021.1 Pain and Pretending, pt. 7: A World of Transaction

Let’s start over with the idea that humanity was designed by the Creator. We were meant to live a certain way. When God created everything, He called it good. Mankind quickly decided that we wanted to live our own way instead of God’s way. Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God here to earth, to return the Spirit of God to mankind, and show them how to live with God as their Lord.

In this episode, we begin discussing man living by their own design with some (seemingly) silly examples (like robots). This moves to the idea that the the modern, western world is beginning to acknowledge the effects of pain. However, mankind still chooses to live by their own design – we look for our own solutions, as opposed to obeying God.

For example, many results of abuse include “bad behavior”. People lack the basic abilities to interact with other humans in healthy ways. They can’t focus in school. They take offense easily. They constantly feel their very existence is threatened. The consequences of those actions are alienation, more abuse, or punishment. When this happens on a very large scale, we end up with generational oppression. In America, this generally manifests in racism and all its tangents.

The penal system is one of punishment. It is a transactional relationship. When people get pushed to their limits, they get focused on their “needs” or inconveniences, and start reacting out of demands, which turns everything into a transaction. This leads to many people feeling disrespected or neglected much of the time.

Secular responses to deep pain will always fall short. They will only be the best of human strength and wisdom, which will forever be insufficient.

The answer is God’s love. Genuine care. Loving by serving. Walking in the Spirit, walking united as the Body. God can break down great things through humble obedience. We have seen Him break racial stereotypes and expand the boundaries of our “family” to include people that don’t look like us. We’ve experienced plenty of rejection, as well. But if we remain in a state of transaction, we will always be offended and always be withholding love from those who need it most.

The systems of the world are largely transactional. Business, banking, government, taxes, etc. We create “machines” to manage our world, and all those machines run on transaction. This means we are regularly investing our selves into machines that do not allow us to function on a human level. This tears at our humanity, and makes it hard to differentiate those interactions from ones with other humans. It is certainly nice for things to run like a well oiled machine, but humanity rarely does, so we cannot hold that expectation over ourselves. We cannot “transact” with other humans and think that it will result in healthy relationships.

Real love is not transactional. Transactional relationships do not make room for love. Economic exchanges are “fair” and based on expectations. Love is sacrificial. Grace is undeserved; it cannot be deserved. When we apply economic principals to our relationship with God we will be very disappointed, and miss the amazing acts of love He is doing right before our eyes.

Songs:

Amena Brown – Baggage Check http://www.amenabrown.com/

Newsboys – A Million Pieces https://newsboys.com/

This episode originally broadcast live on August 21, 2015 on KXEN 1010AM in St. Louis, MO

For more info:

www.sunministries.org

www.sunministries.blogspot.com

Theme music: “The Resistance” by Josh Garrels (www.joshgarrels.com) licensed by Marmoset Music (www.marmosetmusic.com)

016.1 Separate from the World – Halloween

We discuss the history and implications of the pagan holiday of Halloween, and what it means to be separate from the world. When you think of Halloween, are you legalistic, defensive, indifferent, unconcerned, infatuated? Why do Christians participate in a pagan holiday, and why this one and not the dozens of other ones? How do you remain separate from the world? How does that affect your decisions and desires? We see Halloween as a pagan holiday with a history rooted in occult spiritual practices, and whose modern day incarnation is a highly commercialized event that focuses on frivolous spending, death, violence, demons, fear, and lust. Instead of writing a new law of what activities we should or shouldn’t do, we look at the values of the Kingdom of God, and see what we want to proclaim.

There are groups that set up “safe zones” for Halloween. If it is just a fun holiday about costumes and candy, why is this necessary? Despite what some say, October 31 does have higher crime rates, just not of sexual assaults. We want “safe scary”. Real scary is unsafe. Murder, rape, vandalism, robbery, dismemberment. These things are actually scary, and life altering or ending. A real “haunted house” is one with gun shots going off right outside or thieves breaking in to steal. Why is it required to have “safe zones” on this holiday if it doesn’t promote evil?

What about other non-Christian holidays, like New Year’s and Labor Day? It’s not about celebrating something not based in Christian beliefs. Look at what you are celebrating, not simply activities you are participating in. What does the holiday exalt? Fear, horror, lust, wickedness, violence, pain, demons, indulgence. It’s the second largest spending holiday in the US. Money spent on candy, costumes, decorations. The same approach can be brought to blatantly Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter. What are you doing and what are you celebrating? Are you celebrating commercialism and pagan traditions, or something significant about the life of Christ?

So let’s look at the celtic holiday of Samhain.

Practices and Traditions of Samhain/Halloween

  1. Trick-or-Treating – Historically, the holiday was about souls coming back to bless or curse people. People offered soul cakes to them. Children started to mimic them and demand cakes in order to avoid mischief. Also related to “souling”, a practice of people going door-to-door asking for treats and prayers. Also related to guising, doing performances to get food and money.
  2. Jack-o-lanterns – carving hideous faces into pumpkins, etc to scare spirits away. Also, carved pumpkins end up in the trash, instead of in food, and become a huge waste problem.
  3. Costumes – people would try to look like evil spirits, in recognition of the holiday and mimicking spirits, or scaring them away
  4. bobbing for apples – a divination practice
  5. Mirror divination practices

Christians had a holiday where they would honor saints who have died – All Saint’s Day. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III moved the holiday to line up with Samhain (which was also effectively the pagan new year).

Is it valid to say that present-day Halloween is just a commercial event with no connection to its pagan roots? Is this a valid idea within the Kingdom of God? Why do we even care? What’s the deal? So what? Are we legalistic? We’re talking about a context of living in two realms. Let’s look at God’s heart, what He brought, what the apostles were teaching and doing, what it means to be full of the Holy Spirit (and not other spirits), and that we shouldn’t joke lightheartedly about demons and put pictures of them around our homes. Instead of making a list of things we could or shouldn’t do, let’s look at what it means to be the church. Let’s not allow a pagan holiday to create a false context for us. Do you believe in a spirit realm? Do you believe in a devil? Do you believe you need to be separate from such things? The kindom of satan is about creating and spreading lies. Halloween does not induce fear of God, but of created things. Halloween makes light of spiritually corrupt practices, such as seances, violence, and divination. It becomes a gateway and an opportunity to become desensitized to such things. Peer pressure, even from within the church, makes you feel like a goofball for not wanting to participate in this holiday.

Many people can rationalize away the “original intents” of Halloween. However, simply look around at its present day manifestation. It’s not all princesses and superheroes. It’s haunted houses, violent horror movies, costumes that celebrate death, decay, and lust. Even the candy isn’t just candy…it’s images of skulls, human limbs, ghosts, and other things that typically induce fear. It certainly stresses fun, but fun generally in the context of spiritualism, gore, and fear.

Why is Halloween seen as an evangelistic opportunity? What makes it exceptional? Does this validate it? Why do we not apply this logic to other pagan practices and holidays? How many Christians celebrate Ramadan in order to evangelize? Does the fact that you could share the Gospel mean you have to participate in the practice? Coming up with a “christian alternative” in order to compete for attention or numbers is just as much conforming to the world. How about we let the holiday die by not participating? Christian “haunted house” alternatives focus on fear, and utilizing fear to scare you to Jesus, so your golden ticket to heaven gets punched. This is a terrible and expensive tactic, and delivers an incomplete gospel clothed in the ways of the world.

Final Thoughts:

Stop rationalizing and look at what you’re doing and exalting

Who are you serving?

Don’t pretend the spirit realm doesn’t exist or that you have control over it

Why are you celebrating a make-believe holiday that requires safe zones?

What are you filling your head, heart, and time with?

Songs:

Josh Garrels – Rise https://joshgarrels.bandcamp.com/track/rise

Keith Green – No one believes in me anymore

Heath McNease – The Screwtape Letters https://youtu.be/Q33LHk504Gs

Blindside – Pitiful https://youtu.be/t-K2EdbnK6s

additional music by Enter the Worship Circle www.entertheworshipcircle.com

This episode originally broadcast live on October 30, 2015 on KXEN 1010AM in St. Louis, MO

For more info:

www.sunministries.org

www.sunministries.blogspot.com

Theme music: “The Resistance” by Josh Garrels (www.joshgarrels.com) licensed by Marmoset Music (www.marmosetmusic.com)

014.1 The World, pt 1

What is the World? What does it mean to be separate from it?

Matt Papa – Where is the Difference

1 John 5:19 The whole world lies in the power of the evil one. One day this will change. This verse makes it very clear that there are two different kingdoms.

What are the clear teachings from scripture about the world?

1 Corinthains 2:6 it has wisdom

2 Corinthians 4:4 has its own God

Luke 16:8 has children

James 1:27 we can be stained by it. What does that look like? This verse alone shows the importance of understanding the “world”.

There are things in Scripture concerning grace and works which appear to contradict themselves. Maybe our understanding is small, and are hearts need motivation.

James 4:4 If you are friends with the world, you are an enemy of God. God desires the spirit He put in you. Pride is somehow related to being a friend of the world. Pride is related to Babel/Babylon.

Let’s get away from arguments about movies, tattoos, and piercings, and look at what our heart desires.

1 John 2:15 3 things that are in the world

  1. Lust of the flesh – our enticement to sin
  2. Lust of the eyes – lust of knowledge
  3. Boastful pride of life – trust in the stability of earthly things

We cannot trust in economies, governments, nor even the firmament itself. God shakes the ground and cracks mountains open.

1 John 3:1 The world cannot know God’s children. It cannot understand them, but they can understand it.

1 John 3:13 it can hate

1 John 3:17 it has goods – wealth or sustenance

Galatians 4:3 it can hold you in bondage through its things

Ephesians 2:2 it has its own course that we can walk

Ephesians 6 forces of darkness of this world that we battle

Colossians 2:20 it has rules and decrees

2 Timothy 4:10 it can be loved

Romans 12:2 it can be conformed to

1 Corinthians 1:21 its wisdom cannot lead to the knowledge of God

1 Corinthians 2:12 it has a spirit

John 17:21 It is the target of ministry

Matthew 13:22 it causes worry

“be in the world but not of the world” is not in the Bible. This does not make it necessarily not correct. But its simplicity and lack of context hinders our understanding of the world. It is a bad substitution for what actually is in the Bible.

Matthew 16:26 – the world can be exchanged for your soul

John 12:25 – hate our life in this world

Mark 4:19 Parable of the Sower, worries of the world, deceitfulness of riches, and desires for things. These things choke out fruitfulness of ministry. Jason thinks the “American dream” is a lie that eats people alive, because it’s dependent on an economic system that is opposed to God’s design.

Is your desire for fruitful service greater than your desire for the things of the world?

John 14:30 The ruler of the world is coming and has nothing in Jesus. If we are abiding in Christ, put on the mind of Christ, we will not be owned or deceived by the ruler of this world.

John 16 You will have tribulation in this world.

1 Corinthians 3:19 the wisdom of the world is foolishness before God

2 Corinthians 4:4 the god of this world blinds minds so they can’t see the glory of God

Galatians 4:3 we are in bondage to the elemental things of the world. What are those?

Galatians 6:14 the world is crucified to me and I to the world

Ephesians 2:2 the world’s course comes from the prince of the power of the air, and we formerly walked in it

Philippians 2:15 we should appear as lights in the world

2 Peter 1:4, 2:20 escaping the corruptions and defilements of the world

Song – Caedmon’s Call – This World