Of Serpents and Doves…

T’is the season for those that, some would consider, “condemnation” Christians, to come out of the woodwork. You know…the ones that put the ‘E’ in C(Christmas) M(Mother’s Day) E(Easter) Christians.

No judgment.  Honestly. I totally get it.  You want to make Momma and Grandma happy, and they will take your attendance to a church service, however they can get it. As a mom, I completely appreciate the desire to see your children attend church in the hopes of receiving more conviction than condemnation.  

Please understand…this is actually dedicated to the ones that make others feel like hot garbage, if they don’t, AT LEAST, go to church on certain holidays.  There is NOTHING saying if you don’t attend a church service regularly, that you will die and go to a burning Hell. The trouble is, the average Joe, that knows anything about the bible knows that…which is why the guilt trip rarely works.

Again, no judgment. Honestly.

So many people avoid church because they don’t want to be ‘preached’ to.  I know that you want to be a witness and share the love of God. And, I KNOW you don’t feel called to a ‘door knocking’ ministry. There has to be a way to share the Gospel with those around you, without beating them over the head with the bible.  Think about the people where you work, or the other parents in the PTA, or the neighbors on your block that you see when you are taking out the trash. Your heart is to give them the good news in a way that actually makes it seem like good news!

The struggle is not that people don’t necessarily know that they need God or a relationship with Him.  It’s more a point that they see Christians that seem unapproachable and their lifestyle unattainable. It’s like someone telling you what you already know: you’re pretty much screwed up and there’s not much you can do about it. It’s depressing knowing that there are people who  aren’t quite as screwed up as you. It’s even MORE depressing when it seems like they are holding their near perfection over YOUR head.  Nobody wants that. And, even when that’s not how we mean for it to look, that’s how it ends up appearing. Our reputations have preceded us.

It is into this kind of scenario that Jesus sent His disciples for, shall we say, “missionary” training. He sent them in as “sheep” to a den of wolves, instructing them to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. It was like giving them a ‘bad news, worse news,’ scenario.  You’re gonna look like sheep – lost, confused, air-headed, even flighty, but you have to be clever, crafty and even attractive, while maintaining an innocent, childlike trust in God and His plan for you…in the face of wolves.

Are you getting it, yet?

It’s as simple as it is complicated. We are not to lord our salvation over people. We are not to glorify our lifestyle by condemning that of another’s.  We have to be an honest representation of Salt and Light and Love.

Salt is tricky business.  In proper measure, it enhances the flavor and preserves what’s good in a thing. Too much can burn, like acid. Too little is perfectly useless.

Light, illumination, creates the same complication.  Too much, too fast can be painful and blinding. But, if presented like the dawn, it’s a gentle joyous revelation of what’s really around you, so that you may govern yourself accordingly, thus garnering an appropriate response.

Love SEEMS to be the easiest…on paper.  It’s in the practical demonstration of it, that people tend to get hurt the most. Part of the problem is that everyone has their own definition of love, based on their life experiences, that doesn’t always look like the biblical definition of it. Love, when properly displayed, can look mean, sometimes hateful. Sometimes, love makes you look stupid or naive.  Like serpents and doves.

It is in combining the forces of salt and light and love, that people become thirsty for what Christ has provided; aware of what the cost is of a life without Him as well of the benefits of a life with Him; and they become open to what true love will do in the life of an ordinary, human existence.

Then, and only then, will we see CME Christians become anchored members of the Family of God, devoted to a part of the Body of Christ and DISCIPLES. I mean, that was the original assignment, right?

Jesus did not say that hanging out with a bunch of people, just for the sake of pleasing our parents, would get us into heaven.  And, that is all a good guilt trip gets us. Reluctant attendees to a Sunrise Service and the subsequent brunch. We were never called to make congregants. We are called to make disciples…people who have active relationships with God, through Jesus Christ, that are supported by other branches who are also connected to the Vine.

So, at the close of this Good Friday, as we focus on the sacrifice of Jesus that made a way for us to be adopted into the Family of God, let us not get so wrapped up in who makes it to church this weekend.  Let’s start building relationships with the people in our communities that make them thirsty for a relationship with God, enlightened to the benefits of that relationship and fills them with the Love we’ve been given, so that they can freely ‘pay it forward.’

That’s what this weekend is all about, anyway.


I’m Cool With That…

Some days I am amazed at myself! No hubris intended. I look at my life and wonder to myself, “Exactly…how did I get here?  Really?”

I guess I’m what you’d call a religious mutt.  I have real old-school Missionary Baptists on one side of my family tree, Episcopal Bishops on the other, my mother took us to a moderate Baptist church around the corner from where we lived until we started going to the Pentecostal church where my paternal grandmother played the organ.  I work for a pregnancy crisis center where I have attended worship services for many denominational, non-denominational and interdenominational churches and was comfortable engaging at most of them.  Yet, I find it quite interesting how many of these people have the hardest time dealing with those who worship differently than they do. Each group has some of the same basic tenants, but get caught up with little ‘isms’ that they fear would prevent our entrance into heaven.  The same separation that has been created in the Body of Christ with all of that religion was once quite prevalent in me. Top that with all of the behaviors (or misbehaviors) that I picked up from the many fruits and nuts in my family tree and you can see why I have often felt like a spiritual schizophrenic.

At this point in my life, I am not a religious person.  I have a real relationship with an almighty, all powerful, all knowing God.  I call Him my Father and He calls me His child.  We relate very well.  He calls me friend and shares with me the secrets of His heart and I share with Him the secrets of mine.  He calls me the heir to His Kingdom and all of His fortune.  As such, He shares with me ins and outs of his business and I seek His wisdom and share my ideas about what I can do to expand His Kingdom and strengthen His dynasty. It is in that capacity that He has shared with me the insights that allow me to be what I’d like to call Kingdom Inclusive.

I have judged and been judged people only to discover that God can use ALL of us to do work in His Kingdom despite whatever hang-ups we carry about another person’s relationship with Him. We must be able to keep a pure heart. Titus 1:15 says, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.” Heaven is not mine to secure your seat. Neither is Hell for that matter.

The innocent notion that God wants everyone to be in relationship with Him and will take us all as we are gets so lost in our TRYING to be clean instead of allowing God to clean us.  I’m not trying to be as holy as the next dude. I’m trying to please my FATHER! Everything else is a moot point.

Romans 14:1-7 makes a few very pertinent points to that end.  We don’t have permission to condemn those whose faith allows them to do things that would cause us to stumble.  Nor are we to judge ourselves or others for what we cannot do. Whether it’s eating meat or drinking wine or a style of dress or a topic of conversation: if it is not for you, it is not for YOU.  Holding everyone accountable to the things which glorify God in you is NOT YOUR JOB.  Since we profess the same indwelling Holy Spirit and we cannot see what He does in another man’s heart, we can only trust the same Holy Spirit to keep them the way we desire to be kept.  The ending of that passage in Romans says it all. “ We don’t live for ourselves alone. And we don’t die all by ourselves.  If we live, we live to honor the Lord. If we die, we die to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

I have learned to be cool with the next cat who reads the same Bible I do and is just living his life unto Christ…whatever that looks like.  If we need to agree to disagree, that’s cool too.

In the telling of Paul’s journey to stand trial before Ceasar, it was written that, some came in on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land (Acts 27:44). The point is, they all made it home alive.

We’re all just trying to get home to see Jesus…and since He’s the only way home, does it really matter how we ride?

Get R.E.A.L., Part 1, by Monica Guthrie


I’m thinking, I needed to end one year and begin the new one with a positive catalyst. A powerful force that can propel us into wonderful things. I could not think of anyone better.

I have met some really fantastic people on my journey through life.  Every turn in my path has presented me with at least one person that has changed my life for the better.  This is one such person. 


Monica Guthrie is a rare gem.  Her heart is pure and sweet.  She is funny and outspoken without pretense. She is devoted to her family and friends.  And she can sing her whole face off!  It is an honor beyond measure that she calls me, “Sis.”

 Meet my sister, Monica Lynese…keepin’ it real.


 Today reality TV has TOTALLY taken over our airwaves. With shows like The Housewives of EVERYWHERE, Basketball Wives, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Bad Girls Club, Love and Hip Hop etc. Everyone wants to see REAL LIFE! Sayings like “I’m just keeping it real or keeping it 100” “Real talk” and “It’s about to get real” are frequently heard. With all of the foolishness going on in the world, we wonder why children are getting killed senselessly on the streets of Chicago, children are disrespectful and show little to not respect for adults or authority. It’s not about to get real, IT IS REAL. But what should that mean to us in the body of Christ? It’s time for us to GET R.E.A. L.

 Getting real, be real, what does it all mean? After hearing the theme, I wondered, which way to go with this message. Romans 12:1-2 reads: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present you bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is you reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The Message bible says “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life your sleeping, eating going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you develops well-formed maturity in you.”

  How can we be real in today’s society?

 R- RENEW First step is renewing you mind.  We can’t allow society to dictate how we live, think, behave. Once we welcome Christ into our lives and ask him to be our Lord and Savior, Our minds, bodies no longer belong to us. We have to allow God to transform us to be more Christ-like to fight this fight and live this life. Oh but you don’t understand! It’s hard out here! It’s different now!!! The word of God has not changed. Having to live go to school in an unbelieving world can greatly influence the mind. By the end of the day, we often find ourselves thinking and even acting like unbelievers due to such close association. Most of us are bombarded daily by backbiting competition, vulgar language, gossip, and all kinds of worldly temptations. If you allow God to transform you His will (What he wants for your life) becomes YOUR will! (Not thy will but THINE be done)! By renewing your mind, you allow yourself the opportunity to become all that God has destined you to be. If your mind isn’t renewed, you continue to go through life under your full ability and potential.  Just like in the movie Transformers.  The transformers on the surface were cool cars, automobiles, etc., but once it came time, for battle, they transformed into these mighty warriors that had supernatural abilities to fight the enemy. It’s the same in your walk with Christ.  On the surface, you’re just a child, just a teenager, human flesh and blood. But once you allow God access to be the head of your life and you follow him and his commandments. Your will, your flesh becomes less vulnerable.  Your mind becomes more like Christ and you desire to please him, instead of your flesh, your friends, or your boo.

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