Sunday, March 7, 2010

Be a Hero

Our senior pastor was out today, so Brother Mark filled in as he has on so many occasions. I always like listening to Brother Mark preach, because he mixes humor with just the right amount of reality and he always has a great message to his madness. This morning was no different.

Amoung all the points he had to his morning message, the one thing that stuck out to me was when he talked about heroes. He talked about Hollywood heroes, political heroes, heroes from the past, and, finally, Christian heroes and heroes in our own church. He stated that we should all have heroes and that we should acknowledge these heroes and let them know why they are our heroes or what they did that made them our heroes. Heroes, to Brother Mark, are a good thing, as long as they remain heroes, and we don't elevate them to idols. But, I digress.

After listening to his sermon, I began to think about the real meaning of heroes. Heroes are people that other people look up to because of who they are or what they've done, especially in ways that effect those that consider them heroes. The more I thought about the importance of heroes, the more I agreed that we all need heroes in our lives. And the more I though that we all need heroes, the more I realized that I already had heroes, and alway have had them throughout my life. But, that's a story for another time.

Another thing dawned on me when it comes to heroes. I believe, with all of my heart, that each and every one of us should strive to be a hero to someone else. Whether it's a relative, a friend, a co-worker, or a perfect stranger, we can all be heroes in one way or another. We can all do special things for others. We can all treat others as we want to be treated. We can live our lives in a way that others will notice and want to emulate. And we can all love one another with the love of the Greatest Hero, Jesus Christ.

So, I'm challenging everyone to not only recognize, acknowledge and appreciate the heroes in your lives, but to become one as well. I'm going to challenge everyone to start living a hero's life. Start this very moment living a life that touches others in ways that will change their lives and make them take notice. And, most importantly, do your level best to emulate the Greatest Hero. If you strive to live like Christ, you'll surely be a hero to many more than you know.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Christ Reduced

I heard it through the grapevine that Elton John proclaimed that Jesus was a compassionate gay man. So, I looked it up online and found that the rumor was true. In fact, the exact quote was, "I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him." His statement is confusing, since he hasn't a very good opinion of religion in the first place. After all, he told Observer's Music Monthly magazine in 2006, “Religion promotes hatred and spite against gays. From my point of view, I would ban religion completely."

I guess these two statements aren't that hard to analyze, especially when you take into consideration that Elton John is an openly gay man on a crusade for homosexual acceptance. And even the contradictions can be explained when you consider the multiple fronts that the homosexual movement attacks from. When one front doesn't work the way it is intended, then why not try it from a different angle? It works in social and political arenas, and, after all, the gay issue is a combination of both, wouldn't you say? Anyway, here's the way I see these two conflicting statements by Elton John:

In 2006, he told the truth about his feelings on religion. And, in a way, without being specific about which religion or religions, he was right. Some religions shun homosexuals. Others ban them. Still, others mistreat, imprison, torture, or behead them. This maltreatment is not right in any way, but the reality is that it happens, and many times it happens under the laws set forth through religions of one sort or another.

But, that was 2006. Now, four short years later, Sir Elton seems to have changed his tune about religion and has decided to use Jesus Christ to elicit sympathy for his cause. It doesn’t seem to be enough, however, to simply say that Jesus forgave and that we should follow His lead. No, he has to go to the point of actually demeaning our Lord by bringing Him down to the level of humans and even lower to the level of a specific group of humans. What Sir Elton has chosen to do is to simply drag Jesus through the mud of immorality in order to gain sympathy, when, in fact, he loathes religion and would ban it if he could. And he does this with no explanation, no proof and no remorse.

This action is not new, of course. Jesus has been demeaned and reduced for centuries by those that do not believe in Him, but feel that they can use His name for their own gain. Recently, however, this trend has exploded and is becoming more and more acceptable by the general public. But just in case you have trouble believing that, here are a few examples:

- The Reverent Wright, President Obama’s pastor for 20 years, preaches black theology which teaches that Jesus was actually black, and that the black people are the true chosen people. This directly contradicts the Holy Bible, but many preachers in the African American community are teaching this drivel, and people are falling for it.

- Dan Brown, author of the DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, takes the holiness and godliness of Jesus and reduces Him to a flawed and weak human that married and fathered children on His way to the cross. Taking the spotlight off of His divine nature and shining it on His human side, with assumptions and inferences to boot, reduce Jesus in ways that make Him look like just any one of us.

- The sick and twisted creators of South Park have been conducting an all out reduction campaign against Christ, morality, decency, and human values. I’m sure that if you’ve watched this poor excuse for entertainment, you’ve witnessed the way they treat the Messiah. If, on the other hand, you’ve never watched the show, don’t.

- And now the television censors have decided that taking the Lord’s name in vain is perfectly acceptable, while they continue to bleep out other profanities. To me, it is infinitely more offensive to hear someone take the name of Jesus in vain than any other profanity in our language. But, that’s me.

What I’m getting at is this: We should never reduce the King of Kings and Lord of Lords for any purpose. The Lord Jesus Christ should always be honored and worshiped as the Savior of the world and the One and Only True and Living God, because He is. Most assuredly, however, the lost will continue to demean Christ in any way they can, whether it is to mock Him or use Him for their own selfish gain or cause. But we, as followers of Christ, have a responsibility to defend His name and His holiness, and lovingly and compassionately let the offenders know that they are wrong in what they do. Then we need to pray for their lost souls.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Start the week with God

So often we spend our Sundays sitting in front of the boob tube or wasting our day just wasting time. All too often we forget that Sunday is a day that has been set aside as a time to praise and worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and spend with our families making memories. Why is that?

I guess it's because we have lost our focus on life. We've forgotten our purpose. We've downgraded our Lord to the point that He's not even in the top 10 of our priorities. And, sadly, we've been drugged into believing that our God and our families aren't worth the effort.

And what can we do to change things around and get back on track? Well, there's a lot we can do, like begin and end every day in prayer, read and actually study God's Word, and love our neighbors as ourselves. We can fall in love with our families all over again. And we can strive to get one step closer to God each and every day of our lives.

Not much to ask. Right? Just a little change to our routine, Right? To tell you the truth, for most of us, it will require a great big change in our routine. Right? But, we can do it, if we try, and if we truly want to.

So, let's start simple. Let's vow for this next week to add prayer to our daily lives. Oh, we don't have to hide in the closet and quietly converse with the Lord or stand on a busy street corner with Bible in hand screaming to the Almighty. Of course, if you choose to do this, then by all means. It would probably be a little easier if we started each morning with a couple minutes of quiet time prayer, then whenever we need to give a quick shout-out to the Lord, we can send up a silent request or two. No need to telegraph what we're doing. No need to get anyone else involved. Just the need to communicate with the Lord throughout the day to have Him help us with our decisions, temptations, and whatever else crosses our paths. Then we can end each day with another prayer before we go to sleep.

So, try that this week. Pray morning and night and throughout the day. Get used to lifting up your prayers to the Lord. The more you pray, the easier it gets, and the more you want to call upon His name.

Now, have a great week, and God bless.