Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good or Evil?

There are three topics I was thinking about addressing in posts on this blog. The first was dishonesty. The second topic was spurred by Wade's blog post, how people say, "God told me," and how they use that. The third was prompted by a comment on this blog by Bobby about negative testimonies. All three of these are topics I like to wax eloquent on, as eloquent as I can be, which is questionable.

I think I'll tackle the first one right now and save the other two for future posts.

I watched Sixty Minutes on CBS last Sunday evening and saw a Miami man interviewed who said he had robbed the government of $20 million in Medicare payments and then he proceeded to tell how he did it. It was scary to realize there is a whole network of groups who cater to people to help them defraud the government in big ways.

Then I was watching the local morning news and saw a report about how large earth moving machines, large tractors and such, are being stolen and resold for a fraction of the cost. A farmer was interviewed and he said his $60,000 machine was stolen and when it was later found, it had been resold for $800. Drug users are usually the culprits.

Then at work I have been bombarded the last six months with spam e-mail. It seems a virus invaded our work intranet/internet via someone's personal download and despite all the firewalls and security, that worm or virus has invaded every part of our system. I daily get about ten spam e-mails telling me I'm eligible to receive millions because of some wonderful thing I have done. One I received yesterday started out saying how bad it is today how people try to scam others, but for sure this is legitimate. Hmmm...

As I was thinking on these, I'm still astounded at how basically evil human beings are. I'm rather Pollyanna-like wanting to believe that if given a chance, human beings are basically good. That's totally anti-scriptural. I know that. But, still...If you really think on this and take it all in and really listen to things going on around us, it would be much wiser for me if I accepted the fact that if given a chance, human beings as a whole are basically selfish and sinful or evil.

And then when I consider all the stuff I know that has gone on in the organized church, not necessarily the local churches I have belonged to but the bigger organizations, I realize that this basic evil bent permeates anything that human beings are a part of.


Makes a good case for the need of the true gospel. Isn't this what accepting Christ and living the Spirit-filled life is all about? Isn't this what we are saved from? Doesn't our "new nature" or our "default" change to basically good, as evidenced by our love for others instead of self?

So instead of being cynical about the evil of man, I have excitement and great hope that I (we) have the solution, the Person!
Enough to make us jump for joy. YES! Enough to make me want to spread the "good news."

Wonder if anyone will listen? I think they will only if my life causes them to ask me "a reason for the hope that is in me."
My thoughts.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Payback or Freedom?

Can it be? A month ago was my last blog post? Where does the time go?
Lots has happened, but obviously not blog posting. Think I'll write some thoughts today since I'm off work for Columbus Day.

Yesterday at church we had the privilege of being guests in a different Flock than the one where we're members. (Some of my friends chuckle every time I speak of attending Flock on Sunday. That's our church's version of Sunday School. When teased about being members of a Flock, I respond with something like isn't that what sheep are, members of flocks? Anyway...)

Paul was the guest speaker and the absent leader had earlier told Paul he had been addressing how Christians are changed when becoming believers. That is one of Paul's favorite subjects, and he gave a great talk. There were some questions at the end, and it was a great time of meeting new people, of being in a nice home, and of getting to hear the greatest communicator share.

One of the questions that was asked of Paul was how does or did this new-covenant living vs old-covenant living affect your ministry. The reason the question was asked was explained that a pastor acquaintance who had developed some physical problems was convinced that this was God's payback for his teenage sins.

This reminded me of some of my friends who have what they would call "moral" sins in their past and anything bad that happens to them or theirs later is immediately thought of as God's payback.

Where did we get that notion?

I think we got it from the old covenant or many scriptures in the Old Testament. If you will or if my people will...then I will (God speaking). We live by, we hear preached, and we base our Christian beliefs and living on performance based teachings.

Things like if you have a daily quiet time, God will bless you with a "victorious" day. This type of thinking leads to the opposite that if you don't, for some reason, have a quiet time, then bad things will happen. How sad! Or, if you've done some bad things, you will pay for it the rest of your life with guilt and shame.

Where is the freedom that's promised in the new covenant, in the New Testament? "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." Where is the living by the new laws that Christ gave? Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself and in doing that you will fulfill all the law. Doesn't that just smack of freedom and grace?

I hear comments like yesterday, and I long to "set people free" in the freedom that Christ bought and paid for in full. By accepting his offer of grace and love and freedom, we have changed lives set free to love others.

Isn't that the true Gospel?

Is that our main teaching to new Christians? Or, is it what they need to "do" in order to live out their new life in Christ? No wonder people are not being drawn to our message.
Just some thoughts.