Every so often someone comes along who stands out from the crowd, someone who distinguishes themselves from their peers by their manner, their motivation and their mission. They don’t seem to fit into any comfortable category, for theirs is a mission that has world-changing implications and such missions are not common and least of all comfortable. With such a description we would typically and rightfully envision Jesus as its object, but today we will focus on another. Today we focus on John the Baptist, the man who prepared the people for Jesus, the man who stood alone as a powerful voice that pointed to the Redeemer of all men. John the Baptist uniquely epitomized greatness – where did he come from, what did he do and how did he do it?
Last week we began our conversation by saying that pride can be a tricky thing and prejudice can be an awful thing. We focused our attention on the pride side of the matter and its insidious way of taking over our lives. Now it’s time to talk about prejudice, and this is a hard conversation to have. For most of us, we can observe what we think is prejudice in others. We see a skewed view on some group or approach and we think about how unfortunate it is and wonder why they cannot see a bigger picture. Well, the bigger picture begins with these questions: How prejudiced am I in my view of the world and of others approach? Am I willing and able to recognize prejudice in my own thinking, and when I see it am I willing to attack it with the same passion that I feel about the prejudice of others? Prejudice needs attention and eradication, no matter where it’s found. How do we do that?
Pride can be a tricky thing and prejudice can be an awful thing. Let’s focus on pride right now. On the one hand we are told to take pride in our work – well, at least when I was a kid that’s what I was told! We want to be proud of our children and to be proud of our country. We want to take pride in the things we own and we want to leave a legacy that we can be proud of. So, pride is good! Well, on the other hand, we can see how pride comes before destruction, how pride can skew our view of others and how pride creates temptation to be dishonest. We can see pride becoming obsession, and we can see how pride can create a lack of trust in others, a lack of compassion for others and a lack of credit to others. So, pride is bad! Obviously this is a subject that needs not only clear definitions but clear principles to establish clear thinking. There is only one solution – let’s see what the Bible says!
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is probably one of the best known of Jesus’ teachings. It touches the heart because of its very practical and dramatic lessons of humility and forgiveness in action. As we look into the story we want to look inward as well. Are we, or have we ever been, prodigal sons? If so, have we come all the way back? And what about the other part of the story – the part we almost never talk about..? Stay with us as we journey through some life changing events!
Did you ever stop and wonder what Christianity, in its truest sense, looks like? Is Christianity about getting or giving? Is it about living just like everyone else, or is it about living to a higher standard? Is it about the incessant chatter of everyday life or is it about a life-changing message? Is Christianity about learning to accept yourself as you are, or is it about offering who you are to God to become what he wants you to be? These are questions that can be answered if we understand how holiness fits into the picture. Stay with us as we look at our Christianity and what role "holiness" plays in it.
We are all sensitive about our rights. When someone does us wrong, we want to at least “even the score” or give back a little extra as a reminder to not mess with us. Funny thing about that attitude of retaliation is it is not just a modern day attitude. It is an attitude that has prevailed throughout the centuries. Jesus saw that attitude in his day and taught lessons on how to overcome it in ourselves, as we deal with the world around us. Stay with us as we look into Jesus’ teachings about “turning the other cheek” and what it means in a practical sense today.