Saturday, January 29, 2011
Comic Art Extra
Friday, January 28, 2011
Depression and Focus
Those suffering depression are consumed with themselves, with their problems, with their faults and failings.Having been severely depressed at points in my life, I understand this, and it is in understanding it that I was able to deal with the depression. The last thing I wanted to be was selfish.
I found it amazing that Jollyblogger, who has a right to be depressed at the moment, hit on the solution:
What is most apparent when you look at yourself? And here I am speaking to Christians in particular. Do you mostly see your filthy garments and do you spend your life trying to wash yourself clean? Or, are you driven by a feeling that there is something you must do for God or be for God? When you look at your life do you see nothing but failure in being who God has called you to be? Or, when you look at your life do you see someone who has offered and performed some valuable services to God and His kingdom. All of this is to see yourself through the eyes of Satan. Hopefully you see yourself as a sinner and can see the filthy garments on yourself. If you don't see that then Satan has blinded you. But do you see yourself as a sinner in need of atonement, or covering from Christ, or do you see yourself as a sinner in need of self-improvement, who needs to be a better Christian. To see yourself as a sinner in need of atonement at all times is to see yourself with the eyes of Christ, to see yourself as someone who needs to improve or get better is to see yourself with the eyes of Satan. And by the way, if you see yourself as a sinner always in need of atonement, can you see that the atonement is always there, the blood of Christ is always covering your sin and failure?Are you struggling with depression? Remember the words of a "corny" old hymn:
In short, is Christ and His work at the forefront of your attention in this world or is your performance and the performance of others at the forefront of your attention. To see the first is to see the world through the eyes of God, to see the latter is to see with the eyes of Satan.
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
How Thankful Are You?
Life can be tough. It can be even tougher for those with faith in Christ. The devil and much of the world target the faithful for temptations, tests, and unkindness. The tragedies of life can seem to put everything we believe about the goodness and power of God under suspicion. But, we’re not home yet; heaven is our real home.I think Mark is dead nuts right on here, but I know that my prayer is that some day I reach a place where I do not need to search for what I am thankful for in the midst of the daily grind. I hope and pray that I can reach a place where I am so focused on God and His goodness that gratitude is the only possible response I have.
Until we reach that place, we who follow Christ can be thankful for so many things:
We can be thankful that God’s Word which announces and creates these blessings can never be chained. God is good and whether we live or we die, we can always be thankful for that!
- forgiven sin,
- the promise of eternity,
- the rewards God gives to enduring faith,
- the willingness of Christ to claim us in spite of our imperfections, and
- the character of God Who will always be faithful to us, even when we are faithless.
There is an exercise that I try to do, though often fail - when I see real beauty I try to be thankful for it and not for the happiness that I derive from it. After all, did God create the mountain to please me or Himself? Are the fall colors for me? I don't think so.
Gratitude on the deepest level is born of understanding one's true place in creation - that's a very humble place - a place where existence itself is sufficient reason for gratitude.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
What Color Is Your God?
From the London Telegraph:
First, the good news: Richard Dawkins's campaign to turn Britain's children against organised religion seems to have failed. Unfortunately, it hasn't done so because of the depth of Christian belief in this country, but because kids, by and large, can't be bothered with religion at all.We need to think deeply and long as we consider the "Christian mandate for environmental stewardship." We have enough troubles with idolatry in the church, typically of the church, to just up and invite what is essentially another religion into the fold.
According to The Faith of Generation Y, a study of 300 people born after 1982 who have been involved in the Church's youth and community projects, hostility towards Christianity has faded into brute indifference. True, only 12 per cent denied the existence of a higher power, while 23 per cent were relatively traditional believers. But by far the most popular answer, collecting approximately 43 per cent of the vote, essentially amounted to "Dunno, really".
For this generation is not, as the report says, "unstoried and memoryless" – it has turned to another story altogether. A couple of years ago, the Government sent every state school in England a copy of Teach Your Granny to Text, and Other Ways to Change the World – the result of an exercise in which more than 4,300 schoolchildren were asked to suggest ways to make the planet a better place. The majority of the published suggestions were about the environment: ask your dad to stop singing in the shower, so he wastes less water; don't waste electricity by leaving the charger connected to your mobile phone.
Greenery, as a secular religion, has come to dominate not just the curriculum, but the imagination.
All problems with human behavior, whether it be towards each other or towards the environment are rooted in sin - fix that and the other stuff will fix itself. The church was built and designed to fix the sin problem - that's its job - everything else is a diversion.
Environmental stewardship is a problem, but in the church its a diversion.
Think about it.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
...an important leadership principle difference between positional versus relational authority. The wise leader knows the difference is huge.And then I remembered...
Many times I could demand something because of my position, but most times the issue is better resolved if I encourage something because of my relationship. In my experience, there are times for both types of authority to be used, but the majority of the time relational authority works better in creating healthy organizations, healthy teams, and healthy team members. The wise leader learns which is best at the time.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [Phil 2:5-8]and I thought that perhaps that is the key difference between the Old and New Testament. God changed how he chose to exercise His authority.
Now that is an example.
Monday, January 24, 2011
The more the students talked, the more surprised I became. Student after student, regardless of their current faith commitment, was arguing for the importance of religion, the importance of religious leaders, and the importance of religious communities. They saw these as essential to a full life. As one non-religious student said, “I am not religious, but I benefit by the fact that so many people are.”That is both heartening and disheartening. Heartening to know that people want religion in our society - disheartening because one is forced to ask why, if people feel they benefit from religion in society, they would choose to opt out of religion personally.
My point is simple: The next time you are tempted to think your calling is in vain, your faith and efforts fruitless, remember my class of students. They need you.
I would suggest it is becasue they do not see the benefits of religion on a personal level. I think it's true, and I think it is startlingly odd in an age dominated b the highly individualistic Evangelicalism. Could it be that Evangelicalism does not provide the kind of individual "reward" we like to think it does?
See, here is what I am thinking - I am thinking Evangelicalism is noted for its lack of challenge - that people who are really looking for a religion to change their lives and themselves look elsewhere.