Christians everywhere are losing their minds over Lil Nas X, an artist most known for his song "Old Town Road," and his most recent video, "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)." This is because the image contains a ton of Biblical imagery mixed with sexual imagery.
If this wasn't immediately clear by the music video itself, Lil Nas X cleared it up on March 27 when he tweeted:
To me, this is a very clear statement to the church. Lil Nas X, and millions of people who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, have been preached fire and brimstone all of their lives. They've been approached by strangers and told they're going to Hell. The problem with that is that, in the Christian belief, everyone is a sinner. Everyone should be preached to about Hell, but never as a scare tactic, in my opinion.
By preaching fire and brimstone more than the love of the gospel, people turn to Jesus out of fear, not out of love and respect for what He sacrificed for us. If you go to God in fear, are you truly redeemed?
At the end of the day, God is a perfect judge. What I am called to do is treat everyone with respect, dignity and love, because everyone is created in the image of God.
SO, WHAT IS LIL NAS X'S PLEA TO THE CHURCH?
Share what you believe in love, not with hateful words. Then, let someone make their own decisions and be there for them if they have questions. God doesn't even force anything upon us, so why should we do the same to others? Don't scare someone into a relationship with God, because the question remains if that's even a relationship at that point. You can't scare someone into loving you, because then it isn't love.
Had each encounter Lil Nas X had with a Christian been loving as we are commanded to be, he wouldn't have the feelings he has. He wouldn't have had to make people feel uncomfortable like they made him feel to express also important to remember that we all are flawed and, even when we have Jesus in our hearts, we make mistakes. God knows we will make mistakes, which doesn't mean we should make them frivolously. It just means we should do our best to live better each and every day.
I've finally found a church home where I feel like I belong. My relationship with God has never been stronger. When an opportunity came along to further strengthen my relationship with him through prayer, I signed up.
This opportunity is called the AsOne Prayer Project. At the end of February, I was given a prayer guide and daily devotional along with a list of the names of 14 strangers who live in my city.
1: IT GAVE ME A BROADER VIEW
2: IT STRENGTHENED MY RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS
Each day, there were specific prayer points for myself and my family as well as the people on my list. I really enjoyed praying for specific things during this journey, and I know its helped me.
3: IT TOOK ON A NEW MEANING FOR ME
CONTINUING THE PRAYER
With the boom of young millionaires and successful young business owners, young adults like myself can easily begin to feel like we aren't where we are supposed to be in our lives.
Some of us are starting to see our friends get married, having babies, getting promotions, traveling the world, and doing all sorts of fun and exciting this we haven't experienced yet. This fear of missing out can make us feel really low.
I experienced something like this last week. I had been wanting to make a change that I thought would help my little family and I, but it didn't work out the way I'd planned. I had been praying about it for weeks. I got part of my prayer answered the way I wanted it to be answered, but the other part simply didn't happen.
I tried to have a better night, and with a few laughs from some jokes my husband cracked, and admittedly a bit of ice cream, I was feeling OK.
This same Peter who had denied Christ three times, fell asleep on him in the garden, and nearly drowned while walking to Jesus on the sea due to his lack of faith was now speaking in the name of Jesus to the people who killed had him.
I realized then that God is trying to transform me into a Peter. A few years ago, I would have been cynical towards God for not answering my prayer. It would have shaken my faith. Why do these things keep happening to me? I would have been like David in some of his Psalms.
"How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?" - Psalm 13:1-2
My point to my fellow young adult Christians is this: You don't need power, relationships, or material things to make a difference. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He gave us two ears so we can listen to our friends and their struggles. He gave us a mouth to encourage others through our words. He gave us hands and feet so we can work and help others in their hardest times. He gave us our heart to love and empathize.
As hard as it is to live in a world where what you have and who you are means everything, remember how easy it is to rest in God's will and linger there. Remember that, at the end of the day, everyone will spend eternity with God or separate from him. God is the great equalizer. What you do for Him now will mean much more than what you try to do for yourself.
âI have an issue with consistency in almost every area of my life. Itâs one of the worst things about me, and Iâm sure Iâm not the only one who can attest to this nasty part of themselves.
But going into 2020, I really wanted to make this a year of clarity. As you know from some of my previous posts, 2019 wasnât a great year for me, but God brought me through it. I decided I wanted to make God a priority in my life this year. Boy, have I seen a change. Let me talk first about what Iâve been doing:
MY MORNING ROUTINE
âMy morning continues during my ride to work. During this time, I talk with God, trying to practice gratefulness by thanking him for the things I so often take for granted. In my prayers, I always pray for my family, friends, and husband as well as for things I hope to happen for the future. After that, I listen to a mix of gospel and contemporary Christian music.
When I say I listen to this music, I mean itâs pretty much the only music I have been listening to! Now, let me explain how this has helped me.
1: MY ANXIETY HAS BEEN MUCH LESS OF A PROBLEM
2: CHURCH IS MY HEAVEN ON EARTH
âIf we didnât come to one service, people would refuse to shake our hands or ignore us in any way that they could. We finally decided after a year of emotional abuse that it was time to leave. I often talked to one of my coworkers about the issues we were having, so she suggested her church. The church is much less traditional than I am used to, but this past year has helped me open up and truly worship God.
I love going to church. The message always speaks to me, and the worship music puts me in the right place to receive the message.
3: I YEARN TO DO MORE FOR MY COMMUNITY
4: I WANT TO EXPAND MY HISTORICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL UNDERSTANDING OF GOD
âThere is a growing hostility toward God. With that comes questions that, as a human, I believe are fair questions to ask. Some of these include âif God doesnât want me to go to hell, why doesnât he make me believe in him?â or âif Jesus was real, why donât other people write about him?â
The answers to these questions are fascinating, and I love learning more, especially if it helps me tell someone about God.
âThose are the four main ways that focusing on my relationship with God has really helped me lately. I hope you all take some time to focus on God this year. Make it a priority. You will feel better, live better, and want to do more for the people you love and the people who need you.
I've already sort of talked about some of my goals over on our YouTube channel but, since today is #WorshipWednesday on the blog, I wanted to talk about some of my spiritual goals in particular. So, here we go:
READ THE ENTIRE BIBLE
Luckily, audio books have made a surge in recent years, and my app that I use at church can read the Bible out to me with a year-long reading plan. This makes it so easy to listen to it and absorb in the car. I just need to make it a priority of each day and morning!
SERVE MY COMMUNITY THROUGH MY CHURCH
From free Easter egg drops, monthly meals for the homeless, a food bank, feeding our first responders around the holidays, and much more, my church is super involved in helping our local community. With that being said, I haven't been the best at getting involved myself. So, I'm hoping to really make that effort this year!
LEARN MORE ABOUT APOLOGETICS
I learned about apologetics a few years after I graduated from college. I think it is the best and newest way to communicate with this generation and generations to come.
LISTEN TO MORE WORSHIP MUSIC
First of all, Merry Christmas! I'm thankful that you've chosen to check out my blog today. It is a special day today because it's our Worship Wednesday, so I'm going to be covering some Christian topics.
Mainly I want to explain how God and Jesus are symbols of giving.
GOD GAVE HIS SON JESUS
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16, KJV
JESUS GAVE AND GIVES BLESSINGS
Jesus was killed for basically causing too much of a ruckus. The Pharisees didn't like that Jesus questioned some of the things they did. They didn't like that he healed people and made miracles.
Jesus prayed in the garden before he was taken. He was so stressed out that he cried blood, which is a medical condition called Haemolacria.
JESUS GAVE US THE GIFT OF SALVATION
"Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began..." - II Timothy 1:8-9
If you don't know what happens next in the story of Jesus, I'll tell you. Jesus died but three days later, he rose from the grave. He conquered Hell and the grave.
Jesus' sacrifice gave us eternal life and forgiveness from our sins. One thing that has always sort have bothered me are those old hymns.
The thought is that people are made up of two parts: the body and the soul. The one that you feed most will be the one that becomes stronger. So, if you live a worldly life of greed, you're feeding your body. If you live a life where you connect with God through prayer and worship, you're living a soulful life.
Any Christian will tell you that Jesus gave his life so that we could be forgiven of the wrong that we’ve done. However, Jesus gave much more than his life while he was on Earth. Let’s talk about it:
1: HIS TIME
Jesus gave his time to the people who needed it most. Those included the sick, the people living in sin, and others. He even gave time to those who abused God’s word or some of the laws of the time that were extremely critical and harmful to his people.
Time is an important gift you can give to someone this season.
2: HIS GIFTS
Because he is the son of God, Jesus was able to do many wonderful and amazing works through the power of his father. He never held this back from anyone who needed it or asked for it. He even re-attached the guard’s ear after one of his disciples cut it off in the garden when the Pharisees were coming to take Jesus.
3: HIS WISDOM
Take some time to share some wisdom with someone this season. Teach them to do something they cannot do by themselves.
4: HIS HEART
Jesus put his heart into everything that he did. The scriptures tell us a story of Jesus’ passion and love for all people. He loved people who society didn’t love: adulterers, lepers, and tax collectors, among others.
He never denied them anything and always did his best to help them in their situation. We should all aspire to put our hearts into all that we do, especially in the Christmas season.
5: HIS EAR
Jesus is a listener. When on Earth, he always took time to hear from people and learn about them. He listened to their stories and helped them in their time of need.
What most people lack in their relationships is, sadly, communication. It is one thing to hear someone say something, but it is another to listen and really comprehend what they’re saying. This is a blessing, and more people need it.
Today, if you are a Christian who doesn't feel comfortable letting their children participate in traditional Halloween celebrations, I'm going to share with you a few things you can do with them so they don't miss out on all of the fun:
1: FIND A CHURCH-BASED TRUNK OR TREAT
Many churches and even colleges put on trunk or treat events to help children celebrate Halloween. I specifically suggested a church trunk or treat because the themes are usually less gruesome than the way some people dress their house for spooky season. Check your local visitor's bureau or your town's events calendar to see what trunk or treat offerings are available.
2: HAVE A CHILDREN'S MOVIE MARATHON AT HOME
Break out the popcorn and buy some sugary sweets to celebrate Halloween at home with your kids. Instead of trick or treating, they can enjoy kid-friendly Halloween movies like Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Monster House, and more.
Netflix and Prime Video usually have a whole section dedicated to kid-friendly Halloween movies!
3: THROW A HALLOWEEN PARTY FOR THEIR FRIENDS
There are so many ways to take the fright out of Halloween. Instead of going trick or treating or participating in more gruesome activities like haunted houses, you can simply throw a more whimsical Halloween party at your house for your children and their friends. There are a ton of fun activities they can do like a pumpkin carving contest, decorating Halloween cookies, and other whimsical games that can help them have fun without all of the blood and gore.
I recommend checking Pinterest for fun and cute party games for occasions like these. You'll be surprised by all of the great ideas you'll find!
BUT, THIS IS WHAT I RECOMMEND
My mom took another approach. If she wasn't sure how something would impact us, she would go experience it herself before taking us. I recommend that you don't shield your children from the world because, as someone who attended a southern Baptist church with a lot of very sheltered children, you're just setting them up for a scarier adulthood.
Instead, I think it would be great to let your children participate in traditional celebrations under the understanding that it is just a holiday and shouldn't be celebrated as anything but a day for kids to get candy or for people of appropriate ages to watch scary movies!
Today, I thought my “message” of sorts could be about harvesting. I know, weird. But I promise I’ll do my best to make my point.
“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
WHAT IS HARVESTING TO FARMERS?
A lot of the times, when reading New Testament scripture, you will notice that Jesus likes to make a lot of comparisons and parables based on harvesting and farming. Undoubtedly, he does this because a lot of the people he ministered to were farmers. Think of it like a track runner explaining how long of a distance he ran to a football player by saying “I ran the length of five football fields.”
Harvest is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the season for gathering in agricultural crops.” A lot of people understand this time to be around autumn when the weather starts to get colder and some crops cannot grow very well. The idea was that the excess crops would be stored up and saved to be used later.
HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO OUR WALK AS CHRISTIANS?
Many of the people in this multitude likely knew the people Jesus healed for several years, as communities were even more closer-knit than they are today. After seeing someone suffer from an illness or handicap for that long only to see them healed by Jesus, they must have been a desperate crowd.
There are a lot of people in need, but very few people willing to help. When we aren’t in a bad situation, we tend to think of an issue as someone else’s problem and we have this attitude that they should just deal with it themselves.
However, when we land in the same boat, we expect help. So, if you expect help when you are down on your luck, why not give help to those who have no one in their lives who will help them?
So, this fall, become a labouror. I am not trying to preach because I myself need to be better about helping others.
It’s around this time that a lot of young Christians in college start turning away from Bible study, prayer, and going to church. It’s much easier to catch up on sleep or spend the evening hanging out with friends than doing something that can help cultivate your faith.
Cultivating your relationship with God is so important during this time in your life because you are likely starting to experience anxiety, depression, financial difficulty, and perhaps physical difficulty.
I sometimes find it hard to do these posts because I struggle to summarize the story for those who may not know what I’m talking about.
David defeats Goliath (a very well-known story) and actually becomes close to King Saul. However, Saul grows jealous of David and how the people adored him. Now, let’s talk about the differences between David and Saul:
DO YOU REMAIN FAITHFUL OR DO YOUR OWN THING?
If you know anything about David, you know that he indeed does make mistakes. But, as soon as he makes those mistakes (which is later on after the story of King Saul and David), he owns up to them and repents.
Throughout this story, David constantly remains faithful to God. He trusts God when he leaves his family as the smallest of several sons.
However, Saul goes against the will of God. Samuel the profit tells Saul to go and destroy the Amalekites and everything that they have. The reason for this is unknown (at least to me), but Samuel was instructed to do this by God.”
“And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.” – I Samuel 15:8-9
It is so easy to do the wrong thing and go against what you know God would want for you. Everyone is doing it and it seems like you’ll miss out if you don’t do it too. Trust me, I made a whole lot of mistakes when I was in college, some of which still effect my life today. It is worth it to remain faithful to God’s word. My life undoubtedly would have been much more victorious (thus far) had I maintained that relationship.
DO YOU REMAIN HUMBLE OR DO YOU BECOME ENVIOUS?
Without a doubt, David came from humble beginnings. He was the smallest of a group of brothers, but he was able to defeat Goliath and go on to make even more wartime accomplishments that had the people of Israel cheering his name. However, David still remained humble and did good when he was supposed to.
Even though David was put in charge of Saul’s army, he “behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him (I Samuel 18:14).”
I personally found that these things got to me more when my relationship with Christ was weak. That’s why it is important to keep your relationship strong.
DO YOU KEEP YOUR PROMISES OR DO YOU MAKE FALSE COVENANTS?
Saul seemingly promises several times that David would not be harmed. He swears to his son Jonathan, who is best friends with David, that he won’t harm him. In the next breath, he is conspiring with soldiers or servants to kill David.
David is given opportunities to kill Saul, but he doesn’t. Saul asks David to promise not to kill his seed, and David swears to it.
God is very clear about His opinions on promises. You are to keep your promises, according to the Bible. Promises in college may include doing a group assignment, being there for a friend in times of need, or committing to a community service project.
As I said earlier, it is easy to sleep in or turn your attention to more “pleasurable” things than to uphold your promise. Christianity is all about a relationship between an individual and God. God has several promises and He keeps every one of them. It is only fair that you uphold the charge you are given as a Christian in return.
ARE YOU FOR THE PEOPLE OR DO YOU BRING OTHERS DOWN WITH YOU?
David had a relationship with Jonathan, Saul’s son. He could have used that relationship against Saul to threaten him or otherwise cause harm. That’s what Saul would have done, after all. Instead, David remained a loyal warrior who fought to protect God’s people. He even stayed away from everyone else and traveled alone, undoubtedly because other people would have become targets had they been with David.
When you fall into doubt or decide to give in to “worldly” pleasures, you are effectively taking other Christians who know you and are in the same situation as you down, too.
If you see a Christian friend doing something not so Godly, and you too are losing grips on your faith, you might fall suite and do the same thing.
- Admit to God that you are a sinner
(Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).
- Repent, turning away from your sin
(Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9).
- Believe that Jesus is God's Son and accept God's gift of forgiveness from sin
(Romans 5:8; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:11-13).
- Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do:
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