Monday, April 19, 2010

Porn and the Dark Side of Christian Conferences

The uptick in porn usage during Christian conferences is depressing. But its real.

And I think I know why. But I'm not sure we want to admit it.

Dark Side of Success
As a pastor, when you go to a conference, you are wishing and hoping your ministry would be more successful. Or if you aren't in ministry, you are hoping your life or marriage or children will be more successful.

All the cool people on Facebook or on Twitter or in your denom or your church talk up this *awesome* conference with all these big name successful speakers. You pay the big bucks to go. You get there and about halfway through the third session from a highly successful Christian, you start to feel depressed.

Why? Because your ministry or life or marriage or whatever will never be as successful as him or her.

Denying the Dark Side
Oh but you keep up appearances, rave about content, joke and chat in the hallway and buy some books you won't read when you get home. Then you go to your room and the facade can finally drop.

You paid all this money to hear the same stuff again and YOU ARE STILL A LOSER. You're a loser Christian or loser pastor that nobody knows and nobody wants to know. So you justify watching some skin on the small screen, maybe cuss. Or cry. But you are still a loser.

Why I'm Leery of Conferences
Christian conferences are like porn. They flash temptations of sexy ministry success. And no I'm not talking to prosperity preachers. I'm talking to evangelical and reformed people. Keller and Piper and Sproul and Childers and Stezer and Chan and Hybels just keep putting out the temptations and nobody ever tells you to stop lusting after successful ministry.

Christians and pastors, we worship the idol of success. It's a pagan fertility ritual wrapped sensually in acceptable Christian clothes.

And it is killing us and giving the church a black-eye. You know why? We want ministry or life success more than we want what the Sovereign God has given us.

So I don't go to conferences like I used to. Keller and Piper et al cause me to cheat on the Lord's call for me. I can't keep from being tempted.

But I'm learning that Jesus loves me - even though I cheated on Him. And being broken and a loser is better than I thought...

PS - Now please sign up for my 'Loser Pastor' conference, okay?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cancer Fighter Realities - Really Helping

More on how to help from a friend who went through cancer fighting...

How do cancer fighters feel about visits? It really depends on the chemicals they are using. What kind of cancer? For me I had 6 rounds 21 days apart. (Karen will have 4 rounds 21 days apart). The hair falls out on day 17....I had mine shaved ahead of time.

I would have treatment on Tuesday (Karen's will be Wednesdays), by Thursday I started to feel bad. Friday was the worst day then by Saturday I would feel better. Mine caused a great deal of bone pain...kind of like the flu...just achy all over.

Over time your white blood cell count or your 'numbers' goes down so the more treatments the more tired and run down you feel and the longer it takes to bounce back. I worked as a school teacher during my treatments except for the week of treatment.

As far as visitors go, I didn't mind fact the day before treatment I LOVED having a small group come and worship and pray over me. It brought great peace and allowed them to feel a vital part of my treatment...which they were.

The only days I really didn't like company were the bad days when my bones hurt so badly. Later in treatment I also had a hard time because I could barely walk across a room without being out of breath. It is hard to have a conversation at that point, but I had a transfusion and was much better.

My symptoms were manageable for the most part. I had stomach issues the same time as my bone pain...I never threw up but I had other issues. So having certain things to eat or drink was helpful.
Smoothies were the only thing that tasted good for the first few days. So taking some fruit or yogurt from time to time might be helpful.

One thing that Bill [her husband] did for me that helped a ton, was take me for rides through the mountains on my bad days. His theory was we know its not the flu and laying in bed just makes it we would get in the car and ride. I'm not sure I would have wanted to do that with anybody else, but it was wonderful for the two of down and fresh air.

One thing to consider is that her immune system will be low and too many people also brings many germs. I had two infections that prevented me from having chemo so it delayed my treatment. The longer she goes the weaker she will be. With chemo many times it is the complications that cause the difficulty...not always the cancer itself.

For me was my blood counts were too low and I had several infections which can be very dangerous. It is like a domino effect and one body system affects all the others.

I am glad Karen has a good support system. It really helps more than you would know to have many in your corner pulling for you.
Praying for courage is a critical at the beginning, at least until she gets to her new normal.
So Crosspoint, let's keep praying, serving and loving.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Five Reasons Crosspoint Welcomes Illegals

Five reasons Crosspoint/Encuentro welcomes and accepts people without legal status.

1. Aliens are people too. God created each one in His image. A person's status with any government does nothing to change God's view of them as His creation - worthy of dignity, respect and an opportunity to receive the gospel. Scripture is the higher law in these cases.

2. God's people are aliens.God commands us to not mistreat an alien and remember that we too were aliens in Egypt (Exodus 22:21 and 23:9). Our citizenship is first in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

3. Articles like this one in the US media tell only a glimpse of the fear, intimidation and terror that brings Mexicans here to the US without status. People in our church don't just come to 'steal American jobs' but rather they are refugees escaping fear, injustice and intimidation from many fronts.

4. We are missionaries of the gospel of God's grace through Christ alone. If our church members who do not have proper status get arrested (and many have) and deported (and some are), then we send them back as missionaries. The gospel of grace is foreign in the religious landscape south of the border.

5. It is not only a biblical value. As a serious student of American history, a descendant of immigrants from many nations including Native Americans, I recall these words are engraved on our Statue of Liberty.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Beg the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."