Friday, March 29, 2013

Selfish Adults...

According to Doug Mainwaring the whole idea of legalizing same sex marriage is all about Selfish Adults.

I don't know that I had ever looked at it this way before, at least not until my wife showed me the articled.  After I read it, I began to wonder how many other ideas in our life could be looked at in a similar fashion.

The articled reads:
In our sometimes misguided efforts to expand our freedom, selfish adults have systematically dismantled that which is most precious to children as they grow and develop. That’s why I am now speaking out against same-sex marriage.

By the way, I am gay.

A few days ago I testified against pending same-sex marriage legislation in Minnesota’s Senate Judiciary and House Civil Law Committees.

The atmosphere at these events (I’ve also testified elsewhere) seems tinged with unreality—almost a carnival-like surrealism. Natural law, tradition, religion, intellectual curiosity, and free inquiry no longer play a role in deliberations. Same-sex marriage legislation is defended solely on grounds of moral relativism and emotions.

Pure sophistry is pitted against reason. Reason is losing.

Continue Reading Here

What are your thoughts? 

How much does He love you...

Alright so after I wrote my blog yesterday, I came across this.

Makes perfect sense to me...

Jesus Loves My Arrogant Self 

- By Donald Miller

Oh, I know. You’re thinking that if I say Jesus loves my arrogance, I’m enabling arrogance. I’m not. You shouldn’t be arrogant, and neither should I. But I am. And Jesus likes me more than you like me and we are all going to have to get used to that.

(continue reading here)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dehumanization and Equality

Yesterday, I wrote about the two lies that most of us have bought into.  Today, I want to consider what really happens when we buy into those lies.

A while back I was listening to someone speak on the dehumanization of people in our society and how often it really occurs. I hadn't ever thought about the topic much, so it rather intrigued me.  Then with all that has been going on recently the word "dehumanizing" has really stuck with me for some reason. 

As I think about Easter coming up in the next few days I can't help but wonder how often we take what Christ did for granted and forget that He did for everyone, not just those who choose to "obey His rules."

As I saw all of the red equal signs being displayed on facebook recently, I couldn't help myself from trying to find God in the situation.  With so many ways to respond and so many arguments that don't need to be had, I wondered how Christ would have responded. 

That is when it hit me, the cross is how He did respond.  He responded in a way that put everyone on an equal playing field.  He died so that we might all be equals and that we all could have the hope that is found only in Him. 

People beg, plead, argue, fight, and (whatever you want to define it as) for equality when it has already been given.  I get the fact that life doesn't seem fair.  Things are harder for some than for others.  God didn't promise a life of fairness, but rather He promised a life of equality in Him.  There will always be arguments about equal rights for people. 

When I heard what Lecrae said yesterday, it made perfect sense to me.  "Religion aside. What are we basing equality on? The right to be with whoever you love? What if I love my sister? A 13 year old? An animal? Does the basis for equality still work? I'm Not spewing hate, I'm asking honestly about consistency? Again I'm leaving religion out of this,"

Someone is always going to be fighting for equality in one way or another.  It just so happens that right now it is for marriage equality.  Who am I to think I need to be equal with those who the world deems "better" or "more right."  What if I said I wanted equal rights to start a large business and therefor I should be given large loans just the same as those who have millions of dollars.  The only difference, would be that I would end up enslaved to my debtor for years on end where as someone who has millions to begin with is just using the resources God has given them.

When we give into sin whether it be, homosexuality, lust, lying, stealing, drunkenness, etc. we become trapped in that bondage that Christ has paid for our release from. One sin is not greater than another, and we all have sin, and we all struggle with it.   The goal is to grow closer to Christ each day so that we can live a life free from bondage.

I am for people being free from bondage.  I am for people having life to the full.  I am for "re"humanizing people and sharing God's love with whomever it may be regardless of the the bondage they may be in.  It's not easy, but God never said following Him would be easy. 

I am on a journey to know Christ. I want to know Him more so that I may understand more how to love people the way He would love them.  I want to see people as equals and see people as people.  I want to be able to share Christ with all people so that they are able to be set free from the bondage of sin and live the life God desires for them.  That may not be through words, but rather through action. 


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Two Lies

I recently read a quote by Rick Warren that read,
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” 

The more I think about it, the more I realize how true that quote is. 

I don't know where that mentality really started, but I know these lies are often perpetuated by the media, our government, and now social media. As I reflect on this past week and the whole Rob Bell statement and now the court case on similar subject matter, I can see many times where people have bought into these lies.  Unfortunately, I think satan is having a hay-day with it, because it is dividing Christian's left and right. 

In the midst of every lie, there has to be some truth.  Satan knows this.   He used it when he tempted Jesus in the desert.  Unfortunately, many people forget it and believe the whole lie because they recognize the little truth that is it in.

A while back, I came across an idea of living based on what we are for rather than what we are against. I can't say that I have been the best at following that thought in my daily life, but it is a grounding point that I can fall back to when I start to wonder about what God would have me to do or say in a situation.

I think a great example of this, is one I shared a while back was by Shane L. Windmeyer.  It is a story about Dan Cathy and Mr. Windmeyer.  I won't go into all the details, but as many of you remember Dan Cathy stated a while back that Chick-fil-A was for traditional marriage.  It created quite a heated debate, and I can remember Christians being on both sides.  This is a story that didn't get as much publicity.  Mr. Cathy develops a friendship with Mr. Windmeyer, who's organization protested against Chick-fil-A.  

As I read the story, I couldn't help but think "this is a guy who gets it."  Mr. Cathy didn't focus on what he was against, rather he focused on what God has called us to, loving people.  

The beauty of it all, is that God gave us each today.  If He hadn't, you wouldn't be reading this.  Today is a new day and a day where we can start living for God, and loving people.  We don't have to agree, condone, or support everyone, but we do need to love them just the same.  

"You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spiritual Gifts

I have never given much thought to spiritual gifts.  A few nights ago my wife said she had just taken a spiritual gifts test and asked if I would like to take one as well.  If you have been around me long enough to have witnessed me taking any of these spiritual gift tests/ personality tests, you will know that my scores are often quite different than what is typically expected. 

I've had some people tell me that my scores represent me learning to be someone I'm not while my true inner self still wants to shine through.  In other words....I'm a little messed up.  LOL

In most of these tests, one is supposed to be strong in one area and weak in another.  My scores typically come out pretty well balanced.

When I took the test that she had found, similar results came in.  Sure, I had a few that were quite a bit lower, but I had several that were right up there at the top and a few that were spaced a little lower than that, but not much.  I like to say I am well rounded...LOL

Now, I don't know how accurate they are and I am sure some of them have more to do with where I am in life, but I found them interesting none the less.  I am writing this post, not necessarily to share what it says my gifts are, but rather to have a point to look back at and see if I am staying true to those gifts. 

I would also be curious to hear about what your gifts are.  Seeing as God has called me to ministry in the past, I thought I would be higher up on the teaching and pastoring gifts, but the more I read the definitions I can understand why I scored lower than I would have expected.  They weren't a lot lower (which I had some that were), but interesting none the less.

If you want to take the test for yourself, click here.  It only takes a few minutes and is 96 questions.  You might find it interesting to take if nothing else.  I know it got me thinking about the way I respond to certain experiences and circumstances.  It's always fun to learn a little more about yourself.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Witness to

Last night, my wife showed me this video and I couldn't help but think it spoke to a lot of my thoughts lately.

When I listen to him speak, I see someone who understands the power of story. Many pastors do.  Jesus certainly did.  I think when the Bible says we should be ready to give our testimony at any time, it means ready to share our story.  It means understanding where God has been in the midst of our story.  It means examining your life so that you can say, "I know there is a God and I know He loves me, because He has been present in my life."  

For me, while I didn't do it on purpose, I have found the power of sharing my story to be freeing.  Being able to share, means that I spent time examining my story, looking for what God has done, and being able to recognize it is because of Him I am able to really live.

Then Chan goes on to speak of reading the Bible for yourself.  Without doing that; without searching for truth; I would have been stuck in bondage of believing I had to "perform," in order to make God "happy," and earn my way into a relationship with Him.  

There are many out there, that preach a false Gospel.  I am guilty of allowing myself to ascribe to teachings that don't follow the God that I know. I think that is one of the traps many of us fall into it.  It is easy to let someone else tell us what to believe, or to get sucked into a persons reputation and just take what they say as truth. God knows that we need to be able to distinguish the difference between truth and fallacy.  We need to be able to see who is spreading a false Gospel so that we don't fall into believing something that is not truth. God provides ways for us to find the truth and if we are honestly and earnestly seeking after Him, we will find it.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts on the video. I think Chan pretty much says it all, I just wanted to document my thoughts as I watched.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Log vs Speck

Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.  -Matthew 7:1-5
I don't know how often I have thought about this passage, but I know I catch myself considering it quite frequently.  It is somewhat of a scary thought, because it is so easy to judge people without even thinking about it.

Today, I wanted to work through the idea of "the log vs the speck."  

It's been my experience that when we work on removing a "log" from our life that when we are finally able to remove it, God allows us to see another one.  None of us are perfect, nor can any of us ever be perfect (that is why we need His grace and mercy).  If that is the case, then how could we ever get the speck out of someone's eye?

As I wrestle with this, I have two thoughts to consider.  One, is it just a matter of perspective?  Two, what is this passage saying in regards to helping each other?

I say a matter of perspective because seeing is relative to the person.  Something I have learned through photography is that what you focus on, is what becomes the easiest to see.  The farther something is from that focal point, the less clear it is.

Take this picture for example:
Steven, the subject of the picture, is clear and you can easily see him.  However, if you look at the background, things are not so clear. The opposite would also be true if we focused on what is in the background.  Steven would become unclear. 
On top of that, you have the concept of size.  Steven is by far a lot smaller than that lake in the background.   However, because he is closer he looks a lot larger.  

What I am saying is that we each have our own problems and if we focus on them we can see better to begin removing them.  When we focus on someone else's problem, our problem can easily be overlooked.  

The second thought was that I don't think God wants us to not help each other with our problems.  We don't need to judge them, but through relationship we can work together to fix our problems.   I think that is part of why Christ spoke so much and taught so much about the importance of love and relationships.  He knew that we couldn't succeed in life on our own and that we needed Him and each other to be able to accomplish the things He is calling us to and to move beyond our struggles.

I am challenged by these thoughts, because I know God is not done refining me yet.  I know God has many things yet to teach me.  On the other hand, I know God can use me to help others and help others to be more like Him.  Not that I should go around judging people or pointing out their flaws, but rather through love and relationship help them, walk along side them, so that they too may become more like Him.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sorry Rob Bell

I'm sorry Rob Bell, but I will be unable to accept you as a preacher/teacher of the Gospel. While I think you have challenged us Christians to think differently and even challenge what we have been taught in the past, I think your desire to be different may have gone a step to far. I read your interview recently where you said:
 Bell said, “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”
Bell went on to say that while it used to be fair to equate evangelicals with social conservatism, that assumption no longer holds true. More pointedly, he said, “I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work. I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, Evangelical subculture that was told “we’re gonna change the thing” and they haven’t. And they actually have turned away lots of people. And i think that when you’re in a part of a subculture that is dying, you make a lot more noise because it’s very painful. You sort of die or you adapt. And if you adapt, it means you have to come face to face with some of the ways we’ve talked about God, which don’t actually shape people into more loving, compassionate people. And we have supported policies and ways of viewing the world that are actually destructive. And we’ve done it in the name of God and we need to repent.”  -excerpt from the Huffington Post

I was discouraged by this greatly. When your book came out, Love Wins, I began to see you differently than I had in the past.  You never came out and said what you believed, but challenged us to consider the fact that there is no Hell.  I tend to disagree with that thought, but seeing as you didn't actually say you believed it either, made me wonder what your intentions were.

When I read this most recent article I felt like you had decided that it is your job to wake up the American church. While I believe we do need an awaking and a call to love and take care of the poor, I don't believe this message you presented is one that calls us to unite as the Body of Christ.

I personally don't condone gay marriage for a few reasons and I don't believe the church should either.  There are many churches out there who's pastors require that people deal with their sexual struggles prior to getting married.  I believe a homosexual lifestyle is sin, just the same as any other sin, but entering into a marriage with sexual sin can easily destroy a marriage.  Ignoring God's teachings and teaching something contrary to His plan is painful and does not bring life.  Only following Him will.

Now, I could have accepted your statement that you are for love regardless, but saying that we need to adjust based on our culture is not something I believe God would call us to.  In fact, He called us to be different than our culture.  He called us to live differently than those around us and to show them that we are different.

I have had several homosexual friends in the past 5 years.  A couple of them I had conversations with daily.  I didn't think anything less of them.  I know we all have sin.  God calls us to separate ourselves from sin and to draw on Him to help us get free from the bondage that sin creates.

I don't think we should preach that God hates homosexuals, rather God does love everyone. I do think thought that we should preach to be willing to have relationships with anyone despite their personal sins and struggles.  It is through those relationships that we are able to help each other out of the bondage of sin and grow to who God wants us to be.

When I consider all that you said, I hear a message of tolerance rather than love.  I don't think Jesus taught tolerance.

Rob, let me put it this way.  You are in the spotlight whether you like it or not.  God has allowed you that position.  Personally, a message of community rather than isolationism is far more needed than many of these political issues that have been rising.  If we got back to living in community, and really got to know people for they are, we could see a lot more people living as Christ intended us to live.  I know you wouldn't get as much publicity if you didn't speak on such controversial subjects, but you have to consider the fact that when you do speak on these subjects that your message will be used to divide the church.

Like I said before, I will be unable to accept you as a teacher/preacher.  You have done some great work and have been used by God in many ways. I believe God loves you.  I just can't believe that God wants His church divided nor does He want us to be tolerant.  He does not want us to hate, reject, or hold down those that don't believe the same as we do, nor does He want us to hold someone in bondage over their sin.  I have to believe there is a fine line between showing love/acceptance and being tolerant.  Unfortunately your message crossed that line and sounds like you believe it is better to show love to someone and let them be held captive than to love the person, develop a relationship, and help them out of their chains.

Thank you for taking time to read my letter,

Alan Combs

Monday, March 18, 2013


Living your life as a story is by no means a new thought.  Matthew West has his, "This is the Story of Your Life," curriculum and Don Miller has his, "Storyline" workbook and blog, but they are just tools to help us realize what some people once lived.  The Bible is full of people that knew they were part of a story that was bigger than themselves. 

As we go through West's curriculum with our small group, I can't help but realize how important our stories are and see how God orchestrates our story.  While I know God allows us to have our own free will, I find it amazing how often when we look back, we can see where God was in our story when we thought we were all alone.

A couple weeks ago, Marcey and I were able to share our story with our church.  While it was difficult to share, mostly because of a fear of speaking in public, there was a joy that came from knowing we are allowing God to use our story to help someone else.

As we began to write it out, there were times that were hard to write, but going through the outline with Marcey really helped me to see God in our lives in a real and tangible way.  We always knew He was there, but knowing and believing can sometimes be two totally separate things.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go visit friends and a church that were vital in marriage thus far.  As I began have conversations and look around, I could see even more where God was back then.  I know they say hind sight is 20/20 and I believe that.  I think some of us are near sided and far sided in the way we see life, but I also believe that God wants us to see the way He sees, but we refuse to put our glasses on.

I remember when I first got my glasses.  I could see better, but I couldn't leave them on for very long.  It made me sick to my stomach as my eyes had to adjust.  When I finally could leave them on, it was amazing how much clearer things were.

I don't have all the answers to how to get our glasses from God.  Sometimes it comes from experiences; I know He uses His word; I know He hears our prayers.  I also know that we have to come to the realization that our story is a piece of a much larger story. When we can grab hold of that thought, it does help shape the way we see things.

I know I still struggle from time to time with forgetting to put my "glasses," on and when I do, I lose sight of what God is trying to show me/teach me.  I can believe that I have suffered in some aspects because I missed out on the opportunity the first time and sometimes pain is the only way that we can learn.

I heard this song this morning and thought it fit perfectly with viewing our life as a story.   There will be pain, but there is a reason.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


As I was reading "Red Letter Revolution" today I came across an interesting subject that has had me thinking for the past few weeks.  What does it mean to be Pro-life?  I looked in up in Webster's Dictionary and it said to be antiabortion, but that just didn't sound right.  When I looked up the prefix pro- it said it meant favoring or supporting.  How can they take the word "Pro" and add it to "life" and give it a negative connotation?  To me, logically it doesn't make sense, but in the way a majority of people do use it as they are against abortions.

In the book it brought up a couple interesting thoughts.

The first is that many Americans are Pro-life from conception to birth.  As I begin to think about it, I would tend to agree.  In fact, I would say that while in my heart I am for life, my actions haven't always been as such.  How many people do we know that have very little and have a hard time making it through life?  How many children are there in foster care that are just longing for someone to really take care of them and love them like a parent?  How many people don't get to live a life, rather they just struggle through trying to make it through another day?  Are we not for their life as well?  Yes, maybe they aren't dying physically (or maybe they are), but God called us to take care of the poor and the weak, yet so many of us just ignore the issue altogether.

The second thought was that we should be Pro-life from conception to grave, not conception till we decide they did something too wrong to receive grace.  According to the Bible, most of us have committed a crime that would result in death.  We all deserved death, yet Christ took that upon Himself and allowed us to continue to live.  

I have been against the death penalty and killing in war for quite some time.  While I know there are times when defensively we can protect ourselves and it could result in death, our desired result should never be to kill.  Christ came to bring life not death.  If we are to be like Him, we should be looking for restoration rather than justice.  I believe in prisons and that people should go there to be restored and reformed but never sent there as a death sentence.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting thought, the whole idea of being Pro-Life.  It is interesting how something that means we are for something we often turn into meaning that we are against something else.  Why not try to be a positive in a world that has so many negatives.  Maybe that is just another place the church has failed?  We have taught people what we are against, rather than what we are for.