The Internet's favorite Unkle.

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Anonymous asked: Hi Unka. Just want to hear your advise on this. I recently had a breakup with a guy I love so much. Now I want to let go, but I just can’t, I always remember him. Will it be okay to use ‘hate’ (as in using the things I don’t like about him, to ’turn me off’) as a coping mechanism while I’m at this stage?

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Unka Glen answered: Bless your heart, I love how your mind works. I mean officially hate is bad, and so on, but I follow the logic. In truth, it’s good to remember the good times and celebrate them (which you will do in time), and it’s also good to remember the bad times, to learn and grow from those experiences too.

But the real issue you bring up, the smart and important question is this: is it okay to be not-so-right on the way to being right? After all, most sermons I hear sound like this:

  1. The sin you are doing is bad
  2. Stop it.

Okay fine, now tell me HOW. Ya see, if you aren’t telling me about the path from not-righteousness to righteousness, then you aren’t being much help. Or perhaps it’s about this tendency we have in the church, to be uncomfortable with transitions.

I mean, we love the testimony that looks back and tells us about the rough road, and how someone made it up that road, but we aren’t as enthusiastic about someone stuck halfway up that road who’s starting to sound, and even act, a bit tired and cranky about things. 

Either way, let’s map out the road ahead of you, and see what we find…the first thing we see are a set of pitfalls, and each one is a lie that needs to be rejected in order to move forward.

  • Lie #1: You will never find another man! [dun dun DUH!] 
  • Lie #2: It was all your fault that things went wrong. 
  • Lie #3 It was all his fault that things went wrong.
  • Lie #4 God doesn’t understand your anger and frustration.
  • Lie #5 God just wants you to “get over it already”

If you manage to break down those lies and avoid those pitfalls, the way forward will be a little more obvious. 

  1. Cast your cares on God, knowing that this is exactly what God asks you to do (1 Peter 5:7). This includes venting, ranting, crying, and making long dramatic speeches about how hard it is to let things go.
  2. Let things go. Ask God to take away all the negative emotions and all the lies, and give you the courage to heal, and try again.
  3. Mourn the loss of the relationship as you would a death.
  4. Realize that you are whole, and you are never alone.
  5. Remember that no human can love you the way God already does. 

All that might look messy before it resolves itself into a nice tidy testimony, but you’ll be using God Himself as your coping mechanism, instead of hate.

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"Much of the New Testament was written by someone who tried to destroy the lives of all Christians everywhere. God chose that man and blasted him off his donkey with a laser beam for a reason: to make it clear that nobody could read that book and think themselves a worse sinner than the man who wrote it. Paul himself said: ‘here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst’ (1 Timothy 1:15)."

- Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)

Jesus said, if you love me, you’ll feed my sheep good quality Christian music for free… or something like that.

Ear candy. Dig it. 

thebridgechicago:

When we are feeling weak, we need to be reminded we are not doing this thing alone, God still loves us and accepts us. Peter and Tasha Lawson brings us a beautiful, vulnerable modern indie-rock reminder of just that.

Get awesome stuff to fuel your walk, and support ministry on the streets of Chicago, all for only $8/month. Sign up at missionusa.com/bridgebox.

Source: thebridgechicago

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 asked: Hey Unka Glen, my boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship and we’ve been together for a long time. I found out that he’s cheating on me, because he told me that I’m too fat and ugly and he doesn’t want me anymore. What should I do Unka Glen? I’m hurting so much that I’m thinking of killing myself.

Unka Glen answered: Oh honey, killing yourself won’t solve your problem with this guy. Killing HIM on the other hand… well, but then you’d end up in jail, where there’s nobody to date at all, except for other ladies, which is another post altogether. 

Besides, I hear that when you die, your bowels release and you leave a nasty surprise for whoever finds you. That’s not exactly the kind of lasting impression one wants to leave. So if we can’t get rid of the problem by killing you, or him, we have to figure out how to kill these thoughts in your head.

Let me give you a three step process:

1. Don’t eat the fruit of the poisoned tree. If you hang around as many courtrooms as I do, you pick up the lingo. And in this case “eating the fruit of the poisoned tree” means that if the source of the information is messed up, then the information coming from that source must be regarded as messed up too.

Let’s say you want to invest a lot of money in the stock market, and the homeless man on the corner holds up an empty soup can to his ear, and tells you that he’s receiving a transmission that tells him tech stocks are likely to trend upwards this year. You wouldn’t invest in tech stocks, because, ya know, you have to consider the source.

And trust me, a bum with an intergalactic soup can communicator has more credibility than a cheating ex-boyfriend.

2. No blame-shifting. He’s trying to say it’s not his fault that he cheated on you, it’s your fault for gaining weight. He’s actually attempting to make YOU blame yourself for HIS wrong actions. 

I mean sure, if you pushed him and he fell onto this other woman, then yes, you would be partially to blame, otherwise, the only right way to look at this thing is to say that HE ended this relationship the moment he decided to cheat, and that he chose, all on his own, to act in a way that brought dishonor to himself. If there’s a problem with a relationship, you end it, and THEN you move on.

3. Forgive yourself. As soon as you realize that HE is fully responsible for the relationship ending the way it did, and that he acted in a way that can only be described as shameful AND that he tried to get you to take responsibility for it all, then you’ll realize that you chose him, trusted him, and were vulnerable to him.

And here’s the thing, you have to forgive yourself for making that choice. Everyone with an active and healthy dating life ends up dating at least one person that’s horribly wrong for them. (Can I get an Amen out there?) Yes, in hindsight you can see all the signs were there, but the only relevant thought moving forward is: from now on, I’ll know what to look out for.

As Christians we have to: 1) learn to go by what the Lord says about us, and not what the enemy says about us, and 2) we have to accept responsibility for our own actions, while urging others to do the same, and 3) we’re meant to practice forgiveness (including forgiving ourselves). So these are skills you’re already developing, you’re just bringing them to bear on your struggle.

The world is filled with cute Christian guys who are looking to meet someone just like you. Find a good one and give him a shot. Dust your shoulders off sweetie, this ex isn’t worth the salt in your tears.

hisearthlylight:

"In You" by @leeyounger #praiseforallmydays #perfectlove #roadtripics

hisearthlylight:

"In You" by @leeyounger #praiseforallmydays #perfectlove #roadtripics

Source: hisearthlylight

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 asked: Hi so for the past couple of months I don’t know what to do about college. I just graduated from high school, and I don’t want to jump into the wrong decision. I got a nice scholarship from a university but when I visited, I felt a lot of anxiety. I’ve been praying, but I still don’t know what to do. [edited for length]

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Unka Glen answered: Well, if the Lord is giving you that nudge that this isn’t right for you, then for sure that’s worth praying about, but God doesn’t use worry or anxiety to convey His will, indeed, He tells us to be “anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4:6).

Of course, anyone making a life change this big feels a certain mix of anxiety, excitement, fear, and the thrill of adventure. It’s really about moving all that emotionality, especially the fear and anxiety, out of the way. Emotions cloud things, and when you’re trying to steer your ship past the jagged rocks, that’s the last thing you need.

If you’ll permit me a story to illustrate…

When I was a young kid, the lady that lived next door to us called us in a wild panic, because she had a large swarm of bees on a tree branch in her front yard. My dad explained that my grandfather kept bees, and that he would know what to do. I was sent next door to “calm her down”.

So the neighbor lady and I watched through her front window as my grandfather walked up to the massive swarm on the tree, assessed the situation, and then casually slid a plain cardboard box under the swarm.

The neighbor lady said, “what’s he doing?”, and I had no time to give my answer (which, for the record, would have been: “he’s being awesome!”) because in that moment. My grandfather took hold of the tree branch and shook it as hard as he possibly could.

The neighbor lady screamed louder than I’d ever heard a woman scream before, and she swooned like maybe she was gonna faint. I made a move to catch her, but she came out of her faint pretty quick when she realized I weighed maybe a dollar and small change soaking wet, and she was 300 pounds if she was an ounce.

The massive swarm of bees fell off the branch, into the cardboard box in a clump, with the remaining bees flying around in a cloud so thick you could hardly see my grandfather. He casually fit the lid on the box, stuck it under his arm, and slowly strolled over to his truck. The cloud of bees followed him. 

My grandfather then gave us a jaunty salute, hopped in his truck, and with the interior completely filled with bees, he drove away. …Can you imagine?

Now, I tell you that, to tell you this: my grandfather knew that bees don’t sting when they swarm. They get in a tight ball to protect the queen. My grandfather was able to take the swarm back to his place, and safely install the queen in a brand new empty hive in no time. Nothing to it.

My point is, when you know how things really work, they seem way less scary. Ask God to give you a sense of peace that comes from walking the right path, because fear will get you anxious about stuff that looks way scary, but is actually just an awesome adventure.

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"God doesn’t do anything because He -has- to do it. He forgives you because that’s what He wants to do. He loves you and draws you near because it pleases Him to do so. Do not be fooled, God is not reluctantly merciful."

- Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)

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Anonymous asked: Dearest Uncle, I visited a church this last Sunday with some friends, and it was boring. Like, WAY boring. And I made the mistake of saying so out loud, and they told me it was rude to say that church is boring, and besides, church isn’t supposed to be entertaining. I kind of see their point, but still, am I really wrong to feel this way?

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Unka Glen answered: Well, I sorta think it’s rude for you to bore me and waste my time. I’d rather you steal money out of my pocket, than to steal my time and attention, and give me nothing but boredom in return. And I say that as someone who does plenty of preaching myself.

I work with pastors on their preaching as part of my day job, and I often have to dispel this myth, yes church isn’t meant to be “entertaining” and no doubt every preacher should dismiss every form of gimmick, or stunt, or “brilliant visual aid” (which usually distracts more than it points to something useful), and indeed, speak the truth plainly and let the words do the work.

But make no mistake, the truth sets us free in a powerful way, the message of the Gospel is great good news, the stories of the heroes of the faith are stirring, exciting, and inspiring. We should leave church feeling free, uplifted, equipped, encouraged, and grounded. This is what Jesus asked leaders to do, when He said, “if you love me, feed my sheep”.

If I go into your church excited about the Lord, and I go out drained and bored, you’ve done something gravely wrong. Make no excuses, do no blame-shifting. I came in on fire, I left feeling like that was a chunk of my life I’m never getting back, solve for X to find the hidden factor. It’s gonna be you every time Buttercup.

However, it is true that a sermon isn’t supposed to be an entertaining speech that someone has polished all week, worship time isn’t about watching a band play some music, and church itself isn’t meant to be a spectator sport. It’s just that crippling boredom and total irrelevancy are not the only alternatives to those who try to be “entertaining”.

When I go onto a prison deck to preach to inmates, I don’t have a choir, I have no printed bulletin, no stained glass, and no PowerPoint. All I have is words. And that may not seem like much when you’re staring into a sea of very hard faces.

But I’ve always tried to focus on one simple goal: say the words that set people free. Something is binding them, something is holding them back, and if I can eliminate that obstacle, then they can spring forward in their walk with God. They can respond to God, who’s been drawing them closer all along.

There is nothing more exciting than that moment when the chains fall away, and you feel free to run into the Father’s arms, and you feel free from all the stinking thinking that’s kept you down. The peace of that moment, the joy of it, the sheer relief! That’s about as far from boring as you can get.

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 asked: Hey Unka, current events question. I was taught that Christians are supposed to stand by Israel, but I really don’t know how to stand by what Israel’s doing in Gaza now. Can you talk about this a bit?

Unka Glen answered: Yeah, well, as you know, I don’t really do politics. That doesn’t mean that I’m uninterested or uninformed about politics. I may be a bit better informed than the average person, and I actually know a few politicians as part of my day job, so I’ve had my opportunities to peek behind the curtain on all that, so to speak.

And I suppose the main thing I’ve learned is that our political leaders, who we should be praying for, need us to help them find smart solutions, instead of answering to our more base instincts. …Or just plain weird ideas.

Ya see, there are people who feel that the nation of Israel is an important thing, and something worth protecting, and then there are the people with some freaky-deaky ideas they got from their own unique interpretation of the book of Revelations. And it should be noted that in Israel, those people and those freaky-deaky ideas are really not a welcome part of the political landscape. 

Nonetheless, let’s say this about the book of Revelations: parts of it are weird, parts are hard to understand, and parts of it, I’m convinced, are maybe not meant to be fully understood until the time is right. 

Either way, if a dude comes to you and tells you he’s got The book of Revelations all figured out, then that’s your first clue that you’re dealing with someone who’s pretty comfortable filling in the gaps in his knowledge with his own imagination. And that’s no way to learn scripture, let alone make political policy.

As for standing by anyone for whatever reason, here’s one thing the Bible is SUPER clear about, as Christians, we’re meant to seek justice for the poor, to stick up for the oppressed, to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and to take in the stranger. 

Matthew 25 says that failing to do that is like failing to do it for God Himself, AND that God will say to those people: “depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. 

So… that gives me a pretty clear sense of where to put my time and money, and even where to put my vote.

Do you like your rock to be hard and your metal to be heavy? Well of course you do. Do you feel like hearing Yours Truly preaching to a roomful of ex-cons, addicts and gangbangers who are on fire for Jesus? 

Then click the play button, and if you dig it, reblog it.

thebridgechicago:

A New Episode of The Bridge Loud is up!

It features a song from our new friends Torn In Two (tornintwo.net), and a sermon on habitual sin from Unka Glen Fitzjerrell.

Stream it above or download it Free on iTunes or our Website

Source: thebridgechicago

"You must remember that from the Father’s point of view, Jesus was perfectly righteous in everything He did, but from the world’s point of view, Jesus led a rebellion, designed to tear down the old ways, built on the backs of outcasts. He still leads us in a way that the world, and the religious establishment, would find rebellious. I’m proud to be an outcast member of that rebellion."

- Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)

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Anonymous asked: Hi Unka Glen! So my boyfriend and I are starting to talk marriage. Where do we go from here? How do we avoid wedding fever, and focus on the right timing for US? What are big topics that we need to address before getting engaged (neither of us is good with money by the way)? Where do we even start? [edited for length]

Unka Glen answered: Most engaged Christian couples I know, sit up straight and chirp, “we just want our marriage to glorify the Lord!” Then they plan an elaborate monument to their egos, wherein they cram a bloated, forced, and sometimes just downright creepy display of spirituality, designed to “witness” to their friends and family, and maybe also to obscure the fact that this whole thing is about living out a princess fantasy.

And don’t get me wrong, if you want to be princess for a day, and blow a huge wad of money on it, and let it eclipse almost everything else in your life, then fine, but let’s be honest about that up front, shall we?

If you sincerely don’t want to go that route, and I suspect than many don’t want to go that route, then it’s about establishing a firm sense of control from day one. If you want to have a reasonable cost, low maintenance, and overall fun and creative wedding, then you have to imagine telling anyone and everyone you know that magic word: no.

“But you’ve simply got to have centerpieces at your reception!”, someone will say. And the answer is “no we don’t”. “But you’ll regret it if you don’t have an engraved sterling silver cake cutter”, is something I was actually told in preparation for my own wedding. “No, I don’t believe I will, and I think you may want to have the building checked for a gas leak, because you appear to have inhaled fumes of some kind” was the response.

Indeed, the spiritual planning is in direct contradiction with all the physical planning. What happens if you set a date, and then realize you’re just not ready? Do you call everyone you know and tell them to reschedule, lose the deposit you put down on the location, and have to explain to everyone the reasons why? 

Nope. You’ll do what most people do, they just get married and figure it out later, because the wedding is driving the bus at that point. Sure, you could plan your wedding far in advance, but then you’ll realize at some point you’re ready to be married, and do all the fun naked bits, and start a life together, but you can’t, because, you guessed it, the wedding date.

The alternative is to get engaged, refuse to set a date, wait until you know you’re ready to get married, then see how quickly you can plan and execute a wedding. My right hand man in our ministry, Jed Brewer, did just that, and it was as wedding-y a wedding as you could possibly ask for, and they loved how it came out. Nevertheless, you have to figure out what fits your needs.

Meanwhile here are three big goals for your wedding prep: 

Sit down and imagine how fun this day will be. It’ll be hugely important symbolically for sure, but it’s just a day, and it’ll go by in a blur. Half of it you’ll be standing stock still while someone takes your picture. More than one thing will go fully wrong. So, now, put all that fun on one side of the scale, and put all the planning, preparing, coordinating, and managing egos on the other side. If the wedding planning delivers more misery than the wedding day can deliver in happiness, then the wedding prep is a failure.

Work on finances. You mentioned that money is a weakness for you both, and I’d strongly recommend to every engaged couple that they go over every detail of their finances. That includes: How are we going to manage our household budget? How much credit are we willing to carry? Who pays the bills? How much money do we each get to spend on fun stuff? And so on. 

Talk about sex. When your wedding date gets closer, you’ll want to cover all the ground you can on this subject. Turn-ons, turn-offs, stuff you’d like to try, fantasies, hangups, anything, everything. Your goal is to get your mind ready for the fact that all this sexy stuff is about to be TOTALLY legal, as long as it stays between the two of you, and you both consent. 

"Nothing in all the world is as desirable as God’s love, and yet it’s so rarely received. How lonely God must be, to love us as He does, only to watch us deny ourselves that love until we think we’ve earned it. God already said that every holy instruction could be summed up in this: love me back."

- Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)

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Anonymous asked: Hey Unka! So I really like one of my guy friends, but he’s not saved. He believes in God, but he doesn’t have a relationship with God, so I haven’t tried to tell him I like him. I hope one day he’ll come to Christ, but it seems selfish to want him to build a relationship with God so we could might be together. I pray for him like I do for all my friends. I don’t want to keep stringing myself along emotionally so think I should focus on God, and the right guy will come?

Unka Glen answered: Yes. 

(You know you’re on the right track when all you need is a confirmation on what you’re pretty sure is the right thing.) It isn’t not selfish at all to want cute guys to come to know Jesus, it’s just that the salvation is more important than the date-ability.

In truth, you’ll want to look for a guy who is close enough to where you are in your walk that you can both be an encouragement and a challenge to one another. And you’re right to be focused on moving on. Getting wound up in wanting something that you know wouldn’t be great if you had it, really doesn’t make sense. Life is hard enough without all that.

 asked: Hi Unka Glen! I just started following your blog, and I really like it. I have kind of an issue with drugs and alcohol. I’m 20 right now, and after a binge for a week, I had to stop and dry out. Now I’m trying to stay clean, but I’m sort of worried about when I turn 21, and alcohol is easier to get. Wanted to get advice if I could. [edited for length] 

Unka Glen answered: In truth, most people start drugs and alcohol because they’re bored.

So, as a counter example, when I was in high school, the McDonalds across from the Johnson Space Center had a huge statue of Ronald McDonald in their little outdoor play area. So my buddies and I who were graduating, thought it would be a very nice idea to remove it, despite it being located across from a very secure government location, and place it in our youth pastor’s yard.

So I’m at my first week of college and I’m listening to a radio news report about a pastor who became a local hero for returning a missing Ronald McDonald statue, when my new roommate invites me to a party that promises to be “wild”.

After ten minutes at the party, I shared the following with my new roommate: ”if you think sipping skunky beer out of little red plastic cups is in any way “wild”, you have led a truly sad life my friend. I just tried to talk to an actual woman over the noise in here, and the sound of some fool yelling “party” every few minutes, and neither of us could make out what the other one is saying. You need to know that this is boring, and that I can have more fun by accident than you people have on purpose.”

Now, boredom is usually why people start with drugs and alcohol, but they binge and stay addicted to them, because they’re looking to be numb. Imagine you had a big, giant, gaping head wound. Like we could see your brain pulsing and stuff. 

Then imagine that I said, here, drink this, you won’t feel a thing. This would be a good and welcome help. If however you started walking around with your head wound and telling everything is fine because you don’t feel a thing, then that would be sad, weird, irresponsible, and kind of embarrassing. And it really wouldn’t be “wild” at all.

If you learn to have clean (and hopefully semi-legal) fun, and face your pain with God’s help, then drugs and alcohol will have no appeal.

 asked: Hey Unka! At college, I found a small and intimate church, and it felt like home. After graduating, I started going with my friends to their large church. But after attending for several months, it still doesn’t feel like I’m home. The teaching is good, but I feel like a number, not a person. I really want to build community, and I feel like there’s not a place for me. I am frustrated after every service because I don’t feel known or truly cared about. Is it selfish of me to explore other churches in my area that are smaller and fit me better? Sometimes I hear that “church shopping” is wrong.

Unka Glen answered: I hear this same exact thing about large churches A LOT. I mean, a whole lot. In the end, it’s a very simple equation, once a church reaches a certain size, there are things they simply can’t deliver. The size itself, and indeed the way it has grown, prevents it from being able to provide the kind of intimacy you’ve become used to.

For that reason, it isn’t fair to expect large churches to deliver in certain areas. You don’t go to McDonalds and get mad because they won’t serve you a fine Porterhouse steak. You aren’t in any way wrong or selfish to expect to have a warm and personal sense of intimacy in your Christian community, it’s just unfair to expect it where you know that the size, or the setup, simply prevents it from happening. 

And let’s dismiss another thing about church life: waiting and expecting it to change. Part of my job is working with pastors, and if there’s one great lesson I’ve learned about church life, it’s that the worst cuss word you can use in church is CHANGE. 

Is church shopping wrong? Well, imagine God saying this to you:

“My child, I desperately desire that you stay in this church where you have no sense of community or body life, where your spiritual needs are not being met, because it would be very bad if you looked for a new and small and intimate church where they would know you, miss you when you were gone, hold you accountable, cheer your successes, and care for you as an individual. That would be very bad.”

If it sounds silly when I say it out loud, then let’s decide that it here’s nothing to it.

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Anonymous asked: Hey Unka Glen! I’m taking this course of philosophy, and I got into a discussion with my lecturer about determinism, and whether God already knows the sins that we will do. And why does God allow sin in first place? I am more into the Calvinist view, but I would like some more insights please. [edited for length]

Unka Glen answered: By way of illustration, let’s think of it this way:

A man says to himself, I can explain everything. I can make everything fit into my little box that explains it all. I can fit the whole world in this box, and then I can put it on my little shelf. 

So proud he is of the box, the man gives it a name. He calls it “calvinism”, or “determinism”, or some other kind of “ism”.

The man announces to the world, “I have a box here that explains everything!” Debates and bitter disagreements follow, mostly from people who think that their little box explains everything. 

Then someone points out that God, being infinitely vast, and well beyond the comprehension of man, doesn’t really fit entirely into any box.

Dismayed, the man goes home and twists and turns his mind around, trying to get God to fit into his box. Eventually the man’s dog sees the man’s distress, and the dog lays his head on his master’s lap. 

The man looks down at his dog without ever realizing the truth: that on this side of eternity, the dog understands more about his master’s world, than the man will ever hope to understand about God’s world.