Archive for February, 2009

17
Feb
09

What Do You Think About?

thethinkermuseerodingreenresizedWhat do you spend your time thinking about?  That’s a decision that we can make.  You can decide to fill your mind with pornography.  You can fill your mind with images of violent acts, and go through your day playing and replaying acts of violence.  You can fill your mind with thoughts of hopelessness, despair, surrender, and defeat.  You can think about how you’re going to make an idiot out of yourself.  You can have pictures in your mind of you being another “Chris Farley” kind of character.  You can fill your mind with shallow gossip.  But know this, what we put in our minds, shapes and impacts our lives.  The old computer term GIGO is really true – Garbage In Garbage Out.  You put garbage in, what do you get?  Roses?  No…just garbage.

I recently came across a band on the Internet called Cradle of Filth.  I would like to read to you a piece of their lyric taken from their song As Deep as Any Burial – “Thrill, kill the black cult, Walk among the weak by night, Affliction…Deep as any burial, take their worthless lives..” If you dump a cradle of filth into your mind it’s going to impact and shape your outlook, the way you live.

If I bake a cake and instead of using sugar I use dirt, or instead of eggs I use motor oil, or instead of flour I use chalk dust, the cakes going to come out wrong.  The taste will be ruined.  When we mix into our thinking these kinds of thoughts and simmer and stew on them it impacts the taste of our lives.  It ruins the flavor of our lives.  People get a taste of us and they walk away saying, “There’s just something not right about that person.”

Recently, my wife’s computer got a virus.  It aggravated the fool out of us.  The computer slowed way down to the point it would barely respond at all.  I wanted to throw it out the front door.  It was sick.  All of its processing power was occupied dealing with this virus, and it couldn’t respond. 

Many of us have viral thoughts in our mind that occupy us, and distract us.  We’re unable to respond to God.  It’s like we’re moving in slow motion.  Inside we’re sick.  God’s Word can wash our minds, renew our minds, delete the viral thoughts, and give us a clean start so we can be ready to answer him when he calls.

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Romans 12:1-2 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world,  but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

13
Feb
09

Living in an Age of Pluralism

pluralism-1Our world is increasingly pluralistic.  Pluralism says that there is no real, knowable, absolute, universal truth.  Truth is relative.  What’s true for you is true for you and what’s true for me is true for me.  Its sounds very sophisticated – generous, virtuous even. 

I’ve got a couple of problems with the whole pluralism thing.  First, it contradicts itself.  What if someone comes up to you and says, “There is no absolute truth?”  What have they just done?  They’ve made a claim to know the absolute truth. 

Second, a pluralistic society can become the most intolerant of all.  The most prized value in pluralism is tolerance.  “Oh, if we could all just be tolerant.  If we could just get along!”  What we find though is that the lofty idea of pluralism and tolerance quickly slips into the very thing it despises.  It becomes intolerant of anyone who doesn’t fit in.  It becomes intolerant of putting a manger scene on the lawn in front of city hall.  It becomes intolerant of a prayer at graduation.  It becomes intolerant of teaching Intelligent Design along side Darwinism.  Why stop there.  Just to make sure no one feels uncomfortable lets remover every reference to God like in our Pledge of Allegiance, or on our monuments, or money.  A pluralistic society can become most intolerant of all.

In reality everyone believes in some form of truth.  Everyone.  The real question is what is the truth that can change you, save you from yourself, fill your empty soul, and give you true peace and joy?  I’d like to propose that truth is found in the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said in John 14:1 – “I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.”

 

05
Feb
09

Sharing the Gospel

the_burning_bushExodus 4:10 – But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”

God called Moses, a shepherd at this point in his life, to lead the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  This is just one of his many excuses he gave as he stood barefoot before the burning bush.  Basically he said, “I’m not a good speaker, Lord.  Get someone else!”  Surely inspirational, charismatic speaking would be helpful to convince not only the Israelites but Pharaoh himself that it was time for God’s people to be free.  A little persuasion would be helpful.  Moses didn’t think he had it in him.  His Egyptian was a bit rusty after 40 years watching sheep in the desert.

Like Moses there are times when God wants us to speak for him, to speak his word, to share the good news that Jesus saves and forgives.  How often we feel the same way Moses did.  Maybe we say the same things he said.  “I can’t speak.  I’ll studder.  I’ll hem and haw, and turn red, and people will think I’m weird.  I’ll leave that stuff for the extraverts.”

The good news is the Gospel, the story of the person of Jesus, who he was and is, his death, and resurrection, and what he’s done in our lives.  When sharing the gospel it’s really great if you’re a gifted speaker, but it’s not essential.

When it comes to sharing the gospel, it’s not about you, or the technique.  The most important thing is the message itself.  In fact our limitations when sharing the gospel make us more relatable.  People see we’re real.  God ends up using our limitations to build connection.  Even in our weakness we can be used for God’s glory.  In Romans 1:16 Paul writes – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…