What ever happened to hard work?
The generations have changed. There’s been a shift in our culture that is a bit discouraging. There’s been a shift from the gratification and tremendous feeling of knowing that you’ve worked hard in order to earn something to a lazy, entitlement, “you deserve a break today” mindset. We now live in a microwave, fast-food, streaming, 80Mbps, instant gratification, video gaming day and age where the goal is to work our way out of work; Friday night is the goal, lazy days on the beach are the goal, retirement is the goal. Many people have given up on work.
And it’s not just trying to work our way out of working hard in our jobs, but it’s extended to every area of life. We view work as something that only the lower class should do. Therefore we don’t put in the work of raising our kids, managing our finances, strengthening our marriages, and building our families. Work has quite literally become a dirty word, and that mindset Continue reading
I love Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. My sister even called me Charlie Brown as a kid. Not so much because I loved the show, but because I had a BIG head. So much for sisters (and luckily I grew into it). But as a kid I’d mark down when the Peanuts’ specials were going to be on TV. Probably my most all-time favorite has to be the Christmas special when Charlie Brown is trying to figure out the meaning of Christmas. After all of his frustration his good friend Linus steps on stage and recites Isaiah 9:6, Continue reading
Renowned poet, Emily Dickinson, once penned:
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
I believe hope is something that every person wants to have. Hope for a better day. Hope for a better job, a better life. Hope that our children turn out to be good people. But what is the difference between a Christian definition of hope and the way the world uses it?
The word “hope” in everyday English vocabulary is usually different from the idea of certainty. Typically when people use the word hope they mean, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I hope it happens.”
Then again, when you read the word “hope” in the Bible (like in 1 Peter 1:13—”set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”), hope is not wishful thinking. Continue reading
The apostle Paul warned his young protégé pastor Timothy
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” ~2 Timothy 4:3-4
Our world is full of lies. From our governmental officials, to commercials, to our three-year-old kid trying to hide that broken vase, lies are all around us. The world is a master at presenting its counterfeit products as the genuine article. And because Christians are followers of the Truth, you would think we would be more in-tune with sniffing them out.
But many Christians believe many lies. We sometimes don’t even realize that they are lies because we’ve never actually looked them up in God’s word for ourselves. It’s just “the way it’s always been.”
There are hundreds of lies Christians believe, but there are three I have personally seen infiltrate the church, the lives of my friends and family, and even at times my own life. Continue reading
What is the “church” supposed to look like? What is it’s function? And if possible back up your answer.
A college friend of mine who likes to blog a lot, and make my head hurt with the depth of his theological insights, recently compared a scene from A Few Good Men to the doctrine of Sola Sciptura (Scripture alone) on his FB page. I won’t get into his comparison but I do love that movie. I love it so much I actually spent the time, back in the day, to memorize Colonel Jessup’s final courtroom rant (played by Jack Nicholson) which starts with the famous line, “You can’t handle the truth!” I guess I had some time to kill. But thinking about that movie and God’s Word this week made me really think about Jack’s famous line from the movie and whether or not there’s any truth to it. Can we handle the truth?
I really think Jack hit it on the head. Part of me feels that some of us really don’t want to know the truth because we believe that indeed we can’t handle it. We feel better off if we don’t know it that way life can go on as normal (whatever that is) where we “think” we have everything figured out, or at least know how to cope with our dysfunctions. To find out something isn’t true throws us all out of rhythm. We don’t like hearing the truth because then we may just have to deal with it and it’s easier if we don’t. It’s easier, but not always better. And unfortunately in our American culture we’ll usually take the easy road.
But that famous statement, “You can’t handle the truth!” causes me to remember another famous statement from another famous person who said the opposite, “The truth will set you free.” So which is it? A lot of times we believe we “can’t handle the truth” and so we bury our heads in the sand and choose to ignore it. Unfortunately when we pull our heads out whatever the ‘truth’ is, is still there waiting to be addressed. Ignoring things or putting them off only makes matters worse. But Jesus said in John 8:32 that knowing the truth will set you free. What a powerful statement! A statement that I will always point people to. This has definitely been true in my life, especially in regards to salvation. I went about my life believing in something I had never concluded on my own. Instead I took the most important thing in my or anyone’s life (eternity) and simply took other people’s word for it. But when I finally started reading the Bible for myself I discovered that what I had believed/been taught was not true at all. Upon discovering this truth there were some extremely hard days where God & I battled because I had to face the reality that others I love were/are trusting in the same lie I had been. In my case, the truth absolutely set me free in more ways than one and I am eternally grateful to God.
But facing the truth not only applies to matters of faith but to all areas of life. Admitting the truth about our addictions, marriage problems, and all kinds of sin is the first step in finding true freedom. There’s a reason Alcoholics Anonymous has people start by stating their name and that they’re an alcoholic. There’s freedom in admitting the truth. Yet how many of us when asked “How are you doing?” will every time say “Fine” when we know everything is not. Telling someone that everything isn’t alright brings freedom, and it IS okay to do so. And if things get tough, don’t leave or take a break from the church like most people do. I don’t understand that and it drives me crazy! The church is the one place you ought to be able to go for help. And as a pastor, or just a friend, I want nothing more than to see individuals, couples, and families live in the freedom that the truth of Christ can bring. This world needs a few good men & women willing to face reality and with Christ’s help YOU can handle the truth. At our last Sunday service we learned “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). If you’ve got your head buried in the sand or are avoiding “it”, whatever “it” may be, please take that first step in discovering or admitting the truth. I guarantee the freedom that comes is well worth it!