This weekend I had a chance to spend time with the people of Grace Point Church in Bentonville, Arkansas.
In addition to meeting some really remarkable people, we competed in Dodgeball, Bowling, Kickball, Trivia Contests, Newspaper Ninjas, and Cornhole (a Midwest/Southern version of the bean bag toss). While in Arkansas I had the chance to eat biscuits with gravy, homemade chili, and bbq pulled pork from Wild Hogs (an appropriate meal in a place fond of Razorbacks).
During our main sessions Russ Lee performed, and I spoke about Courage, Leadership, and Influencing Others. I had a great time with my new friends in NW Arkansas!
On Sunday morning, I shared a message on “Religion, Sex, and Politics,” (the podcast featured is from Mosaic in 2007). Here were some of the thoughts I shared:
We should never allow our convictions on theology, morality, or politics become a litmus test for friendship.
The church should be known for being loving and authentic rather than exclusive and judgmental.
Jonah would have rather died than to see the people of Nineveh turn to God. He wanted to see them destroyed and feared that God would forgive them. Fortunately for the people of Nineveh, God’s character always leans towards forgiveness and mercy. (see Jonah 3:10-4:3)
Like Jonah, too often we tend to limit who we think God loves.
People who follow Jesus are supposed to be “set apart” in our behavior and “sent out” into relationships. Too often, we do the opposite, becoming “set apart” in our relationships even as our behavior matches the rest of the world.
Even though I have been tough on Jonah, in the end, after being rescued, Jonah did go into the city (Jonah 3:3). Will we?
Hey brother. Sounds like you are having a good time. I have a quick question. Given your statement, “We should never allow our convictions on theology, morality, or politics become a litmus test for friendship.”
How would you then understand Paul’s instruction in 2 Thes 3:6, 14-15
“6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. …
14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. “
My talk was dealing with Jonah’s treatment of the Ninevites – a follower of God should never allow his convictions to keep him from friendship with someone who does not follow God.
Your passage deals how followers of Jesus should treat each other – with a higher level of accountability.
We shouldn’t ask people who have not chosen to follow God to live as if they do follow Him. We should be willing to love our those who do follow Christ to have the hard conversations with them.
Hope that helps!
You make a good distinction and I would agree with you. Thanks for making that clarification brother.