Sunday, August 24, 2014

2014 08 24 – Communion - Offense vs. Defense

Offense vs. Defense

Of’fense – attack; assault; attempt to take ground
Of-fense’ – a source of annoyance, displeasure, or anger

Our culture has become a defensive culture. At the first hint of opposition we head for the bunker, batten down the hatches, bar the door, so no one can hurt us with their barbs hurled our way. We refuse to be exposed to negative agendas intent on bringing us down to a lower level.

The greatest challenge we face living life in the bunker is our inability to effectively change the outcome of the conflict. As we lob our grenades to chase off or destroy our attackers we cannot engage them in conversation that might lead to a better outcome. My high school basketball coach told us repeatedly, “The best defense is a good offense.” When you score points the pressure is then placed on the opponent to match the score.

Even though the church is not a competition to be weighed in the end by points, for or against, our posture is determined by the approach we choose to take. Do we attempt to take ground – offense, or do we hunker down and wait on Jesus – defense?

Scripture is clear.

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created … - offense.

John 3:16 – God so loved the world that He gave … - offense.

Matt. 16:18 - The gates of hell will not prevail against the church – offense.

John 12: 32 - If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Me! – offense.

Rom. 10:9 - Confess with your mouth, and believe in your heart … – offense.

Ministers like Josh McDowell, and more recently, Kris Valloton, have shifted their argument for encouraging people to wait until marriage to have sex. Touting the evils of sex outside of marriage, including going to hell, is no longer a deterrent to this behavior. Defense isn’t working. Instead, offense should be the emphasis. Focus on the benefits of living a pure lifestyle. Realize that God loves you and wants to provide a blessed life for you.

Joel Osteen has come under fire for his “positive” gospel. To put it simply, he has taken an approach of offense vs. defense. Instead of preaching condemnation for sin, which everyone already knows they are condemned, he focuses on the grace of God, the love of God, which, according to scripture, is what leads men to repentance. (Rom. 2:4)

Craig Hill, the author of the Ancient Paths seminars, teaches that blessing is God’s chosen position to deal with His creation, not curses. Sin brings the curse. God does not have to curse us. We were born cursed because of sin.

To counter this curse in the earth, God introduced a process of blessing to bring people back to proper fellowship with Him.

According to Craig Hill, even when bringing correction make it based on behavior and outcome. If you violate the “law” there will be consequences. If you stay in fellowship you will enjoy the blessing. The goal then becomes staying in fellowship, not obeying laws.

He gave the example of a rebellious teenage son. His dad asked him to be home at a certain time. He got home late. The next morning the dad greets him with, “Hello son. Did you sleep well? I love you, son! I hope you have a great day.”

The son then leaves the house to only return quickly, yelling, “Dad, the wheels of my car are gone.”

The dad calmly replies, “Oh, that. You see, having wheels on your car is a privilege, not a right. Since you chose to not do as I asked, you will be walking for a while. Have a great day son. I love you!”

Matt. 11:6 – And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Matt. 9: 10-13  And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

One reason defense is often the position of choice is because it takes little forethought. Offense has to plan, to be creative, to take chances, to be proactive, to be positive, to be vulnerable. Defense is reactive. The only goal is to prevent someone or something from touching us.

If the offense does not score it has failed. Fear of failure keeps most Christians on the bench, or playing defense, because they do not want to “disappoint” God.

Communion is a type of pre-game meal. We gather as the Body for preparation to go out and do the work of the ministry. It draws us toward one another. It lets us know that we are not facing life alone. He is with us. The other Believers are with us. Let’s become vulnerable and be bold enough to not retreat when attacked. Stay on offense and see what God will do.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2014 08 12 | My Perspective on the Police Shooting


I felt compelled to respond to the recent incident near St. Louis involving a young man that was shot by a police officer. I am not taking sides because I do not have any information regarding the incident. My comments are aimed at those that take what they hear from the media and assume all of it is 100% accurate. This is NOT a race-related comment.

My father lost his life serving as a police officer in Birmingham. He was shot by someone that was attempting to steal goods from a trucking transfer station in North Birmingham. I often wish he had let them have the goods. Nothing they stole could be worth his life. But he could not. He took an oath to protect and serve, even if it meant paying the ultimate sacrifice.

When a police officer makes an arrest it is based on suspicion. The one taken into custody is presumed innocent by the law until proven guilty. The police become the go-between for the innocent and the guilty. They make choices based on the circumstances that are presented and the training they receive. Many times their decision must be made in microsecond time, and that choice can be the difference between life and death; for them and the suspect.

Even though the suspect is presumed innocent, the police officer is held to a much higher standard. If he discharges his weapon, whether anyone is hit or not, his actions come under scrutiny by a review board. If he does shoot a person he is relieved of his weapon and placed on alternate duty until a review of the incident is completed. The officer is presumed guilty until proven innocent.

I have never served as an officer. I can only imagine what it must be like to always be under a microscope, not only from the public, but also by your employer. I have always found it interesting that people that hate the policemen still dial 911 when they are in trouble. They still expect the police to respond, and they do respond. The police protect the haters with the same loyalty to duty as any other citizen.

Please try to reserve judgment until you know the facts. You have no idea what went on because you weren’t there. Even those were “there” didn’t see things from the perspective of either party involved in the incident. Google this if you don’t believe me: people make the worst eyewitnesses. Our memories immediately become clouded by our belief system and opinions of others. 

Please be part of the solution to this tragedy and not part of the problem.