When you think of compassion, what do you picture? Perhaps you see Jesus healing the multitudes or volunteers caring for victims of some natural disaster. Perhaps you see an individual patiently working with a disabled person or a soldier protecting children in a war torn region. Perhaps compassion makes you think of Doctors Without Borders or food drives for the hungry. Whatever it is, thinking about compassion probably makes you think about the best of humanity – it probably makes you think about that glimmer of hope that says we can get along. Now, when you think about compassion do you ever see yourself in the role of the compassionate? Wouldn’t you like to be in that role? Just what does it take to become a truly compassionate person and most importantly, what are the limits of compassion? Are there times when compassion is NOT appropriate?
Sometimes we forget that life is precious and it is worth fighting for. When someone dies as a result of suicide, that fight has been lost. When we lose a loved one to suicide we might ask ourselves; have we become so entangled in the web of social standing and status that we somehow stepped over and ignore our loved one who was struggling with being able to hold onto the sacredness of life? Were we so absorbed in our own stress and schedule that we were blind to our loved one’s battle or did they do such a convincing job of hiding their pain that the whole thing was just a shocking tragedy? What happened to our loved one that they found themselves drawn downward into a vortex of torment and suffering so dark that they despaired of life itself? How do we better understand and cope with suicide? How does God treat those who take their own lives?
Life can get heavy sometimes. It can happen for all kinds of reasons – our own poor judgment or mistakes, circumstances beyond our control, accidents or a tragedy. Whatever the reason, the fact is that sometimes life just becomes a heavy burden. When life does get heavy we begin to doubt and to fear, which opens the door to begin down that ever-consuming road of discouragement and even depression. So, how do we fight this? How do we find a formula that will help us to stand up and walk under the weight, to fight through the fear and to persevere through the pain? How can we transform the heaviest experiences of our lives into the best growing experiences of our lives?
Should I take that new job or stay with the old one? Should I get married? What about having children? Am I in a good place in the church where I am or is there a better fit for me elsewhere? Should we buy that house that is a little bigger or buy the one that is more affordable? Questions, questions! Now, if you are a Christian, here is the biggest question about all of the other questions – how do you decide what God would have you to do if the choices before you all have strong positives? Is there some all inclusive formula to figure this entire out dilemma out? Now that is a good question!
We all have regrets. We all have times or decisions or moments in our lives that, if we could get a child’s game “do-over” we would take it in a heartbeat and go back with clearer thinking or firmer courage or more patience or deeper conviction or a bridled tongue or solid self-control. But we can’t get a child’s game “do-over.” We can’t change what we have already allowed to happen or what we have already said done or thought. So, what do we do? How do we handle our regrets in a way that keeps them from playing again and again in our heads? This is a good question and we think we have a good answer!
Terrorism – it is a fearful and horrific development in our present day. The barbaric and merciless treatment of those who stand in your way simply because of their religion or country of origin has been made to be household conversation, most recently by ISIS. Does the Bible talk about ISIS? If so, what does it say and if not, then why not?
Hasn’t it been long enough? Meaning, it is 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth with the promise of change, the promise of righteousness and the promise of his kingdom. So, where is he? Where is the change – the good - that he promised? All we can see now is a world that slowly walks away from Christianity and that walks towards self...self-satisfaction, self-gratification and self-worship. Has the power of the message of Jesus quietly faded into the sunset? Is the Gospel lost and gone forever?
Tell us if this is familiar: You have decided that your life feels pretty empty, that what you have tried and how you have tried it just does not work. You know there has got to be more meaning to life, and so you are drawn to Christianity and you accept Jesus. For a while, you feel better, but slowly you get that gnawing feeling that nothing has really fundamentally changed in your life. What do you do? How do you find the real bottom line change that you have been looking for and actually let it change you? If this description fits you or someone you know, then stay with us, because we are going to get basic and practical! I am a Christian but want to REALLY be a Christian. So, where do I start?