Latest

Think!

Laurie Polinelli

I believe the most important thing we can do in life is to think,  hopefully I will stimulate some excitement to spend time expanding you minds & studying – thinking (maybe even at the expense of the TV) But be aware that ignorance is not bliss, we need to be educated if we are to be effective.

I encourage you to first watch the Video at http://www.livingwaters.com/  Titled: evolution vs God.  While focusing on the Creation vs Evolution issue the content highlights how as a society thinking has been affected by the resolve of a people wanting to remove the need for there to be a God responsible for all things.    I believe that ever since Darwin was used to loosen the grip of an over controlling church on society we have been indoctrinated either directly or indirectly by these beliefs.

Can you remember biology classes – teaching that we evolved from fish or apes?  Have you seen the about national geographic shows? Who has seen David Attenborough?  Everything on those shows leads back to millions & billions of years & evolution. Most people don’t take the time to really stop to think about the correctness of what is taught or question the basic tenants of the discussion.  Basically some things are accepted without too much questioning.

The people we see in the video are “Intellectuals” who have been convinced by science that there is truth in evolution.  Note the affect on their belief in God. Largely atheists initially they believed evolution was proven, but eventually conceding that they are believing because of faith in man’s teaching.  It is worth looking at the whole video as it eventually gets right to the heart of the matter where they start to question beliefs that they thought were facts.

I know that in a church community there are more people who look into this topic than in society as a whole but as a straw poll how many Christians have done enough study into the evolution / creation issue so that they would have more than a blind faith in God creating the world?  Or even worse may have in some way always believed in evolution.

All too easily we accept what the majority believes, that what is taught as normal,  basically having foundational beliefs ingrained in the psyche of people by what is projected as right by society.  In these current times this tends to lead most people away from God as our societies values become more relative & less biblical. We need to be very careful what we accept .  I am going to use a couple of examples to highlight where we can be a bit lazy in our thoughts & be drawn into complacency.

Our thoughts lead to actions;  both positive and negative.  What shapes our thoughts is the key to how we act,  if our thoughts conform with the world & society how are we to be the change agents that God designed us to be?

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Jesus was critically aware of this problem, but he has a plan for nurturing his people.

Mark 6:34 “Jesus came out, saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.”

He knew that they needed to be taught & led because in the lives of many the views of the individual tends to be led by the direction of society & tend to sway the majority. My own early adult life and to a certain extent my current thought processes have been critically affected by my environment.  I would have been a very different person if I had not been challenged to read on a daily basis some 15 years ago.  We can consciously think about change but it really takes commitment and effort to change.  Habits are formed by the outworking of our thought process shaped by our environment, by what goes into our mind.  Through being careful about what is put into your mind you can change your habits.

What do you want your future to be like?

How important is it for you to fulfill your God given role in the world?

In order to fulfill your role for God it is important to understand the importance of thinking.  Examine your thoughts to see if you consider these issues to be important or is it ok to allow our thinking to go with the flow?

First let me share with you what I consider to be one of the most important quotes I have ever heard, partly because of what is said but more importantly because of who said it.. “WHAT LUCK FOR RULERS THAT MEN DON’T THINK” This quote was from ADOLF HITLER.  Can you imagine a whole society being swayed to believe that Jews were worse than Rats? Yes even with the limited media available to Adolf he was able, through propaganda to oversee the Holocaust.

How much more is the average mind today transformed by the total inundation of media input?  Yes it is more subtle & maybe it is not likely that we will exterminate a race, or is it?  Think on this: during the WW2 Holocaust it is estimated that between 5.5 – 6 million Jews were killed.

Statistically in our safe developed society every day it is estimated that there are some 125,000 abortions; that is 40-50 million per year!  How can this have happened ? Would a THINKING society see this as Ok ? Especially as most of this is subsidized by our health care system.  I’m trying not to be personal or political here just prompting thought.  Who is worse, are we more barbaric now or was Hitler?  Abortion is legal and accepted in certain parts of the world because as long as values are relative without having a firm place to go to determine what is right & wrong our society is shaped by thinking that has gradually moved over the years; definitely away from what God would accept as right.  How has this happened?   Do we as a community really THINK about issues?

Please don’t take offense & be aware that God is a God of forgiveness & his heart for life and His forgiveness for those who have fallen in any area, but until issues are even seen as wrong,  do we need to even ask for forgiveness? Do we open the door to the release God can provide? To be able to move forward in life,  God will release all guilt & pain when we ask for forgiveness.

My point is that as society shifts its values well away from what was the foundational Christian structure, we are drawn along with it .  An alternative is to take the time to THINK, to question, and to ask God what is RIGHT!  Not just what is accepted as legal and normal in our society.

1 Cor 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”

Here is another example, lets start with our next generation. Are you a Simpsons fan?  I actually find it very funny but at the same time I hoped my kids weren’t into it,  in fact we don’t watch the show,  and when our kids were at home it was rarely on;  thankfully Heather didn’t find it particularly funny.

Have you thought about what is taught to our children by that show?, Who is the hero?, Who is the fool,  the brunt of jokes?, What respect is given to parents?  This is one show, and there are many examples where the values of a healthy home life are not just challenged but totally discarded.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”

How are we as Christians addressing this problem?

Maybe we should consider reading our bible ,  & encourage our children to as well.  I’m not just talking about our kids,  we have parents and what I do in my attitude to them shows my children how to act, maybe it will be useful when I’m older to have shown respect for my parents.  This issue has a far reaching effect on society as respect for not just parents but all forms of authority is being removed.

Another issue to consider is:

1 Corinthians 7:8-9 “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

How does our society view this one?  Where do we go for guidance?  Womens weekly .. Cleo..Playboy.. various publications?

I’m not passing judgement here but the explosion of unmarried mothers,  broken homes etc is a major social and financial burden on our society. I’m also not saying that some marriages should not end; it is just too easy now not to try.

My parents have been married for 61 years now, and I’m guessing from what I have witnessed that there has been at least 50 years of conflict & struggle;  but they taught me a lesson. 32 years later Heather & I are still together , the example set for us has been invaluable, but  believe me we have had our moments!  The key here is not just endurance; my parents were never exposed to the thought of reading about what Gods plan was for marriage,  personal development or the importance of reading the bible.    If we want relationships to work  we have to work on them.

The main reason Heather & I are hanging together is the fact that we have been willing to work on our issues by personally addressing our shortcomings, reading many marriage books , attending many courses and changing our basic thinking.

Ephesians 5:33 “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

One of the books and courses we discovered was based around this verse; “LOVE & RESPECT” ,  this is a book & course I highly recommend to both married and almost married people to attend.

As Christians how much of our thinking is either shaped by the values of God or by the norms of society?

God has given us a solution, there is abundant help for us in the bible but are we prepared to devote sufficient time to overcoming the inundation of thoughts poured into us by the media? Where you get your input will directly determine how you think.

Do you spend time each day in study/prayer/meditation to get focused,  and allow God to work with your spirit to shape your daily thoughts? How much time will you spare?

WHERE YOUR HEART IS THERE YOU WILL SPEND YOUR TIME

In general we are swamped with thought processes that create our beliefs & understanding of what our life should be about & how we fit in the world.

The news.. commentary shows.. eg 7:30 or insight.. today tonight.. sunrise. Etc.. radio morning shows.. & in some ways more importantly the serious talkback shows.. do they have a Christian flavour?

What would be the input to your mind on subjects such as abortion .. homosexuality.. family..relationships.. personal safety ..fear? In our society we are swamped with socially acceptable humanistic relativity:  What is right in the eyes of man. I would be surprised if anyone could cite input from the media which is clearly biblical;  following God’s plan.

This barrage must by definition require even more study of the word,  meditation and prayer on a regular basis.  How involved in positive mind changing activity are you?

Our church is currently studying “The Purpose Driven Life”, this is designed to shape our thoughts about who we are, how God has an impact on our life & what we are purposed to do for God.  Unless we are engaged in this type of thought molding activity our actions will not change.

What do we need to do if we are to get guidance from God regarding what is right & wrong? How we should live ? What type of relationships should we embrace? Etc. I encourage you to read through “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. This is even more important for you if in the back of your mind you are saying: “ahh I’m not worth much, how can I be of value?”

GENESIS 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Unless you are prepared to fill your brain with the right thoughts you will be swallowed up by the worldly thinking that “you came from nothing & will finish as nothing.”

DONT BELIEVE THE LIE!

Thank God for His Blessings and the provision He has made for us in leaving the owners manual for life:  THE BIBLE.

Make sure you read and understand it!

Passing the Baton- (build into others)

Rev. Julie Shannon

Have you ever watched a relay race, or maybe ran in one? … When I was much younger! I was a great sprinter, 100 meters was my favorite distance and I normally won! I was good.I regularly was selected for the school relay team and normally ran in the first position out of four so as to get our team up ahead, which would give us a great chance at winning.   I remember learning how important it was to pass the baton well; half a second was like a week when you are running that fast, and to fumble, or even worse; drop the baton! meant certain disaster and most likely a race position of last. In a race, once the baton is passed, the one who passed it doesn’t take too long to slow down and let the next runner take off. The race isn’t over when one runner finishes their leg of the journey. They will continue to watch the race however because they have such a stake in it, cheering on their team and either celebrating or commiserating together when the race is over.

The idea of passing on a baton is also used in the area of succession e.g the Royal family; when one monarch hands authority over to another.  Our Queen will in due course hand her baton over to either Charles or maybe William, giving all the authority and advice that will come with the symbolic baton.  I’m sure she will continue to watch and to cheer on, giving advice where necessary, as she has a stake in the realm that is being governed.  She has put her life into carrying the baton of royal governance and now will trust all that she has done into the hands of another, just as many others have done down though the centuries in various cultures.

Lets look at the church; Gods kingdom and what passing a baton may look like in our own context.  As children of God we are all sons and daughters; Heirs, we are all witnesses and all called to pass on our knowledge, experience, wisdom etc to others as we build and train each other up.   Jesus knew his time on earth would last only three years, he focused on passing the baton to his disciples and training them to do the same. In this way, he ensured that his teaching, modeling and truth would continue for generations to come across the globe.  He gave his apostles clear instructions: “Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20 ). In a sense, Jesus instructed his runners to “pass batons” in every nation by teaching others what he had taught them.  Following Jesus’ lead, Paul passed the baton to Timothy, and so on.  The Christian race is certainly not over, and every individual contribution or leg of the journey is integral to the advancing of Christ’s kingdom.

“Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

Every Christian has a baton, a spiritual inheritance in Christ, which is worth passing on.  Our baton is the sum of all the lessons, insights, wisdom, counsel, character and spiritual anointing that we have gained.  Its the spiritual legacy God wants us to impart to others. When we are secure in who we are in Christ, it is not a problem to pass on these things, we are like proud as punch parents watching our children take their first steps. BUT if our identity is based in our experiences, our position, our knowledge, our training etc it can feel like we are losing a part of ourself if we give it away, it can feel like they just might end up better than us or more trained than us or more well known than us or dare I say it; more liked than us!

These heart attitudes are so restrictive to the one carrying them and also to those that miss out on gaining from precious experiences.  A heart that feels these things struggles to believe that they matter, that they are important enough to die for or that they are loved and viewed as a royal child in Gods kingdom rather than a person that needs to prove who they are. Things like competition, envy, rejection, self preservation, fear and low self esteem are indicators someone may struggle to build into the lives of others.  We can feel like we have copyright to the stuff that God has done in us, shown us etc. Have you ever received some great insight from somewhere but you find yourself reluctant to disclose your source so you look superior? Have you really enjoyed other people relying on yourself for answers, thus building your own personal pride?  These attitudes are certainly not that of a secure child of God that should enjoy seeing others do well and even better than we have ourselves.

Can you imagine if Jesus chose not to trust and let go of all He knew to an interesting bunch of men and women over 2000 years ago?

The great commission; the command of Jesus was to go and make disciples, this means passing on our own knowledge and understanding. We cannot let our own insecurities get in the way.  We need to encourage those searching to seek out the truth, to develop their own understanding of who Christ is, who they are in Christ and how they themselves can influence Gods Kingdom.  When Christian’s who have passed through some of life’s trials and Gods training do not pass on what they know because of insecurities, everyone suffers. When we function from this place of insecurity we build up little fan clubs, where people try to compete for the praise and adoration of others.  This applies to every Christian of course, but cannot be truer for those called by Christ to be equippers of the church – Five Fold Ministers – Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers.  These people are called and have anointing to train up and release. If they are insecure in who they are, the church becomes stunted and divided, and will eventually fizzle out or split. The church is meant to be full of Spiritual Fathers and Mothers, spiritual big sisters and brothers.  Those who have done the tough miles, those who have travelled the journey of being a Jesus disciple for longer.  Those who are not afraid to be real, coming alongside the younger ones, the weaker ones, the ones who have fallen down and need a hand up.

“This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.  Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.  He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4: 13-16 (NLT)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: