Appleton Alliance Church, where I serve as pastor, is opening a free medical clinic in November of this year. On occasion, I’ve been asked why we’re doing this. Not everybody who is asking the question has a combative attitude towards it, some do, but most not. The question itself is legitimate. 'Why' is probably the most important question we can ask about anything we do. So I thought I’d take some time to offer my reflections on that question.
First, God cares about the poor. Consider these verses:
"Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Prov. 14:31).
"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done” (Prov. 19:17).
"Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered” (Prov. 21:13).
The Bible talks about the poor more than 2100 times. It’s clearly one of the foremost topics on God’s mind.
Second, we have resources to do something for the poor. Let’s be clear about this: we are ALL suppose to care for the poor. But not all of us are called to do the same things to serve them. There is a difference between caring and doing. Not every church is supposed to open a free medical clinic. That’s OK. Not every Christian is called to serve in a free medical clinic. That’s OK too. There are two reasons Appleton Alliance Church is going to express their care for the poor by doing a free medical clinic. One is we have the resources to do it. Second is we sense God calling us to do it. It’s really as simple as that.
Third, this will test whether or not we really understand the gospel. It’s easy to give lip service to the gospel when affluence is the air we breathe. But what happens when the air of affluence turns to the stench of poverty? I wonder how many “Christians" will want to run the other way? The gospel is Jesus abandoning affluence to live among the stench of sinners like you and me and die for us. That’s gospel love. Are we capable of demonstrating gospel love? We’ll find out.
Click here to learn more about Hope Clinic & Care Center.
If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, I encourage you to read Tim Keller’s book Generous Justice. Today, I will be giving away four copies of his book, each with a personalized note from me. To enter, simply sign in to the Rafflecopter giveaway below and enter either by following me on Twitter, on Instagram, or on both for a double entry! Winners will be chosen and notified by email next Tuesday. At this time, I do ask that only those living within the 48 contiguous United States enter the giveaway. Thank you for understanding.
If you missed Part 1 of this two-part series, please read it first here
The irony of the cross is this: what looked like Satan’s victory, was actually his defeat. On the surface a cultural crisis may appear like a victory for the enemy, but the cross shows us it may actually be his defeat.
Could it be that the same-sex marriage ruling may look like a victory for the enemy, but instead actually be his defeat? I believe so. Let’s let Scripture explain how this is possible.
Remember the very famous scene in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3? Satan successfully convinces Adam and Eve that their lives were not as good as they could be. He plants this idea in their minds that if they eat from the one tree God tells them not to, their lives will become all they imagine they could be. Before you know it, Adam and Eve become discontent with how things are and long for something more. They begin saying to themselves, “If only we eat from that tree, then we can be happy and satisfied.” So they eat. And how did that turn out for them? They become worse than they were before. They got the one thing they thought they needed to be content and their lives become a nightmare.
It’s been the life-mission of many within the same-sex community to see same-sex marriage legalized. I would argue large numbers of them have looked to this as the defining moment of their lives. For years many of these individuals have probably thought, “If only same-sex marriage would be legalized, then my life would have meaning.” Well, they got what their hearts wanted most. Now what? Will their lives become all they imagined they could be?
If the Bible is correct, they are re-living the Garden of Eden all over again. If the Bible is correct, not only will their lives not become all they imagine they could be, but their lives will become worse than they were before. Some of them are going to come to realize this. So where will they turn?
I believe Christians and churches need to be ready to receive with grace and truth the refugees of this sexual revolution. I believe there will come a day when they will come to us empty and confused wondering why they're empty and confused. Christians and churches need to be ready for opportunities to present to these victims of deception the only thing that can truly satisfy: the gospel of Jesus Christ. What looked like a victory for the enemy, may actually be his defeat. In the end, the same-sex marriage ruling may actually send more lost people into the saving arms of Jesus where they will find the very thing same-sex marriage couldn’t give them.
The same-sex marriage ruling earlier this summer has been a catalyst for numerous dire predictions about the future of the church and the U.S. I understand that we should mourn when sin is institutionalized. Sin always grieves God’s heart. But I’m not convinced this ruling was a bad thing. Let me explain.
As a Christian, it’s important to view everything through the lens of Scripture. More specifically, it’s critical to view everything through the lens of the gospel. So let’s do that with the same-sex marriage ruling. Walk with me through a thought experiment.
Imagine being one of the disciples standing at the foot of the cross. Over the past three years you have seen Jesus walk on water, calm storms, raise dead people, and heal multitudes. He looked unstoppable. He could snap his fingers and make the Roman empire go away. But now, his blood is puddling at the foot of the cross as the life is slowly draining out of his body. This should never have happened. It’s so messed up. To our eyes, Jesus on a cross looks like a cultural crisis of epic proportions. Yet as Jesus experienced this cultural crisis, he entrusted himself to God: “not my will, but yours be done.” “Into your hands, I commit my spirit.” And three days later and every day since, God has demonstrated time and again why he can be trusted amidst the seemingly most chaotic of human circumstances. The irony of the cross is this: what looked like Satan’s victory, was actually his defeat. On the surface a cultural crisis may appear like a victory for the enemy, but the cross shows us it may actually be his defeat.
Could it be that the same-sex marriage ruling may look like a victory for the enemy, but instead actually be his defeat? I think this may indeed be the case. Check back tomorrow when I explain why we have reason for great hope.
Read Part 2 Here