Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Traffick Jam

Can you stomach the thought of your 4 or 5 year old son or daughter or grandchild or niece or nephew or sister or brother being sold into slavery and being forced to have sex night after night? I can't. And I won't.

My amazing church is sponsoring an event this Saturday called "Traffick Jam." It is a 10 mile walk where each walker raises money and all that money goes to Cambodia to an organization called the "Hard Places" where a woman rescues young children from the trafficking that goes on in that country.

It's not just happening in Cambodia though. It's happening all over - even here in Florida. We were told in church a few weeks ago that the I-4 corridor between Orlando and Tampa in which we are located is one of the worst for trafficking. After hearing that, my husband and I have driven the interstate in a different way. We often find ourselves looking at tractor trailers that are on the road, wondering what exactly they are carrying in those trailers.

On the Hard Places website you can go on and read a few stories of rescued children. Their backstories are heartbreaking, mind-numbing, vomit-inducing stories of absolute torture. There is no other way to describe it. What these precious babies go through is nothing short of torture. And doing nothing...is no longer an option. So I'm doing something.

I am not physically fit. I have not walked in preparation for this as much as I should have. But I will do it. If my Savior can walk the Via Del a Rosa with a cross on His bloody and flesh-torn back up to Golgotha and climb onto a cross for me, then the LEAST I can do is walk 10 miles around a beautiful lake. The LEAST I can do is walk for those who don't have the chance to walk out of that horrendous life on their own.

So friends, this week is your last chance to sponsor me as a walker. I want to raise as much as possible so please...any little amount will help. How much would you spend if it were your child?

Go to http://www.fuelcommunitychurch.com/traffickjam
Fill out your information and type your amount into the One-Time Donation box. I'm only asking for $10 but if you want to give more, don't let that stop you! Then write my name in the box that says "Additional Information." And let me know if you do make a donation so I can personally thank you. Saturday is the big day...from 9am-3pm at Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland. If you live in the area, come out and check it out. There will be raffles, concession stands, a bounce house (I believe, don't quote me on that), and our amazing Fuel Worship Band will be playing from 2-3. Come help us raise awareness and funds to put an end to human trafficking. Let's jam those traffick lanes!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Marriage Debate

DISCLAIMER: Slightly political and controversial post below. Please proceed with caution and the understanding that it's possible we have differing opinions/viewpoints. My goal is not to offend anyone but to shed light on this topic from a Christ-following, Bible-believing standpoint. If you do not see the Bible as your final authority, then please do not try to argue with me. We do not have the same worldview, and therefore, a discussion about the topic will be like beating a dead horse...pointless.

If you know me, you probably know where I stand on this whole marriage debate. And if you live under a rock somewhere and don't know what I'm talking about, I'm referring to the debate over whether gay marriage should be legalized and therefore recognized by the entire country as a legitimate legal marriage. I'm not here to change anyone's mind. Actually, this post is more directed at Christians than anyone else.

Obviously, I don't agree with nor do I condone homosexuality. Does that mean that I hate them? Absolutely not. Although, supporters would call me a "bigot" or "closed-minded" or whatever else...call me what you want. I have a right to my opinion just as the next guy. I had gay friends in high school who knew exactly where I stood on the issue but they also understood that I while I did not agree with their lifestyle, I was never going to condemn them or belittle them. I treated them just as I treated everyone else, hopefully with dignity and respect. I just politely asked them not to discuss their lifestyle around me...and most of them respected that. I will also take this time to say that I also have a gay brother. Half brother, yes. But he's still my brother. And gay or not, I love him. Will I ever approve of his lifestyle or agree with him marrying his partner? Nope. Because the Bible that I read is very clear on the issue. But, I love him. And I will never condemn him because of his choice.

But, here's the thing Christ-followers...so many times we speak out against something like this and we talk about what the Bible says about it and all of that is true. We talk about how God clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. That is true. But it is also true that the Bible is very clear about other types of sexual immorality like sex before marriage, adultery, lust, etc. How often do we speak out against those things? I wonder how many "Christians" who claim to believe and follow the Bible in its entirety are also having sex outside of marriage. Let's be real here. If we're going to speak out against one sin, let's speak out against them all. Homosexuality is no worse in our God's eyes than having sex outside of the confines of marriage. Homosexuality is no worse in our God's eyes than lusting after another man or woman. Homosexuality is no worse in our God's eyes than a man or woman cheating on his/her spouse. So why, if we are going to make such a big deal about this, do we not make such a big deal about the other sexual sins? We just shrug off the others half the time and say, "Oh, you made a mistake." A sin is a sin, people. God doesn't rate sin. I realize this has become a "legal matter" and that's why we hear Christians standing up and talking against it...but shouldn't we still stand up against the other sinful lifestyles as well?

We are called to love people. Yes. We are called to love them through their sin and despite their sin. But I am growing increasingly tired of people calling those of us against homosexuality "haters" or "bigots" or "intolerant" or what have you. It seems that those that support this marriage bill are entitled to their beliefs and/or opinions but those of us who do not are not entitled to ours. Sure, that makes sense (insert sarcasm here). Like I said before, if the Bible is not your final authority on these types of issues, then my argument makes little sense to you and therefore we will just agree to disagree.

Let's clear this up once and for all: simply because I will not ever agree with making homosexual marriage legal does NOT mean I hate them. The exact opposite is true actually. Am I against them being happy? No. I am against them living in sin. And if you are a Christ-follower, living in sin cannot make you happy. I am against myself living in sin. Yup, I'm a sinner. Never met one? Look in the mirror. I will not and cannot condone a life of sin...mine or anyone else's. So, just as I refuse to condone homosexuality, I also refuse to condone other "lesser" sins as some people might see them. Since my goal is to live a life following Christ, I cannot condone the sin, but I cannot condemn the sinner either. After all, I would be condemning myself.

So my two main points I guess are these: 1. Supporters of gay marriage, please stop calling non-supporters names and bad-mouthing us because we believe a different way. When you do that, you're showing your intolerance (the very thing you claim we have issues with). 2. Christians, if you're going to fight against one particular sin, fight against them all. Yeah, it's a slippery slope. But someone has to climb it.

Footnote: I'm not entirely sure any of this made sense. And I've been writing this blog for over a week so I'm probably way behind. But, it's been a crazy few weeks so here it is. Don't hate me:)