
  15. Cry with your friends when they’re sad
  16. Live in harmony with everyone
  17. Make friends with those others call “nobodies”
  18. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not
  19. Don’t respond to insults with insults, but with love
  20. Try to do what is right in the eyes of everyone
  21. Live at peace with everyone
  22. Don’t take revenge, but let God handle it
  23. Don’t let evil get the best of you, but get the best of evil by doing good

(Hat tip: Apostle Paul in Romans 12:9-21)

Links & Quotes

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“The thing required is not to add to the good actions we have already done, but only to do that out of love to God which men of reputation and virtuous lives due from a principle of honor and regard of themselves. …  Let us do all the same honest and virtuous actions, but let us do them for the sake of Him Who made us and to Whom we owe our all.” —Françoise Fenelon

“If, when no one is watching us, we are building ourselves up in the Word of God, then, when a crisis comes, we shall stand; but if we are not building on the Word of God, when a crisis comes we shall go down, no matter what our wills are like.” —Oswald Chambers

“So the issue for us is: Do we eagerly long for the coming of Christ? Or do we want Him to wait while our love affair with the world runs its course?” —John Piper

For all of my pastor friends who have kids, this post from Pastor Dave Barringer is an important read.

Dr. Tim Elmore uses John Wooden as a great example to ask the question: Are You A Coach Or A Teacher?

Have you heard that there are fewer Christians in America? Check out John Stonestreet’s analysis of the latest reports.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell talks about the consistency and perseverance of the professional—

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” —Albert Einstein

The danger of redefining marriage: How The Decline In Marriage Is Fueling Inequality.

An important post from Tim Elmore for parents and teachers: How Stress Disables Empathy In Students.

My cousin, Dick Brogden, has an amazing year-long devotional book called Live Dead Joy. Get the Kindle edition now for only $2.

“How may I tell when satan hinders me? I think you may tell thus: first by the object. satan’s object in hindering us is to prevent our glorifying God. If anything has happened to you which has prevented your growing holy, useful, humble, and sanctified, then you may trace that to satan.” —Charles Spurgeon

“It is good to come to the understanding that while God wants us to be holy and Spirit-filled, He does not expect us to look like Abraham or to play the harp like David or to have the same spiritual insight given to Paul. All of those former heroes of the faith are dead. You are alive in your generation.” —A.W. Tozer

Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.” —C.S. Lewis

Earth Day And The Christian

Earth Day 2013Some Christians I know shy away from being involved with anything that’s even remotely related to Earth Day. They tell me that Earth Day seems too “earthy” or even “worldly” for them. I disagree. For the Christian, I believe there are a couple of principles that converge and therefore compel us to be involved.

The first principle is mankind’s original mandate. When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in His garden, He gave them the responsibility and privilege of caring for His creation. They were to care for both the plants and animals, making sure a healthy environment was maintained for them to be fruitful (see Genesis 1:26-28 and 2:15).

The second principle is Christ’s directive. Jesus told Christians to shine like lights and season like salt, “that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). Even Jesus Himself “went around doing good” (Acts 10:38).

So when there’s an opportunity to care for our environment by doing “good deeds,” I’m going to take advantage of that every single time!

Saturday, April 26, beginning at 10am, is the annual Earth Day and Cedar Creek cleanup in Cedar Springs. I will be there along with a number of other folks from Calvary Assembly of God. I encourage others in Cedar Springs to join us. If you live in a different community, find an activity in which you can get involved and let your light shine brightly and lovingly in your city.

Thursdays With Oswald—Time To Get Active

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald Chambers

Time To Get Active

     We must take heed that in the present calamities, when war and devastation and heart-break are abroad in the world, we do not shut ourselves up in a world of our own and ignore the demand made on us by our Lord and our fellow-man for the service of intercessory prayer and hospitality and care.

From Christian Disciplines

Instead when times are tough, Christians ought to be at their best! Open your eyes and you will see opportunities all around you to pray, to open your home, and to open your arms.

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

It’s time to open your eyes and get active!

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