Newmanity and Sight

February 27, 2016
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I want to begin this blog by admitting I do not plan to cover this topic comprehensively. Meaning I won’t cover every possible way ‘sight’ applies to the life of a believer. I am addressing something very specific because it’s helped me a great deal.

We are encouraged commanded to not walk by sight, but by faith. Yes and Amen. However, we have got to see with our faith. Paul isn’t asking believers to walk around with our eyes closed as if we’ve got that Star Wars Jedi force. Nor is Paul telling just anybody to walk around the earth using, trusting, and resting on faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 is directed towards believers who I refer to as ‘newmanity’ on this blog.

So then how do we do it?

Recently I sat down with a biblical counselor and he introduced to me a faith shaping paradigm. This paradigm can apply to singles and marrieds. To younger and older believers. Basically everybody gets caught in this web. Believers must learn by the grace of God through prayer and utter dependency upon the Spirit to learn in practical sight ways to SEE (and then relate to) believers the way God sees them.

Okay. Now I can end this blog because that all convicts us while making perfect sense, right?

Sometimes I fear too many words can only muddy the waters, but I feel I have no choice in this matter. So here we go. Believers have to daily and momentarily ask God to help us see folks we like and get along with AND those to with which it is a struggle to even strike up a conversation, to see them as perfect and justified and co-heirs and our brothers/sisters in Jesus Christ through the lens (read work/result) of the gospel. Because that’s how God sees them covered in the righteousness of Christ.

Instead of relating to folks directly based on their appearance, tone, previous interactions etc., we ought to see them with new sight vision. Now I want to broaden this out with a biblical theology. We must see all folks as people that God made in his image and loved. We must see the brotherhood of Christ especially as new creatures covered in the blood of Christ.

I wish no longer to explain this away. Rather I want this to stand as I have left it for us readers to be challenged to make sense of it. Beg God to help you see believers and non in the way God sees them with new sight vision!


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Newmanity and Voting

February 13, 2016
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Evangelicalism seems to bleed the same color. Seems to think with the same mind. Seems to vote with the same heart. Evangelicalism also seems to uphold and believe the ‘love one another’ banner.

Evangelicalism still is and has been a much needed presence in cities and communities all over the world. At times it seems their presence grows leaps and bounds, while at other times it diminishes if not altogether disappears. With elections ramping up, it seems all of evangelicalism is speaking out after every Republican and Democrat debate. It’s become disconcerting to say the least.

After about 16 years of this one has to shake his head and ask, are we really trying to love our neighbors? In other words, can Christians truly be one-issue voters and biblically claim to love others? Most of evangelicalism has abortion as their only issue. Some have taken up sex trafficking. It’s rare to find evangelicals who tend to look beyond those two. Yet I wonder where evangelicalism got their narrow focused lenses from…cause Jesus surely isn’t the source.

Jesus uplifted women who were often overlooked and mistreated. Jesus spent time with social outcasts, even having meals with them. Jesus hung out with uneducated men who were racists. Jesus told stories about unpopular guys in his society that were heroes. Jesus went looking for guys who were the equivalent of pimps. That is how we are to love our neighbors.

The beauty of the new humanity created in Christ Jesus called the church is that we are able to love others who are so different from us in ways that are so different. We don’t have one way methods that forces folks to fit into. We adjust to their situations seeking to love them the best way we can. So we deal with abortion, domestic abuse, welfare, sex trafficking, drug abuse, immigration, single parenting, police brutality, high crime rates, and other hosts of social justice issues that plague our countries.

It is impossible and dare I say borderline unbiblical and unwise to be a one-issue voter. In both testaments, God’s people are taught to consider others before ourselves and ways to minister to them in whatever shape and fashioned package they come in. That’s not any different from today. Jesus never counseled his disciples to be one issue followers. Instead, he sent his followers the Spirit to teach them, help them heal and work miracles, and build up the body, amongst other things. Let’s not make our voting something it was never called to be – the hobby horse of our Christianity.

Newmanity and Sin

February 11, 2016
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Wrestling with my own sin, I began to piece together a truth I’ve struggled to understand. Having grown up in a church setting where the pastors would take the Greek definition of the word ‘sin’ and use that as their way of explaining what sin means. Sure it went over my head, but after you hear this same explanation again and again, one can begin to accept it without questioning.

To understand what it tangibly means to sin is to understand the reasoning behind it. Frankly, telling someone they’ve missed the mark isn’t sufficient. It doesn’t help Christians to practically weigh their sinful choices. Nor does it help them appropriate the truths of the gospel to their hearts after they’re confronted with their sin.

I’m a Christian for ten plus years and I’m finally okay with admitting that I love sin and the ill perceived benefits that I’ll derive from it. Even when I’m presented with the opportunity to deny myself and turn from the sinful option, there are in fact times when I still choose to sin. But why? I know that I’m a new creation who’s dead to sin and alive to Christ. So why still choose to sin?

Then I stumbled upon the two headed reason for why I sin. I sin because at that time I don’t believe that Jesus is better than the sinful option nor do I believe that what God has given me is good enough, therefore I don’t need that sinful option.

Can’t express the freedom I felt upon arriving at this conclusion. God has given me so dang much that I tend to take it for granted even when weighing what I have versus what I lust after. Realizing that I take God’s grace for granted crushes me and bends me low, then sustains me to then repent and stand tall in front of a grace giving savior. And I hope this short blog encourages you to do the same.

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