Sunday, November 1, 2009

Don't Choke on the Skeleton, A Halloween Message

Hey gang!

Happy Halloween to you tonight. A Christian offering you greetings of Halloween? Sounds like a Pagan to me. That’s another column though.

Anyhow, I began talking to some people in a game room tonight over where I like to play games, Pogo.com. I’m a Club Pogo member and if you really want to find me, search onemanrevival and sure enough, there I’ll be. I was playing in a room and one of the ladies began looking at profiles and said, “Hey, there is a minister in here. If you are dead and need buried or want to get married, he’ll hook you up.”

What she didn’t realize is that to be a minister of the Gospel, a degree is not required. However, if you want to marry people, in most states, ministers have to be ordained, which I am not. I said to the room, “Well, I can’t help you on your marriage plans, but if you are spiritually dead, I might be able to help.” I spent about 20 minutes just talking to people as we played. I also thought my profile pimp costume for Halloween might be a turnoff, but the people were kind and talkative and wanted to some things.

After leaving the room, I had a thought. On the internet, we can be anything we want to be. We can hide who we really are if we want. We can have all the faults in the world, but look appealing to people by our profile. It isn’t that easy in the real world.

I remember right after I got saved in 1994, that a friend of mine and I talked about Amy Grant. She had done a video called “Baby, Baby.” She danced in the video with a man that was not her husband, my friend mentions to me. I thought, “So?” It was a music video, not a sex tape. My friend said to me at the time that it could lead to people thinking it was OK to dance with people that are not their husbands. And?

What I didn’t realize was about to happen is that a few years later, Amy Grant Chapman and her husband, Gary, would file for divorce after another Amy video of her singing with Vince Gill. She would later marry Vince and they have been happily ever after, as far as I know.

OK, my friend from earlier lined up the dots for me from the earlier scenario. She danced with another man and that led to her divorce. This also said that it was OK for her fans to get divorced. That’s where I draw the line. No, that is not true. Amy being unhappy with Gary and moving on to Vince would not promote the idea of divorce no more than Beavis & Butthead promoted the idea of setting houses on fire or no more than Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest promoting the idea of someone committing suicide.

All of those scenarios are a reach, period. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because each and every one of us has a sin nature. Amy Grant didn’t hold a gun to our heads and tell us to divorce our spouses. She was unhappy, got out, and made a better life. Did she sin? I don’t know. What I do know is this. She has repented of whatever she did or didn’t do and it’s been taken care of by God. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.

Comedian Eddie Murphy once said that all people have skeletons in their closet. “Some people have a closet full of skeletons. Some people are afraid that every time they speak, a bone is going to come out.” But Frank, I don’t have skeletons in my closet. Really? So you have been totally honest about everything you’ve ever done? Don’t answer that. At least, not to me.

I could talk about David, whom is my favorite Old Testament character, and share all day about the number of skeletons that he tried to hide in his lifetime. However, I’ll tell you two other stories instead.

First, if you look at the second chapter of Joshua, you will meet a prostitute named Rahab. Yep, prostitute. She helped two Israelite spies that came to the land of Jericho and hid them. She confessed that God was the One True God to these spies in verse 11 and asked the spies to show kindness to her family when God’s people took the land. In Chapter 6 of Joshua, the men did show kindness to her family and spared them. Joshua 6:25 ends telling us that she and her family lived among the Israelites after that rescue.

The story doesn’t end there though. Let me share the cool part of the story. In the first chapter of Matthew, we are given the genealogy of Jesus. You know, Savior of the Universe for all time. Verse 5 begins, “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab.” That’s right. 11 verses later, Jesus was born to Joseph and Mary. Yes, Rahab did such a noble thing that she was linked into Jesus forever.

But think about this. If you have read the story of Ruth, you know that the man named Boaz is known as one of the great men of the Bible because of how well he took care of Ruth and her mother-in-law. Rahab raised a boy so well that he became one of the most honorable men of the Old Testament. But Mommy was a prostitute. Yes, she was. But she was redeemed.

The second story comes to us from John 8:1-11. The Pharisees bring a woman caught in the shame of adultery. They remind Jesus in verse 5 that the Mosaic Law says that the woman was to be stoned. They asked Jesus what he thought about that. So Jesus thought and finally gave them a reply in verse 7. “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” After this, he leaned down and began to draw in the dirt.

The men began to walk away one by one until there was no one but the woman and Jesus. He stands up and asks where her prosecutors were. They were gone. They couldn’t condemn her when they looked at themselves. So Jesus replies to her in verse 11, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Now, before I close I want you to understand that I’m not promoting a wink at sin. If someone is sinning that you know and love, you may be the one that needs to stand and call it out. However, I think that many Christians get lost in the idea of condemning people without looking in their own closet. We want Jesus to forget our sin, but low and behold that we should forgive anyone else’s.

When I think of the woman caught in shame, I think of a song done in the mid 90’s by my friend Michael O’ Brien. Those of you that know me know how much I love his Conviction CD. His song called All Is Forgiven is one of the hidden nuggets of the set. Michael tells the story of the woman, then of what amounts to our personal stories. Jesus finds the skeletons in our closet. But he also cleanses them and rids them for eternity.

If you are concerned about your own skeletons tonight, know that even though you may be fearful or scared, Jesus can change it all. I close here with the chorus of Michael’s song. Remember, Jesus wants us to come, to be forgiven and to go sin no more.

All Is Forgiven
I’ve Heard Your Plea
My Grace Has Cleansed Your Heart
My Love Has Set You Free
All Is Forgiven
My Mercy Is the Open Door
All Is Forgiven
Go Sin No More

I love you guys!
Frank

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