Friday, April 19, 2013
Communicating the Truth or Selling a Product?
Too often we have news networks who simply want to gain more viewers or sell more newspapers. They aren't looking to transfer information as much as they are looking to sell a product. For this reason they aren't looking for the truth but often end up looking for a conspiracy. People love a conspiracy, people love to watch bad news, and for this reason our media loves to twist and stretch stories in order to make it more interesting to the viewers.
The first thing that we need to demand from our media is truth. We need to demand the same as our courtrooms do: The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We need to demand integrity from our media as they communicate the news to us. This is true in regards to all aspects of the news whether it is politics, entertainment, sports, or just general events.
Where is the Focus?
The Bible tells us to "hate what is evil, cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9), but for some reason human nature tends to seek out and cling to the evil, to the bad. This thought came up with the recent school shootings in Connecticut. People were wondering why we show the shooter so often rather than the victims. We often make the shooter famous but don't show the victims or the heroes.
Mr Rogers, the former kids show host, was quoted talking about his mom and how she taught him to "look for the helpers." This is what we need to do and this is what we need to demand from our media. In the wake of a crisis the media needs to start looking for the helpers. they nee to focus on the ones doing good rather than on the criminal. That is what we need to be showing the nation as an example.
Also we need to demand from our media more stories about the good that people are doing in the world. If someone murders a bunch of people then it makes national, and usually international, news within minutes, but if someone saves a neighbor from a fire it often barely makes the local paper. If someone helps a homeless person get a job and place to stay it is even less likely to get any media attention. Again let's get the heroes in the paper and in the news rather than the criminals.
By changing the way we communicate we can change the way people respond to events. By focusing on the heroes we can create more heroes, but by focusing on the criminals we will create more criminals. Let's demand more from our media. If you are in the media then please be one that is an agent of change. Use your position to change the spreading of information in our country.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Here we are, continuing our series on The Book That Transforms Nations by Loren Cunningham. For a summary of what we have already talked about take a look at my last post. After moving from family, to church, to government we are on to the economy. A part of transforming a nation is bringing Biblical principles into the economy, into the way the nation handles finances. Money is a touchy subject with people and many people don't realize how much the Bible has to say about this subject. If you are one who has never looked to the Bible for financial advice you should check out this post 250 Verses About Money.
It's hard to imagine having the ability to change an entire nation's economy. We all know how we are in a recession, and we know how much debt our nation is in. According to the U.S. National Debt Clock we are well on our way to approaching 17 trillion dollars in debt. So the question is: What part can I play in turning our economy around? Of course we can advocate for more responsible decisions from our politicians and we can make educated decisions in voting but sometimes it feels like there is nothing that we can actually do, especially between election years. However, there is one thing that all of us can do. Each one of us can make the decision to revolutionize our own finances.
There are many programs, classes, and books out there meant to help individuals and families to get their finances in control but the class that my wife and I took is Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. If you find yourself sinking in debt and barely making it to each paycheck it might be worth it for you to find one of these classes but here are the basic principles, all taken directly from the Bible:
Dave Ramsey's success is based on what he calls baby steps. The principle is that we take little steps towards financial peace, take it slow and steady. The baby steps are as follows:
Baby Step #1: Build an emergency fund of $1000
Baby Step #2: Pay off all debt except your house
Baby Step #3: Continue building the emergency fund to 3-6 months of income
Baby Step #4: Invest 15% of income for retirement
Baby Step #5: Start college funds for your children
Baby Step #6: Pay off home early
Baby Step #7: Build wealth and give!
The idea is that you have a budget and you stick to it, and every extra dollar that comes in goes toward the step that you are on. So get started doing your part to revolutionize the economy, revolutionize your finances. As Dave says "Live like no one else today, so that tomorrow you can live like no one else!"
Saturday, April 6, 2013
I started with an introduction to the series which is based off of Loren Cunningham's book The Book That Transforms Nations. This book lays out seven areas to which we need to apply Biblical Principles in order to bring a widespread turnaround to our nation. You can read the post here: Bring Change to Your Nation
Then I wrote about the most foundational of the seven areas, the family. The enemy knows that the family is the most foundational area of society and has unleashed a major attack against families. I discussed this attack and also brought several verses regarding how our families should look here: The Devil is Attacking Our Families
The second most foundational area of society is the Church. God has established the Church to bring about His Kingdom here on earth and the enemy has, in many cases, successfully divided the church against each other. We need to come back to the original vision in recognition that we are one church working together for the Kingdom of God: Biblical Church
After getting our families and the Church back on track then we need to start looking toward the government. As discussed in the post we don't need to have a government that forces everyone to be Christian. On the contrary, a Biblical government would have freedom of choice as one of it's main components. Even the Theocracy in the days of Joshua stated "Choose this day whom you will serve..." Joshua 24:15, but we need to demand Biblical principles from our government, from our politicians: Bible-based Government
This ie where I ended in my discussion on the seven areas. As I mentioned above I feel it is important that I continue this series. So as we move forward I will be discussing how we should be applying Biblical principles to the Economy, Public Communication, Celebration, and lastly Education. I feel that each of us are called to at least one of these areas and we need to understand that to be called to the Lord's work doesn't just mean being called to the church. Being called to the Lord's work means doing what He has called you to do, whether that is in Politics, in service, in business, or whatever it might be.
Monday, April 1, 2013
1) We need to see who we are in Christ!
Our society has a lot to say regarding our identity. Through television, movies, music, and the internet, we are constantly hearing the world’s message regarding who we are supposed to be. They show us an image of what it means to be a man or a woman, they give us a message of how we should relate with our families, and they even tell us how we should act as Christians. This message is constantly coming at us from all directions and it makes it even more important for us to get into the Word of God and find out who God says we are. This is the foundation of our vision. We will never find the purpose for our life until we truly understand who God has made us to be. As a start review and meditate on the following verses and picture yourself in them:
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” - John 1:12
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21
These are just a few of the statements that we see throughout the Bible regarding who we are in Christ. Most of us have read these verses and even heard people preach on them, but we haven’t truly seen it. We need to see it as truth in our life. This has already been done and until we truly realize it our actions won’t measure up to who we already are. We need to stop struggling to stop sinning and simply see that we are already righteous. When we see ourselves as righteous all of a sudden the sin becomes less attractive, because we are seeing it in the light of who Christ has made us to be.
2) We need to see who is inside of us!
The Bible says “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) You have the Holy Spirit inside of you. If you have asked for the baptism of the Holy Spirit then you have already been endued with power as it says in Acts 1:8. You need to start seeing yourself walking in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. You need to start seeing sick people being healed when your hands are laid on them, you need to start seeing devils being cast out, you need to start seeing yourself speaking in tongues and prophesying, and you need to start seeing yourself preaching the Gospel and people responding and getting saved. You need to see it. It doesn’t matter if it has never happened before, you need to see it coming to pass. It will never happen until you can see it with your faith but once you start to see it in the unseen world then you will be empowered to actually do it. If you can start to see yourself laying hands on the sick with results then you will be ready to take advantage when the opportunity comes your way. You will find that you have to boldness to step out and pray for that person, but you have to start seeing it now.
3) We need to see the life that God wants us to live!
In John 10:10 Jesus said “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” Jesus came that we may have abundant life. This promise isn’t just for heaven, this promise starts right now, here on earth. We need to start seeing ourselves living the abundant life. We need to get a vision for it. This means that we see God supplying all our needs in His riches and glory (Phil 4:19), we see ourselves healed through the stripes that Jesus bore when He went to the cross (1 Peter 2:24), and we see ourselves full of love, joy, and peace (Gal 5:22). Most importantly, we need to see God as the provider of all these things. It all comes from God, not from our job, not from our own work, not from our circumstances or our success but from Him. Jesus said “seek first the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added.” As we seek Him these things will all fall into place, but we need to see it happening.
4) We need to see ourselves living the plan and calling that God has given us!
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11
This is probably one of the most quoted scriptures in the Bible. We love it because it is encouraging and motivating to know that the Lord, the God of the universe, thinks thoughts about us! This is an amazing thing, compared to Him we are smaller than ants and yet He cares enough about us to think thoughts towards us and to plan a future for us. So we love to quote this scripture as a reminder of how much our Lord cares for us but few of us actually take the time to seek out what that future is. Few of us seek Him to find the plans that He has. We quote this scripture as an encouragement as we go on living our own plans. However we need to start seeking His plan, we need to take to heart the next verse, verse 12:
“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”
We need to call upon Him and pray to Him in order to find out what the future is that He has in store for us. As we seek Him we will start noticing desires in our hearts that may or may not have been there before. But these are desires which God has placed in our hearts as we sought Him and they are hints towards the future that He has for us. However we also need to remember that God is the God who can do “exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). So as He shows us what it is that He has in store for us we will need to look with our spiritual eyes, we will need to look with our faith, and through our faith we need to see us living out what He shows us. As Paul said “[We] can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us].” (Phil. 4:13)
There is only one place that we can get the vision for these four areas and that is in the Word of God. If we look back at the second part of Proverbs 29:18 we see that “...he who keeps the law, happy is he.” This is part of the same sentence because this is where we start in our search for vision from God. We start in His law, in His Word. As we seek His Word and His presence with our whole hearts we will start to receive the vision that He has for us. We will start to see things that are not yet seen because they have not yet come to pass in the natural. As we start to see the unseen we can start leading those around us who may have not yet found their vision yet. Right now our problem is that the blind are attempting to lead the blind and as the Bible says this will simply lead them both into the ditch. That is why you need to receive your sight, you need to start seeing the unseen, that way you can step in and start leading both blind people straight to the one who gives us sight.
There’s a mission, a purpose for the power that God has called us to walk in. This is another part of the decision that I have discussed throughout this book. Will you make the decision to live the mission that God has given us? Are you willing to live the plan that He has for your life? If you are willing to do that then He will give you the power that you need to fulfill it, but as long as you are living your own plan, as long as you are doing your own thing, you will not walk in the power that the early church walked in. If Peter and Andrew had continued fishing they would have never been used as mightily as they were. If Matthew had continued collecting taxes he would have never been used to write one of the Gospels. On the other hand there were people like Luke who was used mightily as he continued in his profession as a physician. So it is not about whether you are working a ‘regular’ job or working in the ministry, it is simply whether you are living the plan that God has for you.