Are You Different?

One of the strongest hindrances to the Christian life is peer pressure. No one wants to be different than those around us.  Teens have to wear a certain brand of clothes. Why? Because “everyone” at school wears that brand. People will ask when invited to a party/dinner what is “everyone” wearing? Why? We don’t want to stand out in the crowd. Peer pressure sometimes causes people to do things that go against their beliefs or values; just to be accepted. 

Even people in Old Testament times faced the ‘herd mentality.’ The nation of Israel didn’t want to be different, so they asked Samuel to give them a leader. … Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. (Emphasis added.) God warned them they were about to make a big mistake but they insisted. The Bible repeatedly gives us scripture warning us not to give into peer pressure.

  • Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…”
  • Psalm 1:1 “… do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners or join in with mockers.
  • 2 Chronicles 13:7 Then a whole gang of scoundrels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them
  • Galatians 2:13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

Jesus didn’t call us to blend in, but to stand out—just like He did.

The Gap

Most Christ-followers would like to have a better prayer life. Try this with me. Think about where your prayer, physical, financial, or family life is. Now, think about where you want it to be.  What is in between? If you are normal, there’s the infamous gap! [Not the store!] It’s the same gap that occurs when the exterior doesn’t match the interior. The gap between knowing the truth and implementing the change.  It’s the gap between discipline and regret.

Proverbs 25:28 NLT says A person without self-control (discipline) is like a city with broken-down walls.  No matter the area you need to change, you must make a choice and this choice calls for discipline. Where are the gaps in your life? What discipline is the Holy Spirit leading you to commit to in order to make the change?

You must choose between discipline and regret.

We Don’t Want This Man!

People do not change very much over time. Indeed, they are pretty much the same as they were 2000 years ago. The same reaction to Jesus we find back then is what we also find today. It is really just the same old story. Consider just one passage of Scripture about this.In Luke 19, Jesus tells a story about a prince who was soon to be crowned king. The prince in this story is clearly speaking of Jesus. The people’s response?

Verse 14 “We don’t want this man to rule over us!”

I know that president-elect Trump is not Jesus Christ but people’s attitude toward authority is still the same. If they disagree or dislike a person in authority; they make it known. I cannot understand why mature (?) men and women are going to boycott the Presidental Inaguration just because their candidate did not win the election! It sounds like children on the playground. If you don’t play the game I want to play; then we will not play at all!

Aren’t these the same people that were elected and took an oath to represent their constituents? They were not put in office to serve their political party nor were they elected to pass legislation that benefits large corporations. 

I cannot understand why the two political parties consider each other as enemies. “If you are for it; I am against it.” Why can’t they cooperate instead of compete? Both parties say they only want to do what is best for the country. If that is true, surely the solution cannot be that difficult. 

What’s In The Box?

 

Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof’s bicycle business was really growing but unfortunately many bicycles were damaged during shipping. Creative director Bex Rad wrote on the company’s blog, “Earlier this year our co-founder Ties had a flash of genius. bike-in-boxOur boxes are about the same size as a (really really reaaaally massive) flatscreen television. Flatscreen televisions always arrive in perfect condition. What if we just printed a flatscreen television on the side of our boxes? “And just like that, shipping damage to our bikes dropped by 70–80%.” Apparently the shipping company assumed, by the picture on the box, there was an expensive TV inside.

How many times do we assume a person’s worth just by looking on the outside? The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7)  We cannot truly know a person without opening their “box.” It is only as we discover what is on the inside that we see a person’s worth and true value.

Living in Unity

 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

One of the most difficult aspects of any relationship is maintaining unity. No matter if it is in the home, church or business unity is hard to achieve and even harder to keep.  

The church at Ephesus was composed of Jews and Gentiles, which was a perfect storm for disunity. I believe that unity is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Only as we “walk in the Spirit” are we able to yield our “rights” and do what is best for the whole.

But there is another option. You could move to the town of Unity, Oregon (population 70). And in the truest sense, you COULD live in Unity.

Saints/Sinners

Years ago, my wife and I stayed in a Howard Johnson Inn while vacationing in Florida. As I was walking down the hallway, I past their lounge. I wasn’t particularly surprised that they had a lounge but what did surprise me was the lounge’s name: Saints/Sinners. Being a Christ-follower, I was taken back that “Saints” would be used in reference to a bar. I have pondered that name often but as I was reading the Gospels, that name came back to me.

I guess the name first caught my attention because of the vast contrast between the two names; they are total opposites of each other. Nowhere is that seen more clearly than the attitude of the “saints” and the sinners” of Jesus’ day.  No “saint” would ever associate with “sinners” and that was one of the reasons that Jesus was hated by the religious establishment. Jesus not only associated with THEM but He went into THEIR homes and even shared a meal with THEM.

Before we start throwing stones, have you ever been at  a party and felt uncomfortable around certain people? We tend to associate with people like US, don’t we? You can almost see the separation in the room between THEM and US.  I can visit a church and almost point out to you one of THEM. THEM will often sit by THEM-selves and you can often see they are  uncomfortable being in the presence of so many of US.

What are we to do? The “US” must take the first step in tearing down the walls that separate US and THEM. Ask if they would mind if you sat with them during the worship service. Purposely start  a conversation with that person that is being overlooked at the party. Invite one of THEM to go with you to a ballgame with you. (You paying for their ticket of course!)

Let’s US do everything possible to make THEM one of US!

Let’s Make A Deal!

Everyone wants a great deal. We go through the newspaper looking for the best price on food, clothing, and automobile tires. Have you ever went to a yard sale or flea market and discover an item that is vastly under-priced? You know that the person selling the item obviously does not know its true worth. Do you try to talk them into selling it at ever a lower price?

As a Christ-follower, do you…
a) Praise God for this wonderful opportunity, buy the object without letting the owner know its true value? And then brag to your friends what a shrewd dealer you are?
b) Inform the owner of the real value and offer him a reasonable price?

Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you. Luke 6:31

Would love to hear your comments.