CLOSET CHRISTIANS

If you have been tuning into our TV program you will see I am doing a series called The Real Deal.  I am challenging believers to be ‘real Christians for a real world’.   In our culture being a Closet Christian (one nobody knows about) is profoundly easy.  We mostly act like, talk like, and look like everyone else around us.  That is not entirely bad… unless they have no idea that we are believers.  If they can’t tell, and at best just see us as really nice people (or worse yet as nasty people), then we are not being real christians for a real world.  We have a message that our world desperately needs.  When we live like closet Christians we deny our neighbour a chance to hear the great truth that set us free and can do the same for them.  At least Homer Simpson knows why Ned Flanders is the nicest guy in Springfield.  Ned’s a committed if not sometimes awkward follower of Jesus.

The Ned ringers contest was part of the Greenbelt 2002 Christian arts festival at Cheltenham racecourse.

I like to ask my congregation this question: If you were arrested for being a Christian would they have enough evidence to convict you? Being a Christian in many other parts of the world means taking your life in your hands every day.  Muslims that convert to Christianity are often disowned by their friends and families.  Sometimes they are threatened or even murdered for it.  Don’t think for a minute that that is something that only happens on rare occurrences – there are more people martyred for their faith today than any time in 2000 years of Christianity.  Those who decide to follow Christ in those places make a decision that their faith is more important than life itself.

In North America being a Christian often means something completely different.  For many it just means we are not Muslim or Jewish.  We get married and will be buried in a church building and we might drop by on Christmas or Easter if we are not too busy.  ”Hey, it was good enough for Grandpa.”

In the Southern US states, everybody still goes to church on Sundays.  I remember a few years back being in the Florida panhandle in a Subway restaurant and I asked the overtly gay (which he freely admitted) worker as he was making my sub if he knew anything about Jesus.  In his southern twang he told me that he and his ‘pardner’ never missed church.  ”Ever-budy goes to church down er”

Here’s an observation to think about; The homosexuals have come out of the closet… and the Christians have gone in. Oh sure, they threw a few stones at each other as they switched locations but even that conflict has pretty much blown over.   My point has really nothing to do with the battle for gay rights and everything to do with the fact that you often can barely recognize believers in our culture.

The night that Jesus was betrayed Peter boasted that he would never forsake his Lord.  Jesus told Peter he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed twice.  The next morning Peter was confronted by a mere servant girl and yet denied Jesus three times.  What happened next is the most important part of the story and yet most people miss it.  When the rooster crowed twice, Peter remembered what Jesus said and wept bitterly.  This was a defining moment for Peter.  He was overcome by his own shame and disappointment.  Though nothing more is said about it in the narrative, it is clear that Peter made a decision that morning that he was coming out of the closet and would never go back in again.  It was Peter who on the day of Pentecost stood out in the street and told a skeptical crowd of thousands that they needed to repent and be converted that their sins could be blotted out by the blood of Jesus.  Peter lived the rest of his life as a radical follower of Jesus.  History tells us that when he was sentenced to be crucified himself by the Romans, he insisted in being crucified upside down as he was not worthy of the same death as his Lord.

No, our world doesn’t need more church goers that are in the bar Saturday night and in the pew Sunday morning (unless they were there inviting people to church the next day).  We need more real Christians for a real world.  People that are not ashamed of the fact that Jesus has done an incredible work in their lives.  Around the world Christians face the raising of weapons at the name of Jesus.  Here, because we have freedom of religion, the worst response we get is someone raising an eyebrow at us.  Why we have such trouble living our faith out loud is a bit of a mystery.  Maybe we all need a disappointing rooster crowing experience to get us out of the closet.  What do you think?

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65 Responses to CLOSET CHRISTIANS

  1. Evelyn says:

    I always enjoy reading your articles but have never responded on the blog. Closet Christians gave me much pause for thought.
    I wonder if the way to live out our faith is specific and unique depending on the culture around us. In North America, I have to question the effectiveness of shouting our faith from the roof tops. When people hear the word Christian, we have no idea what picture comes to mind; people who shoot abortion doctors, mercenary preachers selling their wares or their scandalous behavior exposed in the media, a boss exploiting his workers, employees who take advantage…. many churched people exploit, lie, steal and cheat. Wars are fought, hatred spewed towards gays and other faiths, racism is rampant…..all too often in the name of Christianity.
    Philip Yancey in his book The Jesus I Never Knew writes of an exercise he conducted where people were asked what they thought of Christianity; the response was largely negative, but when these same people were asked what they thought of Jesus, the response was hugely positive.
    Perhaps the best way for followers of Jesus to come “out of the closet” would be to go back to the words of Jesus in John 13, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”
    Unconditional, extravagant love speaks louder than any words and will provide ample opportunity to share Jesus.
    We live in a fast paced, self absorbed society and are always looking for shortcuts and we do this with our faith as well. We don’t want to do the hard work of living disciplined lives or have the inconvenience of genuinely loving others. I know this is certainly the struggle in my life.
    Maybe a call “back to love” should be the cry of the church so that people who experience it will know they have been touched by something “out of this world”.

    • Tj Freezn says:

      God had and has conditions for loving one another (based on the word ”love” changing in meaning based on etymology), including in the New Testament’s gospels, and even the epistles.

  2. Jim says:

    Do we have the faith Peter had? Are we willing to be crucified upside down, or be beheaded, or whatever for our faith? Pretty serious considerations here..it is one thing to sit in a fancy building waving our arms around and singing His “praises”, and quite another thing if we are threatened with death for our faith..Our prayers should be directed at giving us the strength to face the world, and the challenges we face if we really are standing up for our Lord and Saviour Jesus, and the things He stood for…if the world likes us, it means we are not hurting them spiritually..if they hate us it means we are making inroads into teaching them how to live according to the Gospel of Jesus…Jesus said..because they hated me, they will hate you also….(unless of course we are part of the world).

  3. Patricia says:

    You can suffer persecution here too for being a Christian. It is who you admit it to sometimes. People say that we are to give all religions Human Rights in Canada, however, Christians have been slammed openly and I have not heard anyone taking them to court. I have heard forgiveness or turning the other cheek by a lot of Christians in these cases.

    Yes, I agree with Evelyn, that Christianity has a bad wrap with many. Not just Christianity but the Crusaders and the Baptists and the Catholics and the Anglicans and the Common Wealth, etc. But when these times come up, I always say, Christianity is about believing in the teaching of the Jesus Christ and following them. The people who did these actions in the name of Christianity will be denied by the saviour. He says he will say he does not know them. We are to follow Jesus’ teachings and the old testment as it is filled with the affirmation that he is indeed the son of God. But we are human, and we do perform a lot of mistakes. One starts with not knowing how to bring up we are Christian.

    When people come to eat at my home, I always pray before I eat. Some are shocked. They then say that they always wondered why I seemed different. I forgive, I ask forgiveness for my mistakes and try to make them right, I follow the teaching of Jesus, but I do not walk around saying, “I am a Christian all of the time.” My actions, and words are that of what God says we are to do. I still am not perfect, and to the few I profess his name to that are acquaintences, I have been mocked for my
    beliefs from many. But I will not forsake him. And I will keep trying have my actions draw people closer to God and pray that I will seek truth, know God, and thus become the person the Lord our God would want me to be. In his name and for his glory.

  4. Steve says:

    If we are faithful in the little things, then we will be faithful in the big things.

    • Tj Freezn says:

      Yes.
      Unfortunately, sometimes we disobey John 7:24, including those of us in authority over each other, especially those of us representing Him.

      • Tj Freezn says:

        That is truth, correct.
        Unfortunately, when the one under authority has already went beyond admitting errors but also repenting of them to all those he or she wronged, yet those in authority refuse to even admit any wrongs done to that person and instead either lie about the wrongdoer or take the Nicodemus approach (try to save face in private but continue on with the group-think)…then what?

        What about when this person goes to another church, gets along great with most of the people there, including with those in authority, but once they find out the previous church he or she came from, they contact that church and assume that they are given correct info about this person, and from that point on indirectly turn against this person without ever saying what this person was wrong it?

        Then what if that process repeats itself, but the different churches the person goes to also contact that first church and not only get the same results but do the same things, except for one banning that person from one of their groups due to accusations they say have been levied against him or her, but refusing to even hint to him or her what any of those accusations are?

        And finally, to top it all off,
        this person, years later, has just a friendly casual chat with someone who was in authority over him or her at that first church, but at that person’s secular job, at the invitation of that previous leader,
        where this previous leader asks the personal question of what this person’s church life is like, then complains to their secular manager that it’s the one they invited there’s fault for discussing personal issues during work hours (in other words, refusing to admit that the previous leader was the one who initiated a no-no work behaviour, but lying that it was the one they invited’s fault for discussing something that the invitee did not initiate).
        And to further exacerbate the issue, when the invitee is given proof of the invited’s innocence (on the issues the invitee has never admitted, because that would be lying) and also given proof of the inviter’s previous church leader peers (as well as their own church leaders),
        the inviter drops this bombshell:

        ”You’re not believed by people but that church is, because that church is credible and you are not.”

        Well, the invitee was shocked and said this in response, once the shock wore off:

        ”Credible is an inaccurate term. What is accurate is to instead say ‘good reputation’, because during our conversation you have indirectly agreed with my claims about myself, yourself, and those we’ve discussed, but I have been disbelieved because of my bad reputation on unrelated issues, whereas you and these others were believed because of having good reputations on unrelated issues…people have assumed that everything is connected. Well, if that we so, then we are all guilty, all the time, and fully.”

        Needless to say, he lost his composure and was no longer being a mocker, but was instead super mad.

        No, the invitee did not like that result, but was unwilling to ignore the water under the bridge, because the water had become poisonous, rotting the bridges, and so the issues needed to be dealt with…but in a Bible guidelines way.

        Unfortunately, the people this pertains to, have been instead ignoring the increased pollution of the water, and thereby super slow destruction of the bridge and environment.
        The people instead tried to whitewash everything…

        …Steve, you don’t need to respond to this, but I do want to thank you for at least reading through it this far.
        And I strongly thank you for giving the correct answer, in general, so far…

        • Steve says:

          Well TJ, there’s alot of funny biz going on in churches these days. If you did nothing wrong, then just stay right with God. Don’t fall away from Christ and live in an upright manner. Let God deal with the things in you that people you can’t trust will stab you with.
          Isaiah 54:17 says this-no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.
          Maybe God has a bigger purpose for you than you realise right now.

          • Tj Freezn says:

            This happened about 5-10 years ago.

            Is this what you meant by “…these days”?

          • Tj Freezn says:

            Sorry.
            The 5-10 years ago is in reference to when this STARTED happening.

            Otherwise, it has simply snowballed from there…

          • Steve says:

            What I meant by these days is, it’s hard to find Christians that will support you if you stand up for what is right. Say you are angry because you did what was right and they turned on you for it. Then many will use that against you instead of dealing with the disfunction that you pointed out. So nobody will take your case unless they are willing to die in that area. All you can do is die in the areas that they are pointing fingers at you. Then they will not be able to stand in their accusations. What I’m saying is maybe God wants to use you to love these people even after they did this evil to you. His kindness leads to repentance.

          • Steve says:

            I’m not saying you should be around those people, but that God wants to work inside of you so that you are able to forgive them from the heart. That way, their crap they throw won’t stick to you, it will just boomerang back at them. They are in trouble and the only way for them to see straight is if you forgive them.

          • Tj Freezn says:

            // Steve says:
            November 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm
            I’m not saying you should be around those people, but that God wants to work inside of you so that you are able to forgive them from the heart. That way, their crap they throw won’t stick to you, it will just boomerang back at them. They are in trouble and the only way for them to see straight is if you forgive them.//

            http://www.thefaithfulword.org/forgiveness.html (these leaders were hypocrites by demanding that I forgive them for wrongs that they said they did not commit, though some came to me in private and said they and the others did, but were lying to save face…but were unwilling to forgive me of what I repented to them of…in other words “traditions of men”)

            Thank you anyway for trying…

          • Tj Freezn says:

            //Steve says:
            November 26, 2011 at 8:48 am
            What I meant by these days is, it’s hard to find Christians that will support you if you stand up for what is right. Say you are angry because you did what was right and they turned on you for it. Then many will use that against you instead of dealing with the disfunction that you pointed out. So nobody will take your case unless they are willing to die in that area. All you can do is die in the areas that they are pointing fingers at you. Then they will not be able to stand in their accusations. What I’m saying is maybe God wants to use you to love these people even after they did this evil to you. His kindness leads to repentance.//

            Thanks for clarifying yourself for me! :)

            Well, that would make sense when 2 things were prophesied over me since leaving that first church (more than 2, but they should suffice):

            1- The church right after that one in Winnipeg had an assistant pastor, with other lower level church leaders at a home group meeting, share a vision that he then received, which basically was God telling him that the devil was trying to destroy me.
            …interestingly, a week later, they then banned me from all their small groups based on accusations that they refused to even hint to me were about.
            2- The church right after that one, had the non-adult son of the main preacher share a vision he had while leading a small praise and worship group time.
            In short, he said that God had made me as His ocean breaker.
            …needless to say, that has made increasingly more sense over time, but I hate that responsibility.

            And again, thanks for taking time out for this.

          • Steve says:

            Look! I’m trying to help you out here. I’m not trying to make you submit to pretender’s disfunctional viewpoints. I am saying in order for you to be obedient to God, you need to see them as people who are in huge trouble. They beat you down, they throw stones, they shame you, they mock you, they accuse you, but they are in BIG trouble! The ocean is the sea of dissipation and you are chosen by God to break this evil with the help of others who’ve been given the same job.
            All that can be shaken will be shaken.
            Watch “the wayward church will soon be ashamed” by Carter Conlon on youtube.

          • Tj Freezn says:

            //Look! I’m trying to help you out here. I’m not trying to make you submit to pretender’s disfunctional viewpoints. I am saying in order for you to be obedient to God, you need to see them as people who are in huge trouble. They beat you down, they throw stones, they shame you, they mock you, they accuse you, but they are in BIG trouble! The ocean is the sea of dissipation and you are chosen by God to break this evil with the help of others who’ve been given the same job.
            All that can be shaken will be shaken.
            Watch “the wayward church will soon be ashamed” by Carter Conlon on youtube.//

            I know you’re trying to help me.
            That is why I’ve been thanking you.

            And I also thank you for that vid referral.
            I’ll check it out.
            In the meantime, please check out my links, especially the Forgiveness BIBLE study link (as opposed to merely philosophical study).

            Enjoy your day.
            And go Bombers go! :D

          • Steve says:

            I checked out your forgiveness link. Loved it.
            This next part isn’t to you TJ, but something God wants all His people to hear. Jesus doesn’t care about how many people agree with this or that, He cares if we are surrendering our hearts to Him. Not being perfect or sinless but being willing to let go of any sin or wrong attitude that He speaks to our hearts, even if it means taking abuse from the majority of Christians that surround us.
            The only thing that will stand in the storm that God is bringing will be the love of Christ. When the storm comes, then people will realise whether they’ve been walking in love or not. Now is the time for us to surrender, to turn our laughter into mourning, and then we will be able to stand firm in the storm.
            The Lord gave me a dream and in this dream I saw people’s vehicles being destroyed by a storm. The vehicles represented their way out and their shelter in the storm. They were being warned but they were not paying attention and in the process, their vehicles were being obliterated! This is the time to listen up to what God is telling His church. Not what the latest trend is or party spirit, but what God says to us deep in our souls! Are we ignoring His voice which makes us uncomfortable or are we ready to become nothing and allow Him to be our everything? God loves us and that is why He is warning us.

          • Tj Freezn says:

            Steve, I was shocked that not only would a fellow Christian be willing to consider a potentially contrary view on forgiveness (one that opposes both extreme opposing views), but would even agree with the view that I shared with you (letter C below).
            So thank you for both those things! :D
            And also thank you for your disclaimer in advance regarding the rest of your reply yesterday :)

            A) ”The Wayward Church will Soon be Ashamed by Carter Conlon”
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwNPi103nMk
            (thank you, again, Steve for having God share this vid with me)

            B) ”STOP tolerating Jezebel spirit – Robert Morris”
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtW074wfF9o
            (thanks to my April 1st friend Kandy for this link, and thanks to God for directly revealing to me that this message is completely correct, except that no males can be Jezebels but are Absaloms instead)

            C) ”What is Biblical Forgiveness, and Who Should be Forgiven?”
            http://www.thefaithfulword.org/forgiveness.html
            (thank you God for teaching me this directly, and then years later revealing this link directly to me)

          • Steve says:

            TJ, I felt the Lord wanted me to say something to you.
            I felt that maybe you’ve had things you wish you could change. Maybe you needed help from Christians. But instead they only hurt you more in the areas you needed the most help in. In the guise of holiness, they pretended to care and maybe they believed they were caring, but their intentions were not holy. They just wanted to hurt you because they were mad.
            Anyways, I feel God wants to go to the areas in you that are hurt and heal them, but you are going to have to surrender you’re own defenses that don’t come from God. They are really put there to torture you, not help you.
            God can move any mountain with a little faith that persists and does not give up. You were made to overcome. Where you are weak, He is strong!

          • Tj Freezn says:

            Please scroll to Mr. Koharski’s post about me, and my response to him.

            Thanks.

            One more thing:

            A prophetess, who never knew me, nor ever heard of me, but did know my church leaders and they knew of and respected her,
            gave God’s word of knowledge over me that church leaders misunderstood me and were wrong with how they treated me but that I was correct with the info I was sharing.
            …well after she did that and they became aware of it, they flip-flopped on their treatment of her and instead tried to ruin her reputation.

            No, the enemy has already infiltrated ”credible” churches as wolf in sheep’s clothing, and have fought against myself, where I am a sheep in a wolf’s clothing.

    • Steve says:

      All we can do then is change what we’ve done wrong and repent. Love covers over a multitude of sins.

      • Tj Freezn says:

        Sorry Steve.
        I notice that my long comment to you instead ended up in response to my comment that you replied to.
        I obviously clicked on the wrong ”Reply” button.
        Ugh. LOL

        Ok, please scroll up then for my response. Thanks! :)

      • Tj Freezn says:

        CHVN’s Chuck Swindoll was only correct on 2 on the 3 types of forgiveness this morning.

        1- partial forgiveness
        2= delayed forgiveness
        …both types of forgiveness are NOT forgiveness AND are anti-Bible.

        Whereas as another he mentioned “conditional forgiveness” is partially correct.
        The only part that is correct is Luke 17:4, any additional conditions are anti-Biblical.

        The condition of repentance/confession is limited to fellow believers,
        whereas we are to have no conditions for those who do not claim to be believers.
        (other than the examples of Jesus and Stephen the martyr, there is the teaching of Paul on this in 1st Corinthians 5, Peter’s example in Acts 5, etc etc etc)

        The verse about “forgive or Father God won’t forgive you” is contextually based on the believers refusing to forgive another believer despite the believer confessing/repenting…the Jewish believers in “Jesus” had this bad habit.

        For further Biblical info on this, please see:
        http://www.thefaithfulword.org/forgiveness.html

        Thanks! :D
        P.S. Just because many famous Christian leaders teach different does NOT mean that their info is correct.
        In fact, in these “last days” it means that it is more likely the opposite.
        We are to obey God, not the traditions of humans! ;D

    • Tj Freezn says:

      Interesting…this blog NOW moderates comments instead of automatically accepting them
      (which means that the mod disagrees with you agreeing with me, so I will therefore be even more cautious about reattending that church)

      • Tj Freezn says:

        lol@myself for clicking on the wrong ”Reply” button again!

        Although, thankfully, that post of mine was accepted (the A & B & C one).

        Shalom…

  5. Lisa says:

    This actually happened to someone I know, but lets make this story hypothetical…
    One day man was visited by a stranger. The stranger asked him ” Are you a Christian”. To this the man replied, “Ask my neighbor”.
    How many of us would be able to boldly say “ask my neighbor (those who see is in our ‘real moments’)” and not be terrified of the answer???
    Just a thought.

    • Tj Freezn says:

      It depends on who the neighbor is.
      If the neighbor is a priest or a Levite.
      Or if the neighbor is the Jerusalem man that you, as the Samaritan, helped.
      Or if the neighbor was the innkeeper.

      What would be even worse is instead of you being the Samaritan, you were of the priest’s or Levite’s spiritual flock and helped out the one bullied and robbed,
      but the testimony of the victim and the innkeeper was ignored because you made comments that the priest and Levite hated, especially when those comments were true.
      But because they are a priest or a Levite, people would believe them over your words, or even over the words of your witnesses.

      ********************************************

      Please read Amos 5.
      If you distrust the Old Testament, then read:
      Acts 5
      1st Corinthians 5
      …or even Jesus’ own words in Luke 17:4 & John 7:24.

      *******************************************

      One thing I have been guilty off, too frequently, is my not praying nearly enough for those God has given me discernment about.

      For that, I apologize/repent. Sorry :(

  6. Betty says:

    “Say this in the morning, Jesus I Praise You, that something good is going to happen to me today, just because you, Jesus, love me so much.” by J.P.

    Jesus has revealed Himself to me,in a powerful way, in the last few weeks,and He is very much alive and real, when I say, that prayer [on top],it really works and at the end of the day, it really is interesting to see, what Jesus did for me today, on top of everything else, He already has done for me.

    • Tj Freezn says:

      God is smiling over this! :D :D :D

      What’s really hard is when it’s fellow Christians who do this, especially those in official positions of authority to represent Him.

      The hard part then is to be confidently humble, instead of being arrogant about one’s humility.

      Here is an encouraging vid, Alfred.
      You made my day, and it’s just beginning! :D

      ”To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice”
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzWyZxlwGKI

      Enjoy the above song, and the preamble! :D

    • Tj Freezn says:

      Sorry Betty. My medium response was to Sally, not to you, but I had clicked on the wrong ”Reply” button.

      And I’m glad that you are becoming more vulnerable to Jesus. :)

  7. Alfred says:

    Being a christian is always doing the the right thing no matter the cost. I am self employed and have been asked on many occasions by my customers to make the invoice out to their company address when the work was done at their home. Or to take cash for my work. I explain to them why I can not do that and I have lost business because of that. If we are doing the right thing we can expect to be persecuted. The way I see it God is my provider not man.

    • Tj Freezn says:

      God is smiling over this! :D :D :D

      What’s really hard is when it’s fellow Christians who do this, especially those in official positions of authority to represent Him.

      The hard part then is to be confidently humble, instead of being arrogant about one’s humility.

      Here is an encouraging vid, Alfred.
      You made my day, and it’s just beginning! :D

      ”To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice”
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzWyZxlwGKI

      Enjoy the above song, and the preamble! :D

  8. Karen L says:

    We need to look inside ourselves and what’s going on in our churches to answer some of the issues raised. Sometimes the hardest people on “new” Christians are “old” Christians. There are not going to be a lot of people that like that comment…The new Christian’s world view is different…most are not raised in a Christian home like “old” Christians and have something different to bring to the table. Instead of being discipled by older (I’m not talking age) Chrisitan’s, new believer’s are criticized for the things they do, say or think…It does not make them feel comfortable in their “new” situation. It makes them feel judged.

    We often forget that as new believers or as old experienced believers, the non believers are ALWAYS watching us and how we are living our Christian walk. Time to walk the walk…and not just talk the talk.

  9. Jusuf says:

    John 13 as quoted by Evelyn is a reflection of Christian in the west pastor. There’re so many western christian organization operating in other parts of the world. There’re also many secular companies operating in those countries having business ethic as Alfred said. It’s a fact that Patricia said that even in the west Christian have been persecuted in different forms.
    The question about “real Christian” would be those who always tell everyone about Jesus, but in reality other people see them as no different with other religious people, OR something else?
    Living in the most majority muslim country in the world as christian actually no different with living in Canada. The only differences are; in our ID card religion is stated so everybody will know, people will notice when we go to church (imagine a suburb area like transcona having 750thousands people from the poorest into the richest from homeless beggar into executive and many christian have muslim housemaid, babysitter and driver) so it would be easier to adopt Jesus teaching to survive. But it’s not guaranteed that they’re a “real christian”, because many also the same as other religious people having bi-faith. My wife and I prayed for our local church that was attacked by muslim hardliner, and we were sad because of other issue also exist among the elders that need to be cleared first.

    First few years living in Canada, attending a church where the name of ALLAH becoming an issue, I learned that Christian in the west have forgotten their root. Like a tree that growing tall and strong, but dissatisfied with itsown, so it buys new style of root to replace the old one believing in theory as being advertised by the new root salesman.

    If someone asked me whether “am I a real christian?” I would say not really, I made more mistake than you do, however the only thing I know and have been experiencing in life was trying to relate and to apply Jesus teaching in my personal life. Of course after testing, not applying blindly (because bible said to test every spirit).

    • Tj Freezn says:

      I fully agree!

      But I was treated unfairly, and eventually shunned and or removed from churches because of my refusal to live in the closet.

      In fact, a pastor of a major church in this city got mad at me for refusing to work for a certain convenience story company, since I explained to the pastor that I would be willing to do so if he were willing to accept my probably getting fired over refusing to sell any magazines like ”Maxim Magazine”, although I added that I would not attempt to prevent or persuade non-Christians to not sell them.

      The reason for the different standard that I was taking?
      1st Corinthians 5, especially the last section.

      Unfortunately, this pastor and his peers, as well as those in authority but under his authority, were against my strong personal life stand for morality and against immorality.

      Again, I was NOT preaching to non-Christians to live the way I was, but to fellow Christians who already knew better.

      I was not like Ned Flanders in my naivety, mostly the opposite, but I was innocent like him.

      …in short, I was usually like a SHEEP in a WOLF’S clothing (obeying Matthew 10:16…though I was sorely lacking in not being cunning enough like a wolf, but I was still as innocent as a sheep).

      Now, in regards to the Islam religion, here is an excellently detailed documentary about its origins:

      http://amazingdiscoveries.tv/media/129/216-the-islamic-connection/ (almost 1.5 hours in duration)

      And it’s good that you’re testing every spirit, including your own, Yusuf.

      On that note, I will digress with this short vid:

      ”You won’t believe whats at the center of the Bible!”
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5qgHtIlD0w :D

  10. Sally Y says:

    I think many of us Christians still suffer from “fear of man” so it is much easier to be a “closet Christian” than to face the rejection of man. Many of us are still living in the world and have not really given up everything for the sake of Christ. We still love our lives too much and are not willing to “not love our lives unto death” (Revelation 12:11 which you made reference to in your last sermon Pastor Mark.)
    Jesus said it would cost us somthing to live for Him; in fact, it would cost us everything! We must lose our life to gain it! It often takes adversity to get us to this point and I can see that somewhere in the very near future we will have that opportunity to prove that we are “real christians”. Tribulation has a way of making us see things in a different light, so whether it be by ordinary day to day trials or “tribulations” or in the “Great Tribulation” may it be that the real Christians stand up. The Word of God says the whole of creation groans waiting for the sons and daughters of God to be revealed. It is time for those Christians to come out of the closet and be revealed as those “real Christians” that the world is waiting for… to show them the Way!

  11. Steve says:

    I am learning lately that there is something God looks at more than anything else we could ever possibly do for Him.
    This is so important to Him. It is the essence of Who He is. To allow Him to pull all our pain, our sorrows, our anger, our own ideas of justice and to just die. To allow Jesus to replace it with sacrificial LOVE! Unimaginable LOVE! Love that consumes and possesses our souls! A raging inferno of LOVE!

  12. Sally Y says:

    Yes I agree that we need to “Love” as Christ did but we have to be sold out to Christ before we really know how to “Love”. When we finally stop protecting ourselves, and our right to be right and become whole in Him only then can we love the way He loves. If we are still nursing our wounds and hurtsof the past we will never reach that stage of loving like Christ loves. No longer should we be in the” milk” stage of our spiritual growth,or the “teenager” who still wants his or her own way, we need to be the “sons and daughters of God” fully equipped and armed to take our place as the warriors,kings and priests that we are called to be. In other words we need to grow up!

  13. Betty says:

    Amen,to that and Thankyou, Steve, for #11.

  14. Cindy says:

    In response to your comment Pastor Mark, “Why we have such trouble living our faith out loud is a bit of a mystery.” First, unless a person really knows that he knows Who we knows it can be difficult to live a faith life. Head knowledge is wonderful but unless it is experienced deep down at the heart level it may be difficult to share the knowledge. We can end up worried and or frustrated trying to justify, explain, what it is we think we believe. Rather it would be easier to explain who we believe, if that relationship is developed. When we know someone it is fairly comfortable to share with others the life experiences we have had with that person. So it is with Christ. We can know of Him but unless we seek to know Him, growth of faith will be stunted, living the faith will be marred by the then and now circumstances of life, and then sharing it, well that would not occur. Just as a gift that is presented in colourful paper and trimmings is easily and eagerly received and the contents exposed to see what has been given but the person says to him/herself, “Wow, this is nice but I won’t open it. I don’t want to get it dirty or have it broken. I want to keep it just the way it is.” This gift that was given is then of no account and its value lies within, left hidden and rendered useless. It is received but it is not utilized. The Christ that was given not only has to be received but He longs to show us His love and acceptance just as we are (“while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”- not while we were becoming good people or doing good things); to reveal His grace and mercy even when we blow it, and to be our everything. A gift is a nice thing to receive but it is what we do with it that reveals the value of it. How will we know the gift and share it unless we open it.

  15. Steve says:

    Good point Sally!

  16. Tj Freezn says:

    ”History tells us that when he was sentenced to be crucified himself by the Romans, he insisted in being crucified upside down as he was not worthy of the same death as his Lord”

    No, a certain ”church” tradition says that.
    History might be saying otherwise.
    Although in actuality, we do not yet know…

  17. Tj Freezn says:

    And this article is loaded with a lot of truth, but the way it’s worded leaves one to wonder if the writer actually believes this to be true, from their heart.
    Or if the writer merely is writing this article to attempt to finally add a lot of genuine Christians to start attending, instead of relational politics ones, to then try to trick them into ”group-think.”

    Here, you may want to watch the movie ”Salvation Boulevard”:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Salvation-Boulevard/134261223315526

    • Tj Freezn says:

      Ok, the movie has a sad ending, sortof, like the movie ”Devil’s Advocate” does.

      But, like that movie, it correctly portrays supposed Christianity pretending to be a relationship.
      Yes, there is such a thing as genuine Christianity, but these people mostly did not live it.
      What they instead lived is relational politic in a church community setting.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink

      Shalom via Elohim Yashua Messiah (no, Jesus and Christ are not English words either, lol)…

  18. Sally Y says:

    I don’t believe that Jesus had “group think” in mind when He spoke to the church that He wanted us to be one as He and the Father were one. I believe that unity in the church is far more effective than just agreeing with one another. It means to be connected with each other and with Christ as our Head. We still can think individually but our unified goal is to see God’s plan and purposes fulfilled in the earth. One only becomes a “genuine Christian” when his or her goal is to do the will of Christ here on earth. And I don’t think it is fair to compare Christians to those in the movie. Hollywoods portrayal of Christians is less than truthful or flattering!

    • Tj Freezn says:

      Thank you Sally.
      I agree with all of your responses in that post.

      But regarding your last two sentences, I did include a disclaimer about the ”Hollywood” portrayal.

      Here, I’ll add a more detailed disclaimer to this http://www.facebook.com/pages/Salvation-Boulevard/134261223315526 movie…

      This reminds me of ”Devil’s Advocate”, except for 2 things:
      1- it leaves the spiritual component out
      2- it correctly portrays supposed Christianity pretending to be a relationship.

      Yes, there is such a thing as genuine Christianity, but these people mostly did not live it.
      What they instead lived is relational politics in a church community setting.

      …therefore, it won’t be fair if I ”Like” their page.
      Otherwise, it’s a great movie at exposing falsehood from some of my fellow believers, including some leaders.

      Again, thanks Sally.

  19. Helle Degagne says:

    I struggle with this issue often, and think I am pathetic for nor speaking up when someone tells me the are sick, have marital problems, employment issues etc. Or speak up to family members who are unsaved. Part of the issue is I don’t think I am a good candidate for God as I feel I wouldn’t know what to say to intellectual counterarguments or wouldn’t want to get into theoretical long discussions I would be able to counter. I would just look like the fool. I can also “hear” family’s and other’s arguments superstitious, unsupported and old legends. I simply don’t have the background knowledge to deal with this. I have a long way to go myself but I just pray that God will work within me and change me by his Spirit to become the person he wants me to be.

    • Tj Freezn says:

      Helle, if you were there when I was, you would get along just fine with them.

      They ignored God’s Word to instead focus on the traditions of men that supposedly were God’s word.

      When I would get into intellectual disagreements, they would say that I was only trying to argue.
      But they would only say this when they did not know the answer, though they could have read the Bible again to find out.

      Here is one simple example of what happened:

      A church leader taught something, but a side teaching of hers was that Job divorced his wife and was blessed with replacement children with a replacement wife.

      God had me ask her where it said that in the Bible, in any terminology.

      She got mad at me (no, I was not mocking her, nor was I being sarcastic) and said it was there and that if I did not believe her, then I had trust and authority issues.

      I said, yes, I have those issues, but not the way you mean them.
      I added that God commands us to trust no one (not even ourselves) but Him, though trusting Him includes trusting Him when He speaks through His creation, which includes us.
      I also added that my authority issues are not with authority in general, but instead with the abuse and/or misuse of authority.

      I asked her again, about a month later, about where in the Bible it says, or even implies, that Job married again.
      She never answered me directly, but did answer me through a different church leader.

      I responded to her messenger:

      The reason I insisted on having her give me an answer, is because God revealed to me that not only was she teaching a lie, not only that this specific lie indirectly promotes the wrong way to treat our spouses, but that the biggest reason is to have those in authority over her realize her abuse of authority towards me on this topic, and to then look into other areas she may have been abused her authority, because of her arrogance.

      Unfortunately, she was still favoured by her peers and those in authority over her, due to relational politics.

      The truth did not matter to these people.
      What did matter is whether I benefit them in any worldly manner or not, compared to whether those against me benefit them more or not…

      ********************************************

      To encourage you, Helle, Proverbs 3:5+6,
      plus Psalm 119:99+100 have been EXTREMELY beneficial!
      (though neither are fully helpful without John 7:38 and Psalm 51:6…proper translation = gut/innermostbeing/inwardparts)

    • Helle Degagne says:

      Thank you for your response Freezn

  20. Sally Y says:

    If we are willing, God is able to change us! God never gives up working with us and the more we study His Word, the more we are changed and empowered to do the will of God for our lives. We need to know who we are in Christ that we have power and authority in His Name, then we can confidently become those people we are meant to be. Dealing with the fear of man takes courage and boldness, but if we will step out in His Name, Holy Spirit will give us the strength and power we need in every situation. We have to be bold and take the first step and we have to let go the fear of “what will people think of me” and the fear of rejection. It takes practise like everything wise so as Nike says “just do it”!
    And again; my view on most Hollywood movies,is that most hollywood movies depict Christians as buffoons, biggots and money grabbers. They do not put Chrisitans in a good light. Not sure that I want to put my self through watching one of them again.

    • Tj Freezn says:

      Understood.

      But, until I was willing to ignore the indirect and/or direct false teachings,
      I was unwilling to see the “Joshua” movie again from “The Bible Collection”.

      That movie had at least a group of 4 major relational errors in what it was indirectly teaching…
      …when I had pointed that out to church leaders who I had watched it with, they got mad at me.
      (they were unwilling to consider that I might be correct, because they were habitually living its false teaching)
      And no, I waited till the end of the movie to speak my displeasure with the sin it was promoting.

      If you want to know what that was, please ask me.

  21. Betty says:

    When in a difficult situation, ask the Holy Spirit to pray for that situation, until the burden is lifted and Jesus will give you peace.

  22. Tj Freezn says:

    Slightly off-topic, heh:

    Prediction? That the Blue Bombers will win their 10th Grey Cup! lol
    …hopefully the Eagles beat the Patriots too.

    This 2011 season most reminds me of the 1984 season, since that’s the season that this one most represents, including losing to Saskatchewan both times! :D

    Ok, now I’ll go back on topic (enjoy your day)…

    • Tj Freezn says:

      this was a joke of mine, just to clarify, so that people don’t get the wrong impression (though the ”lol” should have given that away ;) )

  23. Evelyn Bennett says:

    This summer I have struggled. I do not know the difference between sacrificing for Jesus and sinning to get a message across.

    All bloggers are welcome to join in.

    Please Pastor Mark help me.

  24. Don koharski says:

    Blog log:

    Tj Freezn: 30

    Everyone else: 30

    The tie breaker: priceless

    • Tj Freezn says:

      Mr. Koharski, you have been one of those who have attacked me in the offline world.

      And this post of yours about the amount of posts I’ve made compared to others, shows that you have ill intent.

      ********************************************

      Look at it another way:

      Maybe I care more than anyone else does about this article and its ramifications? o.O
      Hmmm, something to prayerfully ponder

    • Tj Freezn says:

      And I have discerned that ”Don Koharski” is not your name.

      You should not use a famous person’s name to misrepresent the person, especially not to misrepresent them in negative manner.

      You should repent to God and to the real Don Koharski…

  25. Mark Hughes says:

    I don’t like where this is going. I am shutting this thread down to comments. I will have a new blog up shortly and welcome comments however I am not going to let it be used for any individuals personal forum.