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There’s a big fad going around right now, that started in the “cool, rad, hipster church” scene that God doesn’t want you to be religious.

WHAT THEY’RE TRYING TO SAY: God doesn’t want you to be so worried about rules and regulations, dos and don’ts, and the legalistic aspect of the church that you can’t focus on what really matters: Him. There’s a really important, valid principle in there. Much like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, “religion” in today’s culture has become more about “getting it all right” than about resting easy knowing that Jesus already got it all right for you. So I get what they’re trying to say, but I think there’s a really serious misunderstanding.

THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD’S RELIGION: James 1:27 says,

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

So the reality is, what God wants from you IS religion. Not what you or I think it is or make it out to be, but rather, what he wants it to be. See, just like all those “cool, rad, hipster” guys tell you, it REALLY IS all about a relationship with God. But “religion” is our response to that relationship. Just like Jesus asked his followers, “Do you love me? Then obey my commandments,” he’s saying the same thing to you and me.

“Do you love me?”

“Yes.”

“Then do what I tell you.”

It has nothing to do with running in church. It has nothing to do with talking too loudly. It has nothing to do with what you wear. It’s not about the “rules.” It’s about meeting people’s needs (because THAT is how we SHOW people the love of Jesus) and it’s about keeping yourself protected from the temptations and harmful influences of the world that would tear you away from God.

SO NOW THAT WE GOT THAT OUT OF THE WAY, I read a really good blog post the other day about 10 simple ways to make a difference in the world from right where you are. Here is a link to the post in case you’d like to read it for yourself.

The point of today’s post is simply to point you towards some ideas. To give you some food for thought. Do you love God? Or at the very least, do you want to be a good person, a good neighbor or citizen, and make a positive impact on your world? Well then, are you doing anything to help the “least of these?” Are you feeding the hungry? Are you clothing the naked? Are you visiting the lonely?

Here are five of my favorite organizations that are helping people and that you can partner with to make a difference:

  • World Vision – World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
  • Lifeline Christian Mission – Lifeline is active in Haiti, Honduras, and several other developing countries and countries-in-crisis, providing nutritional meals, medicinal aid, and much, much more.
  • To Write Love On Her Arms – TWLOHA is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.
  • Blood:Water Mission – BWM  is a grassroots organization that empowers communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa.
  • Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley –  The Rescue Mission exists to serve and glorify God through Christ-centered outreach of love and compassion that responds to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of disadvantaged men, women and children without regard to race, color or creed.

Bottom line: DO SOMETHING. We have been given too much to sit idly by while people around us are hurting. Let’s go make waves.

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