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.

Tired of Lies? You Can Find Truth Here.

More and more I find myself thinking about Truth…Truth in the form of promises. Truth that really is just that…something you can always count on. In our culture today we seldom see a promise actually kept. People hedge their words with phrases such as I’ll try, not I will. Even when fixing problems some folks say that should work rather than that will work. People break social commitments when they have a better offer from someone else or another party just seems like more fun. It’s just hard to get people to keep their promises.

This past week I was driving through Florida and an interesting sign caught my attention. Here’s what the sign said, Uncontested divorce just $199. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of those seeking an uncontested divorce had started their marriage with a promise to God and to each other to stay together until separated by death. Now for $199 the promise is dissolved.

I recently watched a father try to get his one-year-old son to come back to him. The energetic boy had run off to play and the father wanted him to return. This dad pretended to have candy in his hand and held his hand out to the boy asking him if he wanted some candy. The boy ran back to his dad. The dad opened his hand showing the little boy no candy and said, Son, candy will be the death of you and just laughed. So now we teach kids to get what you want through deception and lying.

I think back to promises in the Bible and begin to understand why many folks just can’t believe these promises. They have come from a world where Truth is difficult to find. Promises don’t have meaning. Deception and trickery are common. May I remind you that there are absolute Truths that God has revealed in the Bible? These promises of God are always true.

Don’t let a world of false promises keep you from believing in the Truths of God. Promises of an earthly existence don’t in any way correspond to the promises of an eternal God. Do you want to know what some of these absolute Truths are? Go pick up your bible and start reading. You won’t find $199 uncontested divorces there. You won’t find a God who manipulates there. Instead you will find Truths that you can count on all the time. Not just things that should work in your life but rather you will find Truths that will work in your life if you choose to follow God. There is no hedging when it comes to Biblical Truth.

So get your Bible and start discovering absolute Truth and stop relying on the promises of the world. Like the little boy, if you follow promises of the world, you will only be running after candy that doesn’t exist.

 

 

 

 

I’ll Take Butter On That

https://vimeo.com/84141169

Truthful marketing and advertising has always been of interest to me.  This week I was reading a label on a bottle of pancake syrup just thinking about the marketing approach this particular company was taking.  As I read the label I noticed something very interesting.  The label advertised the syrup as Butter Rich.  In fact these two words were boldly written in bright blue letters across the front of the bottle.  Looking at those two words I could just imagine a large stack of pancakes with melted butter and butter rich syrup running down the sides of the pancakes.  Sounds good doesn’t it?

There is one problem.  In small letters along the bottom of the syrup label are the following words: contains no butter. That’s right…the butter rich advertising on the label is on a product that contains no butter.  I’m not sure how something can be buttery rich with no butter but that is a problem for another day.

What this syrup label made me think about are labels.  Specifically, the label many of us have attached to us that says follower of Christ.  People are watching us to see if we live up to our advertising.  Are we really the person we say we are? As I interact with folks all over the country I am saddened to see some who wear this label but probably should add some small print to their label that says, contains no Christ.

Most of us get frustrated when we believe we have been victims of false advertising.  I suspect we also do great damage to the cause of Christ when we label ourselves as followers of Christ but when others observe our behavior they see no evidence of truth in our advertising.

I’m reminded of Matthew, chapter 7 that says this:

A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

If you are wearing a follower of Christ label, make sure that you have truth in your advertising.  Let others identify you as a follower of Christ by your actions, those actions that follow scripture.  Let’s not disappoint others and harm the cause of Christ by any false advertising.

Please Stop and Ask For Directions…

This week I went to eat at a restaurant out of town.  When I left the restaurant I was certain I knew the way home.  After all, I’m a geographic professional so I looked at my unused GPS and turned my car out of the parking lot.  But late at night, after driving far too long on winding country roads, I realized that I had turned the wrong way out of the restaurant parking lot.  Even though I was certain I knew my way home I didn’t even make the correct turn out of the parking lot.

Almost daily folks who are positive about their spiritual direction in life confront me.  Some folks are positive there are no absolute truths in this world.  In a recent conversation someone displayed their lack of critical thinking when they told me they did not believe any absolute truth existed.  When I asked them if they were sure they replied “absolutely!”  Yes, you read that correctly, these folks were absolutely sure that absolute truth did not exist.

Yet, absolute truth exists all around us.  There are absolute truths in mathematics, music, science, and the list could go on.  If we didn’t believe that these truths existed, why would we spend our time and money to study at colleges and universities?  Our very diplomas signify that we have mastered a variety of absolute truths.

When it comes to issues of spirituality, suddenly the rules change.  Our compartmentalized worldview can accept absolute truths in math and science but when it comes to God we question how truth can possibly exist.  I hear folks frequently question the existence of the God of the Bible, yet I see few, if any, of these folks truly seeking evidence. You see, when it comes to God and absolute truth, the discussions generally revolve around heated opinions. We seldom bring discussions centered on opinions to reasonable conclusions.  Could you imagine courtrooms that simply accepted everyone’s opinion?

So today, I challenge both believers in Christ and non-believers. What evidence would it take to convince you of the existence of the God of the Bible? Begin gathering your evidence. For believers in Christ, it is important to have an answer for your beliefs and the evidence you collect is critical.  I hear many folks say they believe in God because the Bible commands it.  However, what evidence supports the Bible? If you were talking to a non-believer about the Bible, what historical, archeological, or physical evidence would you provide as proof of Biblical truths?

For non-believers you just might be surprised where the evidence takes you. Instead of simply giving an opinion on Biblical and spiritual issues start compiling the evidence for yourself.

Are you looking for a few books to get started?  Try some of these:

The Case for Christ by Lee Stroebel

Is the Bible True…Really? by Josh McDowell

Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospel by J. Warner Wallace.

Remember, you may truly believe you know your way home when it comes to spiritual issues but you may be merrily driving down wrong road.

You Don’t Understand? No Problem…Let Me Summarize.

This week one of the textbooks being used by Guyer High School in Denton, Texas has come under fire.  This supplemental textbook titled, United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination, has taken the liberty to summarize the amendments to the constitution of the United States.

Let me give you an example of the summary of the second amendment given in this textbook.  The textbook reads, “The people have the right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.”  This is far different from the actual ratified second amendment that reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” We can quickly see the author’s bias in the writing of this summary.

I don’t want to get into a discussion of the interpretation of the second amendment.  I am simply using this example to talk with you about truth.  Make sure you take some time and review the textbooks your children are using.  If you don’t agree with the material, explain to your children why you disagree and then contact your school system or college and talk with them about the material.

We live in a world where most of us can clearly see when someone is approaching life from a differing worldview.  However, when we send our children to a school or college we expect all institutions of learning to operate within the boundaries of truth.  Often our children cannot readily discern truth from fiction. We are trusting our educational partners to dispense truth not summarize it, turn it into a falsehood, and repackage it again and sell it to our children as truth.

On their webpage the staff at Denton High School say this, “The GHS staff is committed to providing GHS students with the skills they need to lead successful – and productive – lives.”  I’m not buying it. Without understanding the concept of truth that can never happen.