Mario Murillo: Why Your Deep Frustrations Are A Sign God Will Use You Mightily

WHY YOUR DEEP FRUSTRATIONS ARE A SIGN GOD WILL USE YOU MIGHTILY

We face a new kind of evil.  We have never faced a threat like this before.  That is why God is creating special kinds of people to be used in special kinds of ways.  What do these people look like?

We picture bold, assertive, natural born leaders taking the stage.  We assume the Holy Spirit would instill great confidence and audacity in those He has selected for special service.

In fact, the opposite is true.  He inflicts those He chooses with deep frustrations.  They are restless, they are weakened by confusing emotions.  Often, they don’t feel very spiritual at all.  The greatest gift He gives them is a desperate hunger.

In fact, your deep frustrations are a sign that God is going to use you mightily…because they create desperate hunger.

Yes, desperate hunger is a great gift.  Although, when you first get it, you will be convinced you are being punished not blessed.

Jesus said “blessed are those who hunger and thirst…”  It seems a contradictory statement but a closer look reveals eternal wisdom.  

God is carving out your soul to create a greater capacity for His power.  You are getting desperate for something—your appetite for that one thing is increasing.  It seems cruel but it makes perfect sense: God wants you to want something you can’t have.  It is in the not having it, that your desire intensifies.

The Bible says, “But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb.” -1 Samuel 1:5,6

Look at that!  God is creating unbearable frustration.  But, by depriving her of children, it increased two things in her soul: Her willingness to sacrifice and her appreciation for the blessings when they come.  In other words, she will be an amazing example of willingness and appreciation.

God didn’t want Hannah to get over wanting Children.  He wanted her to yearn for them even more.  The end result is one of the most powerful women in history—the mother of Samuel the prophet.  In Jewish tradition, Samuel is second only to Moses as a prophet.

Hannah’s total reward often goes unnoticed.  True, she surrendered her first born to God but it says in 1 Samuel 2: 21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.”

It was Elisha’s insatiable hunger for the anointing that made him ask for a double portion from Elijah.   Many, of today’s leaders ask for just enough to get by.  They will never destroy the strongholds of Satan.  They fold at the first sign of resistance.  Not so, the vessel born of desperate hunger.  When they finally get their chance, they will never stop, and they will never corrupt their God-given stewardship.  Your frustration and desperate hunger is qualifying you for something astounding.

All of this is well and good but it is not a great comfort when you are in the depths of frustration.  Desperate hunger from God can test us to the maximum.  We look for signs that our hunger will be fulfilled.  We yearn for proof that we will not die from disappointment.  Well beloved, the proof is right under our nose.  In fact, the hunger itself is the proof of the fulfillment.

Jesus said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.”-Matthew 5:5  In other words, if you hunger, you are blessed because that is the proof you shall be filled.

Alexander MacLaren the great Bible Commentator said this, “that hunger is the sure precursor and infallible prophet of the coming satisfaction.”

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To the Outrageously Fabulous Parents with Your Kids in Church: I Salute You

You Are Fabulous

To all the parents out there: You are fabulous. Yes, you! I guarantee you that you’re better at raising kids than you often think you are. And all you’re investing in those little humans is already at work in them. This is true even on those days (yes, even those days)when there isn’t even a glimmer of confirmation of that fact.

I see you showing up to church with your arms full. In one hand, the snack bag, a tiny hand in the other and the diaper bag slung over one shoulder. And off you jog after your other little one who’s charging across the parking lot, while shouting back to your oldest, still dawdling, “Lock the car when you get out!”

I know you’re already tired from last night’s less-than-luxurious night of sleep. Yesterday, you were probably at a tournament for your oldest before rushing over to that afternoon swim party.

And, yet, you’re here.

And even when you’re not here…we still think you’re fabulous. We all know that church attendance is not what it was back in the day, and we’re not bemoaning that. Really. We get it. This life stuff…it’s hard. And busy. And filled with many wonderful opportunities for children and youth. And with the schedule of so many families today, sometimes what a family needs more than anything is the chance to just be together on a Sunday morning.

But when you are able to make it to worship, we know the question you might be asking as you pull into the church parking lot…

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“Is It Worth It?!”

You probably wonder if it’s worth it. Does it really matter that you show up at church on Sunday morning? Is it making a difference to anyone that you scramble to get everyone dressed and out the door to be here?

Parenting is hard. It’s so rich and beautiful, lovely and heart-expanding. It’s more than any of us ever imagined it would be. More joyous, more disappointing, more invigorating and more demanding.

And I’m here to tell you that in the midst of all the more-ness of parenting, I’m in awe of you. I don’t need to know you. If you’re the parent who’s reading a blog about having kids in church, I can definitively say I am in awe of you.

And when you invest in having your kids in church – it matters.

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Kids in Church Matters

Kids in church matters to the congregation.

Your family brings with it the gift of your children’s voices. From the sweet sound of their singing to their unassuming (sometimes loud) questions, children invite joy.

When kids are in church, we are all reminded that it’s simply about showing up as we are to worship together. Children’s unfiltered curiosity and authenticity consistently help us let go of our pretense. For this reason, children force us to let go of the notion that worship is an hour-long performance.

Life is messy and unpredictable, and a life of faith isn’t any different. Thank goodness your kids are in church, so we don’t forget that piece of wisdom.

Also, God’s family in it’s most vibrant expression is diverse. So, when we’re all together, we are at our best. We remain the most supple of heart and mind, learning Spirit’s teachings through one another.

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Being in church matters to your kids.

A faith community’s life together is the absolute best teaching tool a church has. Children learn most effectively through observing others. And what better way for them to understand a relationship with God than by watching their spiritual grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles walk the road?

Having your kids in church teaches them that their presence and their worship matters. When children are a part of worship, we show them that they are enough just the way they are.

Your investment in them, pushing to make it here on Sunday morning is nurturing their faith, showing them what it looks like to love God and how valuable they are, merely by being.

Thank You

And you’re doing it. Great job! And thank you. I share with you my sincere gratitude on behalf of all churches everywhere, because what you’re doing is hard and because it matters to us all.

The post To the Outrageously Fabulous Parents with Your Kids in Church: I Salute You appeared first on Illustrated Children’s Ministry.

You Can Even!

From the Babylon Bee (of course)Joel Osteen Targets Millennials With New Book: ‘You Can Even!’

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HOUSTON, TX—In an attempt to reach a younger audience of millennials, prosperity preacher Joel Osteen has released a brand-new book entitled You Can Even!

“Don’t discourage yourself by speaking negative thoughts into existence like ‘I can’t even!’ or ‘I don’t know how to adult today!’” he said in a promotional video for the new book. “Instead, remind yourself that you can even! Nothing can separate you from your destiny—not spotty WiFi signals, not Starbucks making your drink wrong, not even your parents getting on your case about not having moved out of their basement yet.”

“Just repeat this mantra every day: I CAN EVEN!”

The book’s twelve chapters show 20-30 somethings how to put Osteen’s word-faith theology into action in everyday crises, like when you have to actually exercise some personal responsibility and “adult” in various situations. The book covers topics such as friends calling you to do something when you just want to sit at home in your sweats, Netflix streaming slowly despite a strong broadband connection, and contemplating the meaning of your existence as the national debt continues to bloat from policies enacted by previous generations while you take all the blame.

“No matter if it’s not being able to find your selfie stick or not being able to get a job after you spent $150,000 on college because you were told a college education was a guaranteed career-starter, let me show you how to remind yourself how much you can even.”

Despite repackaging his material to reach a new market, Osteen promises he won’t be compromising his beliefs in the slightest: the book’s 268 pages contain zero mentions of Jesus.

J Lee Grady: Stop Making God’s Guidance So Complicated

Some wise words from J. Lee Grady about hearing God’s voice.

Stop Making God’s Guidance So Complicated

(iStock/Getty Images Plus/eyecrave)

When I was in my 20s, I was praying about whether I should enroll in graduate school. Then one morning in my devotional time I came to Psalm 32:8a, and it seemed to be flashing like a neon sign. It said, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go.”

The Holy Spirit was emphasizing that God would teach me and that I didn’t need additional schooling. That’s not to say graduate school is wrong for everyone else; it was just not God’s plan for me at that time. And God illuminated a particular Scripture to clearly show me what path I should take.

The Bible promises that God will guide us. But many Christians find it difficult to hear God’s voice. And in some charismatic churches we complicate things when we try to make guidance mystical or weird—as if you have to hear an audible voice from heaven about what color shirt to wear.

Years ago, I learned from author Henry Blackaby that there are four distinct ways we receive divine guidance:

1. You can hear God’s voice by reading the Bible. Friends have sometimes complained to me: “I just never hear God speaking.” Yet when I ask if they read the Bible regularly, they say they’re too busy. Their Bible is collecting dust on a shelf while they beg God for a Technicolor vision from heaven!

God supernaturally inspired 40 authors over a period of 1,600 years to compile His love letter to us. After the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek, many people were martyred because they translated it in a modern language. God went to a lot of trouble to compile the Bible. Yet today many people say they are too busy to read God’s most direct message to Planet Earth!

When you read Scripture with a prayerful heart, God can cause a verse to jump off the page as a direct message to you. British preacher Charles Spurgeon recognized this years ago when he wrote: “When I have been in trouble, I have read the Bible until a text has seemed to stand out of the Book, and salute me, saying, ‘I was written specially for you.'” Expect God to speak directly to you from Scripture.

2. You can hear God’s voice through the supernatural inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not an eerie presence that just hangs around. He lives in every born-again Christian, and He comforts us and actively speaks to us. He can do this in many ways: through dreams, visions, warnings, a sense of conviction or—most often—through what we know as the “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12b) of the Spirit.

I have had prophetic dreams and visions over the years, but the most common way the Spirit speaks to me is through a deep sense of inward knowing. I will never forget a time in 1985 when God spoke to me while I was driving my car in Florida. A message came to me, not audibly but in my spirit: “You will move to Washington, D.C.” It seemed to come out of the blue, and I knew it did not originate with me. Four years later I was offered a job in the Washington, D.C., area, and I worked there for three years.

The ability to hear the Spirit’s voice is developed over years as we grow in Christ. If you really want to hear Him, you should ask God to fill you with His Spirit. As you allow more of the Spirit’s presence and power in your life, you will set aside your selfish agendas and sinful habits so God can communicate to you without any hindrance. Meanwhile, a selfish, stubborn attitude is the No. 1 obstacle to hearing God!

3. You can hear God’s voice through people. God never intended for us to live in isolation. We are members of His body, the church, and you will hear God better when you are in fellowship with His people. God can speak to you through a pastor’s sermon, a friend’s wise counsel, a mother’s rebuke, a mentor’s phone call or a prophetic word given to you by one of God’s Spirit-filled servants.

God uses the gift of prophecy, but you should never chase after prophecies. I know Christians who will travel across the country to attend a prophetic conference to get a word from God, yet they have not read the Bible in months or sat still long enough to hear from God on their own. Never treat the holy gift of prophecy like fortune telling. When God needs to speak to you in an unusual way, He has faithful messengers who will deliver it to you at the exact time you need it.

4. You can hear God’s voice through circumstances. Not everything that happens to you is God’s will. But God is sovereign, and He has power over nature, over government leaders and over all the details of your life. He opens doors that no man can shut. If you have been praying about getting a job at one company, and suddenly you get an offer at a different company, this may be God’s sign that He has a better place for you to work.

My oldest daughter wanted to attend a college in Tennessee, and we were praying about her decision. Right after we prayed, I got a call from the president of a college in Georgia. He was inviting me to speak at the school, but in our conversation, I learned that this school was willing to offer my daughter a scholarship. She ended up enrolling in that school, meeting her future husband there and working for that college four years later. God was totally involved in that phone call from Georgia!

Ask God to tune your ears to His voice in a fresh way. Read God’s Word with an expectant heart, listen carefully to what the Lord is saying through His servants, pay attention to what He is saying to you through circumstances and tune your spiritual ears to the inner voice of the Spirit. Guidance is not complicated when you sincerely want to hear Him speak to you.

Read the article here

We All Know Somebody Like This

From Babylon Bee: 

Man Who Can Quote ‘Princess Bride’ At Will Struggling To Remember Single Bible Verse

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TEXARKANA, TX—According to sources close to local man Matthew Franco, the 39-year-old believer knows every single line from the classic film The Princess Bride by heart, yet struggles to quote a full Bible verse without having to look it up to refresh his memory.

The Christian man quotes the film throughout his day, responding to coworkers’ interactions by reciting lines like, “As you wish,” and “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!” but always finds himself struggling to recall whatever Bible passage he’s trying to remember.

According to his friends and family, he’s watched the film 17 times this year already, mouthing the lines along with the actors as Westley attempts to save Princess Buttercup from the weaselly Prince Humperdinck. However, not one of the people who know Franco can recall a time he’s sat down for a time of personal devotions and Scripture reading.

“Yeah, I just don’t have the time to sit there and memorize a bunch of Bible verses that I may or may not need to use throughout the day,” he told reporters as he commented, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something!” on a friend’s Facebook post. “I’ll just Google what a verse says if I really need to reference it.”

At publishing time, sources had confirmed that the man who’s “a little shaky” on his recollection of John 3:16 has the entirety of the film Tombstone “hidden in his heart.”

Kris Valloton: If you struggle with tithing, this could be why

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A great article about tithing by Kris Valloton:

Probably the most frequently asked questions about Kingdom finance are focused on the subject of the tithe. Questions like these come up all the time:

“Is the tithe a New Testament principle, or is it relegated to the Old Covenant?”
“What, exactly, is the tithe?”
“Whom should I give my tithe to, and what’s in it for me?”

These are great questions and I’ve answered some of them over here on the blog. But if you’re reading this and have similar questions, and if we were able to sit down together and talk about it, I’d follow up by asking you: “Are you trying to give more or trying to give less?

I have been asked these tithing questions more than a hundred times, and only once in twenty years was the person who was doing the inquiring trying to give more. Most often, the people who are debating these questions have other agendas that they are often not even aware of.

WHAT’S AT THE ROOT OF YOUR STRUGGLE?

That said, let me ask you four questions that may help you come to grips with the root cause of any struggle you may have with tithing:

1. Do you trust God to take care of you? If you answered no to this then here is a great Scripture that will help you move forward in your quest to grow in trusting God: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5–6). I find that when we’re afraid that we won’t be taken care of, we hoard and try to control all of our money. Trusting God to provide in your life will set you free to express your love to Him with your tithe.

2. Do you honor the leaders over you who give an account for your life?
The writer of Hebrews gives us insight into the heavy responsibility that God has entrusted to His spiritual leaders. But in an age when family values are being exchanged for independence and even rebellion, this verse feels as if it were written to Martians, or at the least to cavemen: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17). To state the obvious, if you cannot honor your leaders in the sense of trusting them to steward well whatever you give, perhaps you ought to be under different leadership.

3. Are you serving Mammon (the spirit of greed and materialism) or God? You will always protect the God (or god) you are loyal to. Jesus put it best: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24). If money is more important to you than God then you will protect your money more than you will trust Him.

4. Are you afraid of not having enough? I love the fact that the God of heaven cares about the practical needs we have here on earth. Jesus reassured us that the Father takes care of us with these words: “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:31–32).

If you are struggling with the subject of tithing, I want to challenge you right now to stop reading and ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart. Ask Him if your resistance is really rooted in the theology of the tithe, or if there are deeper issues that trouble you. Let Him lead you into all truth and deliver you from poverty, the fear of lack, and the need for control.

HOW TO LOVE GOD WITH YOUR GENEROSITY

Let’s take a look at how the tithe can actually touch the heart of God. I believe that once we understand that this is a holy act that expresses our passion for our generous Father, that our heart issues and fears listed above become smaller and smaller.

It has always astonished me that the God of the universe actually has any interest in humans giving Him gifts at all, much less money. If you are God, what are you going to do with the stuff? All He has to do is speak and the very thing He needs appears in front of Him. So what’s up with giving to God?

There is one thing that God wants but that He cannot make happen—to be loved freely. God gave us a free will so that He could experience us freely giving our love to Him. Love, by its very nature, requires freedom of choice. Love forced or love programmed is not love at all. God is love, which means He has the capacity both to give love and to be loved. Because love “believes all things,” our trusting in God (in every way, including with our tithe) is a manifestation of loving Him (1 Corinthians 13:7).

God can discern a gift that is given out of obligation or manipulation from a gift that is rooted in love. This is evidenced in the story of Cain and Abel. Here is a short account:

“So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard.” (Genesis 4:3–5)

A few things come to light in this story. First, the need to give back to God is deeply rooted in human nature, so much so that Cain received no sympathy for giving God a crummy offering, even though he did it without God asking for it. I think that God had no regard for Cain’s offering because He had no respect for Cain’s motives. In other words, God refused to be manipulated by Cain’s gift. It is like having a teenage son who is in complete rebellion against you, and then he picks some old, wilted flowers out of your garden and hands them to you. You would be thinking, “What’s the catch? What is he trying to bribe me into doing?”

Unlike Cain, Abel gave God the first and best of his flock as a precious gift, and God loved it. Here lies the beauty of our wonderful Creator basking in the love of His mere mortal creature, giving Abel a pathway of expression to unleash the passion that gushed within him for his God. More than a thousand years before Moses ever wrote the Law that required the people of God to give their Creator the first and the best, Abel already was loving God freely with his extravagant gift.

So my challenge to you today is two-fold: first, work through the questions and any heart issues that may be getting in the way of your tithe. Second, when you go to tithe, give God your first and best. Lavish your love upon Him and watch the extravagant ways He will pour back out to you!


Do you want to learn more about why God cares how you spend your money? Then check out my latest book, Poverty, Riches and Wealth. I wrote it to help demystify God’s heart for us to live in true Kingdom prosperity, and I pray that it will bless you to become a blessing to those around you!

Dr Michael Bird: Why I Support Dark Mofo’s Inverted Crosses

The political left hates Christianity. They will berate the public about even the teensiest hint of what they call “islamophobia” and they are in full support of inclusion and diversity- except for christianity of course. Publish a cartoon of Mohammad and you will be pilloried by all the virtue signallers, but install blasphemous inverted crosses through a city and it’s fine because it’s art.

Why I support Dark Mofo’s inverted crosses

13 June 2018

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The proper way to understand the giant inverted crosses as part of Tasmania’s Dark Mofo festival is not an expression of macabre and strange art. Rather, it is a powerful symbol of the progressive left’s visceral hatred of Christians.

The giant red crosses erected as part of Tasmania’s Dark Mofo festival has caused offence to various Christian groups who recognize the inverted cross as a Satanic symbol of all things opposed to their faith (Yes, it can also represent St. Peter who was crucified upside down, however, given the deliberately macabre and neo-pagan ambience of Dark Mofo, veneration of St. Peter is hardly what the curators have in mind).

Richard Condie, Anglican bishop of Tasmania, went so far as to call it“state-sanctioned blasphemy” and Anaba Suriel, Coptic Bishop of Melbourne, labelled the display “an anti-Christian symbol in mockery of Jesus Christ” and a particularly painful reminder to Coptic Australians of the persecution they experienced in Egypt for being “people of the cross.”

Make no mistake about it. An upside down cross is as offensive to Christians as cartoons of the prophet Muhammed are to Muslims and smashed Stars of David are to Jews. The curators of the art knew perfectly well the uproar and offence that this art was going to cause. The offence caused was not careless, it was meticulously calculated, and the festival’s director remains recalcitrant in the face of criticism.

As you can imagine, Christian refugees from Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, and North Africa are particularly affronted by the art because it rehearses some of the anti-Christian rhetoric that has been used to inspire violence against them. Don’t forget that ISIS’s magazine Dabiq had a whole issue dedicated to “breaking the cross” which justified the killing of Christians. I cannot help but think that the Dark Mofo directors and ISIS might have a few things in common when it comes to their shared animus towards Christians.

Of course, mocking of the cross has a long history.

Crucifixion was the punishment of slaves, bandits, and enemies of the state. So it was particularly offensive to Romans that the Christians honoured as a god a person whom Roman authorities had executed as a common criminal. The cross was considered impious as it was seditious: A crucified Jew rather than Caesar was hailed as Lord of the world.

Marcus Cornelius Fronto, an orator and rhetorician, condemned Christians on the grounds that “the religion of the Christians is insane, in that they worship a crucified man, and even the instrument of his punishment itself” (Minucius Felix, Octavius 9.)

Similarly, the philosopher Porphyry wrote about the story of a man who went to the temple of Apollo to ask the god what he might do to dissuade his wife from being a Christian. In Porphyry’s account, Apollo answered the man as follows: “Let her continue as she pleases, persisting in her vain delusions, and lamenting in song a god who died in delusions, who was condemned by judges whose verdict was just, and executed in the prime of life by the worst of deaths, a death bound with iron” (Augustine, The City of God 19.23).

The earliest piece of anti-Christian graffiti is the famous Alexamenos inscription, dated to around AD 200, found on Palatine Hill in Rome, on what probably was a school to train imperial slaves. The inscription presents a man with a donkey’s head hanging on a cross, while another man faces towards the cross in a pose of worship. The words “Alexamenos worships his god” are etched underneath. The allegation is clear: Christians worship a crucified ass!

Yet despite the shame and derision associated with crucifixion, the first Christians made the cross central to their worship, stories, symbols, and ethics.

The cross is a central symbol for Jesus Christ, his Church, and God’s love for the world. According to St. John, Jesus’s death is a revelation of divine glory (John 12:23; 13:31–32) and motivated by divine love (John 3:16; 15:13). The apostle Paul preached a message of “Christ crucified” because it is the very “power of God” (1 Cor 1:17–18, 23). Paul even regarded his own identity as indelibly and somewhat mysteriously connected to the death of Jesus to the point that he could say that “I have been crucified with Christ” and “the world has been crucified to me” (Gal 2:20; 6:14).

The author of Hebrews offers a stirring exhortation to his readers to remember Jesus, who “for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Heb 12:2). John of Patmos describes Jesus as the “Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world,” locating Jesus’ death as part of God’s pre-promised plan to rescue his people from the mire of an evil world (Rev 13:8).

Tertullian referred to the late second-century practice of making the sign of the cross: “At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at the table, when we light the lamps, when on the couch, on a seat, and in all the ordinary actions of life, we trace the sign of the cross on our foreheads” (Tertullian, The Crown 3.). In the fifth century, Romanos the Melodist (ca. AD 490–556) wrote his famous hymn “The Victory of the Cross” which says: “In your opinion the cross is an instrument of folly, but all creation sees it as the throne of glory. On it Jesus is nailed, like a king waiting to be hailed.”

While Dark Mofo’s inverted crosses sadden me, I am not outraged by them, and I definitely do not want them taken down. I regard the crosses as exemplary tools with which to teach the Christian community some important lessons.

First, I will make sure my Christian students, my fellow parishioners, and my friends see the Dark Mofo’s inverted crosses for what they are. Their inverted crosses are symbols of the progressive left’s and the cultural elite’s pathological hatred of Christians. The left claims to embody the virtues of tolerance, diversity, and inclusion, yet deeply offensive symbols like these are (literally) iconic for the hatred and loathing they have for Christians. What is on display is their hunger to humiliate us and their insatiable appetite to cause offence for the sheer joy it gives them.

I will make sure Christian refugees from Syria, Sudan, and Iraq see these inverted crosses too. And I will explain what they mean: “See how much they hate you. See their joy at your humiliation. See their delight at the publicity they get when you complain. See their detestation of who you are and who you worship. Remember it and don’t forget it.”

Second, then comes the next lesson. “Even though they hate you and mock the holy cross, do not hate them back. They make the cross an object of hate and ridicule, because hatred gives them focus and purpose, while ridicule gives them a sense of superiority and power over you. But to you, dear brothers and sisters, let the cross be the reminder of power-in-powerlessness, how love triumphs over hate, mercy for the undeserved, and kindness without limits.”

I want to thank the Dark Mofo artistic team for their inverted crosses. They are genuinely illuminating and sobering. Christians are reminded how much they are resented by certain quarters of the progressive left and it is an important reminder that we must not try to out-hate our enemies, rather, we must out-love them. The cross is glorious and the Dark Mofo leadership is powerless to change that. Let them enjoy their hatred and mockery, but do not imitate them, and do not let them change you. That is your victory, the victory of the crucified within you.

Rev Dr Michael F. Bird is an Anglican Priest and theologian and a lecturer at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia. He tweets @mbird12 and blogs at Euangelion.