relationships

relationships
29 years coaching experience/ 7 years as a varsity boys' basketball coach, now assisting

Lead Me to The Cross



Don’t Stand Still
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

We have been taught often in the church that we are part of the body of Christ. We are the hands and feet of Jesus; we have been put here to do his work. I have wondered what am I here to do for the Kingdom of God and I have learned that I can usually communicate well. 

Maybe not always, but I can speak and write to relate some ideas to others.

Call it over 20 years of teaching and coaching, but communication is what I do, unless you ask my wife, and dependent on what day it is, she might disagree with my assessment of what I can do effectively.

But what I want to do is to write occasionally on some scripture that I come across that sticks with me, and it happens often. I want to write about that scripture and what it means to me and to us as followers of Jesus. I want to share how God’s word has opened up some new idea or truth to me.

So I am going to write, and speak when I can, and I value your feedback, both positive and negative. With my writing, I will explain my thoughts and work through how the scripture relates to me and my struggles. In doing so, I will often offer a challenge. It will be a challenge for myself, but one that I hope you take upon yourself also.

Because the Bible is full of scripture that starts with “get up”, “go up”, and “take up” meaning we have a faith of action, not of just sitting and listening once a week, though our pastor does a wonderful job.

We are called to do something, to be Christ in an ever increasing sinful world.

So I ask myself; what have I done, what have you done to be an active member of the body of Christ?

I am not questioning you or your faith, I am questioning mine. What have I done today, the last week, the last month to follow 1 Corinthians 12:12?

By writing, I hope this is a way to work to accomplish more.

Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4
Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ



Image result for jesus washes the disciples feet 

Jesus Washed His Disciples’ Feet

After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:5

I like to read. I read my Bible, but I also read books that help with historical and cultural context of the Bible. Recently, I finished a book by John MacArthur called The Upper Room

It explained scripture for what we know as The Last Supper.

While reading, John 13:5 overwhelmed me. (Jesus) began to wash his disciples’ feet… 
MacArthur explains the cultural impact of this scripture. Because people in that area wore sandals, there was water in a bowl used to wash your feet when entering a house. Often, a slave would do it, as no one of worldly worth would wash your feet. It was beneath them to do so.

Yet, as the Disciples argued over positions of power under the new kingdom of Jesus, he got up, walked to the basin, and washed his disciples’ feet. Disciples’…plural. He washed Peter’s feet who would deny Christ three times not soon after. He washed all of the disciple’s feet, all whom would stand by, some running, not speaking for him as he was murdered.

Yet, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet.

Including Judas Iscariot. 

If you believe that Jesus was God incarnate, then Jesus knew what was to happen to him. 

He also knew that all of the disciples would desert him, and one of them would even betray him to his death.

Yet, he washed their feet.

A few years ago, I helped with Samaritan’s Feet at the Final Four in Indianapolis. They provide shoes for young people who need them. But before giving shoes, we take their shoes and socks off, wash their feet, and put oil on them. At first, it was hard to do. I had too much pride. But it became easier and a rewarding action of my life. Could I actually wash someone else’s feet though? It would be hard to do so publicly, and imagine if it were someone you knew had wronged you or will wrong you.

How often do we hold onto some wrong that we cannot let go? Big or small, we have all been wronged and yet we will not let go of that anger or bitterness.

I know I’ve done it and I fight it every day.

Yet, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet.

Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4
Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ


Image result for just as i am

A New ‘Just As I Am”

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

David Crowder, Christian artist, has a song, Come as You Are, and it is the song that I made a joyful noise with often. The power of the lyrics is overwhelming.

No one can out sin the cross, and’s God’s mercy and grace are powerful!

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure

Greater is he that is in the world than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4
Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ




Image result for judgmental

 Plank Eyed Saints

If you read and study the Bible, you know there are many instances in which future events, especially the coming of Jesus and his actions, are foreshadowed or sort of preparing us for the Messiah. I recently finished Jesus’ Family Tree and came across scripture in which Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant.

“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” Matthew 1:19. In Jewish custom, Joseph and Mary were considered married, though the marriage had not yet been consummated. The point is that they had not been together physically and yet, she was pregnant. Jewish law allowed, because of her perceived unfaithfulness, that Mary could be placed before the elders for judgment and stoned to death. But Joseph wanted a quiet divorce. This is before the angel comes to him and tells him the wonderful news about Mary and how she became pregnant. So Joseph must have been hurt and may have wanted vengeance or justice, rightful under Jewish law. Yet, he chose mercy or grace.

Compare to the story from John as the Pharisees test Jesus and the adulterous woman. “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:3-7

Of course, Jesus was both God and human on this earth, but Jesus showed mercy or grace to a woman caught in adultery. Though Mary and this woman are not the same, the perception of the Hebrews of both would have been equal for the elders and both would be seen as adulterous women who could be stoned under Jewish law. Yet Joseph and Jesus (of course) showed mercy or grace.

We are faced many times throughout life with people who deserve to be stoned, yet how do we react? Do we throw those stones? Or do we think about the log in our own eye while looking at the speck in other’s eyes? Maybe it’s even a log in their eye, but never forget our eyes stay permanently logged.

If not for the grace of God and his son’s death at Calvary, we would deserve our own stoning.

Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ




Image result for in chains

Sin is…

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. Romans 5:12

The word “sin” has become politically incorrect in today’s post-modern ever increasing secular society. We as Christians are condemned to call anything a sin, it is a mental disorder, an addiction, a choice, a lifestyle and having a psychology minor, I agree with many of these assessments. However, those are often just different words for “sin”.

As a Christian you were baptized and should have stated that you were a sinner and needed Christ to wash away those sins. That’s it for us. We were BORN into sin, live in a sinful world and without acceptance of Christ dying for our sins, we are condemned to Hell.

Does that mean as believers if we continue to sin that we are condemned to Hell? No, but if we know better and continue without searching for help, there will be some type of retribution.

We talk often that God is love, and there should be no doubt in our minds that this is truth. However, we must never forget that God is also wrath, and He will deal out this wrath on judgment day.



What we are called to do as sinners is to repent, live the love of God and bring other sinners into the Kingdom of God. We are not to judge any sin, but love every sinner, and help them, and do as Jesus would do. Tell them there is an answer to this life, and to go and sin no more.

But we must understand that the word sin is an unpopular word and if we use that word, we will be questioned, attacked, mocked, and ridiculed. And it will only get worse until the day of Christ’s Second Coming.

Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4
Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ




Image result for rock bottom

I Found it at Rock Bottom

Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

I was 32 years old when I was baptized at the Borden Church of Christ. Honestly, I did it for two reasons. I was a lukewarm believer which was much better than I had been (an Agnostic-I didn’t know if there was a God or not and was screaming for someone to help me believe), and I loved my future wife Kristi and felt it was important to her.

Exactly, you’re thinking those aren’t the best reasons to be baptized, but it started me on the journey to become a deacon and share my faith on mission trips, in the pulpit, and these writings. Do I believe that God sent Kristi into my life to help lead me to my salvation? There is no doubt about it to me.

I often think about what I put my hope in before Christ. I won’t go into detail, but I put my hope in fleeting things. I put my hope into myself mostly and consistently let myself down. I think back on the person I was before baptism and really before the last five years and wonder if Kristi did the right thing. I don’t think I would want Madison to be within 100 yards of someone like me when she decides to date (which won’t be allowed until she moves out of the house anyway).

But now, my hope is in Jesus Christ. We have hit rock bottom a few times since that faith has been strengthened with just the daily stress and struggle of life, but sister-in-law’s heart and kidney surgeries, my depression after the tornado, and just raising two stubborn-willed children (I will blame Kristi on that one…I have been told over and over that her father bought a book on how to deal with strong-willed children when she was little. Of course, I don’t have a strong will at all).

How often do we rely on “things” to help us through times of despair? And how often do those things let us down or lead us down the wrong path? Rock bottom, unfortunately, is where the answer often lies. Because it is there when we will stop looking around and we start looking up, and ask how do we get out of this? We have many choices then, but to me the only answer is that we get out by looking up and dropping to our knees.

The Lord is our help and shield. I can promise you that relying on God will never let you down. You may not always like the answer to a question and you may not like the outcome of an action, but Jesus is there for you. He is there for you through prayer or by the actions of a follower who is sent at just the right time.

Are we willing to let go and let God? Are we willing to let go of the frustration, the anger or the bitterness of something that has happened to us? Or will we hang onto it, wallowing in it pointing and blaming?

I think of Joshua 25:15 “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." when I think of where I will turn in times of despair. It is easier to say this in times of good than reacting when you hit rock bottom, so be intentional. Make a point to live for the Lord every day, in good times and bad, and not as a fall back, but even if you do use Him as a fall back, He’ll be there waiting because He loves us.

Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ




Image result for jeuss

What Would Jesus Do?

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:21-24

In the story of the Prodigal Son, a son takes his inheritance early and squanders it. He goes home, head down, ready to be scolded and rejected, yet his father takes him and loves him. This story is a parable of God’s love for us. All of us have taken our Father’s gift and squandered it, yet when we realize it and turn to him, he embraces us.

We are quick to read that and love God and be amazed at his love for us, but what about his love for others? Are we quick to see the downfall of others and point out their mistakes and judge them? I don’t mean to do it, but it is the knee-jerk reaction to something we see or hear that we think is wrong.

I often try to think that when someone has fallen through words spoken or actions taken that I have messed up so…many…times myself, so who am I to judge? I am quick to question someone when they claim to be different and that Christ has changed their heart, yet we know it has happened because it has happened to us or to someone we know and love.

I am in constant battle with the love of self and forgetting about Jesus, but when I was on my prison mission trip, or the trip to Muslim dominated Indonesia, or I see coaches being arrested, or people making uninformed comments on social media, I try to remind me that God loves them, too.

It’s easy to think that Jesus loves me, we are taught the song real early, or that God loves my wife, my children or my family and friends, but He also loves the worst of us sinners. He loves us. He wants us to turn to him, and He wants us to live for him.

Those sinners don’t need us to push them away from God, they need us to draw them nearer to him. They need us to wrap them in the best robe, put a ring on their finger and sandals on their feet. They need us to love them as the father loved his returning son, they need us to love them as God loves us.

I fail too much, but I’m trying…I’m trying.

Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ




Image result for scripture is god breathed

What Did Jesus Say About…?

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…

In today’s world, there is a tendency to pick and choose what we’d like to believe from the Bible. In our subjective world, we sometimes decide what we believe is better than what is written in the book that guides our lives.

One of the questions that is asked in many issues is “what did Jesus say about…?” and insert any subject you’d like after the word “about”.  And the argument is that as followers of Jesus, we should do what he did or said. Of course, Jesus didn’t say anything directly about many issues we deal with as Christ followers, but he was the Son of God.

And that is an important part of our belief about Jesus and that he was God on Earth. There are numerous scriptures in which Jesus is called or calls himself many different versions of The Father; that he fulfills scripture in which the Word became flesh; that he is the Son of God; and part of the Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit).

In other words, if you believe that Jesus was God on Earth and that Jesus is part of the Trinity, then Jesus spoke often in The Bible. He spoke in Genesis, he spoke in Leviticus, he spoke in Matthew, he spoke in Romans, he spoke in Revelation, and he spoke every word in every book of the Bible.

So, what did Jesus say about…? Jesus (God) said a lot of things about a lot of things.

Now your decision is to decide do you believe all of the Bible or just parts of it. Once you choose to not believe any part, then what parts do you decide to believe in or not? And are those parts different from what others believe? And finally, why believe any part if it is all open to a subjective world view?

When you choose to give your life to Christ, you become a member of The Church, and your life should be guided by the Bible. There are many things that we will believe that will not be popular with the world and we will be hated as Christ said: John 15:8 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

We’ve already made our choice, now we have to make the tough decisions and take the tough stands according to the current culture we live in. I pray that we continue to stand for Truth, the objective, eternal truth of Jesus Christ.

Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ



                                                 Image result for beautiful day

                        Every Day Isn’t the Greatest Day of Your Life (but it could be)

1 Kings 19:4 “but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said “I have had enough Lord, take my life…”

I am not sure that everyone has ever prayed that they wanted to die, but I am sure that most of us, if not all, have been at the end of our ropes. Even Elijah the Prophet had his moments where he was done with it. We may not have wanted to die (we may have), but we have wanted to quit moving forward or even questioned God’s plan for us.

Who of us has never been so down it could be called depression? We deal with anxiety or panic attacks and often feel that as a believer in Christ, it shouldn’t happen, but it still does. I think it is important to remember Elijah and Job who in Job 7:6-7 says “My days pass, they come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is but a breath, my eye will never again see anything good” when we come to these own moments in our lives.

Elijah and Job’s scriptures do not sound like people who are just “down” or in a bad spot right now. It reads as if they have entered real, legitimate depression.

Maybe you have been victimized by the church or by yourself that you should be a better believer, you should pray harder, etc., but it is important to know that you may be doing exactly what you should be doing. Often, especially here in this country, we are so individualistic that we won’t allow others in, we think we can do it on our own and when it doesn’t work the way we think it should, we begin to doubt ourselves and our faith.

Remember.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust the Lord with all your heart and DO NOT RELY ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING…”

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts….so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Because of our selfish ways in this fallen world, we often pray to God and if our desires are not immediately met, we think there must be a disconnect with God. We believe that he must not be hearing us. There is a disconnect, all right, but it isn’t God not hearing us, it may be us not paying attention to his answer which we may not like.

But in Proverbs and Isaiah, I think we need to pray either differently, or understand that what we think we want or need may not be God’s plan. And that plan will have a purpose for us, it will then be our job to find that purpose. Maybe God’s plan isn’t to remove anxiety or depression, maybe it is for you to turn more fully to him, grow in your faith and share your experience with others so that they may see they are not alone.

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ





Image result for blessed beyond measure

Home of the Supremely Blessed

Romans chapter 16:17-18 “Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people's faith by teaching things that are contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words, they deceive innocent people.”

I have traveled around the world, not literally, but I have been to five continents and have worshipped on all of them. Some countries are so secular, religion is a two times a year event, yet in other countries there is an authentic faith which most of us would not recognize. During these trips I have not only noticed the faith there, but it has put a mirror up to my own in the USA, and here is what I see.

1.    We have a consumer based worship.
2.    We have an ethnocentric superiority faith.
3.    We have an apathetic faith.
4.    We have messed up joy vs. happy

When it comes to worship in the US, we have a mindset of “What have you done for me lately?” or “What do I get out of it?” mentality. We want our worship to be wrapped in a nice hour long package with singing, preaching, and praying. If we go too long, we have to beat the crowd so we do not have to wait in line for lunch. What happened to worshipping the all-powerful God who gave us the gift of salvation? What’s been done for me lately, what do I get out of it? Eternal life with God in heaven and not separation from Him in Hell.

When it comes to our faith, we believe in the superiority of our country (and it is the greatest country in the history of the world) so much that we believe through our wonderful giving, we go and minister to these poor, underdeveloped peoples. It is amazing when I go to these “poor” places that when I return I have a different perspective on my faith. Maybe, just maybe, when I go to minister to them, they are ministering to me.

“Maybe I will get up and go to church, maybe I won’t.” “Maybe I will be involved, maybe I won’t.” “Maybe today I will decide to make my faith be uncomfortable, and maybe I won’t.” We are comfortable in this great country and we make decisions that many others cannot such as what types of food to eat, or what type of house to own. That creates a mentality that we rely on ourselves and by gosh, don’t we deserve one day a week where we get to sleep in? What if Jesus had decided to sleep in on that day at Calvary?

Finally, in our country, we often do not have a Godly definition of happiness. We believe that our happiness comes from what we do, what we have, or what we can afford (or not) and since that feeling is fleeting, we constantly feel the need to fill that hole with the next best thing. Yet, in poorer countries they have a joy we lack because they do not worry about the next best thing, they are just trying to survive the now. They have a relatively permanent feeling of joy vs. our need for happiness…a need that is always just out of our reach for an extended amount of time.

We talk every Sunday how blessed we are, and it is true. By being born in this country, we have hit the economic jackpot. But what do we do with those blessings? With more money and power comes more responsibility. You can give more to show your appreciation for the life God has given you, you can volunteer, you can go on a mission trip, or you can just be here every Sunday with a great attitude.

And that’s what is great about our country. We have the freedom to do what we want and more than likely the resources to do it. But that freedom has been paid for with a price, a huge price. Yes, our soldiers and their commitment, but what about Jesus on the cross for you.

At the least, we owe our time to God, at best, we owe everything!

“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ



Image result for christian worldview

Biblical Conscience

Romans 12:2 “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.”

God has provided us with so many things. Sure, we have many material items, but he has, in The Bible, given us a guide on how to live our lives through His will.

Jesus came to earth and set many examples from blatantly speaking to us in The Sermon on the Mount, to his righteous anger, to how to pray and how to treat others.

Yet, we often feel that we don’t know God’s will for our life or we automatically revert to our selfish, sinful nature without do without reflecting or following our biblical conscience.

We get the big ideas and what we should do when it comes to our families, cheating on exams, drugs and alcohol and other issues. We know the definitive “right” and “wrong” because the Bible tells us so which has affected our conscience. But some of us even struggle with those issues that are clearly spelled out as wrong.

But what about the larger issues?

What about Syrian refugees coming to this country, or voting for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or even a third party candidate? What about defense spending vs. social program spending? What is God’s will?

I don’t know if there is a great answer for this (some think it’s an easy answer and they deal with their own conscience), but I do know that having a biblical worldview (interpreting the world through Jesus’s eyes) will change how you see some of these issues.

So what do we do?

1.    Study God's Word
2.    Spend time in prayer
3.    Seek Godly counsel from a mentor, pastor, parents, or friends
4.    Turn off the news

I think if we are honest, we will see that often what we should do is not about us getting what we think is right, but doing what we know God thinks is right. And that is painful for many of us who have a hard time admitting to our failures or potential wrong beliefs.

I don’t have all the answers, often I feel like I don’t have any of them. But I can tell you that if you do the above four things and follow your biblical conscience, you will do the right thing…or not. And if it doesn’t work out, then you do those four things again and plan your next best action, all within the will of God’s word.

“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ





Image result for motivation

Don’t Lose Motivation for Mobilization

1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

In 24 hours a few weeks ago, our church was able to raise thousands of dollars and supplies to send to the Abbott family and their struggles with the flooding in Denham Springs, LA.

When Jim McKinley and I arrived at church the Thursday before we headed to Louisiana, and we saw the amount of “stuff” we were taking, we knew that the church trailer would be the only thing we could use to travel down to help.

It was amazing to see our church mobilize to help, to fight!

And really, we mobilized for battle didn’t we? We mobilized to fight the battle that the Abbott family was fighting as well as everyone else in that area. We were ready to fight! Some by going, some by donating, all by praying.

But as we were headed south, and then as we drove around and saw the mess of the area and saw the positive attitudes and the churches working, I couldn’t help but ask a question.

Asking questions is what I do, and I am always striving for us, for me, to be better, to be better followers and examples of Christ.

The question was “why can we mobilize so well to fight battles, but when it comes to the war, we often lose motivation for mobilization?”

If you read 1 Peter 5:8-9 and understand that every single day we are involved in battles within the spiritual warfare of this world, we can’t afford to take the day off.

Whether it’s a flood, a tornado, war, divorce, sickness, general unkindness towards our brother and sisters there are battles fought every…single…day.

Yet, it takes a serious issue to hit us personally to fight when there is more than enough for us to do on any given day.

We must try to understand that every day we must get up, get dressed, and go to battle in the war in which the enemy prowls looking to devour us. We must be aware of this and resist.

Spiritual battles exist and we must not fall asleep or become numb to that fact.

“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ




Image result for too comfortable

A Little Too Comfortable

John 15:18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

When Brother Richie first arrived at our church, he and I had a brief discussion about how little we know in the United States about how the world actually works (not that I do either). We know little about the complete backwards way those in most of the world live as opposed to here.

He asked me if I had read “The Insanity of God”, I hadn’t so he gave me a copy to read. I put it to the side because I felt it was another book like many I had read and I was reading about 3 or 4 books at the time.

Then I heard that Lifeway was putting out a onetime showing of the movie named after the book and it piqued my interest. So I picked it up and started reading.

And it was a very good read.

The book was story after story of Christians persecuted and told from by Nik Ripken (a pseudonym). It started with he and his wife’s work in Somalia and the obstacles they faced there and then story after story from people living in China, Russia, Afghanistan and other countries.

There was the story of the Chinese house churches meeting illegally and asking if anyone had heard of Jesus outside of the United States.

It was the story of a Russian who thought his wife and child had been killed by authorities and The Holy Spirit speaking to him explaining to him that his captors had lied to him.

It was story after story where The Holy Spirit was speaking and living in the lives of these people. It was The Old Testament and New Testament stories coming alive. God is still working in the lives of people today, though we often feel that He isn’t here.

There were a couple of pieces in this book that really stuck with me.

1.    These people did not want prayers for the end of their persecution, it is what has grown their faith.
2.    Will persecution come to the USA? Why would Satan want to “wake-up” the richest, most powerful Christian country in the world? We are asleep.
3.    We shouldn’t ask why is there persecution in other countries, but we should ask why there is none here?

Why are we not persecuted?

There are stats that say very few people who are born in the church, raised in the church and die in the church will ever share their faith in Jesus Christ with anyone.

The more we feel potential persecution, why do we cower? Why do want to stay in the relatively safe, comfortable Christian lifestyle?

Why aren’t we a little crazy? A little insane when it comes to our love for God?

We’re comfortable…we’re asleep.

It’s time to wake up.

“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ




Image result for missionaries

Wait. What? Missionaries to…us?

Matthew 29:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

I recently found out that some countries in the world are sending Christian missionaries to the United States.

At first, I was appalled, then I understood because it sort of reinforces what I believe about US Christianity. We aren't the "best" Christian country in the world today and we have not been for many, many years.

Here, we have an American Christian worldview. We celebrate the US before we think about the church or any celebration we might do there because of the pride we have in this great country.

It is the patriotic thing to do.

Now don't get me wrong, I love this country and we are supremely blessed to live here and from an economic and freedom standpoint there is no country better than us.

But we have been losing our way for many years and it is culminating because of materialism, growing secularism and humanism, our being too comfortable, and sexual immorality that has existed in some form here since the beginning of our country.

We have a capitalist economy, mostly, and it has been great to us. We are one of the richest countries in the world and most of us have economic opportunities that people are willing to die to attempt getting here just as our ancestors did. But that has helped us become somewhat heartless in our worldview. We usually rely on God only when we have experienced a health or death issue. We don't have to think about our faith, in fact, our faith often is of convenience and not of necessity and a private thing that we don't feel comfortable sharing.

We have removed God from almost all avenues when it comes to government, schools, etc. We remove God and biblical morals from schools and as much as we can in every way and then wonder why the country continues to descend into an immoral crevasse. Child abuse, molestation, shootings in neighborhoods/ schools, and for vengeance, etc are on the rise. Why? We are a miserable country for having so much, why is that? Because we continually try to fill a hole that we all have in our soul with things that are worldly and it never accomplishes our goal which causes more misery.

We have justified sin for so long in this country that the sexual immorality from pre-marital sex to divorce to other sexual sins are having the stigmas removed and even worse, glorified. And we do not show love for those who have done these things using judgment or condemnation without affection.

We want to be comfortable, I get it, I really do. After church, I cannot wait to take my nap after eating a lunch that costs more than a week’s wages in most of the world, but we have got to strive to be better. I have got to strive to better.

We have to rely on God every day and try to remove ourselves from being our own god because we are nothing without him!

And sadly, I have found this truth not here in the USA, but in third world countries where our arrogance looks at, points, and says "poor things have nothing" when in reality...they have so much more than us.

Total reliance on and total devotion to God.

“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ





Image result for break our hearts

Break Our Hearts and Then Move

Often times there are situations or images that catch my eye and contradictions stand out. It could be nurses smoking outside of a hospital, it could be teachers when I was a kid and I saw them (gasp) outside of the classroom, or it could be a baby crying in a high school.

In Washington, D.C., security has kept the homeless away from tourist spots because who wants "these people" to ruin our vacation (sigh), but once outside of that area, you will find many who live on the streets.

There are many moral questions that arise about helping the homeless, I am reminded of Matthew 25:37-40:

Then these righteous ones will reply, "Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?"

And the King will say, "I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!"

I realize that often when helping someone they do not need the money. In D.C. I ran across a few homeless who refused food, a woman with perfect makeup living on the street (Not judging, it was odd to see homeless with perfect makeup), and I saw people who wanted $1 just to get home, were given more, and kept asking for more money.

I am taken advantage of, but I feel I should help because of the above scripture, (What if Jesus really is one of these and I look the other way?), and because I have been supremely blessed.

Should I not attempt to help someone who has had much different life experiences than me, and have at some point reached the realization that this is all that they can do?

When told by someone that they never give to homeless because they know many are scammers, my response is whether I give is between me and God and what they do with the money and really need it is between them and God.

It is not my job to judge or guess, but it is my pleasure to try and help them.

Back to D.C.; how odd is it that in a city of millionaire outsiders that there are so many struggling financially?

How odd is it that government trillions of dollars in debt, its government workers continue to live lavish lifestyles (relatively speaking) and people who have nothing do not?

And how dare I who lives in a place where there is no visible homeless seems to have all the answers? I don't, but I know as I have grown in my faith as I see how bad many people have it, I want to do a little bit to help.

It won't be enough, but it will be for that day...that moment.

And even in my hypocrisy where I waste too much and could help so much more, I won't look away from the problems of the world. Even when I feel that I am drowning in quicksand in trying to help, I will not stop trying to make a difference.

I pray for our hearts to not only be broken, but then to move to do something to heal it.

“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ




Image result for mirror image

We See Ourselves in Others

As fellow believers or even towards those who may not be believers or they believe in something else, there is a humanity that touches us all.

If not, then I pray for your soul.

Why is it that someone can write something, see a movie, hear a song and relate to the thoughts of that person? You can read something they’ve put on social media or have written in a blog and you understand the point being made because you put yourself in their place?

Genesis 1:27 reads that God created us in his image. By doing so, He has given us a personality, intellect, sensibility and an ability to make moral choices. We are the most perfect work of the creative energy of God in an organized body.

But we can make moral choices.

Those object moral choices are written on our hearts. Whether you believe in God or do not, Jeremiah 31:33 reads where God has written right and wrong in our most inner being and that would explain why anyone can do good things.

So, we have been created in God’s image, we have right and wrong written on our hearts, and then in Matthew, Jesus commands us to love each other as ourselves. Most sermons are written to love everyone even those we do not get along with, but I think we often forget to love those we love.

Those people are the ones we take for granted and figure someone else will get to them, but we must reach out even to those we love.

Finally, Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians that until Jesus comes back, we are to console and comfort each other with the fact that He will come back.

And as in Revelation 2:1-4 reads, there will be no more pain, no more fear, no more tears.

That is what we put our hope in in this world with its pain and suffering. We cannot put it in anyone or anything other than God…period or we will be let down, sometimes considerably.

We must put our hope in the good news that Jesus will come back and reign, a hope that no one else on this planet possesses.

As we deal with this world and its miseries, we should take comfort that this world is not our home and pain and suffering will end someday.

We see ourselves in others and it touches us when we see both joy and despair.

It touches us because God has created it to do so.

And that touching feeling that is written on our hearts and commanded for us to share will make this life, this world so much more bearable until Jesus returns.

“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ






Image result for jesus on cross

Christian Extremist

1 John 2:2 says, "He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."

It seems that every time some other religion commits an act of atrocity, Christianity is thrown under the bus along with that religion.

It is frustrating, to say the least, and I do not really understand why it happens. Well, yea, I do, but that’s a political post I want to stay away from.

To be fair, Christianity throughout history has not always been so nice in dealing with people and following Jesus’ example.

From the wars fought in the name of God, to our own hypocrisies, Christianity deserves some of the stones hurled at us.

But often our “extremists” are mentioned along with the extremist of the religion that has done the horrible thing, and they mention Timothy McVeigh or the KKK as well as other perceived “Christian” extremists from the past.

However, I think those critics are getting it all wrong. I believe that an extremist takes the words and actions of its leader and puts them 100% in action.

So what does Jesus say and what would a Christian extremist look like?

1.    We should be humble. Philippians 2:5-8 describes the extent of Jesus' humility: "Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!"

2.    We should serve.
Matthew 20:28 says, "…The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

3.    We should glorify God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

4.    We should pray.
Mark 1:35 says, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

5.    And we should sacrifice.
Romans 12:1 says, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.”

I am not the greatest Biblical scholar there is, but I would bet it impossible to find Jesus saying or doing anything like blowing anything up or terrorizing a group of people based on anything.

A Christian extremist is not a person who spreads violence or hate, it is someone we should aspire to be.

A Christian extremist gives up everything including and ultimately his life for the glory of God, not by violence done by him, but possibly violence done to him.

“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Perry Hunter
Deacon
Borden Church of Christ