Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Abolition of Man

In his book titled, The Abolition of Man, CS Lewis persuades his audience of the importance of universal values and warns of the higher educational system's attempt to render such values irrelevant and unprofitable. Lewis speaks of the "doctrine of objective value" which is "the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are". Until recent modern times all teachers in all civilizations believed in this "doctrine of objective value" or what I am going to call The Morality Code. This Morality Code is the very thing created into all of us that prompts us to recognize what is right and acceptable and what is wrong and unacceptable in regards to mankind's behavior. "All the human beings that history has known acknowledge some kind of morality; that is, they feel towards certain proposed actions the experiences expressed by the words 'I ought' or 'I ought not'". Because of this Morality Code "all men alike stand condemned and are conscious of guilt".

Here is an example of the Morality Code being acknowledged: Why does a husband cheat on his wife in secret? (Better yet, why is it referred to as cheating?) The obvious answer is to prevent his wife and peers from finding out, but why should she care? She cares because she holds her husband to some understood standard that says "a man ought not to sleep with another woman other than his wife". The husband is not naive of this standard because his defense of his actions would not be in the direction that his behavior should be considered acceptable. He simply makes an excuse for breaking the understood standard of "ought to's and ought not's". An excuse on any level is an actual confession by the man that some standard is understood and has been broken.

The Morality Code "is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgements. There has never been, and never will be, a radically new judgement of value in the history of the world. What pretends to be new systems or 'ideologies', all consist of fragments from the [Morality Code]. The rebellion of new ideologies against the [Morality Code would be like] a rebellion of the branches against the tree". That being said, the higher educational system is attempting to step outside of the Morality Code and condition its pupils to reject the concept of universal values altogether. Lewis explains the mindset of what we are going to call the Conditioners (corrupt teachers and professors);

"We shall probably find that we can get on quite comfortably without values. Let us regard all ideas of what we ought to do simply as an interesting psychological survival: let us step right out of all that and start doing what we like. Let us decide for ourselves what man is to be and make him into that: not on any ground of imagined value, but because we want him to be such. Having mastered our environment, let us now master ourselves and choose our own destiny."

There is a great difference between the old and the new education. "The old dealt with its pupils as grown birds deal with young birds when they teach them to fly; the new deals with them more as the poultry-keeper deals with young birds - making them thus or thus for purposes of which the birds know nothing. In a word, the old was a kind of propagation - men transmitting manhood to men; the new is merely propaganda." The Conditioners propaganda is the assumption that universal values are unimportant and intellect or enlightenment is all that is profitable. The Conditioners conclude that it is best to protect the minds of young people against emotion. Lewis responds to this conclusion by claiming that "for every one pupil who needs to be guarded from a weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the slumber of cold vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts". Lewis explains that this conditioning and guarding against any form of emotion is creating "men without chests".

"You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more 'drive', or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful."

So what is the motivation that drives the Conditioners to step out of the Morality Code and to condition its pupils to also reject the concept of universal values? These Conditioners want excess without regulations and so they seek to condition all of mankind in a way that will enable them to gain their desires without being subject to any moral standard. Lewis explains, "For the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means the power of some men to make other men what they please". As they attempt to abolish the universal moral standard (Morality Code), they simply create a new standard governed by nothing more than their own selfish desires. "The Conditioners are motivated simply by their own pleasure." The motivation is a life satisfying of all desires but void of any Higher Accountability. Conditioners seek to control the moral standard rather than obeying it. "The Conditioners, choose what kind of artificial Morality Code they will, for their own good reasons, produce in the Human race." "If you will not obey the Morality Code, or else commit suicide, then obedience to selfish desires is the only course left open."

So what is the Conditioners' approach to establishing their artificial Morality Code? They first must conquer mankind in order to subject it to their own moral standard. So how does one conquer mankind? In order to conquer mankind, the Conditioners must reduce the human race to mere objects of Nature (Darwinism?). Mankind must simply become human material that can be shaped for the pleasures of masters who have no motive but their own selfish desires. "Man's conquest of himself means simply the rule of the Conditioners over the conditioned human material, the world of post-humanity which, some knowingly and some unknowingly, nearly all men in all nations are at present laboring to produce."

Only the universal Morality Code provides a common human law of action which overrules rulers and ruled alike. However, as we have seen through Lewis' work, the universal Morality Code is under heavy attack by those who want to create a world void of any accountability. A world in which man answers to no one but himself and his desires. A world with the Babylonian motto, "I am and there is none besides me". Lewis' book was labeled as being prophetic and we can see now that this may have very well been the case. We are living in a world that is constantly attempting to justify its behavior and actions because of its opposition to the Morality Code. Anything attempting to justify itself is in by doing so admitting rebellion against the original order of things.

Why is gay marriage the union seeking to be justified and not marriage between a man and a woman? (Homosexuality actually clearly rebels against more laws than simply the universal law of morality but that is another topic entirely)

Why do we make such efforts to justify abortion but adoption is not having to plead any case? Both are different from the norm but one seems questionable and the other comes across perfectly acceptable.

Why are we so concerned about what happens in Sin City staying there?

My objective in raising questions like these is to reveal that there is this universal law of morality that all of mankind acknowledges without even recognizing their own awareness of it. It was written on the hearts of the created man by his Creator and has passed down through generations since. It can not be conquered but we need to be aware that it is under attack on all sides by selfish agendas. Be cautious with what you are feeding your head!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Recognizing Red Flag Faith

Historically, men and women have wrestled over their salvation. It was not cheap, it was not easy, it was wrestled over for years before it was affirmed. All of a sudden, that idea was erased and easy believeism replaced the painful work of self examination and wrestling with the cross of Christ. So no longer do you have to wrestle, you just have to walk down the aisle, shake the hand, say "I'd rather not go to hell please, I love Jesus" and the church will baptize you, put you on the roll, and the great news is perhaps when the evangelist comes again this time next year... you can get baptized again! This gave birth to this whole new crazy circumstance where a church may have a membership of 18,000 and an attendance of 1200. People are coming to Christ as an eternal fire insurance plan and nothing more. With so much watered down faith filling the church we need some clarity on the affirmation of our salvation. The four following questions are for self-examination to help bring about some clarity. If any of these questions raises a red flag in your faith then it needs to be dealt with and worked out with perhaps some fear and trembling.

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling." - Philippians 2:12

Red Flag Questions:

1. Do you habitually commit sin?

"Whoever has been born of God does not sin" - 1 John 3:9.

"Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" - Romans 6:1-2.

There is a huge difference between stumbling and practicing sin. Falling and stumbling into a sin and you planning for it are two totally different things. If you set yourself up for a sin then that is practicing sin. This is not referring to struggles of resistance. Everyone constantly struggles to resist temptation and sin, but the question is are you stuck in cycles of secret sin that you have kept quiet forever that own you? If so that is a huge red flag.

2. Do you seek to live a holy life by being obedient to God's Word?

"If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him" - 1 John 2:29.

"We know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments" - 1 John 2:3.

If you come across the scriptures, hear the scriptures proclaimed, read the scriptures unpacked over an area of your life and you acknowledge what the Bible says but decide you want nothing to do with it, decide you will not submit to it, or walk away from it then that is a giant red flag. If you know the commandments of God but you just do not care then that is a huge red flag.

3. Do you love others?

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God for God is love" - 1 John 4:7-8.

"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren" - 1 John 3:14.

Those that have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God, those that are truly in Him are not self-absorbed, narcissistic, me-monsters. If your wife, children, workers, neighbors, and everyone on the planet exists to make your life better for you that's a red flag.

4. Do you have any affection for God or are your affections on the things of this world?

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" - 1 John 2:15

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit" - Romans 8:5

Do you see God as majestic and worthy of worship? When you think about the cross and you think about your sin, are you aware of the things of God? This is not referring to just some warm, fuzzy emotion you feel during some song in church. Is there any affection during those times in your walk that seem so dry and dull? For the redeemed, even in this spiritual desert there is an awareness of the greatness and grandness of God. There is an acknowledgement that we are not where we want to be but that God is doing something in this and we might not be happy about it but there is still an acknowledgement of the majesty of God in the spiritual desert. This is deep affection and awareness of the things of God. If there is no appetite for the things of God that is a giant red flag.


PS - I got this message from a Matt Chandler sermon that I recently listened to. Do you guys think this message is too aggressive for e-Outreach or should we use it?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Life Without thanks

I witnessed something today at the park that applies perfectly to the life we should be living.
The story goes like this. I was in the dugout. A teammate got a hit to score a few runs and the inning ended shortly after that. That player came in to get his glove to play the field, and when he did almost every player got up and gave him his well deserved congrats. Every player but one. I told the guy that didn't get up that he needed to get up and give the man five for a job well done. But, to my dismay the player told me he didn't have to because the other guy doesn't tell him nice job when he does something good. At first I was kinda ticked off. Then I realized that this individual doesn't know Jesus like I do. If you don't have Jesus in your life then you SHOULD try to live life as selfish as possible. If you don't believe that there's more to our lives than what's on this finite Earth...then go for it. Go crazy cuz it'll be over quick. Do whatever you want. If you don't believe you have a purpose on this Earth and that you have been saved by it up. But, if you do believe that you are living this life purposefully with a mission to glorify God then suddenly life isn't about us anymore. Life then becomes about serving. Serving God and serving others. Lets change the old saying from "two wrongs don't make a right" to "God has blessed me too much to care about how I thought I was wronged." A friend of mine always tells me that I'm too blessed to be stressed...and he's right. I've realized that because of Jesus life isn't about what's happened to me...its about what happened for me. Thanks Jesus..... Talk to you soon
ps..., when someone asks me about purpose I direct them to Jeremiah 29:11. If you don't know it check it'll give you a reason to jump in The Word

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuff Spot

My dad just called me and said that my grandpa has 1 to 6 months left in his life. This whole thing hasn't really hit me until today and my heart is heavy for him right now. It's making me think about our time here on earth and what's important. He's not a believer... So I'm obviously fearful for him at this point. My grandpa is a man who by the world's definition is at the top. He's friends with Warren Buffett, that should give you a hint of his financial status. Canada came to him and asked him to get the winter olympics to Canada in 2010... He did it. So now he's coming towards the end, and my prayer is that God can move on his behalf and reveal himself to my grandpa and all unbelievers in my family. I amazed at the comfort our Lord offers us at the end of our time! I want him to experience that and trust in him. Just a vent session, and I'm blessed to have all of you on here for prayer and wisdom.



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why Don't We Understand

Purpose; what is it really and why do we all inherently want it so bad? Rick Warren made a book series on Purpose (Purpose Driven Life) and so many of Americans were drawn to the idea. I am not going to drop the scripture till the end because we have all heard the verse before but we have failed to buy into its truth. We all are chasing happiness but it avoids us because we put our focus on fleeting pleasures that we think can hold us down and provide what we inherently desire so bad - Peace. Well here is my take and you can delete me or read me, I don't care it will be your loss or your gain. We all have choices to make just like Adam, Peter, Paul, Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon, etc.. You choose. I hope you dial in.

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." - John Piper

Our sole purpose here on earth is to bring glory to God and be His vessels for His eternal purpose period! Our purpose is not to gain riches, fame, accomplishments, and store up stock in earthly (fading) things. If you love this world and are looking to become her friend you are an enemy of God (James 4:4 part B). Everyday we are given a gift of waking up with breath in our lungs (given from God) and we are to use that breath to serve Him period. Live life in a righteous way such as Jesus did/would and in doing so we are shining for the kingdom (Matt 5:16). We are not here to find earthly success and glory in it, that is sin by taking credit for what God does. Give up, die to yourself, sit shotgun and let God drive for once, this is the way you will find peace and fulfillment beyond compare. Give it a chance! Live for God not yourself, "put the kingdom first and all things will be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). I love you guys and just had to spill my heart, I have been struggling with this.

1 Corinthians 10:31 "Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Prayer and Obedience...

This is the letter I've sent Terry for the email this weekend...I'm giving you guys a sneak preview. It's one of the perks of checking the site...ha.

Have you ever felt like you are praying and praying for something and nothing is happening? I have…alot. I’m a Christian so why doesn’t it seem like my prayers are being answered?? Are they being heard?? This is a confusing issue for many people…

The scriptures say in Matthew, “Seek first the his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Doesn’t this mean that God should always answer the prayers of his people??? Well not really…

Sometimes Christians will pray, yet they aren’t living in obedience…this is where the confusion crepes in. People think that because they are Christians that God is automatically obligated to grant their wishes. However, that’s just not how it works. Prayer and obedience are supposed to work hand-in-hand. Let me explain…

Imagine two points, two locations in two different places…A and B. Point A is where we as Christians are praying for things, but aren’t living in daily obedience. Point B is where we would be if we were living in obedience. Too often I find myself praying at point A and wondering why my prayers aren’t being answered. I get frustrated and discouraged very easily while I’m here. I wonder why God isn’t answering my prayers…sometimes I wonder if God is even hearing my prayers.

But God’s desire for us is to be living in obedience every day. He wants us to be living and praying from point B. It’s almost as if he were saying, “If you were living and praying from point B, then your prayers wouldn’t be the same as they are now while you are at point A. When you live in obedience to me…that will resonate in all aspects of your life. Your mind becomes transformed, your life becomes transformed, and your prayers are even transformed. Live in obedience.”

So if we are living in obedience and according to his will our prayers will be different than if we weren’t.  If we are seeking God’s kingdom as our first priority then it is inevitable that our desires will conform to God’s will…and God is in the business of His will becoming reality (so to speak).

The reason we get frustrated at point A is because it’s basically impossible to have desires and prayers that conform to God’s will when we aren’t obeying and abiding in God’s will, so he doesn’t grant it. However, when we are, God will grant these things (needs and prayers) because they are the things He desires as well…as he promises in Matthew 6.

* It is important to note that even when we are living in obedience God never promises that bad things won’t happen (cancer, death, disease, etc.) In fact, those things are inevitable (Romans 6:23) because of sin.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Got Proverbs 31 Wife?

Proverbs 31:10 "An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than Jewels.
Ephesians 5:28 "He who loves his wife loves himself."

Everyone of us has a desire to be loved so we search and search for that special girl who we can be so proud to show off to our family and friends. Some are still searching and some have found her but don't realize it for various reasons. I just want to share my experience with everyone here on this Tuesday morning.
I always had good friends growing up that I would lean on when I needed to talk out an issue of my life. With girls I just looked to them for love and acceptance and more often then not I went about it in ungodly ways because I was so immature. I got engaged and then married to Christy because it seemed like the natural progression of our relationship and I loved her and didn't want to loose her. My mother was very good at communicating with my brother and I as children so I inherited that it helped in my relationships. In communicating with Christy she taught me that there were things that she liked and didn't, I complied because I loved her. These things were small at the time and didn't effect my life too much so it was easy. During this time we both became Christians and started to study the bible and all God's commandments. Then we got married and things changed in the same direction (Christy telling me I needed to change some things) but this time a lot came in a small amount of time. I felt vulnerable and angry, I tried to blame chase and turned conversations into pissing contests. It was brutal because I was so stubborn and I refused to see the situations through any other lens than my own. We would pray together and alone crying out to God that he would make our relationship work, we wanted to make it work despite our limited efforts. Then God turned the lights on with the help of some Christian books and some meaty scriptures from the Bible.
I was being selfish, I needed to put Christy (my wife) before myself and serve her before I can ever expect to be served. By doing so I reaped the joy of doing something for someone else (it's biblical and worth trying). I needed to be more like Jesus (hint: a spontaneous foot rub goes a long way) and serve without expecting things in return. Quickly, she became my best friend and she opened her entire self (she would crack jokes without worrying if I thought she was stupid)up to me as we just got really real with one another. The best times we have together are times when we both laugh at stupid things we do and we can do this because we developed the trust that we feel completely comfortable being vulnerable.
I say all this to get across the point that we need to be less selfish in our relationships and start serving others so we can experience a deeper more meaningful love and friendship. Some of us have a girl but take for granted how special she is because we have allowed the cons to over shadow the pros. Some of us are still looking because we're looking in all the wrong places and valuing the wrong things. Some of us are starting to get complacent and lazy. All of us need to take the challenge are you ready? God has us right where He wants/needs us so with what He has given us let us use it. For the guys who have a wife or girlfriend treat her like she is God's daugther and help her to know how wonderful she is by serving her because she is worth it. The effort needs to start with us, we are the leaders of the relationship, serve her and tell her how beautiful she is. For the guys who don't have we need to tend our field, we need to be prepared for the harvest. Act obediently in righteousness like a man does, stop acting like a boy partaking in activities of pagans. If you act like a pagan (non-believer) you will attract a pagan, what do we expect? I love you guys and pray the best for us all so let us be blessed with what we have and prepare our fields for the blessings to come.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Is That Prayer Game?

Where is your life right now? Steady rising, declining, leveling out on cruise control? Are you happy? Why are you happy or why aren't you?
Regardless of where we are we can always go to God for what we need because He knows what we need better than anyone. Prayer is the way that we can get access to the father and that is through the Son (Jesus). Now that we are believers God hears are prayers when before He didn't. Jesus has made it possible for us to be heard with His blood (the sacrifice).

Psalm 50:15 "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you should glorify Me."

God wants to deliver us from our rut and as we come to Him in prayer we glorify Him. It is a perfect transaction on God's terms. Read Charles Spurgeon's (one of the greatest Christian writers) description of this process.

"God and the praying man take shares... First here is your share: "Call upon me in the day of trouble." Secondly, here is God's share: "I will deliver thee." Again, you take a share-for you shall be delivered. And then again it is the Lord's turn-- "Thou shall glorify me." Here is a compact, a covenant that God enters into with you who pray to Him, and whom He helps. He says, "You shall have the deliverance, but I must have the glory..." Here is a delightful partnership: we obtain that which we so greatly need, and all that God getteth is the glory which is due unto His name. -Charles Spurgeon-

God gets the glory we get the delight. Pray, pray, pray. Make a prayer list and let's mount up and be prayer warriors. I really believe this will take us to another level.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Let Our Actions Speak..Not Words...Hmmm??

I want to address the common evangelical idea that the Gospel is best communicated through our actions and not by words. The saying "Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words, our actions should be doing most of the talking" is a popular idea, but is it biblical?

Throughout whole bible it commands us to teach, preach, proclaim, tell, etc. The old testament is full of prophets and people selected by God to verbally communicate His will. Could God have communicated his will to each and everyone of us without using these prophets??? Yes. Did he?? Not really. There is something powerful about God's procalimed word. God has chosen the medium of speach as the means by which his Gospel has been communicated thoughout history.

Many times in the new testament Jesus, Paul, James, and John talk about good deeds. These however are ALWAYS in the context of instruction to belivers to carry out and actually do what they have been talking about and saying. (See the book of James, 1 John, and Matthew 5:16)

In the context of evangelism and proclimation of the Gospel...there is NO better way to communicate God's Truth than with the spoken word. The Bible is written in a language that is communicable. 

I believe the idea of letting our actions do most of the talking has been abused by people who don't put in the study time to be able to know God deeply and to communicate his Gospel verbally. I know that sounds harsh, but you must be able to communicate. I know this isn't the truth for everyone, but it is easier for me to live a good life than it is to communicate the Gospel clearly. It's easy for me to feed people, but harder to tell them why I'm doing it. If that were the case with everyone...we would have alot of people doing "christian" things and no one communicating the Gospel...DANGEROUS. If you have good deeds without the right communication of the Gospel you get the American Red Cross.

It may be better to change the idea to, humbly, clearly, and rightly communicate the Gospel at all times and actually practice what you preach. I don't believe it's a matter of doing one thing more than the other, rather doing both with humility and excellence.