Note to reader: There are those who serve as ‘tone police’ who will accuse me of being ‘mean’ or ‘not nice’ because a subjective view of my tone. I’m being terse in regard to this topic because someone must point out that sheep (Christians) are abusing other sheep. What is worse, some shepherds (leaders / pastors) are abusing their own sheep.
My point is, this ‘woke’ nonsense is trash. It has no place in the church – it’s time to put a stop to it. Christ did not spill his blood and lay down his life for his bride (church) to stand in the mirror (social media) and slap herself in the face. We have enough sin in our own lives and in our culture without intentionally creating more. I’m seeing longstanding relationships between Christians be destroyed by this divisive foolishness. I will confront and attack the ideas – not the individual. I humbly submit the following discourse to you for consideration. Come let us reason together and preserve the bond of peace.
Register for live Zoominar – Tues Feb. 2nd 2021 at 7pm CT “Critical Race Theory & the Christian Vision
The one who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Scriptural Foundation for Me and You
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23)
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
There is a powerful movement within the church in America that has taken captive many well-meaning Christians. Under the banners of Social Justice, Racial Justice, Anti-racism and a handful of other names a certain enclave within Western Christianity have taken upon themselves the roles of accuser, judge, jury and punisher for all of Christendom. I’ve written about this extensively here…
To be ‘woke’ and to ‘stay woke’ is to be ‘with it’ or ‘in the know’ and ‘on the right side of history’ in regard to certain current social issues – particularly related to ethnicity and sexual identity. In other words, being ‘woke’ is to reside on the moral high-ground on a popular social issue. Having attained moral superiority through a kind of social enlightenment, the woke Christian’s ‘ministry’ (or service) to other Christians is to publicly castigate and berate their brothers and sisters – usually on social media. This is coupled with a heavy dose of virtue-signaling. Imagine the Roman Colosseum but online and to top it off, Christians are essentially persecuting other Christians.
The Social Justician’s Ministry of Wokeness
The goal of woke ministry is to pound other Christians into submission for the hidden sin of being ‘un-woke’ which is code for racist, homophobic, white supremacist, etc. When challenged, woke leaders tell their victims (brothers and sisters in Christ), that “this is a Gospel issue that only REAL Christians understand.” When someone questions, challenges or refuses to submit to woke demands, they are typically purged, given the mark of racist or white supremacist or some other label – then exiled to purgatory. Excommunication is accomplished through de-friending on social media or ‘canceling.’ Salvation is found in continuous public penitence, self-flagellation and virtue-signaling in order meet the approval of the woke crowd that includes non-Christians who hate Christianity (ironic).
Little covens of ethnic gnostics meet together and engage in woke worship marked by churlish preaching, muckraking, struggle sessions and voyeuristic prayer. Of course, in the context of in-person interactions their behavior is replaced with a kindly smile and the good ole ‘How can I pray for you?’ After all, no one wants to lose their paycheck over this or appear to be ‘mean’, right?
Worshipping the Zeitgeist
Let’s get serious for a moment. All of this wokeness is nothing more than bowing to the spirit of the age (idolatry). Moreover, through deception, coercion, complicity, bad theology, false teaching or a combination of all of the above, some Christians have unintentionally replaced the God of the Bible with the god of the age – the Gospel of the Kingdom with the gospel of culture. Sadly some Christians have completely given themselves over to the woke orthodoxy and completely decimated relationships and destroyed their public witness. Due to the prevalence of social media, this backsliding has become high drama for everyone to see – including the unbelieving world. This should saddens us.
Moral Arrogance, Selective Outrage and Creating an Offense
The moral arrogance of some “Christians” who see fit to label their un-woke brothers and sisters in Christ as racists or white-supremacists or otherwise is staggering. Furthermore, it creates moral confusion in an already confusing cultural moment. Public shaming and virtue-signaling have become a past time for some and doctrine for others. In addition, this movement is marked by selective outrage. Meaning, you must express public moral outrage (emotion) about certain social issues sanctioned by woke orthodoxy. This behavior has the effect of binding the conscience of other Christians.
All of this is rooted in moral arrogance and takes shape in the expression of moralism (not to be confused with morality). What should grieve the community of all Christ-followers is that woke Christians create an offense where one does NOT exist. Then they publicly accuse their brethren of this newly created offense of public sin that requires public repentance. If the accused questions or does not meet the expectations of the woke Christian mob, everything attaches to the contrived offense. In other words, everything you do or say reinforces the offense – guilt is piled on to guilt. As a result, you will be shamed, guilted, cancelled, slandered and eventually purged.
It’s reminiscent of the cliquey “cool kids” or the “in-crowd” in middle school where the “not-so-cool” kids were purged from the lunch table or not invited to the cool kid parties. This is happening within the Church in America but it’s way more destructive and harmful.
If you try to discuss or debate, woke Christians typically assume the position of moral high ground above the particulars of the issues involved. They speak in high-minded sweeping generalities followed by a barrage of ad hominem attacks (name-calling) but refuse to engage the abstract or particulars. And they are never wrong on the issue. It’s repackaged Critical Theory that takes the form of legalism. I digress…
I will not slander other believers. . . . There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy. Who am I to judge my neighbor?
Are Woke Christians Bearing False Witness or Worse?
Note: I am aware that I am a lowly sinner capable of great evil and I have broken God’s commands. So, I am not accusing others of committing sin that I have not committed my self. The posture of my heart is to look at this issue not from above or below others but on the level.
The Ninth Commandment states, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” The Bible is clear that lying is a sin. The 9th Commandment expands on this and forbids lying about another image-bearer. What does this have to do with woke Christians?
Let me explain. If I label and/or accuse entire groups of people or individuals I don’t know as racists or white supremacists, I am accusing them of ethnic hatred (dubiously called racism). Jesus places hatred on equal ground as murder (Matthew 5:21-22, 1 John 3:15). According to God, by pronouncing sweeping judgements of ethnic hatred on the brethren, I am accusing them of MURDER.
If you don’t recognize this dangerously thin spiritual ice, you need to think again my friend.
The Sixth Commandment says, “You shall not murder.” The Bible is clear that murder is a sin. What does this have to do with woke Christians?
Let me explain. In accusing people of ethnic hatred, I am judging them to be murderers. If I accuse people of implicit ethnic hatred based on their God-given ethnicity (skin color) or some other superficial or immutable factor without actual evidence of sin as defined by the Bible, I am guilty of lying (bearing false witness) against another image-bearer. Lying about someone can be my expression of hatred toward them. Therefore, I am potentially guilty of murder because (again) Jesus places hatred and murder in the same category.
Furthermore, when a Christian uses a public forum to infer or accuse someone of sin (ethic hatred), that Christian is guilty of slander. The Bible provides a prescription for dealing with public sin (Matthew 18:15-17)… it does not include social media.
Additionally, to the extent Christians are talking behind the backs of other image-bearers and making accusations, they are guilty of gossip. Gossip destroys unity and the Church ought to have zero tolerance policy. The most insidious example I’ve seen is what I call “gossip prayer.” This is where one Christian targets another Christian within the context of group prayer in order to slander them behind their backs. In doing this, the gossiper is dragging the rest of the group into sin by disguising his/her intersession as an address to the Heavenly Father. In a real spiritual sense, the gossiper is bringing a falsehood and slander of a spiritual sibling into the heavenly realms in the name of Jesus. Lest we forget God is Holy and dangerous – it says a lot about a lot about one’s condition if he/she believes God overlook a slanderous prayer. The Bible warns against making weaker believers stumble into sin AND throwing in our lot with those who would entice us to waylay someone else (Mark 9:42, Proverbs 1:10-18)
Finally, Jesus states that the Greatest Commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38). Biblically speaking, there is NO WAY a Christian can claim to keep and follow the Greatest Commandment while breaking the 9th and 6th Commandments.
“Woke Christianity” is a religion unto itself – rooted in pride and moral arrogance. It’s completely antithetical to Biblical faith and the Gospel of the Kingdom. It draws unknowing or weak Christians into a man-centered ‘reconciliation’ and false redemptive vision (social justice).
In conclusion, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This should be a ‘shot across the bow’ of our pride – a warning to be seriously heeded.
“He (Jesus) knew that a bundle of inflamed and virulent pride might as easily be garbed in rags and tatter as in ermine robes, and that haughtiness may as often be seen in a thatched cottage as in a turreted castle… It is possible for the poor to be proud of his poverty, for the devout to be proud of his piety, for the prayerful to be proud of his supplications, for the idolater to be proud of his obeisance, for the fasting to be proud of his fasts, for the donor to be proud of his gifts, the penitent to be proud of his penitence, for the lowly to be proud of his lowliness.
“The devil did grin, for his darling sin. Is the pride that apes humanity.”” (Coleridge)
– FW. Boreham (The Heavenly Octaves)
“There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel that can succeed against the Lord.” (Proverbs 21:30)
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5)
“And a second (commandment) is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
(Comment and share your thoughts below)
*This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of my employer or my church. The opinions of expressed by guest authors and commenters do not necessarily represent my opinions.
As Local Outreach pastor leading community outreach at a large church in Fort Worth with two multi-sites, a lot of people ask me how they can help others. At a time when social distancing and self-quarantine are necessary to protect our neighbors from COVID19 (corona virus), we must be creative and careful in how we help.
One of the best ways EVERYONE can help is the old-fashioned, time-tested ‘Call Tree.’ I recommend everyone create call trees in their own neighborhoods.
This is a simple, safe and highly effective way for out people to engage with their neighbors. It’s also ‘low-tech’ relational.
Definition: A call tree is a simple communication model used to notify friends and neighbors of an emergency or need. The idea comes from crisis management protocols. A call tree is also known as a phone tree, call list, phone chain or text chain.
One person gathers contact information for a group. In the event of an emergency or urgent need, someone from the group can text/call the Point of Contact (POC) who will send out a group text to ask for help – meeting the need or dealing with the emergency.
Simple Steps to creating a call tree:
Step 1: You invite 8-10 neighbors to join a neighborhood call tree for emergencies or urgent needs.
Step 2: You offer your cell number to neighbors. Ask for the participating neighbor to text their name back to you to be included in the call tree. (This ensures the contact information is accurate).
Step 3: After gathering all willing neighbors’ contact info, you can loop in everyone in the group with a group ‘welcome’ text.
Step 4: Move quickly when an emergency need arises.
Click here CALL TREE DIAGRAM (PDF)
Call Tree Etiquette:
1. Give First by offering your cell number to neighbors. Always “invite” your neighbor to join the group. If they decline, just offer them your cell phone number and let them know to contact you if they need anything.
2. Be clear on the outset that this is a neighborhood call tree for emergencies and urgent needs only (medical emergency such as illness, food/water, grocery run, prescription pick-up, job loss, elderly neighbor welfare check-in).
3, Inform your neighbors that you will NOT share their contact info with anyone outside the neighborhood call tree.
4. Place a time limit of 30 days on the call tree. On the outset, inform your neighbors that the call tree will be active for 30 days. If we’re still dealing with COVID-19 in 30 days, ask each neighbor if they want to remain on the call tree. Then run it for another 30 days (repeat if necessary)
5. SOCIAL DISTANCING: Due to the current environment, we recommend writing a note and putting on their doorstep in the event you don’t see them often – inviting them to the neighborhood call tree – make sure write your cell number, full name and address in the note.
If you already know your neighbors and have their contact, encourage them to reach out to others you may not know. Be available by sharing your contact info and willingness to help.
Make note of any first responders or medical personnel in your neighborhood. Write them a thank you note – invite them to join the neighborhood call tree.
Contact your neighborhood patrol officer and let him/her know you have a neighborhood call tree and invite them to join – or ask if you can contact them if a need arises.
If anyone in your area becomes ill with COVID-19 (or any other illness), find ways to serve them and their family using the call tree.
There you have it! A call tree is simple, low-tech way to build relationships and meet needs in your community at a time when we are forced to limit our human contact due to social distancing.
Read previous post: Alone Together
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Last weekend, I took my 9 year old son (Nelson) for an overnight camping adventure at our ranch.
I had three objectives. First, to invest time into my son’s life. Second, teach him practical outdoor skills while feeding his sense of adventure. Third, each activity was designed to point him toward authentic manhood. All the while, pushing him outside his comfort zone surrounded by God’s amazing creation.
Upon arrival, I gave him a gift. It was a small field med-pack with a headlamp (red light), a striker, one chem-light (aka: glow-stick for all you ravers), a multi-tool, a small LED light to illuminate the inside the bag at night, a zip-lock with several cotton balls soaked in Vasaline petroleum jelly, a small first aid kit, a wrist compass and a two-way radio. I instructed him to keep the pack with him at all times.
Before sunset, our first lesson was to learn how to start a fire without conventional ignition, like matches or lighters. We gathered rocks, tinder and wood. Then I demonstrated how to ignite a tinder ball using a striker and a cotton ball covered in Vasaline. Nelson practiced a few times before dinner.
Night came and temperatures fell. Stars filled the clear sky. Nighttime noises in the country surrounded us – crickets, frogs, locusts, owls and coyotes
We dawned our packs and made our way down to the pasture gate in the darkness. I instructed him to turn on his red-light head-lamp and close the pasture gate behind him. I prayed and read Bible passages about loyalty, leadership and humility over him. We turned on our two-way radios and tested our comms. Loud and clear.
“What are we going to do, dad?” he asked with a great deal of uncertainty.
As I put the compass on his wrist, I said, “Son, I am going to walk 250 yards down the path. You will stay here until I call on the radio. When I call, you will begin walking on a southwest heading, keeping on the path. Do not wonder off the path. As you know, there are cactus, snakes and trip hazards out here.” I continued, “Down the hill, there is a tree with a green chem-light hanging in it. I will meet you there.”
Coyotes were howling all around and the moon was not quite high enough to give much light. The red headlamp only emits enough light to illuminate the ground a few feet in front of you.
With his voice a little shaky, he uttered the words I expected, “Dad, I’m a little scared.”
I replied, “Son, there is nothing to be afraid of – this is just a new environment for you.”
I continued, “You have your radio and red light. You will be able to hear my voice and talk to me on the radio. You won’t be able to see me. But, I will be able to see you. Stay on the path, use your radio and your compass. I’ll meet you in a few minutes at the tree. I love you.” I shut off my headlamp and made my way into the darkness.
“You will be able to hear my voice and talk to me on the radio. You won’t be able to see me. But, I will be able to see you.”
When I arrived at the tree, I made the radio call to Nelson. I could see his red light up the hill begin to move toward my position. He radioed that he was still afraid. I encouraged him to keep walking down the hill. “I can see you. You are doing a great job son. Keep going!”
As he approached our meeting point under the tree, he couldn’t see me in the darkness. So, I called out to him without the radio. Nelson trotted over to me. He was so excited, I was too. Hive-fives and hugs around the board. I congratulated him and read Bible passages on purity, honesty and self-discipline to him.
After a drink of water and another radio check, I told him we had a second objective – further into the pasture. The terrain is rocky with a little creek running through it. There would be another tree with a chem-light hanging in it. I walked ahead into the dark to the meeting place and called him over the radio to begin walking. He could hear my voice but couldn’t see me. But, I could see him.
He arrived at the tree excited and confident. I instructed him to take off his pack, get out his striker and fuel. “Are we going to start a fire here?” he asked. I replied laughing, “YOU are going to start a fire!” We cleared a small space and he gathered tinder. With minimal guidance from me, he assembled a small bundle and put the petroleum jelly soaked cotton ball in the center. After several minutes of failed attempts, he produced a giant spark that landed in the center of the bundle. We had fire! The boy had built his first fire. I could see his self-confidence and satisfaction on his face.
As we hovered over the tiny flames, I read scripture about excellence, integrity and perseverance over him and I prayed. He was so excited. We put out the tiny fire, put on our packs and headed back to the pasture gate where we had begun.
This time Nelson would lead the way and I would follow. We talked and laughed as we walked in the darkness. Looking forward to building a camp fire and roasting some marshmallows. We would sleep beneath a blanked of stars. Nelson had conquered fear, learned something about listening to the father’s voice in the darkness and learned perseverance through fear and adversity.
Maybe you are in the darkness right now. The darkness can be a dreadful place. However, our heavenly father can see us and we can hear his voice in darkest night. You can call out to him. He will answer.
Special Note: The ideas for this activity with my son originated with a book called “Raising a Modern-Day Knight” by Robert Lewis and operations with Ironcenturion. Thanks guys for your creativity and leadership.
Read previous post: Remember when Jesus prayed for us? (a reflection)
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[Content Warning]: The following narrative contains graphic descriptions of human depravity and evil. I am bound by my conscience to share this truth but I want to caution my readers that the content is heart-breaking and disturbing.
[February 8, 2018] It has been nearly two years since I became involved in local efforts to combat human trafficking in our area. I serve on the 5 Stones Anti-Trafficking Taskforce with local law enforcement, Homeland Security, community leaders, concerned citizens and several non-profits. All of us recognize that we have a big problem in Fort Worth with DMST (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking). That is to say, that children are being bought and sold for sex in our city and beyond. The average ages are between 12-14 years old. And you know how we arrive at averages, right?
While we are seeing small victories on a local level, there is so much more to do. However, I want to share a dimension that I believe will provide you some perspective and open your eyes to this scourge on a global scale.
I’ve been praying that God would bring victory over the scourge of trafficking in our city. I have also been quietly praying for humility and compassion as He has given me a voice of influence to bring more people to the fight. He has been answering prayer for victory in spades. Yet, before I could allow pride to puff up my heart as if I could take any credit, God crushed me and thus brought me low. He answered my prayer in 3D. That is to say, it was a swift, three-dimensional answer for victory, humility and compassion.
Yesterday, I met with a local team that was formed to assist girls rescued from trafficking locally. God brought this team together in short order, formed the program and opened an emergency shelter. This was a huge victory for our community. Following the meeting, we each walked to our cars to go our separate ways. We stopped to celebrate right there in the freezing cold. As we celebrated, a friend pulled me aside to share his work with me.
Without going into detail, his ministry is on the frontlines of rescuing children from trafficking both domestically and globally. They operate in some of the darkest most dangerous places in the world.
Places where our worst nightmares go to have nightmares.
He reached into his pocked and produced a smart phone. “Lance, THIS is what we are dealing with…” He went on to describe the horrors of women and children being sold into slavery, murders and torture that would make you physically sick.
Then, he pressed play on a video on his phone. The location and group involved will remain nameless. It was in the middle-east.
I saw a man dragging a tiny child, screaming and crying into what appeared to be a make-shift medical tent. There were other men scrambling around the inside the tent. The video was shaky and I couldn’t understand what I was watching at first. My friend began telling me what I was seeing as the video played and everything came into focus.
This toddler, a little girl had been kidnapped – torn away from her family along with dozens of others from her village. This was not a ‘medical tent’ I was seeing. Although it had the appearance of one. It was a slaughter house. Not where animals where killed and processed into food, but where little children were slaughtered and their organs removed for sale on the black market.
As I watched this screaming child helplessly being dragged and run over by men moving about the room, the camera focused on a man standing over a child’s body – hand’s thrust into the little one’s torso. Underneath, was a stack of two or three lifeless bodies of little children.
These monsters were cutting open children to harvest their tiny organs and selling them. Pure unequivocal evil.
The reality of what I was witnessing set in and I turned away in horror. I lost my composure and like being slammed to the ground, the breath was completely knocked out of me. I stepped away and doubled over. Tears of hurt, rage and helplessness filled my eyes. For a moment I felt like I was caught in a vortex of hyper-reality and my worst nightmare.
What is it I just saw? How can that be real?
It was very real and it is happening as you read this.
Those images and screams will haunt me for the rest of my days. It was a crushing blow to my heart. It was if the Lord said, “This is what they are doing to my little ones… Remember this evil.” Then He reminded me that He is Savior, not me. He will execute justice and vengeance because He is good. I realized I am also accountable to what I now know.
In less than 3 minutes time, God had answered a three-fold prayer in three dimensions. He broke my heart for what breaks His. He uses the weak to humble the strong.
I cannot unsee what I saw. I cannot forget. It would be a tragedy to forget. To do nothing would be wrong. As the great abolitionist William Wilberforce once said when he told British Parliament about the horrors of the African slave trade;
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
Now I know. But, what can one man (or woman) do?
In the Bible, every seemingly impossible command comes with divine enablement and accountability. This enablement is only manifested in humility and complete dependence upon God (See John 15: The True Vine). We must be rooted in the truth of God’s word, bowed in prayer, love mercy and do justice.
“Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?”
Today, when our superficial little world is falling apart with ‘first world’ problems like waiting in line at the store or sitting in rush hour traffic, remember this story. Be grateful for the relative safety of your family. Pray for victory, humility and compassion. Be ready for the answer. Be ready to act. Raise awareness by telling others. Maybe one day the western media will shine a light on this. But until then, “this little light of mine… I’m going to let it shine.”
Please know that there are great organizations working to combat the dual scourges of trafficking of humans and the organ black-market. Please pray for them.
For more information on the trafficking of human organs around the globe. Simply search Google with keywords: “Human organ trafficking”, “United Nations organ trafficking”. Here is a good article to provide an overview: click here…
How can you help?
Read previous post: I gotta fever and the only prescription is more JOY!
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CCBC Disaster Relief – Aransas Pass Texas – Part 1
Stories continue to unfold on the Texas Coast as our attention is pulled away from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
The media attention is fleeting but our hearts should be steadfast in our commitment to people.
There are communities along the coast that never received any media attention nor did they receive significant relief help from FEMA or the Red Cross.
Communities were left to fend for themselves and make do with what they had. Here is a story of a church in the small community of Aransas Pass, Texas.
I created this short video to tell the story of how God has worked in a forgotten place, using a tiny church to serve a community. God opened the doors and guided the paths of two churches to serve and love on people.
“God does not care about the size of a church or the abundance of resources, he cares about the size of hearts, how we use what we do have and our obedience.”
The intent of this video is threefold:
1. Share the unfolding story in Aransas Pass
2. Set a ‘heart anchor’ for the people of my church (Christ Chapel Bible Church) with the people of First Christian Aransas Pass.
3. Encourage my church to remain committed and involved with serving well after the media attention fades.
Meet pastor David Dear and his wife, Charlotte. This is their story.
Special Thanks to the Dears, IronCenturion and all the folks serving together on the ground in Aransas Pass allowing me to share their story. “You Hold All Things Together (feat. Converge Band)” courtesy of Christ Chapel Music.
Read previous post: The Art in the Ordinary Life If you wish to subscribe to this blog, please sign-up here. Every time I post something new, you will receive an email.