Dave Burchett: Smiling Faces Sometimes…

Taken from Confessions Of A Bad Christian  which is found  HERE.

Recently a song came up on the iTunes shuffle from a a group called Undisputed Truth.

Smiling Faces Sometimes was originally recorded by the Temptations but the version released by Undisputed Truth in 1971 became the number 3 song that year.

Here are the opening lyrics from that song…

Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don’t tell the truth uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof

After the publication of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People  I received hundreds of letters (okay…emails and blog responses) from wounded Christians who could have started their notes with those lyrics. They have been hurt and betrayed by other churchgoers, often with smiling faces. I try to encourage them. I remind them that we are all sinners in need of His grace. I ask them to look to Jesus. I try to communicate that I have felt and do feel the pain that they are experiencing. But every time I hit send I am saddened that this happens in the body of Christ. Sometimes I am downright (ticked) off that any of us allow our agenda and self-absorption to overpower the awe inspiring gift of grace that brought us together in the first place. Not many things seemed to tick off Jesus more than hypocrites. Listen to these comments directed to the religious leaders.

“How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy–full of greed and self-indulgence! Blind Pharisees! First wash the inside of the cup, and then the outside will become clean, too.

 “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

 “Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?

Does that sound like the happy, happy Jesus that we like to portray? In a handful of verses He called the self-righteous leaders hypocrites, lawless, filthy inside, and sons of vipers. Ouch. Jesus was righteously furious. And He was furious over phony faith. Compare His tender response to repentant sinners. It is clear that Jesus wants honest hearts and maybe, just maybe, that is why He preferred to hang out with the not so self-righteous.

Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such despicable people–even eating with them!  (Luke 15,  NLT)

Oh no!!! Eating with sinners! And yet I still see that ugly scenario playing out today. We find safety in surrounding ourselves with others just like us. The lifestyles of the lost and not so famous are uncomfortable to us. So we take the safe route. I think Jesus loved being with the “sinners” because they recognized their condition and need. They offered no excuses. They were eager to hear how this remarkable teacher would address that condition.

Just like the pharisees I can clean up the outside real purty. But God knows what lies beneath. It is scary and painful and ugly to allow the Holy Spirit to start cleaning out the dirt, the dead bones, and everything unclean. But we will never experience God the way He desires to relate to us unless we are willing to trust God and others with who we really are. Frankly I don’t see the point of being a Sunday Christian. If this is real we need to pursue it seven days a week. The hardest truth I have had to admit as a husband, father, follower of Jesus is that I make time for those things that are a priority to me. There can be short time diversions for work or circumstance. But over the weeks and months how I spend my time and how I live my life reveals my heart. That is a hard truth.

Our iTune selection goes on…

Your enemy won’t do you no harm
Cause you’ll know where he’s coming from
Don’t let the handshake and the smile fool ya
Take my advice I’m only try’ to school ya

Isn’t that what hurts us so much when someone in the church does the wounding? We don’t expect it. We are not prepared at all to get sucker punched by a family member. But it happens in the church. Smiling faces do sometimes tell lies. Smiling churchgoers sometimes do great damage. But there is another possibility.

Smiling faces that love others like Jesus and demonstrate the grace we experience can still change this world. I have seen it. And, in my heart, that is still undisputed truth.

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After 3 Years of Silence, Autistic Girl Finally Makes One Simple Request

Taken from  Yahoo   which is found    HERE.

After three years of complete silence, autistic 5-year-old Coco Bradford shocked her mother by declaring, “I want more toast please,” out of the blue in a moment that her mother Rachel Bradford calls “magical.”

“It was the first thing she has said in three years,” the Cornwall, England, mom told the Daily Mail on Thursday. “Her exact words were, ‘I want more toast please.’ She just kept saying it, and we were just like, ‘Oh my god.’ She looked so pleased with herself and was jumping up and down and just kept saying, ‘I want more toast.’” And despite the fact that, “you are not supposed to show how excited you get as kids link power with that word,” Rachel said, “We just couldn’t control it. We were clapping and cheering.”

Coco hadn’t always been nonverbal. She’d begun speaking as a toddler, only to stop after she turned 2, according to Rachel, who with her husband, Luke, has four other kids (Bianca, 28, Chelsea, 25, Elle, 22, and Oakley, 8). “Coco was talking at 26 months but did not get to more than two word sentences,” she explained. “But her talking just faded away and she stopped responding to her name or making any eye contact. You could tell she was just so frustrated. We tried a speech therapist but the last two years have been horrendous. You could tell [how] angry she was becoming with herself.”

According to the organization Autism Speaks, an estimated 25 percent of individuals living with autism spectrum disorders are nonverbal. And living with a child who can’t communicate like the rest of her family has been difficult, Coco’s older sister Chelsea Elcocks explained on a fundraising page that her family began to help pay for speech therapy for the preschooler. “She is not capable of telling us when she is in pain, when she is hungry, if she had a good day at nursery,” according to Elcocks. “She doesn’t say I love you mummy.”

But the specialized applied behavioral analysis therapy that they were able to begin with Coco last September — thanks to donors’ contributions of more than $21,000 — gave them hope. And now, with Coco’s incredible “toast” request, it seems the sky’s the limit.

“We waited so long for her to talk, and for her to just do it unprompted was quite magical, really,” marveled mom Rachel. “It is just so lovely, and I cannot explain how happy we all are. The day after, my husband came home from work, and Coco poked her head around the corner and said hello. [So] the speed of how quickly she has learnt has shocked everyone. She is now shocking us every day with something new.”

As for why warmed bread sparked Coco’s breakthrough, Rachel has an easy explanation. “Like most kids with autism [she] has a very limited diet,” the mom explained. “I am not surprised her first words were about toast. She loves it and has always eaten it.”