The Internet's favorite Unkle.

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 asked: I’ve always believed that the Gospel is an invitation to life, and shouldn’t be shoved down people’s throats, and that God is big enough to touch the hearts of rebellious people. But as I read Ezekiel 3:16-21, God made Ezekiel responsible of people’s deaths, if he fails to deliver the warning of death. Is it the same for us? I know that God’s grace invites us to the table, but sometimes it looks more like a warning of death. Is this just a perspective thing? [edited for length]

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Unka Glen answered: It is a perspective thing, and you’re showing your wisdom by making that assumption. This is of course no surprise, as my followers are the smartest and best looking people on the interwebs. So let’s look at this thing.

Imagine a friend of yours has wandered onto a set of train tracks, and you can see behind her that a train is coming at full speed down the track. Well, the only right response is yell at the top of your lungs for her to get her narrow butt off the tracks…NOW!

Now imagine a friend of yours has decided to start smoking, and is holding a lit cigarette in her hand. In that case, it would make sense to say something like, “I know how much you’re looking forward to surrendering a big portion of your money to another giant aching need that you want to create for yourself, as you coat your lungs with soot, turn your teeth a yellowish brown, fry your taste buds, and make your breath smell like an old ashtray, but maybe this isn’t the best choice for you.”

Now imagine using the opposite approach for each situation. You could explain the many ways in which being hit by a moving train would damage one’s physical health, but before you got to the end of your speech, the results would already be happening. Likewise, if I go to someone starting a smoking habit, and I start yelling about cancer at the top of my lungs, people will reject my message because they know I could have been cool and smart about it, but instead I’m purposely freaking out and trying to have my way.

Christians have a way of saying to themselves: if I’m right in what I’m saying, it doesn’t matter how I say it. NOT TRUE. I can say something that’s true, but say it in a way that points to an untruth. I can say “Accept Jesus now, if you don’t want to go to Hell!”, and those words may be true in a certain theological sense, but by saying it that way, I’d be making it sound like God doesn’t want to save you, and that is a HUGE lie.

Context matters. When communicating the Gospel we need to know what people are going through, and how desperate the situation is. In Ezekiel’s case, his warning was something they really needed to hear, loud and clear, right now. In your case, it’ll be very rare to find yourself in an “emergency” witnessing situation. 

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Ephesians 2:19 says we are God’s “oikeioi”.

Oikos refers to a house, so oikeioi means “those of the house”.

The Bible is saying that we are God’s housemates.

thebridgechicago:

Episode 114 of Say That is up!
What does “fake it ‘til you make it” actually mean? What should you focus on when starting ministry? How do you lovingly disagree with people?
Get it Free on iTunes or our Website

thebridgechicago:

Episode 114 of Say That is up!

What does “fake it ‘til you make it” actually mean? What should you focus on when starting ministry? How do you lovingly disagree with people?

Get it Free on iTunes or our Website

Source: thebridgechicago

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Anonymous asked: Unka Glen! I think I’ve put my older brother on a high pedestal; so whenever I get disappointed in his actions, I feel massive betrayal, like I’m being stabbed by hundreds of people all at the same time. Ever since he got a girlfriend, he’s in a downward spiral. Yesterday, he did something so immature that I lost all hope and realized that that was my last straw. Is it bad that I was expecting too much? [edited for length]

Unka Glen answered: Okay pump your brakes there Snickerdoodle, “stabbed by hundreds of people”…we’re getting into some Oscar-worthy territory there. I mean obviously you hate to see your brother get caught up in anything self-destructive, and you wish you could help him see how bad this is for him. But we’ve got to make some room to let people learn things the hard way without freaking out. Yes?

Imagine I put you in a time machine and took you 5 years into the future (and no, it wouldn’t be in a blue police box, it would be something cooler, like… something else… anyway swoosh, we’re in the future). 

The first thing you see is your brother, and he looks totally different, and you ask him how he’s doing, and he says, “well, after I had that disastrous dating experience, and things finally ended there, I realized I had a lot of thinking to do, and that I was raised better than I was acting. I got back into church, and met an amazing woman there, and we’re getting married in a month, and you’re the maid of honor, and you designed all the dresses, because you have amazing taste!”

Then I take you back to today (even though you wanted to stay and see how the dresses turned out, but I tell you to stay focused). So now how do you feel about his situation? Well, on one hand, you still feel bad that he’s taking the long hard road to learn this lesson, but on the other hand, we know he’ll learn the heck out of that lesson, and we can trust that he’ll eventually come back to his good upbringing.

The real problem is that we want this thing fixed NOW. Forget about any lessons learned, forget about having to repeat any mistakes in the future because you didn’t really figure things out this time around, just submit to the family pressure, and make us feel better about things, even if you resent us for pressuring you into ending something that you thought had a chance.

When you stop to consider how patient God is with your mistakes, it’s a lot easier to be patient with the mistakes of others.

Instead, why not use your own mental time machine, and see for yourself how this will play out. That way when this whole situation crashes and burns the way you can see it will, you can be prepared… standing next to the wreckage and with a cup of tea, and a smile, saying, “oh dear me, would you like some help with that?”

Don’t fall prey to the thinking that you only have one chance to get things right. A certain amount of failure is good for you. It keeps you humble, and you learn a lot (if you pay attention). 

When God is involved, setbacks can ALWAYS be turned into comebacks.

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 asked: Unka! I hear a lot (especially on Tumblr) about verses being taken out of context. I understand when it comes to cultural laws and ways of the Old Testament, but I’ve also heard people say that verses like Jeremiah 29:11 are often quoted but out of context. Do these things apply to modern day Christians, or are they promises meant solely for the Israelites?

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Unka Glen answered: Ah Christians, so good at telling you when you’ve got it wrong, so bad at telling you how to get it right. So let’s roll up our sleeves and figure this thing out. And to do that, we’ll need to visit… The Bible Nerdatorium! 

Okay, first of all, you’re right, Jesus did establish a new covenant with us (a covenant is just an agreement with a promise). The old covenant was to live according to the Law of Moses. But when Jesus came, He said, (at the Passover meal just before He was arrested) “This cup is the NEW covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).

Later in the New Testament, Paul goes on to quote, of all things, a prophecy of Jeremiah (see what I did there?): “‘I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”, then Paul adds, “By calling this covenant ‘new’, God has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”

So that’s the whole Old Testament versus New Testament thing, and now you’re saying “ah, I see, so I can just tear my Old Testament out of my Bible and disregard it, because that covenant is obsolete!”

Not so fast Moon Pie.

Context is about figuring out how to rightly apply the Word, not for dismissing it. So, in this case, the context is that you’ve got the people of Jerusalem who have been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. All this was happening because the people of Jerusalem had messed up, they had been told to stop messing up, and they just kept messing up anyway. 

Then the passage in Jeremiah 29 reads: “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity”

You can’t throw that verse out just because you aren’t in danger of being kidnapped by the King of Babylon. But what we can do is ask ourselves: have I ever, or will I ever, ignore an instruction from the Lord and go my own way?

If so, this verse tells me that God’s heart will have the same attitude towards me, that He had towards those wayward Jerusalemites (Jerusalomians? Jerusaricans?): He desires to bless me despite my messing up, and that if I look for Him in the mess I’ve made for myself, I will find Him and His loving, forgiving, and restoring heart.

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"We’re overwhelmed at times with the expectations we think God has of us. But think about it, Jesus said all scripture was summed up in simply loving Him back, because if you love Him, you’ll end up following Him. If you follow Him, you’ll end up obeying Him. Don’t be distracted by your own lofty and unrealistic expectations, just love Him back like He asked."

- Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)

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Anonymous asked: My husband and I have been married for 2 years. I am saved and he is not. He feels that being a believer was pushed on him from youth and is resentful about it. I have extreme social anxiety and have a hard time meeting people. I don’t have a church or nearby family… When an argument arises, my husband voices his hurt with an “if you don’t like something in our marriage, divorce me” mentality. Despite my efforts, he feels attacked and shuts down, refusing to listen. Please advise.

Unka Glen answered: I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, and I’m sorry for your struggles with it. Let’s face it, this isn’t something you can put up with forever. Having good quality fellowship is essential to your walk, and it’s important just for basic mental health.

The best way to get over an anxiety of meeting people is to start meeting people, and to keep meeting people until you don’t have any more anxiety. That is, giving in to anxiety FEEDS anxiety and makes it stronger. And since you need to make personal connections to strengthen your walk anyway, it’s time to find some fellowship.

Your husband’s position in this situation needs to be understood as well. On one hand, it’s unreasonable to say “if you don’t like something, divorce me”, because everyone in a marriage relationship knows they’re meant to improve and learn and grow and change for the better. 

But on the other hand, if you knew he was unsaved when you married him, and that he had religion pushed on him as a kid, and you’re, well, maybe not pushing this on him, but urgently insisting that he go with you to church because you have anxiety about going alone, then you can kind of see his point. 

The famous baseball coach Tommy Lasorda used to gather his players at the beginning of every season and tell them the same thing: “if we fight among ourselves, then it’s like a tug-of-war, we’ll pull against each other and get nowhere. But if we all pull together, it doesn’t matter who picks up the other end of that rope, we’re gonna win.”

What we have here is a need for everyone to get on the same end of the rope. Let’s try to figure out what we can all agree on. Having a spiritual life is a good thing, having it forced on you or suddenly required of you is not a good thing. He should pursue a spiritual journey that fits him, and you should make your spiritual needs your priority, not his. And so on.

If we pull together, we might just find ourselves on the same page and heading in the same direction. Hopefully his attitude will change dramatically once you adopt a more cooperative attitude. So often people are pulling on their end of the rope simply because someone else is pulling on the other end. 

"Giving your life to God is not about doing certain things to the extreme. It is about giving up control of all areas of your life- relationships, possessions, plans, hopes, dreams, fears, all of it- to God."

-

Unka Glen Fitzjerrell on episode 113 of Say That 

Get it Free on iTunes or our Website

(via thebridgechicago)

Source: thebridgechicago

thebridgechicago:

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

-Deuteronomy 31:6

Let this poolhouse guru track use pounding drums and a soaring orchestra to plan these words in your heart and mind.

The only place you will find stuff like this to strengthen your walk is BridgeBox. Only $8/month.

Source: thebridgechicago

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 asked: Hey Unk! So I kinda have an interest in this guy and we get along so well… But he’s a Norse pagan! Like he doesn’t do wizard stuff, but he has done tarot and palm reading things. I want to reach out to him and help him see Christ, but how do I keep my feelings out of it?

Unka Glen answered: Must not make a Thor joke. Do NOT make a Thor joke. C’mon Glen, you’re better than this. This is a nice young lady and she has a serious concern, and she doesn’t need to hear your stupid Thor joke. Okay, deep breath…you can do this. 

Well, yes, it certainly sounds like you’re dealing with a tough situation, I hope we can… hammer out a solution! Huh? Am I right?

…I’m not a good person.

Anyway, I think you have two problems here. The first is the paganism and tarot cards and whatnot. Now here’s the thing, if people want to say that they are devoted to some sort of spiritual path in a very real and sincere way, well, who am I to question that?

However, I’m wondering if a significant amount of people, like this guy, turn away from Christianity like it’s an outer garment that they wouldn’t want to be seen wearing. I’m not talking about the teachings of Jesus, I mean, who really has a serious problem with Jesus and what He had to say?

As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” 

Maybe the appeal of paganism is that it seems mystical, yet earthy and real. Maybe people are looking for that spark of the fantastic and supernatural. But doesn’t a down-to-earth, miracle working, and supernatural power wielding Jesus at least compete with the likes of Gandalf, Dumbledore, and Yoda… or Odin, if that’s your thing?

Your guy may be turned off by dry, up-tight, check-me-out-I’m-better-than-you Christian social circles (and who could blame him), but you’re not selling him on other Christians, you’re selling him on Christ. Let him maybe discover Christ as a wise mystic with magical powers, pointing to a whole new life on a different plane of existence, one outside of time and space.

The second problem is is more simple, it’s that age old problem of trying to witness and date someone simultaneously that never really works, and often ends in disaster. Find a male friend who can maybe do some witnessing to your guy, and meanwhile keep your eyes open for someone who has all these great qualities AND who shares your faith.

You deserve nothing less.

SERIOUSLY: this is one of the smartest, coolest, and most amazing things I’ve ever heard. Watch it, and then watch it again. So good. 

thebridgechicago:

The things you hear about Jesus become part of the mosaic of things you believe about Him, and yourself, so it is important to be picky about whose voices you listen to.

In this month’s BridgeBox intro video, Jed Brewer breaks that down for us.

Source: thebridgechicago

"Ministry begins with humility because ministry begins with credibility. If you’re not credible, if people don’t seen you as a man or woman of God, then you’re not ministering to anybody."

Source: intricatelysimple

Say That 113 is up!
What does Jesus want me to do with my money? How do I cope with the sexual frustration of being a single Christian? I disagree with what my youth pastor is preaching, how do I tell them that?
Get it Free on iTunes or or our Website

Say That 113 is up!

What does Jesus want me to do with my money? How do I cope with the sexual frustration of being a single Christian? I disagree with what my youth pastor is preaching, how do I tell them that?

Get it Free on iTunes or or our Website

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Source: thebridgechicago

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Anonymous asked: So I met a guy online and we have been talking for a little over a month. He is a godly man and has all of the qualities that I am looking for in a boyfriend and/or husband. However, he lives 3.5 hours away which is too long for a day trip to just meet up. We had talked about him spending the night at my apartment and sleeping on the couch but he felt that was wrong, so we still haven’t met. But he wants to date me (and I, him). What do I do?

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Unka Glen answered: Okay, first of all, let’s give props to your man for looking out for your reputation, and wanting to do things the right way. My man. Well done. 

And he is in fact on the right foot with this one. The biblical principle here is “do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil” Romans (14:16). We’re meant to establish a good reputation and do our best to keep it.

Now, that doesn’t mean acting perfect when everyone knows you aren’t, and it doesn’t mean entertaining every odd assertion from every uptight Christian weirdo who wants to make you feel guilty for something you didn’t do, but it looks to them like you might be doing.

The idea is to do your best to act in such a way that a reasonable, mature, and normal person would be able to see you doing your best to live out your faith. 

But what about this budding romance? We can’t just throw it under the bus because it’s inconvenient! Love overcomes obstacles! It climbs every mountain, swims any ocean. Ya gotta let this guy know, if his arms and legs fell off,  you’d expect him to walk from there to here on his lips baby!

So let’s take this Christian community, and their prying eyes, and turn them from a problem, to the solution. Maybe you know some men from your church or fellowship group that would be willing to let your man crash on their couch for the night. 

This way everyone knows what your intent is, and if they turn you down, you can simply say, “well, he’s gonna sleep in his car outside my place then, and if you doubt it, you an stop by and press your snotty little nose to the window and see for yourself, but I don’t want to hear any funny talk after the fact, considering you weren’t willing to lend a hand!”

Either way, I’m happy for you both, and I know you’ll work out these details and start a big and wild adventure together.

"People often wonder: how do I react to this sin. The Bible says that when sin increases, grace increases all the more. So where we see sin (which is basically everywhere, including in the mirror), our instinct should be to point people towards the grace that’s available. If that’s not your instinct, then it’s not time for you to speak up yet."

- Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)