Before You Post That Juicy Political Post, Dear Christian, Consider!

Be careful, Christians. When you show more venom toward those who disagree with your politics than love toward those far from God, you are giving mixed signals.

You are telling those who disagree with you that you are not worthy of spending time or talking with them. The the name calling commences. The posts toward not only those who aren’t followers of Christ but even those who are trying to build bridges as Christians are maligned.

Then, when our “Jesus hat” is put on, we put out verses about how “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”–without connecting that the world we say we hate and cut off is that very “world” Jesus came to rescue. ““No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money [or material possessions]” (Matthew 6:24).

We sing on Sunday about God’s amazing grace and how it was shown to us, then turn around and show zero grace to others even in our own camp who do not line up with our way of thinking. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6).

Please, all of you who name the name of Christ, think missionally first, not nationally nor politically. For all of our concern about the “cancel culture” in our society, we must be careful as Christians not to engage in our own cancelling. “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Be ready to talk with those who disagree with you. You may find out the “thing beneath the thing” they hold and begin to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44).

Breathe before you pass on that meme or that joke or that gossip. Would you like someone representing you that way, and thus fanning the flame? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12).

This is an opportunity for Christians to show that their citizenship is primarily in heaven where we model Christ (Philippians 3:20-21). Read the NT and see who Christ hung out with. And see who He reserved His most scathing rebukes for.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…

Matthew Perry, Lead Pastor
Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO

Breaking Satan’s Bond: Jesus Came to Calm the Spiritual Storm (Mark 5:1-20)

Website: http://www.arbc.net
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One may say, “We do not need to worry about the spiritual realm. We have evolved past these things. All that matters is what you see in the here and now.” Yet, we must realize that every generation has their skeptics. Even in Jesus’ time, the religious leaders argued over the existence and role of the supernatural. The Pharisees believed in the supernatural and the resurrection, while the Sadducees did not believe in the supernatural.

Until recently, many believed that truth could be discovered by the scientific method (gather, hypothesis, test, conclusion). Now, truth is personal, subjective, and relative. Someone defined “finding your truth” as “to live in your truth simply means to live as your most authentic self, doing things daily that bring you happiness and joy, living as true to yourself as possible.” The worldview to this is that we do not need anyone else’s help (not even God’s) in order to find our joy. Rather than denying ourselves as Jesus called us to do, we are called to live as true to ourselves.

Jesus has something better. His lordship over our lives is better than our lordship over our lives. He spent three years with his disciples, teaching them all about the Kingdom of God–and getting a front row seat to see the King at work in the world. They had just observed Jesus’ lordship over the natural world by calming the storm with a word. While they were terrified at the storm outside their boat, they couldn’t help but ask with great fear, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him” (Mark 4:41)? Now, rather than having a restful break on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, they have another encounter. Jesus would use this encounter to (1) free someone from Satan’s grip, but also (2) show His disciples that His lordship extends to the spiritual realm–even the demonic realm. Let’s get to work and see what God has to teach us here in 2022.

Pete Seeger and the Use (and Beauty) of Congregational Singing

Pete Seeger.  Ever heard of him? In the 1950s, 1960s, and even now the mention of his name can elicit different feelings.  Chase by the McCarthey Investigation and the FBI for what they deemed subversive and anti-Vietnam rhetoric and singing.  Some saw him as unpatriotic for his lack of support of war in general, and Vietnam specifically.  Some saw him as patriotic for expressing his views on injustice and racial discord in the world.  His aim, he said, was to bring people together.

Why does Pete Seeger intrigue me?  Seeger had a particular habit in his concerts.  First of all, he was an extraordinary folk musician who could play about any stringed instrument that came his way—even a fretless banjo (as seen here on The Johnny Cash Show).  Second of all, he had such an engaging manner about him as he played and interacted with the audience.  He just seemed like a nice guy.

But what intrigues me most about Seeger is the way he encouraged audience participation in his singing.  I honestly don’t care much for his studio work (just him singing alone).  But the energy that developed in listening to him sing live—and then when the audience joins him . . . few things are as stirring as this.

Seeger went on tour in 1964, with the first stop of the tour being in Melbourne, Australia.  The point of this tour was to share some American folk tunes with the Australian people.  In the clip below (approximately eight minutes in length), he shares some backstory on Negro spirituals, then begins singing “Down By the Riverside.”  With just his voice and his banjo (how can anyone go wrong with a banjo?), he shares the tune, then helps them with the four parts so they can sing harmony, then he just let’s go (especially on the part of the song that goes, “Ain’t gonna study war no mo’ . . . .”).

Seeger understood that if you could get people from different backgrounds (liberals, conservatives, different races, different creeds) singing together, then (right or wrong) a number of walls would come down.  There is something decidedly unifying in a room full of people singing together.  And the more passionate one is about the content and subject of that song, the more passionate the singing—and it becomes contagious.

In the church world, we call this ‘congregational singing’, and outside of the preaching of the Word and observance of the ordinances/sacraments, it is the most critical part of our times of corporate worship.  Why is this so important?  It brings different voices of the body of Christ in one accord.  And what do Christians have to sing about?

When my wife and I went on our 10th anniversary vacation to my sister’s time share in Cocoa Beach, Florida, we worship at Sovereign Grace Church in Titusville, Florida.  It was a two-hour service.  The first hour was singing, the second hour was preaching.  What I noticed about that first hour, every time any mention of the resurrection occurred, they would start cheering and the singing would become more energetic!  Suddenly, I was shaken out of myself and the newness of the place and just going through the motions and began to focus on the what (or should I say ‘Whom’) we were singing about: a risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Pete Seeger’s legacy, whatever else may be said, is that of bringing others to sing.  In a recent edition of PBS’ American Masters, Seeger noted that the most incredible experiences he’s had at concerts was when the people joined him in singing!  May our chu