Tag Archives: music

Do You Approve of the Disapproval?

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We are all very opinionated people. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t feel strongly about at least a few things they are involved in.

Maybe you are passionate about your opinion of politics. Maybe you are passionate about the environment. Maybe you are passionate about whether or not it is ethical to use live bait for fishing (yes, there are some strong opinions out there about this).

Whatever our opinions, we tend to actively try to persuade others that our opinion is not only valid, but right. In fact, I’m writing this column in the “opinions” section of the Matagorda Advocate. Of course, my opinion is right, and you should heed my words. See what I mean?

Mass media has been actively trying to persuade us to take on different opinions about various topics through the years. If you believe in global warming, then it is not because there is good science supporting it. The biggest supporters of global warming are government agencies and mass media.

Our culture in which we live also persuades us. If we spend enough time around a group of people we tend to think the way the group thinks. It’s sad, actually, because we as people give up our right and ability to think for ourselves when we succumb to such influence.

Over the years, the influence of culture has changed the minds of the masses – even the masses in the church. For example, when I was born, the “d” word and the “c” word were absolutely forbidden. When I was a teenager, they were commonplace on the television and in movies, and they became more commonplace in the language of the Christians I was around. Then, as television adopted the “a” word, it has become culturally acceptable. Many people are still holding out, but an entire society has changed its mind about the severity of these three words because of the influence of popular culture.

One of the things that concerns me as I look at the state of the church around the nation is the change in the church’s perception of sin.

Within the last ten years I have seen a trend in teaching shift from dealing with the hard issues of sin and it’s consequences to become more about love and peace and non-threatening topics. Because of this shift there has been a loss in the church’s understanding of the severity of sin.

The other night I listed 48 sins for my teenagers to rate in terms of the severity of the action or thought. For about 20 minutes I had to explain what several of these sins even meant. Then, as I looked at the lists they had ranked, many of the teens listed several of the items as “not a sin”. When we start talking about these sins and pointing them out in public we get attacked as hateful from every side. So, we shrink back and hold it in.

What I’ve noticed is that the generations coming up do not understand what many sins are. They do not understand how the scripture places equal consequence on each sin – “the wages of [all] sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Each day I see teenagers that actively sin. But what concerns me even more in the masses of the church as a body is the acceptance given by the church to others who actively sin. I see people singing songs about being drunk. I see people posting about sex and drugs and homosexuality on their Facebook posts. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see them say “I am in 100% support of Insert sin here“.

Romans 1 says this: “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Not participating in a certain sin is important, but in this passage we see that we are called to go beyond mere action. It says we aren’t acting right when we not only do the sins but also when we approve of others who are doing those sins. If you’re wondering what kind of sins are being talked about read Romans 1. There’s a pretty good list there.

We approve of things with our words. We approve of things with our money when we buy, or rent, or give money to them. We approve of things with our actions when we stay in places or do things that show support of something immoral.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we shouldn’t support the people that are sinning. What we can’t do is support the sin. This is difficult though, because our culture has equated the sin with the sinner, so if you disapprove of one you are perceived as rejecting the other. I do not approve of alcoholism, but there are many people that I love that struggle with this sin.

It’s time for a change. It’s time for a cleansing. It’s time for a refocusing of the morality of the church.

May you be the kind of person who initiates this change in your life. As we work together we can once again be a people who actively pursues God and all things righteous. As we fudge our morals the Adversary move closer in to our lives.

I’m praying for this in my life and yours as well. Please pray too that God will cleanse us and refocus us through His Holy Spirit as we recommit our character to being in submission to his good, pleasing and perfect will for our lives.

If you’ve never given your heart to Christ in the first place, then you still have sin in your life. That sin separates you from God in a severe way. You need the healing that can only come through the blood of Christ. If you’d like to know more about having a relationship restoration with God, then feel free to contact me at 245-1611 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net. I will not chastise or ostracize you. Jesus invites you. He’s re-inviting his church as well. God bless you all as you refocus on what’s needed.

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The Greatest Show on Earth

The Community Actors of South Texas (CAST) have their next production coming up this weekend: “A Country Christmas Carol”. This show will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Rhema Fellowship building in downtown Bay City. I’m in the show, and you can find out more about it at http://www.communityactors.org.

I am not writing this article to simply plug the show, though I would love for you to come support CAST. It’s just that as I prepare to perform this weekend, I can’t help but reflect on all the work that must be done to make this show a success. Each person has to do his or her own job to make this work. Actors and actresses have to rehearse lines and movements (in this play, songs too!) or else the play just won’t work. The director has to be preparing for the play before the first rehearsal and has to lead the performers and crew. There are many different roles that have to be undertaken to make this work: stage managers, sound technicians, light crew, prop builders, promotional managers, costumes, etc… Without each person working to prepare then performing their task as needed then this would be a disaster.

As the show grows in its ability to perform, something else grows. The relationships between those working on the play grow. People come together from all walks of like with a common purpose. The result is not only a performed play, but a shared experience that will be a lasting thread to connect each of us no matter where life takes us from this point forward. When this is done right, the performance is great, and others like what they see and want to join in.

As Christians, Jesus is supposed to be our thread. We are his church. The church isn’t a place or a building or even a couple of services on Sundays and Wednesdays. The church is the people who have committed their life to the Messiah.

Through the years the church has morphed quite a bit from the way it was in the first century shortly after Jesus ascended into heaven. Churches today are frequently where people come to be spiritually fed. Usually this is the only spiritual feeding they get each week. Churches have encouraged its members to “bring a friend” in order for the preacher or some other minister to evangelize them taking that burden of responsibility off the lay-Christian. We often speak of “going to church”. Then, when we get there, they are highly ritualized ceremonies where a few people participate and the rest are spectators.

If we could bring some Christians here from the first century they wouldn’t recognize the church.

The church of the first century was quite different. First of all, they had no church buildings, so they WERE the church. In fact, they were so excited about it that they often met daily so they could encourage one another and share in that common thread of Jesus. The church had a common experience (coming to Jesus), and it had a common purpose. The purpose of the church was to take care of each other first, then evangelize the world all with a view of heaven.

The church at one time “had everything in common” and made sure that no other Jesus-followers had anything lacking. Their first priority was to take care of each other in love. They were fulfilling Jesus’ words when he said “by this they will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

They daily shared in that common experience. They also daily told others about the message of Jesus. This was made quite easier by their lifestyle. You see, they didn’t live anything like the world. The world saw their collective living. It saw their newfound love for others, and it wanted to be a part of that. The disciples lived their lives in such a way that led others to ask “what makes you different?” Then they had a great opportunity to start right there with the saving message of Jesus.

You are not called to allow the church to be your spiritual dinner table. You should be fed and feeding others each day as you commune with the body of Christ. How can we be a witness to the world if our lives show that we haven’t witnessed anything?

If we didn’t practice and work together for the play, then even if you did show up, the performance would be disastrous. Not only would you not come back, but you would talk to others about that as well. We are called to “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)

So may you re-dedicate your service to God, His church and the world. May you be an agent of change to bring the church back to where it needs to be. And may God use you to show the world what love really is.

Come see me in the show, and if there’s anything I can do for you or pray with you about, feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the office at 245-1611. God bless you!


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