Friday, December 2, 2022

A Matter of Conscience

In the midst of global political and economic upheaval, people are struggling, trying to find a way to still celebrate the holiday season. The entire year has been challenging and even as it wraps up, it still shows no sign of letting up on the relentless assault on our lives.

In years past, people of various faiths and religious beliefs have furiously battled over the appropriate way to deal with the holiday season. Even within Christianity there are debates about the way December 25th should be celebrated, or if it should be celebrated at all.

Last week we began discussing some of the controversies surrounding December 25th and how we, as Believers, can stop merely REACTING to the negative origins of this date and begin making wise RESPONSES to this season.

We are offering at least Five Godly Responses to December 25th.

Last week we presented response #1: Become All Things to All Men, according to 1 Corinthians 9:18-23.

This week we offer response #2: Don’t cause your brother to stumble - 1 Corinthians 8:4-13 (NKJV)

In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul was dealing with a matter that was very similar to the controversial December 25th issues. Some Believers were participating in the practice of eating food that was offered to idols. They didn’t feel restricted because they knew that the idols were not real gods and they also knew that what goes into a person is not what defiles them.

It’s the same for Christian Believers today who participate in modern December 25th rituals that have proven historical foundation in idol worship (The sun god and a season known as Saturnalia). They feel, just as those early Believers to whom Paul had written, that they are free in Christ Jesus. Therefore, they have no problem with celebrating December 25th with some of the pagan mixtures. 

Many educated Believers know that Christmas was started as something that was seperate from Saturnalia and sun god celebrations, but a lot of those pagan rituals became mixed in with the celebration of Christ; even confusing December 25th as Christ's date of birth, when it was actually a celebration of His coming to save mankind, not a commemoration of the day He was born.

However, Paul admonished those early Believers to not allow their freedom to cause another brother to stumble. He explained that due to his brother's conscience, he did not have internal permission to participate in that practice of eating food offered to idols.

If another Believer is struggling with our practices, it may wound their conscience. Paul actually says that we sin against our brother and Christ. The sin is not the practice itself, but it is in how the participation affects our brothers.

Let’s read the letter: “Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.

But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”

We realize that even though there are many things that are okay for Chris and Carol to do, as Spiritual life coaches and leaders in this community, they are not always expedient. Some things are not wise for us to do. Some things are not beneficial for us to do. There are many things that we were at liberty to say and do in Missouri that have proven to be offensive in Pennsylvania. So we don't do them for the sake of our brothers and sisters in this region and culture.

Why abstain? Well, because we have an extremely important mission and purpose. Some of our freedoms could go beyond merely offending another brother, and could actually cause them to stumble. Paul says that some of our freedoms could actually wound another brother’s conscience. Our freedoms can cause others, who are outside of the Faith, to continue in their ungodly practices. So, we have learned that some things are just not worth it. Why risk losing potential brothers and sisters or wounding current brothers and sisters?

What are we saying to you today? We're saying, please be very careful of what you practice in this controversial season. Allow the Holy Spirit to give you the 'yea and nay' about what you do. Don't question Him. Just obey Him.

We cannot, do not, must not, and will not dictate what goes on in your home. We’re not the December 25th police! God knows who is in your family and He knows the people who are part of your life. You might be connected to people with whom your response is based upon what we mentioned last week ….I have become, to those who are without law, as without law.

Most of today’s December 25th practices don’t cause people any internal conflict because they have no knowledge of the history. But if you are closely connected with Believing family members who have issues with these things, be very wise and sensitive to where they are in their conscience. They would require the response from last week's scripture .…I become to those who are under the law, as under the law.

Remember, a person’s beliefs are often deeply rooted in teachings, upbringing, personal interpretation, history and life-long understandings. It really is a matter of their conscience. Don’t force someone to violate their own conscience. It’s not simply a matter of whether THEY are right or wrong about December 25th. Don’t let your freedom cause your brother to stumble.

We're Building People.

Friday, November 25, 2022

The Holiday Challenge

It’s that time again. It’s the holiday season. It’s time for family, fellowship, food and.... controversy. 

Following Thanksgiving, people usually start to immediately prepare for December 25th. That's because the day after Thanksgiving is the "official" start of the holiday shopping season. 

In the midst of global political and economic upheaval, people are struggling, trying to find a way to still celebrate the holiday season. The entire year has been challenging and even as it wraps up, it still shows no sign of letting up on the relentless assault on our lives.

In years past, people of various faiths and religious beliefs have furiously battled over the appropriate way to deal with the holiday season. Even within Christianity there are debates about the way December 25th should be celebrated, or if it should be celebrated at all.

Every year, we take advantage of this annual holiday launch to start talking about December 25th and what it truly means in America today.

Did you know that millions of people believe December 25th should not be celebrated at all?

Perhaps you are one of them.

When you learn about some of its background and history you can understand why. Here are just a few reasons why it is not celebrated in many sectors of American society. You might have family or friends who feel this way:

1.) December 25th is just a capitalistic marketing ploy to manipulate the masses to spend money.

2.) There is no Christian church validation that Jesus was really born on December 25th.

3.) December 25th is a day on which Jews have been shamed, tortured and murdered.

4.) Many of the most popular December 25th customs – including trees, mistletoe, stockings and Santa Claus – are modern reincarnations of pagan rituals.

5.) Most December 25th customs evolved from pagan rituals and practices and, therefore, should never be observed.

We agree that these are all very strong arguments for not participating in the festivities of the holiday. Many preachers across America will accurately and systematically destroy any reason a Christian Believer could possibly be connected to modern-day rituals associated with this season of the year.

However, as you know, we have built a reputation in addressing controversial topics and we’re about to add more fuel to that fire.

Many Christians and religious people have taken the position that it is wrong to embrace things that were perverted and sinful in their origins. They feel we should never attempt to use these things for God. However, that's exactly what God did for us. Even though we were born in sin and shaped in iniquity, Christ died for us while we were still sinners. For anyone who receives Him, He gives them the power to become children of God. He changes us and sets us apart for His purpose. He didn't allow our sinful origins to keep us away from His divine purpose.

Now, as His children, we have the opportunity to take advantage of a season that has very negative origins and highly commercialized, money-making schemes. This is one of the special times in which our families can be exposed to the reality of Christ and the true reason why He came to earth.

We believe that we must do much more than just debate about all the reasons why we should not celebrate December 25th. Most people simply REACT to the negative aspects of this date. We believe that we need to provide Believers some Godly ways to RESPOND to this season.

Beginning this week, we want to give you Five Godly Responses to December 25th.

This week we’re presenting response #1: Become All Things to All Men.

In 1 Corinthians 9:18-23, Paul writes, "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you."

We see the holiday season as the perfect opportunity to connect with many different kinds of people. This scripture does not mean that we become hypocrites and pretenders in order to indulge in secular practices. This is talking about connecting with people ON THEIR LEVEL of understanding. This is about identifying with them, the same way Christ identified with all of mankind.

Don't shun people because of what they believe or practice during this season. Don't isolate yourself from the office party or the family gathering because they may have traditions or rituals that are against your beliefs. Become all things to all men, so that you might by all means save some.

We're Building People.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Presentation to Global Consortium of Leaders

UGCSI --- With his wife Carol by his side, Life Educator Chris Green was the featured presenter last week, in a special online conference of United Graduate College and Seminary International’s Global Consortium of Searcher Professors.

In a live video conference that was hosted by Chancellor Michal P. Pitzl, who founded the Searcher Education model and philosophy, and Chief Chancellor HRH, Dr Clyde Rivers, the purpose of the session was to encourage and empower the attendees with wisdom for their process of building toward and preparation for global opportunities to bring the answers that nations are looking for through the collective impact of Searcher Education.

“We continue to be honored by the opportunities that UGCSI gives us to impart the lessons that we have learned in our journey, with servant leaders from all over the world,” said Professor Chris who, with is wife Carol, is also Vice Chancellor of Administrative Leadership at UGCSI, and the founder of the STEP Forward Life Institute. “Five years ago we could never have imagined that we would be teaching on an international platform.”

The session, which included attendees from Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States, began with HRH Dr. Clyde Rivers speaking about his journey and the process he has gone through to reach the top status as the major voice of Civility in the world.

Then, at the request of the UGCSI Chancellors, Professor Green made a presentation about the Biblical precedence and practice of documenting one’s journey and progress. He demonstrated how this practice builds the evidence of success. He revealed that record keeping is so important that God had it documented that the writers of the Bible were documenting. He showed how keeping records saved a man’s life. He shared that we know about the life of Christ because it was documented. And he asked what would be today's understanding of the Church if Luke had not documented the Acts of the Apostles.

In closing, he provided tips and tools for building evidence in one’s Searcherdemic philosophy.

“We thank Professors Chris and Carol for giving us the practical steps forward in this,” Chancellor Pitzl informed the attending professors. “They are ready to help you in this process.”

“This is one of the greatest evenings that I’ve ever enjoyed,” stated Professor Jared Akama Onyari from Kenya. “It was very informative and educating. Searcher education is God’s education. If we have been given this Searcher Education, we should be like the prophets in the Bible. When God was speaking to them, they were working with it and writing it down. I thank you Professor Chris for giving this presentation. We cannot talk of Searcher Education if we are not able to document it for future generations.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Called to the Ministry of Reconciliation

Christopher G. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

I wrote the following 6 years ago after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America. Now that we have just come through the midterm elections, I still stand by these words today:

As I have written and warned in previous blogs, many in the American Christian Church were choosing sides. Millions of Believers were voting based on issues of liberty (religious, civil, moral, etc.). On the other hand, millions were voting based on issues of justice (economical, social, political, etc.). 

Please don't be duped. Get out of your feelings and emotions and really listen to what I’m saying. We cannot win this battle by seeking one or the other (liberty or justice). In our pledge of allegiance, the quote is "liberty AND justice" for ALL. If you fight for liberty at the expense of justice, there will be an uprising from those who are not getting justice. If you fight for justice at the expense of liberty, the entire country will pay the price, falling under the tyranny of the majority.

So how do we get both liberty and justice for all?

I believe both are found only in one government and that is the Kingdom of God. I'm talking about the governance of God in every heart and home.

Now let me make it practical for what is happening in America today. The ugly giants of racism and class-ism are rising and Christian Believers will not be able to ignore them any longer. In today’s world, silence is approval of the suppression of liberty or justice. We must recognize it in our own hearts and expose it in our own Churches. We must deal with the -isms, but joining with or simply ignoring the protests, even in your own heart, is not the way.

The slumbering giant (the True Church) is waking up. It is waking to its mission to win and disciple the nations, to take care of the poor and widows, and to walk and live in unity and love. 

We are Ambassadors of Christ, called to the Ministry of Reconciliation. We are not called to merely fight for liberty, but we must join the fight for justice as well. We can no longer leave these battles to the government or radical activist groups.

A violent overthrow of President-elect Trump and the White Supremacy mindset that is often attached to many of his supporters, will not bring Peace, liberty or justice.  If that were to occur, people would not unite. Instead, such action would only release another set of protests; perhaps a major revolt. 

I'm not a Republican. I'm not a conservative (many people's code word for racist).  I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a progressive (many people's code word for socialist). I’m another one of those registered Independents who has, through the years, sometimes voted for write-ins at the Presidential level, while voting according to my understanding of Biblical priorities at the state and local levels of government. So I have no allegiance to any earthly parties. I ‘m not writing from those perspectives.

Let me start here. 

My government is within me: Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost. On the earth, I can vote for a president, but in reality, I have a king. He is the God of the universe. He told Pontius Pilate, "My Kingdom is not of this world."  

So our role, in this emerging racial and class war, is to promote reconciliation. Specifically, reconciliation to God, and then to one another. That's what the Word of God declares. It’s not an opinion. It's the command of God.

Reconciliation is about bringing opposing forces and enemies together. Every one of us, in the True Church, is called to THIS. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. His word declares that He now pleads to the world through us. 

Over the last week I’ve had to tell myself to get back in focus. Get back to the reason God saved me. Get back to the place where I kept my eyes on the Lord our God.  Let’s seek first the Kingdom of God and get His strategy to reconcile the fight for liberty with the fight for justice. He will do amazing things in the hearts of people.

God says in His word: “Why do the nations rage, imagining a vain thing?” God laughs from the heaven because He has already installed His king. His king is installed in the hearts of His people and they already have a government. They already have a purpose because GOD already has a plan.  His plan is Reconciliation. He desires to reconcile ALL people to Himself and to one another. 

So, before we try to fix America, let’s allow God to work IN us, so He can speak through us to bring reconciliation.

Christopher G. Green

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

People Get Our Votes, but Only GOD Gets Our Confidence

As we prepare for another election, we offer no political opinions. We simply present the spiritual and moral issues that are identified in the Bible. Unfortunately, the issues and interpretations of morality, justice and equality have fallen on two different sides of the dominant political parties in America.

This dilemma causes many Believers to vote for a president who is a Democrat while others vote for Senators and Congressmen who are Republicans. Or they vote for a Republican president while others vote for Senators and Congressmen who are Democrats. This is why it’s so difficult to navigate through the political process in our country. It’s also the reason it’s so difficult to explain one’s choices to family, friends and colleagues.

I wrote the following words after Obama was elected president, and they still hold true after the elections of Trump and Biden. I wrote this nearly fourteen years ago and it is incredibly amazing how it still applies to us today:

After we sent an email on the day of President Obama’s inauguration and quoted from the Bible that we are to pray for him, several pastors and leaders in this community, who opposed Obama, discontinued support and communication with this ministry and us. On the other side, friends and family who supported the new president took our email to mean that we were merely offering some form of insincere political patronizing.

We thought we were (and our intentions were) fulfilling our Pastoral leadership responsibility to bring our divided congregations together and to focus on the things that God desires to do in our nation. Our email had nothing to do with either endorsing or rejecting the President.

Here is what we sent out on January 21, 2009:

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers and intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone---for kings, and for all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior." ---1 Timothy 2:1-3

Make no mistake about it; yesterday (the inauguration) was a profoundly significant day. We still don’t agree with some of President Obama’s policies and agendas. Many of them conflict with Biblical teachings. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that God will use anybody to accomplish what HE wants to do in a nation.

Where did we get the idea that a political leader MUST be someone who follows all of the principles of the Bible in order for God to use that person to accomplish His purpose and plan?

Again, we're not ignoring the agenda of any particular President. We’re actually acknowledging the sovereignty of God. As flawed as we are as human beings, it’s amazing that God chooses us to do anything in this life.

God called Nebuchadnezzar His servant even though he was the emperor that destroyed Jerusalem, killed thousands of people, and carried their best and brightest into exile. God chose him to execute judgment; therefore he was God’s servant even though he wasn’t a Godly man.

Presidential elections are about more than trying to get a scripture-quoting, Bible-toting candidate in the Oval Office. This is about getting synchronized with what God is doing in our lifetime in America. If America is under judgment, (and many Christian leaders believe it is) then God will set the person in place that needs to be there at the time of judgment, repentance, recovery or rebuilding.

So we’re going to stay focused on the bigger picture. It doesn’t matter so much who sits in the Oval Office of the White House. It still comes down to who is sitting in the Oval Office of MY house.

We'll close this week's newsletter with the lyrics of a song written by a dear mentor and friend more than 40 years ago.

If you want a brand new world, you gotta have brand new people.
If you want brand new people, we've gotta have a brand new life.
If you want a brand new life, you gotta have a brand new spirit.
If you want a brand new spirit, you gotta come to Jesus Christ!
- Dr. Myles Munroe

We encourage you to cast your vote, but do not cast your cares on a human being. A potential candidate will get our votes, but only GOD gets all our confidence.

For the least of these, 
Christopher G. Green (D.Hon.Causa)