How much does it cost to follow Jesus Christ---to be a true biblical Christian?
Christians are regularly slaughtered in various countries around the world, but in America the "slaughter" is different, more nuanced and not physical. Often professional.
We should always pray for persecuted Christians around the world, including those here in America.
We should also be informed as to how it works in this "land of religious freedom."
It happens often, more than we know and it usually is not out in the light of day, but is couched in the shadows as something other than what it really is.
Look what happened to a high profile National Basketball Association coach this week.
Bob Meyers, General Manager of the NBA Golden State Warriors, said in a statement this week, "It's never easy to make a decision of this nature."
The decision was to fire the coach, Mark Jackson last Tuesday.
This happens all the time in professional sports, doesn't it? Of course it does, but none of the reasons for this firing relate to the normal reasons coaches get fired.
Meyers is very complimentary of the job Jackson has done while with The Golden State Warriors. Meyers says Jackson has elevated the team, made it a considerably better team, increased their winning record, and made many contributions. You can read his comments in the link above.
Most all sports announcers and commentators agree that Jackson has done a superb job and Golden State made a terrible decision to fire him. The Los Angeles Lakers are already showing interest in him.
So why did they fire him?
Meyers says he feels it's best "to move in a different direction." But if the team is getting better and winning more games---even making it into the playoffs this year, why would you want to move in another direction?
That's why I wrote about this today.
Sfgate.com is not Christian, not conservative and not a source I generally read or quote. However, Ann Killion, writing for the San Francisco publication, raised the issue of his faith.
She says, "I don't know if Jackson's strong, strong religious beliefs alienated anyone..."
She writes that the team's president "Rick Welts is openly gay...Jackson is a fundamental Christian, who embraces what some call 'traditional values'. And he wasn't shy about letting people know his views."
She said when Jason Collins, an NBA player "came out" as homosexual last year, Jackson's comments sounded "less than supportive."
Here's what Jackson actually said:
“I will say this,” Jackson said the day of the news. “We live in a country that allows you to be whoever you want to be. As a Christian man, I serve a God that gives you free will to be who you want to be. As a Christian man, I have beliefs of what’s right and what’s wrong. That being said, I know Jason Collins, I know his family, and am certainly praying for them at this time.”
Killion challenges Jackson and says, "What’s right and what’s wrong? Praying for someone who decided to live an honest life? His words created a very strange vibe, especially for a Bay Area team in the 21st century...."
In her disagreement with Jackson for not affirming and celebrating Collins, she is admitting that it likely had to do with his biblical beliefs.
We also know that the Golden State Warriors are lobbying to move the team to San Francisco.
Breitbart News published a story about this late yesterday. They too feel the firing could very well be linked to the coach's biblical Christian faith.
What do you think?
Biblical Christianity is a costly matter. Jesus laid down His life for all people, many of whom mock Him to this day.
The initial followers of Jesus, the Apostles, were all murdered because of their faith except John who was exiled to an island so his influence would be extinguished. That didn't work out as planned.
Following Christ is joyful and liberating---those whom the Son sets free are free indeed. It is hopeful and assuring. Paul wrote, "For I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day."
And it can be costly. It is recorded in both Matthew and Luke of a man that comes up to Jesus and says forcefully he wants to follow him no matter what. Jesus' reply is quite different than the man expected. Jesus said, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
The man then disappeared off the pages of history, and we never heard of him again.
These are defining times which call for clear decisions, regardless of the cost.
I am talking more about this live on the radio this morning at 9 AM PDT, and rebroadcast at 7:30 PM PDT.
You can join me from anywhere in the world. Here's how.
Be Bold. Be Vigilant. Be Persuaded. Be Strong. Be Blessed.