You will know them by their love

 Brant Hansen (Air1 Christian Alternative’s DJ) really got me thinking the other day when he was commenting on a church that was picketing a Skillet concert. 
I’ve looked for the quote because I don’t want to misquote him, but sadly I was unable to find it. (So if anyone else heard it, please let me know!)
So from my memory: he was talking about how the leader of the group was yelling at those who were lined up to get into this Skillet concert. Skillet is a well known Christian rock band that has a rather large fan base. The leader was being downright cruel from my understanding. He was supposedly saying something about if you believe in a merciful God you don’t believe in the real God. That he is above the need for grace. 
I’m not even going to comment on how bad his theology is there, because that isn’t what caught my attention, or obviously Mr. Hansen’s since he is the one who was talking about it. 
This leader was raging against the people who were going into the concert and the people who were preforming. Numerous concert goers tried to stop the group by telling them how badly they were representing Christ to those who walked by, which just made the leader get even more belligerent. The lead singer John Cooper came outside and walked up to the group, and started passing out water. As Mr. Hansen reported, the leader asked what are you doing? 
Supposedly, Mr. Cooper said, “Well, I’m supposed to love my enemies and since you want to make yourself my enemy…” 
Mr. Hansen (as well as many of his listeners who called in) was struck by the grace that Mr. Cooper showed at the moment of tension. 
Mr. Hansen then put forth a question that has really struck me and I’ve been forced to mulled over it for the last week. “Why do we assume this ‘church’ is Christian? I saw no representation of Christ shown during their protest. So how do we know they were Christian?”
It was an interesting idea. We too often assume that when we hear ‘church’ that the people consider themselves affiliated with the Christian religion. Yes, they might truly have called themselves Christian, but the issue here is were they acting as representatives of Christ? No. 
There is a hymn written in 1968 called “They’ll Know We Are Christians” where they echo an oft repeated thought through out the Scriptures. They will know we are Christians- followers of a loving sacrificial God- by our love. By our own actions we will be known. 
With the recent death of Westboro Baptist Church’s former leader, Christians seem to be rejoicing over his passing. Another Air1 DJ commented on this by saying, “Here’s the dichotomy; By celebrating his death like, “Woohoo! He’s gone!” we’ve just reduced him to a symbol versus of what God created in His image! And by celebrating it, we’re actually participating in the very same thing that made him infamous!”– Ashton (from Air1’s Facebook page) 
We become no better than those we mock when we rejoice over a sinner’s death. We become no better than those very people who rejoiced over a solider’s death and picketed over it to make a political/religious stand, and who seemed to enjoy the family’s tears and anger. 
I saw it play out on Facebook during the Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein’s captures and deaths. We rejoiced over the death of a sinner, who as far as we know, never became right with God. How can we participate in that misplaced joy?
I need to keep my mind on what Christ said- Luke 6:27-36 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
Or like Mr. Cooper did, love them enough to give them water when their throats are dry from ridiculing you and your own actions.
How are my actions today representing Christ in his loving sacrificial glory to a world that does not know him? Maybe not as well as they should be. 
Do I act like a Christ follower when I react to people I don’t agree with? 

“Beautiful Blogger Award”

Today I was nominated by definingmydash for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Thank you so much Leslie Brennan for the honor and with great humbleness I accept.

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This is a relatively new project for me, and I’m trying to write only things that are truly affecting my heart because it means that God is truly working on me and my understanding of him. I am so happy to know that someone else is getting to see a glimpse of the God I worship. I am working through life one step at a time and God is continually revealing himself to me. Thank you for taking this walk with me. God bless!

Please, take the time to be inspired by some of my fellow bloggers and how God is working in their lives.

Dear “Beautiful Blogger” Award Winners:  You inspire me.  Your words are beautiful, thus the reason you’re receiving this award.  It is now your job to pass this award on to seven (or less) other bloggers along with links to their blogs.  Post the award and provide a link back to the person who nominated you. Thank you for making a difference in my life.  Keep writing!

definingmydash (The daily life of a woman who is on a new journey)

Into a Marvelous Light (The amazing walk that God has a young woman on as well as her up and coming missionary trip)

Scott Fillmer (Life in Faith and Photos- Some amazing photos and very thought provoking discussions– as well as some great how-to’s on working with wordpress.com)

Jonathan Stone (this is the new blog that is combining Jonathan’s and his wife’s Emily’s blogs- some very thought provoking discussions here)

There are so many others I’d love to mention, so look to my blogroll and start clicking to find something that might touch your life! Thank you again for the nomination and keep writing friends!

1 Thessalonians 5:11– Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact as you are doing.

Icy Road Faith (a different look at a believer in crisis)

The northwest coast has been getting hit with some very weird weather lately. Just this Sunday I was driving back to school from a weekend at home. Through the short hour and a half drive I hit all kinds of weather- sunshine, gentle drizzle, heavy rain, monsoon rain, snow and hail, then through sunshine again.

I’m a Washingtonian- I know how to drive in the rain, I even can handle snow to some extent. But, since an accident a few years ago, snow makes me tense up. If I have to be out on the road and I see snow on the side of the road, every muscle tenses up, I become hyper aware, adrenaline runs throughout my whole body. My car made it abundantly clear a few years ago that it DID NOT like snow (nor ice)- when I spun out and ended trunk first in a flooded country ditch. God protected me by popping my tire, which dug the rim into the gravel of the ditch, saving me from flipping over into the water. Ever since that day, I am extremely careful when the white stuff starts to fall upon the road.

Today, while I was driving through that white stuff passing a car that had met it’s match with the snow, “Please Father, please Father” fell from my lips. Through three exits worth of miles, I prayed for safety. As soon as I hit the dry patch, my fingers loosened and the prayer stopped.

Suddenly, it clicked. That is how we go through life- that is how I go through life. In the midst of crisis, all that one who believes in Christ and his saving grace talks about is God. We pray, we praise, we see God in everything, we tell everyone that we are leaning on God’s grace and love. Then when it is smooth sailing and the crisis is long behind; the Bible reading stops, the prayers become more self-centered, crude jokes intrude, and righteousness takes a back seat.

I have an Icy Road Faith. I want a faith that doesn’t go in and out of season. I want a faith that stands so firm that the stormiest day doesn’t make it break nor the most beautiful day of the year makes me forget it.

Take a moment. Be honest with yourself. Do you have an icy road faith? Or do you have the faith that will move mountains and change the world?

Psalm 31:24- Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.                              Matthew 24:42- Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.