I once had a conversation with some Amish gentlemen who were apparently having fun with my lack of knowledge about their culture. “Know why we wear these black suspenders?,” one asked, to which I replied, “No, why?” “To hold our pants up!,” he said as he and his friends LOL’d.
We would assume that belts are made for the same purpose, but in the day in which Paul encouraged us to…
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,…
– Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)
…belts were an important piece of armor for the typical Roman soldier. While the purpose of a sword or a shield may seem obvious, the purpose of a belt was partly emotional – it gave confidence to the soldier. They would use wide leather belts, get them wet and cinch them up tight so that as they dried, they would be even tighter. That feeling of being surrounded and supported gave them a greater sense of strength in battle.
This is what truth does for us. This is what integrity does for us in our lives. When we’re living with integrity, which means to be one person all the time, honoring truth no matter what, we walk confidently. But when we lack integrity, we’re afraid we’ll be found out and we live with the fear that the real us will be exposed and injured.
Don’t go into battle without your integrity intact. This is an area where we grow by soaking up God’s truth and being honest about who we are with others around us. Integrity matters, so wear the belt of truth today.
Pastor Rick Warren has often said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and an ounce of pretense is worth a pound of manure.” Fake faith is a pet peeve of mine, and it is certainly an issue God addresses rather directly in Scripture. I believe God is serious about it because ultimately, Christianity with pretense hurts the reputation of the gospel. So, it’s a huge relief when someone comes clean and speaks with brutal honesty about the Christian life.
Brutal honesty, plus hilarious anecdotes and some inspiring stories of redemption at work changing lives is what I encountered when I read Ir-rev-rend: Christianity Without the Pretense. Faith Without the Facade. by Greg Surratt.
As a church planter who is trying to figure things out on a week-by-week basis, I loved Greg’s opening chapters in which he relayed plenty of advice about how NOT to plant a church, all learned in the laboratory of his own experiences planting Seacoast Church in the Carolinas. Greg would almost have us believe that the church came into being in spite of his ministry there. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, but Greg is that brutally honest about how he learned things the hard way.
Ir-rev-rend is not just a book for ministry leaders, though. It’s the kind of book you’ll want to put into the hands of people who have a problem with the faith. We live in a skeptical culture and we’re handing people plenty of ammunition against the authenticity of our faith. Greg doesn’t dodge any questions. He tackles perceptions about our legalistic tendencies, our hypocrisy, and our sometimes meaningless traditions. On numerous fronts, Greg re-directs us back to a simple, understandable, and very biblical faith.
I’m glad Greg chose to write the book, and I know he wants you to buy a copy. He even gave you ten reasons to do so on his own blog post about its release:
- The writing style is kind of like Ann LaMotte meets Donald Miller in a Shack
- It cost about the same as three Starbucks coffees but it lasts longer and has greater eternal value
- The chapter on Sex is worth the price of the book
- My wife and children will love you forever
- You may recognize yourself in one of the chapters
- It’s written for people who have a hard time finishing an entire book
- You can start on any chapter you want and create your own adventure
- You are having trouble coming up with the perfect Christmas gift for that special somebody
- You think a lot of Christians take themselves a tad too seriously
- God just might use it to change your life, stranger things have happened you know
If you want to laugh… if you want to get real about your faith… if you want a great model for communicating Christianity in a post-Christian culture, grab Ir-rev-rend: Christianity Without the Pretense. Faith Without the Facade. by Greg Surratt.
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The internet is the new land of opportunity, and salesmen, schemers, and scammers know this fact well. Around the net are found some wonderful ways to earn an income as well as plenty of ways to lose your shirt. How does one know what to jump into and what to avoid?
Continue reading Scams, Schemes, and Sales Pitches: How to Spot the Differences
There was a recent study that suggested that power increases “moral hypocrisy.” That giving a person power makes that person feel entitled and causes a disconnect in their judgment. It also says that those in high-power positions tend to judge morality of others while not practicing what they preach.
As if everyone NOT in power practices what they preach.
Though I don’t agree completely with the study I will say this: character is a necessity in leadership.
Continue reading How Important Is Character In Leadership?