Christ - Through Us, With Us, and In Us

April 21, 2021

Leadership Notes


- Zeitgeist Edition -


Comedian and commentator Bill Maher has a weekly program on HBO. Last week {I read about it; don't watch it} he talked about panic porn. I thought it accurately captured what drives so much of our culture these days. Of the emotions that drive us, I'd say fear and shame are two of the strongest. Worry and guilt are definitely part of those two. And what do the media and political and religious leaders exploit the most? I'd say panic porn fits neatly in there.


In the United States, the gun murder and gun suicide rates are both lower than they were in the mid-1970s. But that's not a narrative that funds research or sells newspapers. Now, don't misunderstand. Those two things are horrible; absolutely devastating to individuals and communities. These are complex problems that defy simple or slogan{y} responses. The Biblical truth is that we all like sheep have gone astray. The deep depravity of human nature compounds any effort to address these challenges.


Here's our calm in the storms of life:


Mark 4:39: "And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the

sea, 'Peace! Be still!' And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."


Once I was in line for coffee at a non-Starbucks place. Several people in front of me requested non-GMO creamer for their coffee. Those of you who know me well probably can already guess what I asked for when I ordered. I asked if they had any extra-GMO creamer. The baristas laughed, and it didn't sound like a polite laugh. You can't even turn around in the grocery store without running into something non-GMO. In some sectors, fear and guilt drive the food chain.


And yet, while we're focused on that, U.S. and Chinese scientists have created embryos that are part human, part monkey, in an effort to find new ways to produce organs for transplant. And it is predicted that by the end of this decade scientists will be growing organs in pigs to transplant to humans.


It's weird, sometimes, the things we worry about. I think so many of our cares and concerns are media driven. In other words, many people are anxious over what the media reports they should be anxious over.


Here's a calming prescription from God's Word:


Deuteronomy 31:6: "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread

of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave

you or forsake you.”


Do you know any "worst-case scenario" people? Every time a bit of good news comes out about almost anything, there's the follow-up, "Yes, but." Reaction to any sense of good news becomes like ants at a picnic. A hand-full of problems out of over 7 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines and the long-knives come out. We love to pump the brakes. Did you know that people die from complications with tonsillectomies? Bad stuff happens. We are fallen people living in a fallen world. As Jesus said to the crowd questioning him about people who died in a disaster, the real issue is making sure you are right with God because at any moment, you could be next. That is the vagary of life.


Here's a calming promise from God's Word:


Luke 12:31: "Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you."


Here's a suggestion. Do with it what you will:


"The single biggest action one can take for their mental health is

cut off all news. Tune it out. Act like you are allergic. Its design

and mission are to spread fear, anxiety, division, and hate. Ignore

it."


Now, is this a suggestion to be uninformed or live a hermit-like life? Not at all. I simply see it as a hyperbolic way of suggesting the therapeutic value of taking a sabbatical from the news or at least cutting consumption 80-90%. It makes sense to me. Maybe it does to you, too. And instead, immerse yourself in the good news. I'll turn to the gospel before the news and science any day.


Here's a calming promise from God's Word:


Psalm 73:23-24: "Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory."


That is a good thing. It doesn't matter what happens around us. All is well, because Jesus Christ is Lord. I choose to live my life accordingly. Dare to resist the tug of panic porn and the drama-de-jour. Instead, hold tight to the assurance of God's Word:


Psalm 46:1-3: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling."


When you feel yourself slipping onto the thin ice of bad news,

remember this from Mr. T:


"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13.

Repeat that please, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Now take "through" out. "I can do all things Christ who strengthens me." It doesn't make sense, right? Exactly! Of course not. Because without Christ working through us, with us, and in us, Where would we be?...


Our world needs less drama…less panic…and more Jesus.


And now, your Moment of Spurgeon:


Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep

Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one

another he delights in.


With Much Love and Affection,


Richard

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