Archive for May, 2009

American Idols part 2

May 4, 2009

It might seem that if we are working for God, everything about that activity  is good and God-centered.  Yet, at times, even our “service” or “ministry” can become an idol.  If I get too caught up in “my” agenda for “my” ministry and “my” service for God, I have begun to worship the work rather than the Lord I’m working for.  I need to ask myself when was the last time I laid my service before the Lord in prayer and really listened to the thoughts nagging around the edges of my mind?  When was the last time I asked Him to show me how to handle certain situations?  When was the last time I asked Him to show me His priorities for His work?  A good barometer of my attitude is to assess my response to interruptions.  The interruption may be from God, leading me in a slightly different direction, or forcing me to add something I hadn’t thought about.  God always knew I would have this interruption, however inconvenient, and He allowed it.  It has its purpose.  Its been said that if an American in ministry encountered a burning bush, he’d either douse it or hurry around it and continue on his way.  How sadly true.  God doesn’t speak in literal burning bushes anymore, but He has burning bush equivalents in our lives, and we need to stop and listen to what He is saying through them.

American Idols

May 3, 2009

When people look at the second commandment, which forbids us to have idols before God, we tend to think of developing world cultures and the little wooden statues of gods.  We think this commandment no longer applies to our “advanced” culture, where we “know” these little gods are meaningless.  But do we “developed” people have idols in our lives?  The biblical definition of an idol would be anything which takes the place of God in our lives.  That definition makes the question easier to answer, and more uncomfortable to face.  Its been said we could determine our idols by looking at our calendars and our checkbooks.  What gets our time and our money besides God?  Some people call their hobbies, habits or addictions their idols.  I think it goes much deeper than that.  I think as we look at the West, we will see several deeply entrenched idols.  Here are some I acknowledge.

“People pleasing” (which could also be called “political correctness”), means I make another person’s approval more important than God’s approval.  I will take the line of least resistance and refuse to speak truth, do the expedient rather than the right thing, or develop the habit of doing whatever I believe will please somebody else, instead of seeking God’s will and pleasure.

“Being somebody” means I want people to look up to me.  I may seek leadership in every situation, I may kill myself working harder than anyone else in order to get attention, I may seek celebrity status, try to achieve “success” (whatever that means), or try to climb the ladder of whatever tower its leaning on.  This keeps me from concentrating on what God desires for me.  This also keeps me from many opportunities to serve God and others, because far more opportunities to serve are quiet, unnoticed and unrewarded.

“Self-fulfillment” is another idol.  Seeking our personal happiness, well-being, fun and excitement, and meaningful relationships, becomes an end in itself, rather than the outcome of seeking God and His will for my life.  “I Did it My Way” is the statement of faith of too many of us idol (self) worshippers.

Materialism is the most all-encompassing idol of the Western World.  Not only do we spend an inordinate amount of time ammassing wealth, we chase our tails keeping up with the Joneses.  Another form of materialism is seeking our security in anything material or worldly such as financial plans, science and medicine, or the government instead of seeking it in God.

Ultimately, none of the things listed above satisfy us.  That is because we are looking for something else to fill our need for relationship with God.  The idols won’t fulfill us anymore than we can live solely on candy.  We just need to be aware that God and His desires for our lives have to come absolutely first.  If He is not first in our hearts, we will just eventually “run out of gas”.  Look at the celebrities we see all over the television and newsstands.  How happy are they, really?  How many messed up relationships, addictions and mental health issues do we see among the rich and famous?  If celebrity, money and success brought happiness, you’d think these folks would be happier than average people, and instead they seem to actually be less happy.  As an old saint once said “Only the love of God will satisfy the hungry heart of man”.  Anything short of the love of God, whether it be the love of people, the love of attention, the love of possessions, the love of material security, or the love of self, is as hopeless as having a little wooden statue for a god.

Marvelous

May 1, 2009

I read something today that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  When I was in college, way back when, I accepted without question the idea that human cells evolved from simpler cells, which started in an organic pond struck by lightening.  Well, you know the story of all that.  What I never sort of “put together” was the biology of the cell which I studied in those same years, and the believability of the evolution story.  Today I learned that that microscopic (electron microscopic) human dna is a whole lot more complex than 46 little helixes.  If these microscopic helixes were unwound and laid end to end, they would extend about 28 feet!  Thats out of a cell thats microscopic itself!!  And all this replicates itself every time the cell divides!  Whatever I might wish to believe, or not believe, the idea this all happened through random processes just defies reason.  Some say it takes faith to believe in a designer.  I think it takes more than faith to believe the sheer irrationality of this all happening by chance.  It takes less faith to believe that Stonehenge happened by chance through some as yet unknown natural processes (look at the Scandinavian and other stone circles) than to believe the human cell happened that way.  Yet, when I suggested we’d never looked at the possibility that Stonehenge might have happened without any intelligence behind it, people acted as though I were insane.  The same thing can be said of the human cell happening without Intelligent design.  Why does no one think that is insane?