Influence

May 24, 2010 at 5:26 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Whether we realize it or not, we are influenced by many things. We see an advertisement for the newest car, the latest way to lose weight, or the fastest way to make money and we have the opportunity to be influenced. The more we see the ad, the more likely we are to be influenced to purchase the product. It happens for cars, houses, grocery items, toys (think about all the ads you see at Christmas), and movies.  We see people happy with the new product or service and we can’t help but think that it may be the same way for us. We see the newest TV shows with the hottest stars and our interest is piqued. We see the latest summer blockbuster with the most amazing special effects and we have to see it. The chart topping hits play on our favorite radio station, we can’t get the song out of our head, and the next thing we know, we’re buying the CD or iTunes download.

The influence of music, movies, advertising, and other media forms has become so pervasive that we hardly even notice it anymore. We have become desensitized to it. We hardly realize that we are not making the choices anymore. Add to this the “herd mentality” where friends and family are acting on this influence and it becomes even stronger. We seem to be in full control of our decisions, and fail to recognize the influence that the environment around us – the things we see, hear, smell, taste and feel – has such a profound influence on what we say and do. Continue Reading Influence…

This is the year!

January 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Well, it’s about that time. The Christmas season is over and the ball has dropped to signify another year has begun. Aside from the annual commercials selling every type of weight loss machine, drink, and diet plan imaginable, there is one more thing that should be happening right about now. This time of year should also bring the beginning of all of the “prophetic words” from the numerous “pastors” and “preachers” that talk about how this is the year for ________ (insert the new, popular word/term for financial prosperity here…). This is the year of blessing, wealth, prosperity, health, overflow, abundance, and/or fullness. This is the year when that peace/love/hope/power/healing/miracle/joy you’ve been waiting for is going to happen! If you will send these men and women your seed/offering/gift in faith and believe that what they are telling you is true, oops sorry, I mean believe in faith, then you will know greater power/glory/honor/fame/money/prestige/happiness/joy/love/peace/prosperity/your best life now. All that for your best “faith seed”! Seems like a pretty good deal doesn’t it?

If it wasn’t so heretical, it would actually be kind of fun. Like biblical Mad Libs… Continue Reading This is the year!…

Looking ahead?

December 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Ok…Christmas is over and things are starting to settle down. It’ll be another week or so before the credit card bills become a priority and you’ve still got a couple of days before the big New Year’s celebration. What do most people do during this time? They begin to look ahead. For the next month or so, you’ll see ad after ad telling you that they have the very thing that you’re looking for to make the new year go your way. Wanna lose weight? There will be a dozen different new weight loss machines on the market before you can say “couch potato”. Want to better your finances? There are programs and companies that want to help you get you money woes under control (including the huge debt you just built up). Want to see your marriage change? There are books, CDs, and counselors waiting for you to pick them up, pop them in, or give them a call so that they can spend the next 30 days getting your relationship in the best shape its ever been. And, once you choose which of the myriad new eye dazzlers will garner your attention, you can spend a little time plotting your course with fervor and determination because you know that this is your year.

I can’t help but wonder if all of this is really necessary? What are the real motives behind much of this New Year’s barrage? Seems like it’s just one more way for someone to try and make money. Do the methods work? I’m sure for some people they do, but is it “sure-fire” for everyone like the ad copy says? I doubt it. I also can’t help but wonder if ahead is the direction that we need to pour all of this effort (even though it’s really only a few days). Looking over scripture, I see something different and I hope that it helps balance all of the new fad hype. Continue Reading Looking ahead?…

A New You?

January 26, 2009 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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It’s a new year again and that means two things:

 

A large number of people will resolve to lose weight

 

A large number of people will break the 9th commandment by the end of February.

 

This is the time of year when advertisers focus on looks, weight loss, and self esteem. They try to convince people that they need to use their products, weight machines, and other materials to lose weight, feel better, and get ready for the spring/summer season. We are made to feel bad about how we look when we don’t measure up to the ideal presented to us by Hollywood and the media.

 

Looks are a major concern for a growing number of people. Many are being conditioned from a young age to think that they have to look a certain way to be “acceptable”. They have become a major factor in a number of decisions from jobs to material things to presidential elections. Shows like “American Idol” promote this, especially when those who have more talent are passed up for others who may have a “better” look.

 

Obesity is becoming a growing problem (pun intended) in our nation. More and more children and adults are less active and not eating healthy. We are so “busy” that we don’t take the time to do the things that we need to do. Obesity has been linked to a number of health conditions and problems, and even though we know this, we continue to eat our way into an early grave.

 

Self-esteem is the most crippling of all. Our society has been told that it’s all about how you feel. If the lifestyle you live feels good to you, then that’s all that matters. If someone says something or does something and you don’t “feel” that you need to do or say it, then you don’t. As human beings, we love to feel good about ourselves and think that we are doing good. We love to see ourselves as good people who are trying to live our best life and impacting those around us for the better.

 

All of this really amazes me. We will raise our self-esteem by deceiving ourselves and telling ourselves that we’re doing really good. We will look at the junk coming from Hollywood and try to measure up to it in order to feel better. And when we don’t measure up to the standard that they set for us, we feel horrible and strive to change. Why will we do this for Hollywood, which is basically man at his worst, and not for God? I’m talking to Christians too! Why will we let ourselves watch and listen to things that God would be angry at, spend our time and money to get the right shape, and boost our self-esteem by ignoring what’s wrong with us? What about God? Why won’t we do this for Him?

 

God has a standard as well. But when we don’t measure up to it, we don’t feel bad we just blow it off. We don’t feel burdened because our lives have been in direct opposition to God or that it is our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. We just go on about our daily lives and continue to chase the Hollywood ideal. There is a major problem with this attitude that will affect our lives in ways that we can’t even fathom. See, if we don’t measure up to the Hollywood ideal, then we may not be the most attractive person in the world. But, that is something that many of us could live with if we looked at things from outside the vanity. If we don’t measure up to God’s standard, we are in much deeper and lasting trouble. God is the judge of the universe and if we fail to meet His standard, we will spend eternity in hell. Amazingly, this doesn’t seem to bother many people. They are more concerned about the fact that their butt looks too big (or not big enough), their lips aren’t full enough, or their paycheck isn’t big enough.

 

This is because we have failed as a church to tell people the truth. Today, there are churches and “Christians” (Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Tony Jones) who say that everyone will get to heaven whether or not they believe in Christ and repent of their sins. We have told them the things that they wanted to hear so that they fill our churches and give us money. Meanwhile, we are insulating them to the fires of hell and helping them get there more comfortably. If we told people the truth, they would understand that they don’t measure up to God’s standard and that without payment for their sins, they will go to hell. If we were to do this, we would help people separate the truth from the lie.

 

So, I’ve come up with a proposal for a lasting “new you”. I am not a doctor or physician, so take this advice knowing this. If you want to change your looks, start by abstaining from the appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22). Then, start living out the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance – Gal. 5:22-3). While doing this, be an imitator of God like a little child (Eph. 5:1-13) and walk worthy of your calling (Eph. 4:1-3). Finally, let your light shine before all men instead of hiding it under a basket (Matt. 5:16). If you would like to lose weight, remove the encumbrance of your sin (Heb. 12:1-2), remove the yoke from your midst (Is. 58:6-11), and don’t let sin reign in your mortal body (Romans 6:12-14). Finally, if you want to work on your self-esteem then start with the fact that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and that there is no one who is good (Romans 3:10/Ps. 14:1-3). You may be wondering how this will help your self-esteem. Well, it won’t. If you understand the Bible, you know that you shouldn’t be esteeming yourself. You should be giving all the glory to God. If you ignore that you’re evil, it won’t help you. But, if you understand it and realize that you’re a sinner, it will help you immensely in a few ways. First, if you’ve been trying to work your way to heaven, you will realize that you cannot do it and it will remove a heavy burden from your life. It will also help you to recognize your position in relation to God. It will help you recognize the judgment you deserve based on that position, and it will help you to receive the gift of salvation, a clean conscience, and a new position. All things will become new (2 Cor. 5:17), you will no longer be destined for hell, you will be one of God’s children and He will love you, you will be given great and precious promises, and you can tell others about Christ and help them become new too.

 

If you do this, you will have a lasting new you. You may not be the best looking. You may still have health problems. You will not have any self-esteem, but instead will trust God with your life. You will be able to weather every storm because you will know where your salvation comes from and no matter what you go through, you will be able to hold onto the truth that you will find yourself in heaven because your are a horrible sinner whose been forgiven by a gloriously wonderful God. That is truly a new you…


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