The Internet's favorite Unkle.

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simply-beloved asked: Unka Glen, I feel spiritual warfare, and today it broke loose. I confronted my brother on a grudge I’ve been holding because of what he did to me, and I haven’t forgiven him after all these years. We finally confronted the issue we were both avoiding. It hurts, and he believes I’m a terrible Christian who knows nothing of forgiveness. [edited for length]

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Unka Glen answered: If you hurt me, don’t pretend that you’re in a position to judge how I deal with that hurt. If you kick me in my shins, and I let out a curse word, don’t imagine for a second that you get to rebuke my cussing, because Buttercup, that ain’t how grown folks do the math. Not by a mile.

We’re assuming that he confessed his mistakes, without excuse, taking full responsibility, and asked for forgiveness. Because if he hasn’t done that, then he doesn’t have a reason to expect any forgiveness. He can’t say, “you’re a bad Christian because you refuse to forgive me for the thing I never did.” I mean, where’s the logic in that?

So, if this is a situation where he admitted everything, took full responsibility, and asked for your forgiveness, knowing he has no right to expect it from you, and assuming that this is something that you’ve let fester over time, and you haven’t forgiven him, then yes, you’re looking at a fairly unrighteous reaction on your part.

It’s understandable, but still, not the most holy option. However, those assumptions don’t hold because, apparently, he thinks you’re a terrible Christian for holding a grudge.

If you’re trying to make ME feel guilty when YOU did something wrong, then you aren’t taking responsibility, and if you’re not taking responsibility, you have no reason to expect forgiveness from anyone, Christian or otherwise.

This is blame-shifting. You abuse me, then you point to my subsequent reaction, to justify the abuse that happened in the first place.

When I lay it out like that, it seems crazy to accept something so obviously manipulative. But when we’re already using guilt as a way of managing our walk with the Lord (which is a SUPER bad idea), then we become vulnerable to anyone else who wants to come along and lay a guilt trip on us.

Having said all that, the right thing for you, is to forgive your brother. It’s time to release the pain and the heartache. You were forgiven in a way you didn’t at all deserve, and God expects you to forgive in the exact same way. Do this, and you will be more free, more happy, and more peaceful, and I want that for you.

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Fear writes its own gospel. It replaces the true gospel message, one that brings courage and passion and boldness, with a false and ugly gospel of worry, where I’m found cringing in my lack of accomplishment, and my ongoing sins. Fear opens the door to lies and makes me easy to manipulate. 

Guilt writes its own gospel. It teaches us the absurd lie that our bad behavior changes God’s mind about us. Guilt teaches us to “pay” for our own sins by beating up on ourselves, thus ignoring the need for a Savior. It teaches us that it’s not God’s love that binds our relationship together, it’s my behavior. But the true gospel teaches us: if it’s paid for, put it behind you.

Shame writes it’s own gospel. It preaches the lie that you are what you’ve done, therefore, you can’t escape your past. The one true gospel says that I am who loves me, and that God loves me in a way that is too deep and wide and tall for me to comprehend. Fear, guilt, and shame open the door to the enemy’s main lie: you are not worthy.

So let’s dismiss these shabby, disgusting, and religious-sounding fake gospels, and return to the real gospel: I am a sinner saved by grace. I didn’t earn it, I never was worthy of it, I’m saved because God is in charge, and that’s exactly how God wanted it to be. And, it turns out, I’m exactly the kind of scoundrel who will accept eternal life in paradise without deserving it in the least. 

So now my focus needs to be on my savior, not on the sins He’s already paid for. My focus needs to be on the good he is calling me to, not the sin He is calling me from.

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Anonymous asked: I’m currently leading as a cell leader, but my sexual sins still haunt me. Will this haunt me for all the days of my life? I’m going to start theology school pretty soon (part time, but still), and it breaks me, spiritually and mentally. Love your aid, and thank you for lending a listening ear when I have no one else around me. [edited for length]

Unka Glen answered: I thank you for that compliment at the end, but in truth, I think it reveals a part of the underlying problem here. If you had two or three buddies who are working on the same thing you are, with lust/sexual issues, and you could talk to them, then this whole problem would have a very different look to it. 

Many, many years ago, I had a regular penny poker night at my swingin’ bachelor pad. All of these guys were in either full-time ministry, or volunteering while training to go full-time. One night, in a tone of voice that was strained and upset, one of the guys said, “well fellas, I’ve been whacking it again.”

As silence settled over the table, another one of the guys folded his hand, took a long pull on his cold beer, and said, “shoot, if my hand was made of sandpaper, I’d be a woman by now.” We erupted in laughter. The player to his right, a prominent Presbyterian pastor today, admitted that he had left his jock itch untreated, just so he would have an excuse to be scratching around in that area.

Disgusting, yes, I shan’t deny it. 

But laughing in the face of the enemy who was laying down that temptation, instead of wallowing in guilt, turned out to be a FAR more effective solution. After the laughter died down, we started talking about what had worked for us on fighting temptation in the past, and how we could watch each other’s backs in the future. 

The peace that comes from knowing that you’re not alone, that’s beyond price. Fellowship is every bit as important as worship, and Bible study, and prayer, and all the rest. I have my inner circle, and I tell them everything. Without that fellowship, I would be backsliding in in a matter of weeks.

Will the temptation always be there? Yes. Will you get stronger and stronger until one day that temptation can be more easily swatted aside? Yes, if you keep working at it. But here’s what you’re really wondering about: will I ever reach a level where I’ll be too holy and sanctified to feel tempted? …NOPE, you won’t. 

On the contrary, the point of my poker night story is that the growth and the healing began when humility entered the picture. 

As the old saying goes, “every great revival starts with a confession.”

"People-pleasing leads to a life where you’re never succeeding. You jump through all those hoops to get people to like you, but you know what’s waiting for you on the other side? More hoops. Focus on what God wants the focus on, as Proverbs 16:7 says, ‘when a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.’"

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Unka Glen Fitzjerrell on episode 132 of Say That

Get it Free on iTunes or our Website

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(via thebridgechicago)

(via polarjelly)

Source: thebridgechicago

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thunderpopcola writes:

Think of hand-written letters—sweet, honest words carefully composed in the wee hours of the morning—secretly placed inside your sweater, for the quick, but altogether gratifying smile on your face. 

Think of the seemingly insignificant things that still find purpose, that still find a home even when it is abandoned. Its memory persists to live even when it is but a wallflower. Decaying flowers turned into potpourri. Old, damaged photographs, restored and turned into art. Clothing gathering dust, embracing someone on a frigid night. How much more you, darling? Feel the pulse in your veins, and tell me that you have not made it this far for no reason at all.

Think of joy in the form of a soul that may live inside of you, that you would love so much more than life itself. Think of the first time you would hear the high-pitched laughter, filled with bliss and contentment, caused by your very presence. Think of the first time you would feel its tiny fingers clasp yours, making sure of you, needing nothing else but you. 

Think of all the honest moments you would get to spend with the people you love most, not being able to distinguish between night and day. Whispering secrets you have kept for so long, hoping the right people would come along to listen, and love you more for your weakness. Crying tears of happiness when all lights are out, and you can only hear your heart beating, knowing that you have found them and they have found you.

Think of all the stories you alone were meant to tell, all the images you alone can visualize, all the melodies you alone can sing.

Think of all the people you are about to leave: your mother who cried the first time she saw your face, your preschool teacher who was the first person who made you feel like stars were gold and you had earned the right to be proud of yourself, your best friend who made you believe that people can stay, your first love who will never have you completely erased from his memory and your last love who hopes to create more memories with you. 

You are here, and be proud of it. To live is the most courageous thing a person can ever do. Tomorrow will be kinder, please wait. 

Source: thunderpopcola

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On a recent trip to Toronto, I was getting some coffee, when I was mobbed by literally a fan of the podcast

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Pretty scary stuff, as you can see.

But after we got seated and started talking, it turned out that Josh is not just a certified Say That SUPERFAN, he’s got a lot going on his own self, with touring all over and working with churches and making things happen. Very cool.

It was awesome meeting him, like hanging out with an old friend. I’m sure our paths will cross again someday… and I really look forward to it. 

Then this happened:

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Mobbed again! And this mob was TWICE as big as the first mob! At this rate, things are getting out of control.

As you can see, we had a very serious meeting, Sarah, Cathy and I. We did some awesome sharing of feelings (Cat won sharing, she crushed it), and did lots of laughing too. This is what it’s like to sit down with God’s secret weapons! What a joy to be any tiny part of their amazing journey. The best is yet to come with these two.

And yes, they’re Filipinas, and yes I met them in Canada too. You know what America? Get nervous, it’s about time I started saving for a ticket to Manila.

I’ll let Sarah, Josh, and Cat (if they’d like) reblog this post, with a note that includes their own blog info, etc., that way you can follow them, as you should, because they’re all next-level cool.

And… listen to the latest Say That here

"Some Christians get so caught up in spending all their time and energy worrying about not doing wrong things, that they never get around to actually doing any right things. Focus on what God wants you to do, and the things He doesn’t want you to do will start to fall away."

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Unka Glen Fitzjerrell on episode 126 of Say That

Get it Free on iTunes or our Website

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(via thebridgechicago)

Source: thebridgechicago

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Anonymous asked: Hello Unka! I was wondering if you could help me explain to my friends at uni why I’m choosing not to have sex before marriage? Not being able to explain it to them, is also making me question why I follow this myself!

Unka Glen answered: Well, there are only three possible reasons why a dude like you would choose to not have sex, and the first two are a bit unlikely. 

No Sex Reason #1: Maybe you’re afraid of the vuh-jay-jay (to use a medical term…just sayin’). Maybe all you know is porn, and since you’re in control of that, and it doesn’t judge you, and it’s always in the mood, then why not give in to your performance anxieties?

No Sex Reason #2 You’re saving it because you (wrongly) think saving it makes it good. Nothing about repressing desires causes sex to work well after marriage. The only thing that will cause you to have good sex is: an intimate and vulnerable relationship (as in marriage), good confrontation skills, and honest and open communication.

If you ask me to list the three main weaknesses I see in young unmarried people in the church, that would be: lack of vulnerability, fear of confrontation, and and poor communication, where “niceness” and politeness are valued over honesty. But I sense that you knew all that already.

No Sex Reason #3 You trust God. What everyone that’s had sex knows, is that there is simply no real way to separate the physical act of love from the emotional bonds of intimacy and vulnerability it creates. Otherwise sex would be like getting a back rub or something.

In the end, if you’re having sex with someone what you’re not ready to be vulnerable and intimate with, it quickly becomes something kind of sad and out of order. Look at all those (secular) movies about “friends with benefits”, they all say the same thing: over the long haul, it just doesn’t work.

So if we can’t make sex into some kind of meaningless fun, and knowing we’d make it less enjoyable if we did, then why not consider that maybe God knows what He’s talking about with sex?

God wants us to go on a journey to discover our sexual selves. To start slow and enjoy all the little pleasures along the way. To savor every rich moment. From holding hands in a scary movie, to a kiss on the cheek at the end of the night, and so on.

Much as we’d like to run headlong into all that fun, maybe God is right, that we’d enjoy it all so much more if we took our time and discovered all these little physical pleasures, over the very long haul, at the right point in each relationship.

"The father did not receive the prodigal son as a hired servant. He didn’t even listen to the son give the speech about coming back as a servant. The father welcomed the son back fully, as his son. Jesus told the story to say that God feels the same way about you when you mess up. He isn’t going to let you settle for second best and beating yourself up. He welcomes you fully as his child. No speech, no probation, just a party."

- Unka Glen Fitzjerrell in his sermon from this week’s Bridge Podcast. (via thebridgechicago)
Source: thebridgechicago

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Anonymous asked: I was hoping you could give me some advice? There’s this guy, and we’re really good friends, and we spend a lot of time together at church and uni. But I found out that he likes someone else. I’m trying to get over him, but I see him so often that I can’t avoid him. I love being his friend and I wish I didn’t have all these feelings… He’s really attractive and kind! Do you have any tips on how to get over someone you’ve never dated?

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Unka Glen answered: Well, as Tennyson once said: “’tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” And, as he is quite correct about that, I fear you’re getting the rough end of that equation right about now.

Oh, you know the thing I’m supposed to say, something like “you should let God be your boyfriend, and think of Him, and look for no further attachments and entanglements, do your homework, achieve success, pay your taxes, and eat your vegetables.

But let’s not do that dance. This is a serious and heartbreaking situation, and something serious must be done. And so…

How about fighting for this guy? Hmm? I mean, okay allegedly he likes someone else, but it sounds like you heard about that second-hand. And I don’t know if you can dig it, but it’s possible for one dude to be attracted to more than one gal. Or to be attracted to one this week, and another the next week.

He sounds like he’s worth it, and one thing is for sure, if things didn’t work out, you could rest assured that you did everything you could. Ah, but there’s a reason why every romantic movie you’ve ever seen is about a woman being chased by a man (usually two in fact, one who is Pretty, But All Wrong, and another that is Shy And Polite, But Has Hidden Depths). 

Nobody wants to be the hero that makes the bold romantic gesture, everybody wants to be the one putting in no vulnerability, and yet enjoying all the relationship has to offer. And when you put it like that, it seems like some people hardly deserve to be in the relationships they’re in.

If you’re looking for where God fits into this equation, it’s in all the places He never seems to be allowed any authority or leadership at all. God should be involved in the discernment process of helping us to see who the quality dating partners around you might be. Maybe He’ll show you one quality in one guy, and another quality in some other guy, in order to help you see the kind of man He wants for you.

And God should be our rock, our anchor. Our sense of self and our sense of esteem should come from Him. So we should have no fear of rejection or breakups. As bad as those things can suck, and they can suck all the way at times, but still, it doesn’t strike us at our core. It can’t shake us to our foundations.

As that other great social philosopher W. D. Gretzky once said, “you miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

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"People tell you to love carefully, but there’s no such thing. You can love with good boundaries, and you absolutely should, but true love itself is wild and free and thrilling. Far from being fearful about what we love, we should let love drive us to a place of courage and bold passions."

- Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)

"God doesn’t use worry or anxiety to convey His will, indeed, He tells us to be ‘anxious for nothing’ (Phil. 4:6)."

Source: themudpiesareinbloom

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Anonymous asked: All my friends are talking about a certain mega-church pastor who has been under fire lately. When I heard he was using church funds to buy up copies of his book, so he could say he’s a bestselling author, that was enough for me. But am I wrong to write the guy off because of something like that? [edited for length]

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Unka Glen answered: Well, let’s start with a bit of perspective. Part of my job is visiting and evaluating churches, and working with pastors. It’s a bit like being one of those foodies, like Anthony Bourdain, who travels around to exotic places and finds the most amazing food in the world being served in a little roadside cafe.

Sure, I find lots of churches that are still figuring themselves out, and need major work, but like Bourdain, every now and then I visit a little out of the way place that is just knock-me-off-my-feet good. As such, visiting mega-churches is, as you’d expect, more like going to McDonald’s.

McDonald’s obviously isn’t popular because it’s the best food in the world, it’s popular, like most things in our modern world, because of the advertising and promotion. There’s nothing wrong with that, and Lord knows I’ve had more than my fair share of Big Macs, but it’s worth looking at things that, by contrast, succeed solely on their own merits.

Take, for example, Donald Miller’s book, “Blue Like Jazz”, it’s a fabulous book, and it’s a great book to recommend to a friend who maybe wants to get their faith back on track after falling away a bit. But this book rose up the ranks of the bestseller list despite its lack of promotion.

I had several direct conversations with Christian publishers at the time, and they all said that they were stunned by its success. Without all the hype or promotion dollars that other books had, it did better than the rest simply because it was good.

When something succeeds in this kind of grassroots way, we should take note, and give it much greater gravity. It’s like when a friend with taste tells you that you “just have to check out” a certain place, you (hopefully) give that more consideration than something you’d see on a billboard.

If you get where I’m going, I’m not into this culture of public shaming, and let’s face it, almost all of these scandals are things we basically saw coming. Yet at the same time, I’m very much in favor of holding leaders responsible for the consequences of their actions, and for their bottom line level of pastoral care. 

Forgiveness is mandatory for them, and being responsible for where you go to be spiritually fed is mandatory for you. It’s worth putting in the work, and taking the journey to discover where the quality spiritual food is being served.

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If you’ve sent a message into this blog, and I haven’t responded in any way, then Tumblr has failed to deliver your message to me. I respond in some sort of way to everything that’s sent into this blog. It usually takes me a few days to do so, but if you’ve been waiting longer than a week, please re-send your message, it’s been lost.

I sincerely care about connecting with each and every one of you who writes in.

In particular, it seems as though Tumblr has lost some responses related to my upcoming trip to Toronto. I’m meeting up with any of you in Toronto that would like to hang out, so if you haven’t heard back from me, assume that your message was lost.

We’re planning to meet up tomorrow, Thursday the 21st, or Friday the 22nd. You can try messaging me again, or you can click the icon at the top of my page to follow me on Twitter, and message me there.

In totally unrelated news, but while I’ve got you on the line… To my beloved Filipino followers, this week we had our first Filipino pastor preach at our Bridge service designed for ex-cons, addicts, and gang members.

Pastor Raul Fermin preached the word and blew the doors off the place! That’s not an easy thing to do in that room, let me tell you. One of the guys even recorded a video of the sermon on his phone, so he could re-play it later for his friends! We can’t wait to have him back.

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"Sometimes, in order for God to get you on His plan, He has to ruin your plan. And that’s a blessing. If your plan worked you’d be stuck settling for less."

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Unka Glen Fitzjerrell on episode 131 of Say That

Get it Free on iTunes or our Website

(via thebridgechicago)

Source: thebridgechicago