On Sunday we had Dominic Russo doing a telesermon. Our church is one church with seven (I think) campuses from Whangerei in the North to Dunedin in the South. Dominic was preaching from Wellington and the rest of us joined in.

What he talked about was that the church should be leading the people, not following. We should not be following the rules of the spirit of this age, but we should be influencing and formulating the policies that allow a nation to encourage righteousness in all the folk in our country, our tribe.

He talked about rule breaking: not the laws of God or the rules of our nations and courts, but the habits of polite conversation that mean we censor our thoughts and deny and minimise the power of God.

He set up one nation one day, where missionaries descend on one place, for one week, and try to convert as many as possible, help as many as possible: medical teams, relief, the whole church works in unity with the local people. He is not speaking from a model, but from what he has lived.

And he does not live in fear. He does great things, at times far bigger than anything he ever thought could be done.

This struck home because the old blog was taken down out of threats and fear. I was counseled, bluntly, that the work I do was more valuable. So five, seven years of wordpress has gone. What was happening was affecting not merely me but the civilians I have a duty to care for.

The problem I have is not that I fear: I do. But the way I'm wired, my fear will turn into anger, and I will truly produce something scabrously sarcastic as I put both feet in my mouth.

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There’s a public relations campaign going on to cast serious Christians of whatever stripe as ugly, bigoted, ignorant, or all of the above. I mean, I get you. Who wants to be tarred with that mess? Who wants to have to explain the actions of someone you don’t actually agree with? Who wants to be held accountable for some member of the family who was a total doof? It’s not fun.

But if we hide quietly in the corners, then the only Christians that the world will know are ones who put their feet in their mouths. (And let’s not even talk about the intentional way this is being manipulated, it gives me sadness).

If we want our neighbors to think of Christianity as good, we have to be good. We have to be on our A game – and we have to be OUT. We have to be representing. We have to take a little of that flak, and be ready to explain our beliefs in a calm and rational manner.

Social media re-posts won’t do. Memes? No. You have to live it. No yelling, folks.

Hearthrose's Blog

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But we cannot live as the heathen: they live in ignorance, gaining comfort from the myths of this time. Most of them want to do good, but this can be manipulated, is manipulated.

We have to ignore such. We cannot let the heathen regulate our lives. We have to live for Christ and not obey the traditions of men, for we were called out of supersition and futility to walk in the truth.

Yes, that truth will set your free, but the enslaved will resent any mention of freedom.

Ephesians 4:17-32

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

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Photo by Jon Flobrant / Unsplash

Each day we pray that the peace of God will be upon us. That our adversaries will not damn us. For it is the peace of God that is the greatest witness to our faith. It is not the troubles we find ourselves in, it is that in these troubles we bring witness to God.

You do not know when you will have to defend your faith.

And we should not fear, or worse, join in the virtue spirals of this age.

For we are not like them.