Are You Foolin’ Around With God?

Are You Foolin’ Around With God?

I love April 1st. It usually means that spring weather is finally here in the Chicago suburbs. It means that the Chicago Cubs are about to start a new season (this really is the year!). Often it’s close to when Spring Break falls in the calendar. And…you get to play some practical jokes on people. I’m not a huge jokester, but I love a good laugh and occasional prank. I won’t get into the details of some of the Judson pranks back in my day, but, let’s just say, I still can’t believe maintenance got all of those chapel pews turned around by Senior Chapel!

One of the areas of my life that I am learning to not mess around with is my relationship with God. I have to admit that there were some times during my Judson tenure when I was a pretty bold face hypocrite. I was one person in Bible class, in chapel and, at times, another person in other segments of my life. I’d like to think that as a dad, husband and pastor those times are all behind me, but I can’t. Why? Because I am sinful just like you. However, I can say that by God’s grace those times of hypocrisy in my life are minimal compared to my past.

What about you? Who do you claim to be? If there was a jury of your people network, who would you get convicted of being? Being in the church world for almost 30 years now, I still am amazed (in a frustrating sense) of how way too many Christ-followers live. They come to church, maybe even read their Bibles a little, maybe serve a little and then live the majority of their lives no differently than their unbelieving friends. Gossip? No problem. Excessive drinking? No problem. Having the mouth of a sailor? No problem. Sleeping with a boyfriend, girlfriend or having an affair? No problem. Looking at porn? No problem. Getting completely caught up in materialism? No problem. While the sins themselves are a problem, the bigger problem is that people don’t see those actions as sins or as a problem in and of themselves.

Here’s what Jesus said about foolin’ around with Him and your faith in Revelation 3, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” Friends, that’s my prayer for you as well. If you’re hot for Christ – keep going – way to go! Keep working out your faith with fear and trembling and minimizing the foolishness day by day. If you’re cold, realize that the next part of Revelation 3 is when Jesus says He’s going to spit you out of His mouth. We don’t need to get into the theology of what that means right now. Just know that it’s not good. He wants all of us – every part – all of the time!

Use this season of April foolishness to drive us to the season of spring – new life and new beginnings!

-Eric Rojas, Class of 1990, Executive Pastor at Christ Community Church in St. Charles, IL

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Yep, It’s Thanksgiving!

Like everything else you’re going to read this month, this blog has a theme of thankfulness. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very thankful person in general. That’s probably my problem. I see people, even good Christian people, that put on their thankful airs at Thanksgiving but that are crodgity, unthankful people the rest of the year. Yep, it’s thanksgiving – so what? Here’s my so what for this year – an encouragement to make a difference. If you’re a thankful person already, be more thankful! If you lean more toward the crodgity camp, then break out of it and be more thankful BEGINNING this Thanksgiving and have it continue for the rest of the year and the rest of your life.

We all have different circumstances in our lives. I remember at Judson that there were two professors for a core class I was signed up for. There was one prof I loved (I’m disguising the names and classes to protect the innocent) and there was one prof that really, really annoyed me. When I found out that I got the latter of the profs I was ticked off. I remember spouting off about it to some of my friends. One of the friends then decided to taunt me with the fact that they had been assigned the good prof for that class. Ok, so that is a juvenile example of life from 20+ years ago. However, the point is valid. Instead of being thankful for health, the ability to go to a great college, having awesome friends and many wonderful professors and mentors, I chose to be ungrateful. Thankfulness and being grateful is a choice.

Life may really stink for you right now. I get that. However, I can guarantee you that if you take a thankful approach to life, your life’s perspective will improve even if your circumstances don’t. I have a friend that is wheelchair bound. She will never walk again due to an accident and compounding disease. However, if you talked with her you would never know it. She has been able to do great things in life not only despite her circumstances but because of her circumstances. That can be you, too.

Two Bible verses to encourage us in thankfulness. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Psalm 107:1 tell us what needs to be the focus of our thankfulness when it says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good and his steadfast love endures forever.”

Yep, it’s Thanksgiving. Make a difference this Thanksgiving and, most importantly, for the rest of your life. Do it for God, for yourself and for the people’s lives you impact. That will make this Thanksgiving one to remember and truly be thankful for.