Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interview questions

I once met a man who beat out many other applicants for a job because he knew how to interview well. Now, this man was very smart, he did his research, and he probably knew which questions he had to answer well. You know what these questions are, right: What are your best characteristics? What are your weaknesses? How would you handle certain scenarios? Unfortunately, he interviewed so well that they really didn't hire HIM, they hired the person that interviewed. Clearly, they did not ask the right questions. It's one thing to mess up an interview process for hiring someone. It's a whole nother thing to ask the wrong questions when it comes to life in general - asking the wrong questions will lead to a life (and eternity) full of regret. What are the most important questions, then, to ask in life? I came up with two that I asked a good friend of mine, then he added another that needs to be asked before the other two are asked. My two questions were as follows
What's going to happen to you after you die?
Why am I here on the earth?
. My friend followed that up with this one that should be answered correctly before the others can even be tackled:
Is there a God?
Of course, these are HUGE questions that cannot simply be answered by simply thinking about it really hard. We need a powerful, authoritative, accurate voice that we can listen to, depend on, and tell others about. We do have such an authority in our lives - it's the Word of God - His Bible written to us, to bring us to Him. Do you want a "cheat sheet" for those questions that you will need to know and need to know well? Do you want to be able to answer those questions with conviction and clarity, like they are a part of who you are? Or do you simply want to get by with sounding like you have the right answer? Your creator wants you to LIVE your purpose, LOOK FORWARD to your eternal destiny and KNOW this God that certainly does exist. Enjoy this process as you dive into His Word.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thank God for standards!

This summer, already, has been full of nasty thunderstorms and wind here in the middle of Minnesota. Our trampoline has been through some trials already so we have to be more creative in keeping it grounded. While listening to the weather radio and watching the sky, I am repeatedly thankful for the builders of the home we are in. I know that they used levels and squares. I know that they used sufficient screws and nails. I know that things were done according to code. I can tell all these things, partly, because of how easily it stands up to what nature has to offer. I can also say these things because I know that the codes are enforced and that local builders are well-respected. If it wasn't for these standards, who knows what our house could stand up to? Similarly, without standards for living life, we would be without foundation, susceptible to folding under any pressure, and have no ability to stand up to anyone or anything. These standards that we are given are all around us. Like the physical standard of gravity, if we choose not to obey these standards, the consequences could be deadly. These standards are outlined nicely in the Word of God. As our Creator, He knows what's best and He loves us most and He is, quite literally, in charge. I know these standards are there because of how sturdy the lives of Jesus-followers are and how unsturdy I would be without them. I also know the validity of these standards because of the character of my God and the consistency of Scripture. So keep up on God's standards and you can be an "expert builder" of what it means to live a godly life. If you don't already have a place in the Bible you'd like to read, let me suggest the book of Mark or the book of Joshua or the book of James. Each will challenge your thinking regarding what's right, what's wrong, and why submitting to the the God of the universe is the best option for a life well-lived. Finally, let's thank God for these standards. If it wasn't for God revealing Himself through Jesus Christ and through His Word, we could look like our poor trampoline.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Just when you thought . . .

That's right, it can't get any worse, can it? I mean, you can only press the envelope so far until people are going to cry, "FOUL!" When will our culture realize its continuing downward spiral in every important area? Our morals are slipping, our schools are struggling, our families are disintegrating, and our churches are lifeless. Of course, I am using generalities, for there are many people who are maintaining high standards, many schools that are thriving, many families that are strong, and many churches that are full of life. It is quite evident, though, that the "norm" in this country is the following: It's OK to have sex when you feel like it, to drink when you feel like you can handle it, to talk about sex with whomever, whenever, and to lie as long as it doesn't "hurt anybody." Emotionally, I am pretty angry, because I can't even watch a simple NBA basketball game on ABC with my son without both of us getting inundated with commercial images of an upcoming show that promotes adultery, lying, cheating, and voyeurism. Plus, while watching a Stanley Cup Finals game, NBC continued to promote a show that puts "hot" couples on an island to vie for each other's "love", if that's what you call it. No, this isn't some cable network, or second-rate network trying to get viewers, no matter what kind they are. These are major networks, during primetime, promoting, apparently, their major shows this Summer. Then, we've got seasoned actors like Adam Sandler and Will Ferrel, for example, who feel the need to keep producing guaranteed money-makers despite the complete lack of anything good coming from most of their movies. Sure, many would say that, in the end, the movies have a good lesson of what's important in life. What motivates them to make these movies to begin with . . . the moral at the end of the movie? No way! The real motivation is the "Almighty Dollar". What sells movies like that is sex, jokes about sex, and trailers promoting sex. The "logic" goes something like this: Let's teach a lesson that life is about more than just sex by making a movie that has sexual images and language that'll really get people to pay for it. It would be like getting people to try your health food story by offering 2 for 1 candy bars to every person that comes in the door. My son and I will not allow the media, our world, or our culture to dictate what's important and what's worth pursuing. All of those things, whether it's sex, money, power, or popularity, does not and can not bring satisfaction to life. Only a life lived out according to it's Creator will be satisfying and most enjoyed. As sad as this sounds to me, this may mean watching LESS sports because it simply is not worth it for me to risk me or my son's values just to watch a little basketball.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Must we really fight for freedom?

The antagonist in the movie The Avengers claims that we in America don't know what freedom is. He goes about "granting" this freedom to people at will. What, then, is freedom? If we have to fight for freedom, is it really freedom? Aren't we enslaved to the idea of having to always fight for and demand our freedom? Shouldn't TRUE freedom be something that allows us to live our life without having to even think about our freedom? It's kind of like the most perfect weather day. It is a day that you can't feel the weather or worry about the weather or have to guess about the weather. It's simply a day in which the weather will not alter your plans or your freedom to do what you want. Freedom in the United States is truly something worth fighting for on this earth, because it's the greatest freedom there is on this earth. There may be other governments in the past or in the future that have offered or will offer more freedom than America, but it'll be hard to match it. Yet, the only TRUE freedom that can come our way is the one that we can do nothing about. If we were truly in charge of our own freedom, how free can it actually be? As imperfect human beings, we have as much opportunity to mess it up as we do maintain it. We need someone greater than us to come up with the idea and to get it done for us. We need someone to keep it for us. We need someone that will FIGHT for us. No, I'm sorry, it's not the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, or the Hall of Justice. Rather, it is God, through His Son Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:1), and His Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17), who grants TRUE freedom. Yes, even in the midst of governmental rule (good and bad) the only way to live is in God's freedom (I Peter 2:13-17). There is nothing that can alter our joy or our safety or our . . . well . . . freedom because Christ already paid the debt that kept me bound to a life full of wrong and selfishness and hurt. So I have NO weight left on my back, nothing left for me to fight for, and only one person left so serve - God Himself. Inviting Jesus, every day, to fight our battles and be near us is the only way to live a life of freedom. May we trust Him fully.