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Please Consider an “Unlike Jesus” Seminar – Part 10

Friends: As you know, my most recent book is Unlike Jesus! Let’s Stop Unfriending the World.  I’m convinced many of us believers meet only with other Christians, watch only Christian movies, and eat only Christian casseroles. We make lousy friends because we’re not sure we’re supposed to be a friend of sinners!

In the next few posts, I’m going to hammer pretty hard on this idea of being a friend of sinners — like Jesus was! I have one goal in mind — to get you (and me) much more serious about the unbelievers we know and to challenge us to develop deep, committed friendships with them.

Just so you know, I’ve developed three videos which cover the basics of my book and can be used in a Zoom kind of church study. I would gladly lead the discussion (live) after your church group watches each video. All we have to do is schedule the meetings.

We’ve looked at the first two videos and a couple of short pitches for the book. Let’s look at an eighth pitch, a bit about . . . going for the spiritual jugular!

 

 

 

 

 

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Please Consider an “Unlike Jesus” Seminar – Part 9

Friends: As you know, my most recent book is Unlike Jesus! Let’s Stop Unfriending the World.  I’m convinced many of us believers meet only with other Christians, watch only Christian movies, and eat only Christian casseroles. We make lousy friends because we’re not sure we’re supposed to be a friend of sinners!

In the next few posts, I’m going to hammer pretty hard on this idea of being a friend of sinners — like Jesus was! I have one goal in mind — to get you (and me) much more serious about the unbelievers we know and to challenge us to develop deep, committed friendships with them.

Just so you know, I’ve developed three videos which cover the basics of my book and can be used in a Zoom kind of church study. I would gladly lead the discussion (live) after your church group watches each video. All we have to do is schedule the meetings.

We’ve looked at the first two videos and a couple of short pitches for the book. Let’s look at seventh pitch, a bit about . . . worldliness!

 

 

 

 

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Please Consider an “Unlike Jesus” Seminar – Part 8

Friends: As you know, my most recent book is Unlike Jesus! Let’s Stop Unfriending the World.  I’m convinced many of us believers meet only with other Christians, watch only Christian movies, and eat only Christian casseroles. We make lousy friends because we’re not sure we’re supposed to be a friend of sinners!

In the next few posts, I’m going to hammer pretty hard on this idea of being a friend of sinners — like Jesus was! I have one goal in mind — to get you (and me) much more serious about the unbelievers we know and to challenge us to develop deep, committed friendships with them.

Just so you know, I’ve developed three videos which cover the basics of my book and can be used in a Zoom kind of church study. I would gladly lead the discussion (live) after your church group watches each video. All we have to do is schedule the meetings.

We’ve looked at the first two videos and a couple of short pitches for the book. Let’s look at a sixth pitch, a bit about criticism!

 

 

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A Great Geico Commercial: “We have aunts!”

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2021 in commercials

 

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A Stench . . . or a Fragrance?

I’ve recently been corresponding a bit with a couple of people who hate Christianity and have attacked me. Some of the things they have said about Christians are true. We often come across as holy know-it-alls. We are guilty at times of trying to manipulate conversations to spiritual things. And the “friendships” we develop with “lost” people are conditional and sometimes shallow and end when the other person refuses to become a believer.

I’m not sure any of us do anything out of 100% pure motives. But that’s no excuse for not loving others the way Jesus loved them. But I think if Christians were almost perfect in their interactions with those not yet in God’s family — they would still be criticized and hated. Which brings me to 2 Corinthians 2 which reads:

Just a few observations on this incredible passage:

1. Notice that God uses the believer “to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (v. 14) Are you aware, Christian, that you carry with you a smell, an “aroma,” wherever you go? You can’t wash it off — nor should you want to. But one man’s aroma is another man’s . . . stench!

2. Notice also that we are “to God” a pleasing aroma. He is our primary audience. Others may “smell” us, but His “nostrils” are the ones that really count.

3. Our aroma is a pleasing one to God whether it is among those who are being saved or those who are perishing (v. 15). Interesting that all of humanity is divided up into two categories: (1) those who are being saved and (2) those who are perishing. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Pe. 3:9), but He is glorified even by the death of the wicked.

4. Notice that we are an aroma to two audiences: (1) to the one an aroma that brings death; (2) to the other an aroma that brings life (v. 16).

The bottom line is that the Christian is both! I would prefer to go through life as a fragrance rather than as a stench. You?

“Lord, help me to be faithful in representing You to a watching — and smelling — world. And help me not to take it personally when people turn up their noses at the gospel — and at me! In Jesus’ name. Amen.”


 
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Posted by on February 29, 2020 in evangelism

 

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Answering a Personal Attack: My Response to a Former Preacher Turned Atheist

Friends: Recently I’ve been challenged by a former preacher-turned-atheist by the name of Bruce Gerencser. His article is entitled “Beware of Evangelicals Coming in the Name of ‘Friendship’” and you may read it here.

Bruce rightly criticizes Christians for what I call conditional, blackmail-type, temporary “friendships” in order to evangelize them. And when conversion doesn’t take place, these Christians drop their lost “friends” like a hot potato and move on to what Bruce calls another “mark.”

Here is what I wrote to Bruce:

Bruce:
I’ve thought quite a bit about how to respond to you and your post entitled “Beware of Evangelicals Coming in the Name of ‘Friendship.’” I believe you first mentioned me in your blog back a few years ago when you took issue with my position on premarital sex.

I posted a preliminary comment on your blog a couple of days ago asking you to read my book “Unlike Jesus: Let’s Stop Unfriending the World.” I think you’d be surprised at how much you and I agree with one another.

I don’t want to be like an “Amway or Herbalife peddler.” I’m deeply concerned with your very accurate statement that “many Evangelicals . . . are content to let us go to hell in peace.” I also don’t want to “irritate, bug and harass non-Christians.”

[Just a minor correction — I am now retired from my teaching position at CIU].

I agree with you that “most church members keep their faith to themselves.” I’m not at all interested in “fake friendships,” Bruce. [I’d be glad to send you the pdf of my book if you wish. You and I may disagree, but I’d like you to see that we’re attacking the same problem of insincere, conditional, blackmail-type, temporary friendships]. We all have a worldview that we want to “share” with others, right?

I don’t know Katy Morgan, but your attack on her article seems unfair. Is she really advocating fake friendships with the aged?

You write: “There are six Evangelical churches within five miles of our home. Want to know how many times the pastors of these churches have knocked on our door to introduce themselves, invite us to church, or share with us that wonderful salvation they prattle on and on about on Sundays? Zero.” I agree with you that that’s sad. But if they did visit you, would you criticize them for their “fake friendship”?

“Never content just to be decent, thoughtful, genuine human beings, Dixon, Morgan, and company scour the countryside looking for ‘opportunities’ to become fake friends with young and old alike.” Wow, Bruce. You don’t know me.

You “divorced” Jesus 12 years ago. I’m sorry you lost all your Evangelical friends. They are rightly criticized for abandoning you. Jesus is clear that those who turn from the faith (either morally or doctrinally) should be treated as tax collectors and pagans. How did Jesus treat tax collectors and pagans? He sought them out! He befriended them. But He told them the truth about forgiveness.

You speak of your friend of 50+ years and that he is one who is “willing to let me go to hell in peace.” I’m glad you have that friendship. Would you be angry with him if you found out that he prays for your re-conversion?

I appreciated your point about true friends, as you reminisced about A.V. Henderson’s sermon. I want to be an exception to your comment that “When they don’t get what they want from us — our salvation — they move on to other marks.”

You write: “I am quite happy to be left alone in my debauchery and apostasy. I just wish the purveyors of friendship evangelism would leave others alone too.” I agree with your attack on conditional friendships and I am with you in meeting the temporal needs of the elderly, etc. You write: “However, attempting to befriend people as a means to an end — salvation — is repugnant. None of us like being used, and that is exactly what Evangelicals do when they target people for evangelization.”

Again, Bruce, I think we have a lot in common. But if I’m a true follower of Jesus, I would not just want to meet your temporal needs, but deeply care about your eternal needs. Wouldn’t that be consistent Christianity?

Blessings. Larry

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you wish!

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2020 in friendships

 

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Fear of Criticism — Unlike Jesus: Let’s Stop Unfriending the World!

 

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Audio Recording of “Unlike Jesus” (Chapter Four – “Before You Judge Me, Take a Look at Yo-Self!”)


Chapter Four – “Before You Judge Me, Take a Look at Yo-Self!”
1. How do you feel about criticism? Are you willing to get criticized by other believers for spending time with sinners?
2. Would you rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism?
3. What is one takeaway for you from the story of the prodigal son? Why did Jesus tell that story?
4. What do healthy churches do instead of criticizing those who spend time with “sinners”?
5. Feel free to go over the questions provided in the book for Chapter Four.

 

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You ARE Odd, Christian! (a great quote)

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2018 in truth

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #10- SINNERS) (con’t)

This is my last message/post on the topic of being STUCK!  These messages were/will be preached at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Augusta (website: crossroadschurchinaugusta.com).  How do we Jesus-followers sometimes get STUCK on the issue of SINNERS?

The reality is we are simply not like the Lord Jesus who was a friend of sinners.  Let’s admit it. We’d rather spend our time with fellow-believers than reach out to the lost.

Our text for this topic is Matthew 11 where we read:

16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Both Jesus and John the Baptist were mocked by their contemporary culture.  John the Baptist was thought to be demonized because of his austere lifestyle. Jesus was charged with being a glutton and a drunkard because of His indulgence in food and drink.  Both austerity and enjoyment were areas of judgment for Jesus’ culture.  Jesus was neither a glutton nor a drunkard, but His social interaction with “sinners” opened Him up to such accusations.

I want to be like Jesus.  I want to be a friend of sinners.  If that is true, what steps must I take to get more like Jesus, to get unSTUCK in this area?  Please write out one step you will take in this area in the comment section below.  And thank you for sticking with me in this series!


 

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2017 in christian growth

 

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