Have you noticed how easy it is to offend people these days? There seems to be such an overt need to accept and to be accepted that we go overboard with the “correctness” of our words and behavior lest we hurt anyone’s feelings at any time. Now, being accepting of others is a good thing, but is it the most important thing? Should we willingly lay all other principles and standards upon the altar of mutual acceptance? Are we compelled to accept the world the way it is without regard to the good we have gleaned from the way it was? How did Jesus do it? He certainly spent time with the sinners of his day but was it at the cost of higher principles? Did Jesus actually “hang out” with sinners? Was his time with them to make them feel good or accepted? What is God’s role in all of this? If we want a relationship with God, does He accept us as we are or is there more to it?
The world is systematically becoming a dark place. It is not that people are purposely looking to dwell in darkness. It is that people - many people - have come to believe in things that had their origin in darkness and treachery. Wherever you look you can see the subtle creeping in of thinking, philosophies and actions that do not reflect the wholesome goodness of godly righteousness; but they rather engulf all in their path in a pervasive and deepening gloom that is labeled as a "new understanding" of what is good and acceptable. Jesus emphatically told his followers to be the "light of the world," to be that "city set on a hill for the whole world to see." So, how are we doing with that? Is Christianity truly the light of the world or have we misrepresented and failed the light of the Gospel? Is the world supposed to see our light and come to it or are we simply off track in our understanding?
Did you ever notice that there never seems to be enough time? For some reason or other, we are always rushing around to do the things we need to do and we seem to scarcely be able to even take a breath in between this and that. Our lives are often harried, and as a result we tend to feel unfulfilled and empty at the end of a day. So, how are we spending our time? What are we doing – or not doing - with that precious commodity of time to either fulfill or fritter away our lives? As Christians, are there different and specific guidelines for spending and investing our time than for others? Are there ways to simply and efficiently reorder and reclaim our time? Where do we start? What do we do?
The very definition of “Christian” is one who follows Christ. As Christians, we all know this and we all agree that it is of paramount importance. The big question is, what exactly does it mean to follow Christ? What is our life supposed to look like? What does God want FROM us through Christ and what does God want FOR us through Christ? Is it different for everyone? How do we know if we are on track? What role does trouble play? Do we really have to suffer for Christ?
Time for a Christian Questions pop quiz! Who here in our listening audience is so satisfied with their Christian life that they see no need to focus on further change or development? As you look at your life and imagine yourself before Jesus would he say to you – wow, your character is so fully developed, your prayer life is so complete and your sacrifice of your will is so overwhelmingly perfected that you can stop trying – just relax, for you are the perfect example of my disciple! No? Well, then what are we doing about it? Are you resolving to change, but more importantly, are you keeping your resolve?
Here we are in the 21st century and Christianity has really taken on a different look than when it all began. So, what is following Jesus all about? Is it costly? Is it pleasant? Can we customize our following of Jesus to our personal preferences? How do we know if we are really following him or if we are following our own idea of what we would like Jesus to be? Stay with us as we try to get our arms around what true discipleship is and how we can be fully immersed in the footsteps of our Lord!
Oftentimes as we look around us we can really get discouraged, for we live in a world that embraces darkness and persecutes light. We are surrounded by political corruption, we are developed in a “me first” environment. We are shown that winning at all costs is acceptable. And instead of a “turn the other cheek” mentality, we are bombarded with a “smack him before he smacks you” approach. It is like living as a lamb among lions – and we all know how that works out. So, can we as Christians “thrive” in a world like this? Stay with us!
Did you ever stop to think how much of our lives are built around our habits? The words we use, the thoughts we think – driven by habit. Our morning routine...a habit. The time we arrive at work...habit. Our actions and reactions to our co-workers...habit. What we eat, where we eat, how much we eat...all connected to habit. How we treat our spouse, our family, our friends and acquaintances – you guessed it – all connected to habit. So, if such a large portion of our lives are based in habit, then we ought to understand what makes a habit and most importantly how to better our habits!
Christians always talk about following after Jesus, following in his footsteps. What does that mean? Are we supposed to abandon every earthly possession and every earthly ambition to follow him? After all, isn’t that what he did? Are we supposed to sacrifice all of our human will all of the time? Is the idea of Christian sacrifice a requirement for all Christians to follow through on in order to fulfill our calling? Stay with us as we look into this not too often discussed part of the Christian life to try and understand just how it is supposed to work.
For most of us, healthy living is one of those things we all want a part of to varying degrees. We realize that there is a trade-off because certain personal sacrifices or lifestyle changes will yield a healthier and hopefully happier life, so we pursue it. With a Christian, it is the same thing. To keep the spirit of God healthy in our lives requires trade-offs, sacrifices and lifestyle changes. The question is, what are they? How do we implement them and how can we tell if they are working? Stay with us as we look into our lives, God’s spirit and the healthy combination of the two.