- Thu Jul 23, 2015
- 1 comments
Our world has fallen head-over-heals in love with love – an idealized version of it that swallows massive amounts of our mental, emotional, social, and financial resources. “We all” pursue it. Chick flicks, romance novels, music and newsstand magazines all depict it. Advertisers appeal to it. Some brokenhearted people avoid it. And we download the sentiment of it with 90% of music selections.
And yet, God designed it. Love is a matter of the heart, and biblically, the heart is the center of our emotions and will. Oh, and by the way, since God has designed it…. The enemy is after it.
Our hearts are under fire by a culture that romanticizes, fantasizes, and strives to realize love its’ own way apart from God. It’s a brilliant tactic by “pseudo-love’s” main sponsor – Satan. Think about it. The more distracted we can become by it, the less we can connect with the true purpose for it.
When Jesus was asked to rank the most important commandment in Mark 12, I imagine if He had a microphone He would have turned up the volume and shouted:
- “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” --Mark 12:29-31
- Tue Apr 8, 2014
- 14 comments
The guy sitting across from me is a professing and practicing Christian. He drops by my office unannounced today to talk to me about his new online dating life. Specifically, he wants to talk about the over-willingness of Christian women he has encountered on several of his dates who want to jump right from a very public conversation and vanilla latte at Starbucks to very private whispers and physical exchanges between the sheets back at his place.
Usually this gender scenario is reversed, but the sex, love and dating landscape continues to move in a progressively liberal direction among Christians without any solid indicators that it will change anytime soon. Both sexes today, across all ages and Christian demographics, are prone to compartmentalize their faith away from their sexual life.
While Christian singles report praying and church attendance are highly desirable qualities in the dating matrix, a troubling and confusing dichotomy arises when the issue of sex before marriage presents itself. Specifically, single Christians enter a sexual fog. That fog clouds and hides the reality that an identity rooted in Christ should manifest itself in intelligent and hope-filled sexual restraint based on God’s promises and instead replaces it with fear and pride-filled choices based on some other promise they believe more.
In a recent study conducted by ChristianMingle.com, Christian singles between the ages of 18 to 59 were asked, “Would you have sex before marriage?” The response? Sixty-three percent of the single Christian respondents indicated yes. In my 30 years of youth and adult ministry experience, this is as unfiltered, direct and honest as a question and answer can be.
It is equally honest to say that nearly nine out of 10 self-proclaimed single Christians are, in practice, sexual atheists. In other words, God has nothing to say to them on that subject of any consequence or, at least, anything meaningful enough to dissuade them from following their own course of conduct. It is the ultimate oxymoron. A person who at once believes in a wise, sovereign and loving God who created them and all things, can also believe simultaneously He should not, cannot or will not inform their thinking or living sexually. It reminds me of those famous red letters in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus says, “Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46, NIV). There is disconnect between identity and activity.
- Mon Oct 14, 2013
- 0 comments
“The government did not get a ‘winner.’ On the contrary, it got a fraud and all the publicity and exposure that goes along with having sponsored a fraud. That is decidedly not what the government bargained for.”
This throat grab and assassination of character is our government’s official response to Lance Armstrong’s motion to dismiss the fraud case in the matter of The United States v. Lance Armstrong. Cutting, clear, and concise: Lance Armstrong is a thief. It’s about as personal as you will ever hear the government talk about a former favorite son. In a rare display of feelings, the claim transcends the money and journeys shamelessly into morality—this guy stole the good will of his sponsor and partner. Vengeance hath no fury like a government duped.
Fat chance getting that case dismissed Lance.
Not Getting A Winner
Substitute the words “this single mother,” “this betrayed wife,” “this fatherless child” for the “the government” in the above entitled action and one gets close to the toxic feelings and emotional fever boiling in the hearts of millions of wives, mothers, girlfriends, daughters, and sons in social fabrics across the globe. They did not get a “winner” either. They were victims of “male fraud” and live each day with the public and practical consequences they did not bargain for. And while the government might be able to get some of its financial investment back if it wins, that same hope does not work in the realm of emotional capital invested in a man. There is no recourse for that kind of loss in our legal system but there is plenty of regret, feelings of stupidity and loss for having once believed fully in a man only to be confronted with an ugly reality.
Imagine waking up to a fresh cup of coffee, opening your daily news and the top headline alerts readers, “God Fears Your Faith is Going Stale.”
Not sure the networks would pick up that newswire. But God’s man should! I can envision the lead paragraph going something like:
DATELINE -- WORLD NEWS TODAY -- God, who calls himself “I Am,” announced today he fears Christian men are forgetting their first love, allowing their faith to grow stale which is creating major weaknesses in the front lines of the ongoing spiritual battle between good and evil. God warns men who follow Him to keep their faith fresh or they will fall victim to sin, self, and Satan.
I fear men often accept Jesus into their lives, get excited for a season, then check the box called “faith” and resort to showing up Sundays to sit in a pew. The excitement of forgiveness of sin, being loved by God, and the power of life transformation can grow stale unless you fan the flame of faith.
That’s what happened to Nineveh. It’s a sad story because within 100 years after turning to God, not one man followed God. It’s also a parable for us men. We can’t be like Nineveh. Don’t let your love for God grow stale. Keep it fresh. Here’s how:
- Tue Aug 6, 2013
- 2 comments
I am one of those people who “believes the best” about other people.
In my career as a junior guy working his way up and as a CEO I have met all sorts of leaders in the marketplace and, now, in the church world. I have noticed over the years that both leaders and managers in Christian settings (like churches or ministries) are engaged with much less cynicism by their junior people at the beginning of a relationship because there is this perception that a common set of spiritual rules are shared and believed. This makes employees in those settings feel more secure, more loyal, and more trusting of their leader, his promises, and the possibilities of moving personally forward and developing. “We” are in this great cause together and, after all, “Do to others what you would have them do to you” is in red letters, we work from the same playbook, and this is “God’s work” that we are advancing together. It’s all smiles, honeymoons, and hope. Woo-hoo!
Then it gets weird.
Over time (and it could take years) you begin to see and sense things. Your sniffer goes off and you catch strong whiffs of self-protection or micromanagement or both. Friendly demeanors turn into business-like interactions. Distance creeps in, meetings are missed or cancelled, and the next interactions that follow are directives being handed down. To motivate the team there has to be “spiritual reasons,” logic, and precedent as well. The Devil gets mentioned. Pressure comes into your team or organization to rally and perform for projects and agendas your “leader” will get credit for in the larger organization. Other talented leaders in the team stop leading and innovating and start administrating. The message both directly and indirectly is that we don’t need leaders or vision anymore, we need managers. The whole tone changes—professionally, emotionally, and relationally. Hallway conversations increase. People turn over. People leave. Disillusionment and doubt set into the team.