Question: How To Be Accountable On Accountability

Anonymous asked:

hello. someone asked me to be their accountability partner, because we are both struggling with the same kinds of things. i guess i am having second thoughts because 1. we are both struggling terribly and i guess i’m selfish and may want a mentor type person 2. they think i’m “further” in seeking God with these issues than i am and 3. to be honest, this kind of commitment scares me, which is prob a good thing bc of the challenge to complacency. Any advice for having an accountability partner?

My friend, first of all, a round of high fives for getting serious about your struggle and seeking accountability.  You’re doing the right thing and you made an awesome first step.  You can’t see me but I’m giving a big double thumbs up (right at my laptop).

I’d like to point to a couple posts on accountability also:

So About Accountability And Confession

The Danger of Accountability

While I am all for holding each other accountable, the truth is that it rarely works when you grab someone and say, “Hey man, for the love of God please keep me accountable …!”  It might work even less if that person is still struggling with the same thing.  It’s too easy then to let each other off the hook.  That’s why AA meetings have a mix of struggling people with mentors and leaders and ex-alcoholics: you need to know every side and not just one.

Accountability always grows out of an established friendship that has been built on truth.  It can’t really be the other way around.  While this person has good intentions to seek you out, and while it is possible it could work, you should consider 1) becoming friends with this person first, and 2) having an older mentor for both of you, together or separately. I know how hard both of those things can be, but real accountability will flourish if you’re seeking it organically.

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Sola Comida

Today I ate a meal by myself at this quaint Cuban restaurant and I intentionally cut off all devices. Didn’t look at my phone, a laptop, or listen to music. I ordered arroz con pollo with black beans and platanos plus hot bread and butter.

It must have been forever since I did this because I suddenly remembered what food tasted like. The texture, the aroma, the satisfaction of finding a new piece of chicken under the rice, rationing out your sides with the main portions, that slight reset button when you drink ice water. I forgot how fun it was to just eat.

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Question: I’m Being Replaced As The Best Friend

Anonymous asked:

What do you have to say about the fear of being replaced as someone’s best friend?

First please allow me the grace to shamelessly plug a sermon I just preached last week on biblical friendship.

Love First/Even If, You Too/Me Too: Legit Friendship

The hard truth is that friendships can change, sometimes overnight, and can drift apart for no other reason than time or life.  Whether or not you’re actively being “replaced” or the seasons just turn, people move on with or without each other.  It’s not that they’re your enemy, but that life happens.  I do believe in lifetime enduring friendships, but they are a rare bonus blessing that requires a near-perfect mix of variables to work.

While I completely understand your fear of losing a friend or the position of “best-friend,” let’s define this term: best friend.  I get what it means, but sometimes it’s a restrictive device as if to say, “I better be the only one you talk to” or “You can only come to me for help” or “Don’t laugh so much with someone else.”  It can imply ownership or possession or obsession. It can be very unhealthy. 

Often the “fear” of losing a position with your friend is nothing more than Satan or sin wedging a rift between you two when there really isn’t one. 

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Quote: Actual Evangelism

“I know how hard it is to talk about Jesus. It’s the most awkward conversation you’ll ever have. If you even say the whole Gospel out loud right now, it sounds like the craziest thing you’ve ever heard. But the Gospel isn’t some ‘speech’ you unload on people and then ‘leave it in God’s hands.’ Blasting people with theology is like serving icing for dessert. Evangelism is your whole life, it’s sharing your home, it’s enduring patiently, it’s being a human being, it’s availability, it’s sharing Jesus through who you are; not perfectly, but passionately. Yes, invite them to church and to that revival and talk about your faith and your testimony, but once you dare to go there, just know you might be rejected immediately, a lot, and aggressively. Except secretly they can’t deny there must be something to it, because you’re not just a billboard: you’re an overflow of a barely containable supernatural miracle.”

— what I’d like to hear the preacher say about evangelism instead of all that guilt tripping

(from this post)

Quote: Whole Life

The Christian life is your
whole life. That sin which keeps defeating you has more roots than you think, and God is patient to work in you for the surgery. Our journey of faith is a growing process of fits and starts, aches and pains, highs and lows, bliss and blisters. Jesus is going to take you all the way home on this: just keep leaning in with the full weight of your weary, desperate soul. He will catch you, always.

Originally posted here.

Question: How Can God “Demand” My Worship?

Anonymous asked:

So, the whole “I can’t believe in a God who demands worship” card. Any advice on how to talk about this when the other party won’t believe/understand that we were created for God? And that we do better when we work to glorify Him because He is love and because when we glorify Him things just work out better?

You know: I totally understand what you mean when you say “God demands worship,” because you mean that the nature of God is demanding of praise.  But the one thing you must know, dear friend, is that God Himself never ever once demands worship from people.  Not once. 

Before you bring out the stake and lighter fluid to burn the heretic, here we go. The first time I heard this “God doesn’t demand worship” in seminary, I actually didn’t believe it.  Surely at least one time in the Bible, God at least asks for praise — right?

So then the professor spent the next four hours exegeting the entire fricking Bible for every instance of worship, and we slowly noticed that each time people worshiped, it was almost always spontaneous.  Never coerced.  God doesn’t even make a case for Himself or mildly ask for it — it just happens out of the gladness of peoples’ hearts.

I really wouldn’t go down this road of Worship God because you just better, okay. God doesn’t do things against a person’s will. He doesn’t shotgun-blast someone’s knees so they’ll bow down to Him. Again, I know what you mean by this: of course God is worthy of praise. Of course we are made to worship God. Of course one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord.

But only pagan deities have ever demanded stuff. Even in the Old Testament, when the Israelites had to sacrifice animals in the Temple, this was never about worship: it was about the atonement of sin.  When the people saw they were eternally forgiven by sacrificing an animal (instead of like, you know, themselves), they were grateful.  That’s when worship happened.

For your second statement, I think you’d have to define a few terms.

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Quote: Transitoriness

See and feel the transitoriness of this life, to think of it, with all its richness, as essentially the gymnasium and dressing-room where we are prepared for heaven, and to regard readiness to die as the first step in learning to live.

— J.I. Packer

Question: I Can’t Just “Love You The Way You Are” — Right?

Anonymous asked:

“We are not loving people when we’re telling them that God accepts them as they are without repentance, because we’re lying to them.” What does that mean exactly?

I see you quoted a famous theologian (whose name I left out), and I see what he’s saying.  He is being very careful to convey a Holy God who does not tolerate sin, who must uphold justice, and who requires broken on-your-knees repentance.  Or — he is just trying not to upset the doctrine-police.

I might have said something like this a few years ago.  It’s a very aggressive, preach-to-the-choir, sounds-good-on-paper slogan.  I get it: our sin is bad.  God hates sin.  Okay, check.  Am I done being doctrinally sound for the sake of avoiding the heresy label?  Should I be so afraid of Neo-Reformed bloggers that I must blindly agree with all similar statements? 

And really, this is only one quote that I could be taking out of context, so it’s only a small fraction of this theologian’s thoughts.  But by itself, it portrays such a measly, puny God.  I do know guys who preach like this without a single ounce of Christlike love in their heart for people.

My friend, the truth is: God does love you and accepts you and desires to be with you exactly as you are.  Yeah, I know.  Scary, right?  Nervous?  Do I sound antinomian?  Maybe you’re waiting for But even though He loves you  … 

The problem we have with God’s grace is that it’s all grace.  That makes us uncomfortable, and I understand that.  Our hearts are naturally built on legalism.  Everyone feels like they should do something to get something, so we contort God’s grace into a manageable legalistic machine filled with daily QT routines and spiritual progress charts and how-to-avoid-sin and religious busy-ness.  Nothing is inherently wrong with these things until they forfeit God Himself.

God’s love is NOT dependent on how you perform or even how you repent.  Changing your behavior doesn’t get God and we don’t get God by changing our behavior.  His love for you is constant.  One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 31:3 — I have loved you with an everlasting love.  As in eternally.  Forever.  Always been the same. 

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Quote: Gladly

There is a warning. The path of God-exalting joy will cost you your life. Jesus said, ‘Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.’ In other words, it is better to lose your life than to waste it. If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full. This is not a book about how to avoid a wounded life, but how to avoid a wasted life. Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy.

— John Piper

Question: So What About These Street Preachers?

Anonymous asked:

What do you think of street preachers. I often feel like the worst Christian because I could never do that.

First: there are so many kinds of street preachers, so it really depends on what you mean.  They range from the very sincere person with a Bible downtown trying to answer curious questions to the End Times guy with a painted sign and a glass eye to the Turn-Or-Burn “preacher” who yells hell at everyone to the soft-evangelism dude with ice-cold water bottles to the megachurch self-promoter who is selling some discount gospel. 

We don’t know their motives, though sometimes their methods expose them.  I do believe at least some of them earnestly pray over what they’re doing and want people to be saved.  No matter how you cut it, it takes a certain amount of bravery (or foolishness) to be so vulnerable among strangers. 

I’ve known friends who have gone out near the nightclubs with a Bible to pray over people and talk about Jesus, and I really think that’s an awesome, admirable thing to do.  That takes a specific calling, tons of prayer, and a discipline to be out there.  They always come back a little worn out, but at the same time there’s this unavoidable joyful peace in having done the Kingdom work. 

Secondly, my friend, please never ever compare yourself with some other Christian’s calling.  Comparing yourself with others is just a sick stranglehold that will only hurt you, and I know too many people who never feel like they measure up to the ridiculous standards they put on themselves. 

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Quote: Cling

Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.

— Timothy Keller

Six Things Preached Against In Church — And Why We Can All Just Relax

There are things we hear in the pulpit that sound uber-deeply complex, but like a time travel movie, the more we think about it, the more likely our heads will explode from sheer absurdity. Here are some incomplete half-truths we hear in church that need more nuance.  Let’s be thoughtful.

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Quote: Waiting On

“If you’re waiting until the day you’ve got your act together to go be with the Lord, you’re backing up. None of us will ever be good enough, but that’s not the point! We don’t go up there to the Lord’s standards, He came down here to rescue us! Open your heart to Him right now. Tell Him you want to know Him, here today – even though you’re a mess and you’ll always be messy. He’s waiting on you… what are you waiting for?”

— Lee Younger

Question: No Motivation For God — Now What?


Anonymous asked:

This summer has been really tough for me. I went from going to a church at college that I loved with a community that I loved to going home for the summer with no community and parents who don’t believe in Christ. I’ve been able to hold up pretty well, and I’ve been able to continue to read the Bible, pray, and learn pretty faithfully. However, in this last week or so, I have no motivation to pray or read the Bible or any of that, and I’m not sure that I care too much… what happened?

My friend, please know I got tons of love for you, and thank you for your total honesty. I also have a huge secret that I’m going to bust out the door like a drunk firefighter at the wrong house. You ready?

Every Christian feels this way every once in a while.

Does this make you a bad person? No. Does it mean God is ticked at you? No way. Does this mean you’re no longer a Christian? HAH — no. It just means you’re human, like everyone else.

Here’s one more secret I’ll throw at you.

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Quote: Excitements

Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity.

— John Piper

Quote: Loneliness (Not Emptiness)

“Loneliness is a terrible fog that threatens our vision, our hope, our memories, our motion, and it feels very real. But it’s also in that silence when you feel the Creator the most: His very heartbeat that says, ‘Do not fear, for I am with you.’ Where before He was only a vague presence or doctrinal concept, He then gains shape and weightiness and extends comfort like the world never can. It is just enough to light up the dark for one more step, and though we may feel lonely, we will not be empty.”

Quote: Simple

Sometimes the tedious, defeating, robot-routine of life rips the life out of me. I forget good simple truths like: God loves me. God understands me. God knows me. God accepts me as I am. That feels selfish. But it’s more selfish to reject that, as if I could do better. Jesus loves me! Let’s keep it that simple.

It Goes On

There are some things we’d like to take back which are now irreversible, words left unsaid and calls not picked up and conversations left on the shelf and one simple decision gone south. Just when we put in the good work and get a second wind and roll up our sleeves, it can fall apart just as quickly. Too little, too late, as they say.

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