Maybe It’s Not All About Me

This week I was in Minneapolis, MN on business. As I was walking through the city I suddenly found myself in the middle of the gay pride weekend…one of the largest gay pride celebrations in the country. There were thousands of folks celebrating the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage as well as the LGBT lifestyle in general.

The dress for many of the folks at the parade I can only describe as ridiculous. One man passed me wearing only bright colored gold short-shorts and rainbow colored wings. The language I encountered on the street by many of the gay pride participants was course and sexually suggestive. There was little consideration for others and the tone there can be summed up with this sentence. It’s all about me.

When I returned home I had the opportunity to attend the closing service for a group on the campus of TFC called Worldview Academy. Worldview Academy holds week-long camps all over the country and their Georgia camp is held at Toccoa Falls College. The camp consists of twenty-five hours of classroom training in Christian worldview as well as practical exercises to re-enforce the classroom training. This isn’t a “let’s have fun” camp. This is a Christian worldview academic training camp for high school students.

As I watched these students I couldn’t help but contrast what was happening at Worldview Academy to what I had just observed at the gay pride parade. These Worldview Academy students realized life isn’t just about them. Life isn’t about being the center of attention. Life is about following biblical mandates including the biblical mandate of serving others while telling them about biblical truth. These Worldview Academy students weren’t afraid to speak about the power of grace while also speaking biblical truth. Our conversations about biblical worldview need both of these components…grace and truth. One without the other produces an unbalanced perspective.

I was again reminded that here in Toccoa, Stephens County, the State of Georgia and throughout our entire country there are folks committed to living Christ-like lives. Don’t ever think you are alone in your service to God. There are millions of believers committed to living Godly life and telling others about biblical truth and grace. It’s time for all of us to take a committed stand for Christ and biblical truth. The world needs to hear about the power of a Christ filled life from you.

How Much Do You Value This?

https://vimeo.com/85293086

I recently watched a video of Christians living in China who were given their first Bible. Let me set the stage for this.  In a room full of Chinese Christians, two suitcases full of Bibles were placed on the floor and opened.  These folks made a rush to the suitcases to get their own Bible.  There were squeals of delight and great big smiles. The folks in this video were opening their new Bibles with reverence. They smelled the pages, rubbed the Bibles against their faces, and one even began to cry.  I could just sense the gratitude in the hearts of these folks to finally get a Bible of their own. In a world where we are used to seeing people stampede to get into the doors at a Wal-Mart sale, this video really made me think about the value we place on our Bible.

Most of us take our Bible for granted.  We have Bibles everywhere. I have a Bible on my nightstand, one on my iPad, one on my iPhone, and several on the bookshelf in my office. We have Bibles in different translations.  In fact, we often argue about which translation is most accurate. We have Bibles with different decorator covers, large print editions, the words of Jesus in red, study Bibles, Bibles endorsed by famous authors and speakers, and I could go on describing our Bibles but I’ll stop.

So here is the question.  How often to you open your Bible and do some serious reading? I don’t mean rushing through one chapter so you can check this task off your list and say you read your Bible today.  I’m talking about sitting down, reading, studying, and actually letting God speak to you through His word.  When is the last time you actually used your Bible so much that it fell apart and you had to go and replace it? I can almost assure you that our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ will cherish their Bibles and eventually wear them out.

Sometimes as followers of Christ we talk a good game.  We seem to frequently have the Biblical answers for the problems of others.  A recent survey reported in Christianity Today that out of 2,900 Protestant churchgoers only 19% read their Bibles every day. In reality, many Americans read their Bibles so little that they attribute things to the Bible that aren’t even there. Do a simple Internet search and you’ll locate all sorts of examples.

Perhaps it’s time for all of us to read more from God’s word, study what God has really said in scripture, and listen to the message God has for each of us.  We so often miss that last part.  We don’t take time to listen to what God has for us in the Bible.  Let’s treat the Bible with the respect that should be given to the powerful words from our almighty God.

Fourth Trimester Abortion: Are You Serious?

Today I want to talk with you about fourth trimester abortions.  I hope you are already asking yourself what this means.  The term itself makes no sense.  By definition a trimester has three parts, not four.  Dan Joseph, in this video, explained that his made up term of “fourth trimester abortion” would allow the killing of an infant after birth.  Dan visited the campus of George Mason University armed with his fictitious petition seeking signatures to support fourth trimester abortions.  Within one hour Dan obtained fourteen signatures on his petition.

Dan went to George Mason armed with his petition and gave the usual pro-choice rhetoric as students passed by.  Few students asked about the definition of a fourth trimester abortion and many simply signed the petition.

One student asked if this procedure would harm the baby.  After learning that it would she signed anyway.  Frankly, I don’t know what part of the definition of abortion she didn’t understand. Abortion ends a pregnancy and ends a life. Why would you even ask if this harms the baby? A second student is told not to even read the petition just to sign it and without any consideration for the content of the petition signs his name.

What are some lessons here?  First, if this is the best that our higher education system can provide in terms of critical thinking skills we have a serious problem.  Not all colleges and universities are created equal.  Even a faculty member at this particular college signed the petition.  Go find a college that provides some critical thinking skills and stop wasting your money on colleges that leave you agreeing with fourth trimester abortions and unable to discern between truth and fiction.  Better still; don’t go to any college that leaves you supporting abortion as a viable alternative.  Develop some critical thinking skills and you will soon see the fallacies in the pro-choice agenda. Former President Ronald Reagan understood the weakness in the pro-choice arguments when he said, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

Second, don’t put a lot of credibility in petitions.  People will sign almost anything.  Next time you hear about a petition with 100,000 names on it just remember these fourteen clueless folks who supported fourth trimester abortions.

Finally, don’t forget the wisdom found in the Bible. The book of Proverbs warns us about our need for wisdom and says this, “Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: How long, you simpletons,
will you insist on being simpleminded?
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you
and make you wise.”

Wisdom is calling to each of us.  It’s time to start listening.

Go Ahead. Open It!

According to KXTV in California, Chuck Kunellis was surprised this month when two letters his father wrote to his wife almost seventy years ago were finally delivered to Chuck’s home. Chuck’s father wrote the letters while stationed in Italy during World War II.  The letters had been lost in the mail and through the work of a Good Samaritan were finally delivered to Chuck.

Whatever your situation with your earthly father, you always have letters that are available to you from your heavenly Father.  Simply stated, those letters are found in the Bible.  God knew that throughout time all of us would need letters of encouragement, direction, and love.  Scripture provides us with God’s ageless, absolute truths.  Are you feeling discouraged?  Read Psalms.  Looking for direction? Read Proverbs?  Looking for love?  Go to the book of John and learn just how much God really loves you.

In an article from Christianity today, LifeWay Research surveyed more than 2,900 Protestant churchgoers and found that while ninety percent of those surveyed desire to please and honor Jesus in all they do, only nineteen percent personally read the Bible every day.

How about you?  How are you doing with the letters from your heavenly Father?  Are you reading daily? If you’re struggling with your reading, just remember that reading God’s word is not an obligation.  It’s not a chore that you must complete and cross off your list.  Your reading is a chance to learn more about God.  It’s a chance to hear Him speak to you through his letters.  The letters He prepared just for you.

Deuteronomy 7:9 tell us, Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.

Keep reading your Bible and see what God has written just for you. It would be a shame to leave a letter from God unopened.

Are You Dying of Thirst?

Today as I was watching someone water flowers, I began to think about the power of water.  Not the water you and I might ordinarily think about on a hot summer day but rather the living water we read about in the Bible.

When I was younger we used to sing a song in church that said this, Like the woman at the well I was seeking for things that would not satisfy.  But then I heard the Master saying draw from the well that never will run dry.

That song is talking about the Bible story we read in John chapter 4.  In this account, Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman at a well.  She has come there to draw water to drink but she is about to encounter the power of God.  This woman has quite a story and must have been pretty disillusioned with her life.  In fact, this scripture tells us that the woman has had five husbands and the man she is now living with is not her husband.  She has been searching for earthly things to satisfy.

As Jesus and the woman were talking about the water in the well, Jesus says this to the woman, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

So how about you today?  Are you like the woman at the well looking for things of this world that just don’t satisfy? Are you caught in the trap of trying to gain money and possessions?  Do you find yourself searching for romantic relationships that continue to fail?  Are you caught in the trap of alcohol or drugs…like the woman at the well just looking for something to satisfy your soul?

If you find yourself caught in these traps, you need a drink of eternal water.  In other words, let Jesus change your life. Give Him a chance to change you from the inside out.  It really is easy. Simply ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and become the leader of your life.  Then watch your life begin to change as God now directs your steps and satisfies your soul as only He can do.

What Are You Thinking?

Some of my thoughts today are from a book titled, Thinking For A Change written by John Maxwell.  In that book Maxwell tells the story of two sisters.  One sister just got word that she was accepted to the college of her choice. She was so excited to have earned the opportunity for a future career.  The other sister leaned over to her mom and said this, I feel so sorry for my sister.  She has to go to school four more years!

This story illustrates the underlying foundation of the book.  Successful people think differently than unsuccessful people. In our story, one sister thought about the wonderful opportunity she had been given to attend college and start a career.  The other sister thought about all the time, effort, and work it would take to get through four years of college…two totally different ways of thinking.

What do you think about every day?  Do you even take time to deliberately think about the future or are you just trying to get through the day.  Maxwell said this about the power of thinking.

  • Unsuccessful people focus their thinking on survival
  • Average people focus their thinking on maintenance
  • Successful people focus their thinking on progress

If you aren’t doing it yet, may I encourage you to spend some time each day deliberately thinking? A good way to get started is to spend some time at the end of each day reflecting on your day.  Examine what was successful in your day.  What decisions did you make that led to successful outcomes? What decisions did you make that led to negative outcomes?  How could you have made your daily decisions better? If you will take fifteen minutes at the end of each day and reflect on the decisions you made during that day, you will learn tremendous lessons that you can use tomorrow.

Some of you may remember an old movie called Groundhog Day.  In that movie the main character continued to live the same day over and over again.  I hope you aren’t trapped in a similar situation.  If you feel like you are simply repeating your workdays, break free by thinking deliberately each day, learn from the lessons of the day that God is teaching you, and apply new ideas to your life.

Former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch once said this. 99.9 percent of all employees are in the pile because they don’t think.  Don’t be one of many struggling in the employee pile. Spend some time thinking and live the exciting, creative life God has planned for you.

Let’s Waste Some Time

A few years ago John Maxwell wrote a fascinating book called, Today Matters.  In that book Maxwell noted that what we do with our time each day will determine our future.  I believe Maxwell is right.

According to Reuters News, Americans watch an average of nearly 35 hours of TV each week. That’s almost equal to a full-time job. In the average home, there are more television sets than people.

According to another survey by America Online and Survey.com, American workers are wasting 2 hours of every 8-hour workday, and that doesn’t include lunch or scheduled break time.

Specifically, this survey revealed 64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites every day at work. Of that group, 39 percent waste one hour or less each week, 29 percent waste 2 hours each week, 21 percent waste five hours per week, and 3 percent said they waste 10 hours or more each week.

The survey also revealed which websites employees visit most while they should be working. Any guesses? Facebook occupied 41 percent of those wasting time and 25 percent are shopping at Amazon while they should be working.

I suspect if you asked those watching 35 hours of TV or those wasting time surfing the Internet about their life plans, they would tell you that they always wanted to start their own business but just don’t have the time.  Or perhaps they just don’t understand why they can’t seem to get promoted at work.  I bet you would hear an endless stream of excuses for why these folks can’t seem to get ahead.

The answer is very simple and Maxwell is right.  Here’s the answer again in case you missed it…Today Matters.  How you spend your day each and every day will determine your future.  You will never get today back again to repeat.

So what will it be?  Watch TV or spend time with your family?  Surf the Internet or think of ways to be productive and help your company advance?  Check Facebook or read your bible?  You see, your day really is yours.  You get to decide how your day will unfold.  Choose wisely because today really does matter.