Thursday, February 26, 2009
I had the privilege of meeting Greg Laurie and his son Jonathon (really mostly Jonathon) when they came to my church to speak and for a book signing. I was very impressed with Jonathon-a guy who was sick, that just got off a plane and still had the time to share his message and spend a little time with this knuckle head. We all have our stories about where we were before we came to Christ and what changed after but few have the ability to articulate the journey Greg and his family have been on.
Saying your a Christian is easy when the times are easy but the real proof of a transformed life is when the trials and the tragedy come.
He tells his story here
Titled I Still Believe
Ask or look up white arrow stickers/pins (Christopher Laurie).
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
PS more than 600 people received Christ between the three services where Greg and Jonathon preached together.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
The origin of Valentine's Day is really the celebration of the sacrifices and martyrdom of a number of early Christians named Valentine. I think this is a better lens to view Love then the current "I love you" cards and candies (I still participate in those too, I want to stay married). So while celebrating this day keep in mind...
1 Corinthians 13:4-13
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
And... well... let's not forget also...
Song of Solomon 1:1-4
1 Solomon's Song of Songs.
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the maidens love you!
4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Anyone who interacts regularly with the criminal mind quickly discoverers two quirky mental processes that they pretty much all exhibit.
The first is that they will always ask you not judge them by the act that has brought them into your temporary sphere of influence. They all will insist that they are basically good people except for, the car they stole, the drugs they sold, the wife they hit...etc.
The second is that criminals see the world through their criminal actions. For example, higher end illicit drug dealing is not really about the drugs but much more about a lazy short cut to achieve wealth. This person views everyone through the lens of greed. A well dressed investigator will walk through the room and the drug dealer will always tell you that, while they do not know that officer they can tell they are on the take. Or the drug dealer will suggest that if you had been in his or her shoes you would do the same things that they did. It simply does not compute to them that you may have chose to suffer in poverty than sell cocaine/heroin etc. I have seen this for the rapist (world view-restrained lust), abuser (world view- powerlessness) and a multitude of other major crimes. One of the primary reasons recidivism is so pervasive is due to the inability of the person to shift their decision making from a egocentric self serving paradigm to an altruistic one.
I always make a point of telling the person that I am being forced to work with that it is their actions that are the true indication of what type of person they really are. A "good person" does not sell drugs, strike their wife, steal from their job etc. If they want to be considered a "good person" he or she needs to start doing positive things now and if they show a consistent pattern of positive behavior then I will shift them from the category of "bad person" to "good person". I have had many people who have no remorse for what they have done get visibly upset and cry because the police officers have decided the are a "bad person".
As for the other quirk of lack of the ability to consider an alternate perspective, I long ago gave up trying to convince them that I or anyone else would have proceeded with a different series of decisions then the ones that they choose that led to their capture. It only leads to an endless series of unprovable scenarios for both parties.
What a hypocrite I am. If another person observed me going through my day would they view my actions as the actions of a follower of Jesus? Or would they take the totality of my day and then place me in the "bad" category. This stance of mine is really developed from the prospective that I am better then the person that I am dealing with...that I am not a drug dealer so I am not only better than they thus I am "good". How does that stand when the standard Jesus set is perfection? What I should have been saying is because of the love that Christ has for me, I have been given the honor of making less negative decisions than you. We are all sinners, we are all "bad people" but I can hang my sins on the only one that is blameless and perfect that can take the sins away from me, rather then you who keeps then wrapped around you like a cloak of evil ready at any moment to pull you down to the pit.
We are all "bad people". The only split category is "saved" and "unsaved".
27"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'[a] 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.