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Good and Bad

We’re always surrounded with good and bad. Many times we ourselves wallow in between both realities.

This morning I did something that was good. My mission was to refill both of our 5 gallon water jugs, which were depleted. On top of that I had to go to the bank and then buy some coffee and Mexican sweet bread for my wife, and I had the presence of mind to get her an anniversary card as well. Last but certainly not least, was the ever-present cliché of milk and bread. As I was checking out, I added 25 cents to get a reusable bag, since we have a plastic bag ban in the city, and as I loaded up I headed for the near exit. I almost did a bad thing, forgetting to pay for my $14 in merchandise. The clerk said, “Sir.” and I came to my senses. I think I was so focused on the water-filling task at hand.

Anyway, a large gruff man became noticeably frustrated at my leaving the cart in the clear path to the exit, and as he viciously moved my cart out of the way I caught a glimpse of what was in his precious cart– 3 large glass containers of hard liquor.  I proceeded to pay for my essentials and watched him leave. As he got outside, he snagged a large bag of Flavoraid Pop Ice from an outdoor display without paying for it! And he was gone. As I went outside to purchase 10 gallons of filtered water, I could see this burly man in the parking lot. Of course he parked his motorcycle in a no park zone. I had a good concept of bikers lately as 500 to 1000 of them held off the Westboro clan from protesting my hometown of Joplin’s Memorial Service on Sunday. But this guy left a bad taste in my mouth. He carefully wrapped up his booze in the store’s weekly ad and drove off to begin his day of drinking.

As I arrived at the ol’ homestead I could hear my wife in the other room saying to my one and a half year old daughter, “Bad girl, bad girl, bad girl.” That’s all I could hear from my vantage point, but it turns out they were having a full-fledged conversation. As she said, “bad girl” the baby would reply “good girl”, and this was repeated multiple times. I don’t know what this little good/bad girl had done, but I know her, how she’s always getting into everything. She is as apt as anyone to do much good or bad.

What’s your take-away, if you’ve made it thus far? Do something good today. Something much better than I described. Why don’t you start by giving to the Joplin Tornado relief cause? 1/3 of the town I love was completely devastated. My home church is one of the main distribution centers and work crew hubs in the community. You can give $10-whatever amount you’d like to their storm fund and it will all go to the victims of this tornado who lost everything: http://www.chcchurch.org/the-storm. My wife and I will leave after church on Sunday to drive 16 hours north with a mini-van full of stuff we’ve been collecting that they need.

So whether it’s this or that, do some good today.

Westboro = Church?

May 26, 2011 7 comments

Westboro “church” is apparently in Joplin to protest. That is mind boggling in and of itself, but goes to show the level of lunacy in this group. Where is this hatred coming from? And why?

Brandon, Mississippi gave them their match according to this article: http://www.ihatethemedia.com/a-simple-way-to-stop-westboro-baptist-church-funeral-protesters but I imagine Joplin will come up with some even better way to counter this horrible and deranged agenda.

If you’ve read my other recent posts you know that Joplin is my hometown. I now live 16 hours away, but my heart is broken over the devastation my family and friends are facing. My heart also breaks that a group that calls themselves “church” are driving from Topeka to kick Joplin when their down. Well, they are rising up, and no one, especially not anyone from Westboro can stop them.

I’ve heard many ideas that people have to deal with these loonies. I don’t know what they’re going to do. We’ll have to wait and see. (I’ll post in the comments section whenever the news comes of what happens.) The consensus I hear among those is my circle is to hit them with love, which is the complete opposite of what they spew.

Here’s their flier and accusation of Joplin, painting everyone with a broad brush of hatred and contempt: http://www.godhatesfags.com/fliers/20110523_MO-and-KS-Tornadoes-89-Plus-Dead.pdf

Really??? Wow. The Bible College is a whore house? This sarcastic and carefully written document makes me sick. It’s not true at all. That’s not the Joplin I know and love.

Right now Joplin is living up to the name CHURCH and I’m so proud of the way the church at large in Joplin and its surroundings are coming together for the community and making all the difference. Westboro taints the word “church” with all of its awful activities. The other crazy, Harold Camping, taught that the church of today is apostate and is not even saved. I beg to differ!

Last night at our church in Texas, we finished out Kyle Idleman’s series “H20”. In episode 10 Kyle (who last I knew is in Joplin right now helping with the relief effort) explained that the river is purest at its source. Because of this, we should go to the early church at its very beginning in Acts 2:37-47 to see how the church ought to be. “Good” and “strong” churches will do their very best to exhibit these 5 attributes from Acts 2:

1) No irrelevant teaching- but rather Bibl-based, Christ-centered, needs-meeting, transforming doctrine

2) No one left alone- apply the “one anothers” of scripture, accept one another, love one another unconditionally, to name a few.

3) No masks- don’t hide behind any false front or pretense. Be sincere and genuine.

4) No half-hearted worship- strong commitment 7 days a week.

5) No perfect people allowed- No one is better than anyone else, when the standard is perfection. You can’t say someone doesn’t deserve grace, because you don’t either. Nobody’s perfect, only forgiven and changed.

I look at this list, and I see Joplin loud and clear. The church in Joplin is doing all of this, now more than ever. Acts 2 reads,

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

This is taking place right now in Joplin! All I see coming out of Westboro “church” is the complete opposite. I see people who are fake, irrelevant, half-hearted, mask-wearing, think their above everyone else, no love, all hate, hypocrites, and they give the church a bad name. What is wrong with this picture? So very much.

Here’s Kyle Idleman in front of a church building that was destroyed by this natural disaster in Joplin. It was not God’s judgment. The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. My point is, tornadoes may destroy church buildings, but the true church can never be destroyed.

God loves Joplin. He even loves Westboro “church”. I’m praying for Joplin. I’ll be there to help rebuild in a few weeks. I’m praying for people to have wisdom in having to put up with the goons from Westboro on top of everything else. Kill ’em with kindness. Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Their claims are baseless and their actions can’t be any lower. Don’t stoop to their level. The true church will come out on top.

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