Connor's old-fashioned dad recalls the same story to him on every birthday.
"I remember when they first brought you to Mom in her hospital room. Your Nanny (Adéye's mom) was there. She held her middle finger against your little foot and showed us how her finger was longer than your foot."
Today, Connor wears a size 13 shoe, a size and a half larger than me. His hands are longer and bigger than mine. And he has something I didn't have when I was 15--the treasure of Jesus in a soft heart.
Happy Birthday, my boy! I love you with all my heart!
I was in the supermarket this evening and snapped this photo at the stand next to the cash register.
OK, so I've read the Bible like many of you who are reading this now have.
I realize, for example, that in Isaiah 53:2, Jesus is described like this:
"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,nothing in his appearance that we should desire him."
But does he have to look like the bearded lady with a broken plate stuck on the back of his head, as in the magazine on the left?
And does he have to resemble a serial killer, like in the photo on the right?
It's one thing to have "no beauty or majesty" or not look like a male model "that we should desire him," but at least depict him as the Bible describes him:
STRONG: He was carpenter. Carpenters today are often muscular. Imagine the carpenters back in Jesus' day. There were no forklifts to lift piles of wood. If he made a table, it was made of solid wood. There were no power tools. Just heavy hammers and big saws. And once done, there weren't any pickup trucks to load it on to deliver it. He probably got help from Joseph and other tough guys, and carried the darn thing across town to Marvin Schwartz's house.
COURAGEOUS: At 12, he was being a very big boy. Not being intimidated by the religious "experts" of the day, Jesus stood up to teach to crowds of people, many of whom were old, wise men. He never cared what others thought of him. He was on a mission, and he never gave in to people who said, "Uh, excuse me, sir. You can't do that."
TOUGH: In Luke 4, after standing up in a synagogue and revealing who he was through the reading of Isaiah 61, a furious mob "took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way." And of course, he knew he was going to be beaten severely and crucified (the worst form of torture for millenia), but he CHOSE to go right into THAT mob and let them have their way. (Which ultimately was HIS way.) You can't get tougher than that. So after careful study of the Scriptures, I formulated an image of what I think Jesus looked like and sketched a draft. I think it comes pretty close. Let me know what you think.
“It is actually
reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even
pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are
proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your
fellowship the man who has been doing this?”~
1 Corinthians 5:1-2
My heart breaks for the number of “proud” people (who claim
Christ as their Savior) who lauded Richard Stearns before his reversal on the
gay-marriage decision at World Vision.
Personally I am very confused.Mr. Stearns and his books have been an
inspiration to my wife and me.We are
grateful that he “repented” of his position.Our hope is that the repentance was based on his genuine change of heart
on the matter and was not driven by the drop in funding for his organization
since the row occurred.If it were the
latter, our hearts break even more. And as many other Christians have expressed to me, "What else will he compromise on for the sake of 'unity'?"
Now there is a social media firestorm brewing.More liberal, progressive Christians accuse
those who disagreed with Stearns as “judgmental,” “lacking grace,” and
“unloving toward gays.”They have even
stated things like, “How dare other Christians put the children of World Vision
But those accusations have absolutely NOTHING to do with the
issue.The issue has everything to do with
whether or not a self-professed Christian believes that the act of
homosexuality is a sin.If they agree it
is sin, then the issue becomes, Is the sinner repentant of that sin and
actively endeavoring to draw closer to Christ?
If they are, then the former sinner would be welcomed in
nearly any Christian organization that exists.But if the sinner refuses to acknowledge that their behavior is sinful,
why should any such organization feel obligated to employ them?
And no, Bible-following Christians are not
hypocritical.Yes, adultery is also a
sin, even if it’s heterosexual.But you
would be hard-pressed to find a truly Christ-centered company that employs
ANYONE in unrepentant sin—like spouses having affairs, filthy-mouthed
alcoholics, or even doctors who perform abortions.
The Bible is clear.The act of homosexuality is a sin.And when two gay people marry, it is a statement to the world that it is
most certainly NOT a sin to them.
It is extremely dangerous to accuse those who follow the
truth of Scripture of somehow not showing “grace” to the sinner.God alone shows grace to the sinner through
repentance.Christians show the love of
God to them.Christians who protested
Stearns's initial decision are NOT unloving toward gays.We are simply protesting the anti-biblical
acceptance of homosexual marriage for the sake of “unity.”
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Unity in error is unity in ruin.”
And Adrian Rogers said, "It is better to be divided by
truth than to be united by error."
Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which
you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11).
And shortly after he prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is
truth” (John 17:17). Jesus desired the church to be unified as one body and
sanctified by the truth of the Word of God. According to Christ, truth and
unity go hand in hand. He never even hints at creating a contrast between the
Christian truth is NOT the antithesis of unity!It is the foundation of it.Otherwise, the Bible was written in vain and
Christ’s death on the cross was also done in vain.Otherwise, the apostle Paul would not have
gone to such great lengths to consistently, publicly distinguish the true
gospel from any false influence.
He was dealing with pre-Gnosticism, which voiced the idea
that Jesus did not actually come in the “flesh,” but was some sort of spirit.
He was dealing with Judaizers who insisted that Jewish
converts to Christianity must abide by Old Testament rules, as in circumcision.
He was dealing with ascetics who insisted on a cloistered
lifestyle and dietary habits.
He was dealing with hedonists whose purpose in life was to
avoid pain or discomfort at any cost.
These issues are mild compared to what he would write today
if this conversation about gays arose.Why didn’t the topic arise back in his day?Because except for the Romans themselves, the
Roman “Christian” world was firm that the act of homosexuality was wrong.Why?Because they had the Scriptures to back it up.
Therefore, contrary to accusations that are flying in the
social media arena, I make the following attestation:
I AM NOT HOMOPHOBIC.
The word “phobic” implies
fear.I am not afraid of those in the
gay lifestyle.I truly LOVE them.I worked with them for years in the fashion
industry.My absolute best friend in the
world came out of the lifestyle because he recognized its waywardness. I am not ashamed to be seen with
them in public.I am not afraid to have
them come into my home and play with my children.When I see them on the street, I do not cross
to the other side to avoid them.
I AM NOT HATEFUL OR JUDGMENTAL TOWARD GAYS.
I do not love gays any more or any
less than I would, say, an adulterer.They need the love of Jesus.Jesus gave me immense love for them.I have no ulterior motives in building and keeping relationships with
them.I love them as people.I do not look at them with disgust or
hatred.I can love them even though I do
not agree with their lifestyle.And why
must I agree with them in order to love them?If that’s the definition of love, we’re all lost.
I AM NOT ISOLATING THEIR SINFUL LIFESTYLE AS BEING DIFFERENT
FROM OTHER SINFUL LIFESTYLES.
We have all sinned and fallen short
of the glory of God.They are in need of
a Savior as much as anyone else.
I AM NOT QUOTING SCRIPTURE TO GAYS ALL OF THE TIME.
I have yet to meet someone in the
gay lifestyle who sees a Bible verse and says, “Gee, I didn’t know God thinks
it’s a sin.”
I AM NOT SAYING SOMEONE WHO IS ATTRACTED TO THE SAME SEX CAN
NEVER BECOME A CHRISTIAN.
We all may struggle with
proclivities and desires that are not godly.But God looks at the heart and wants us to “Be holy as He is holy.”If that means keeping desires at bay until He
comes or takes us to be with Him, then so be it.We are ALL to die to our fleshly desires,
however those look.Temptations are not
sin.Allowing temptations to take root
in our hearts is sin, whether we act on them or not. (James 1:13-15)
I want to encourage all those who are under attack for standing
up for the Word of God.Time is
short.The Lord is separating the wheat
from the chaff in these last days.
“All people are like
grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
~ 1 Peter 1:24-25
The American Constitution is under attack for being
outdated.The Word of God is never
outdated, and we will all stand before God someday as He calls us into account for
any compromise whatsoever in our walk with Him.
For men, the thought of adopting sends shivers down our spines. Your family’s over, you think. You’ve already got your 2.7 children. (The poor .7 child!) You may already have your five biological children. So what in the world is my wife talking about?!
If there’s one thing I took away from Summit9 in Nashville last week, it’s the reminder that adoption is the model for how God includes US in the family of God.
"The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” ~Romans. 8:15
Without God adopting us, we are not “grafted in” with the seed of Abraham (Rom. 11:17), and therefore, we are not saved. Thank God for His grace! Thank God that He does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 2:9).
It is with that same heart that we adopt others who are perishing, so to speak. Not just in a spiritual sense, but a physical one as well.
Adoption is a way that we can model to other Christians and to the world the heart of a living God.
When our “Christian” nation accepts as the norm a routine test (Trisomy 21) in utero to determine if an unborn child has Down syndrome, it allows a parent the option to abort the child because of such an abnormality. When we men not only advocate for, but also BRING INTO OUR FAMILY, a child with Down syndrome, people are perplexed. Some may even look at us with disgust (trust me, we’ve seen the glares). But we are merely grafting in that child, and in doing so, we often save their very lives.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” ~1 John 3:16
Adoption is a laying down of our lives so that others might live. Gee, who else did that?
Sure, God does not expect every Christian to adopt children. But He does mandate us to care for, visit, meet the needs of the orphan. And that will take time. That will take sacrifice. But most importantly, that will take a brave man to say, “Whatever YOU want, Lord.”
The 21st century Christian man must not ask what God can do for him, but ask what he can do for God. Men must be courageous enough to pray all of the scary prayers, like:
1. Lord, give me patience.
2. Lord, use me however you wish.
3. Lord, tell our family if you want us to adopt.
I liken the man who comes to the plate, not knowing all the in’s and out’s, not knowing what hardships may come, not knowing what life will look like years from now, as a true warrior.
Move over Gladiator.
Move over Braveheart.
With 163,000,000 orphans in the world, it takes a man with guts to model God’s heart of adoption through his own family…THAT NONE SHOULD PERISH!