Monthly Archives: May 2017

Do You Minimize Certain Sins? I do!

As a child one of my favorite books was “The Poky Little Puppy.”  The plot isn’t important Poky little puppy
but in the story the puppies get scolded for squeezing through a fence and embarking on their Christmas adventure.  Their mother forbids them to go through the fence again.  Of course when the urge to explore resurfaces one puppy suggests with a sly smile, “Mom said we couldn’t go through the fence but she didn’t say we couldn’t go under the fence.”  Off they went again.  Once more their mother scolds them and forbids them to go through or under the fence.  Of course though when they wish to set off once more they discover a loophole in their mother’s instructions.  “Mom said we couldn’t go through or under the fence but she didn’t say we couldn’t go over the fence.”  You get the point.  The puppies knew they weren’t supposed to go past the fence in any way, shape or form but in their determination to get their own way, they chose to hear only what they wanted to hear.

God said we must love our neighbors as ourselves but neighbors aren’t obese people, smelly people, toothless people, poor people, Republicans, atheists, Muslims, homosexuals, African-Americans, Latinos, Communists, thieves, liars, cheating spouses, gossips, racists, the homeless or lazy, drug addled millennials right?  As the puppies might say, “God said we must love our neighbors as ourselves but He didn’t say what kind of “neighbor”.

Loving who we choose to love rather than who God instructs us to love is but one way we dig under the fence or leap over the fence rather than pass through the fence as God desires.  If we love only those whom loving is convenient, we will bear no fruit through God’s efforts to grow us.

We act no differently with the other vices with sex perhaps being chief among our transgressions.  Christians are quick to declare homosexual sex an abomination but gloss over their own pre-marital or extra-marital sexual activity not fully comprehending that their sin is no less pleasurable in God’s eyes than another’s sin is in theirs.

In our bid to exult ourselves, we overemphasize the severity of other people’s sins, depreciate our own and thus minimize our own disobedience.  Rape, murder, assault are heinous acts to be sure, but we can’t overestimate their devastation while underestimating the havoc our alleged minor sins such as lying, wreak.  Bears, lions, sharks kill with spectacular savagery but the creature on earth that kills the most, the mosquito, is far more delicate and subtle.  Accounting for more deaths than the nine other most deadliest animals combined, the mosquito, like a lie or word of slander, moves from one human to the next multiplying and compounding its destruction.  We disregard the mosquito as a minor nuisance, as something that isn’t a “big deal”, much like we do our “minor sins” but God sees the true devastation.  In our ignorance we recognize only the most notorious, outwardly destructive sins, not realizing that the army of little ones, like the termite colony, are the forces truly nibbling away at the foundation of God’s kingdom.

Do you find loop holes in God’s rules to access whatever earthly pleasure your eyes desire or to avoid the uncomfortable requests God makes of you?  Are you quick to condemn the sins of others with which you don’t struggle while ignoring your own? Comparing our accomplishments is unhealthy but comparing our sins could prove deadly.

 

Christianity: People Buy the “Why”, Not the “What” and “How”.

One of the best TED talks I have watched is by Simon Sinek titled, “Start with why – how christianity-1868365_640great leaders inspire action.”  In his eighteen minute discussion he explains why some organizations and individuals are more successful than others despite having less resources to obtain their goals.  He provides Apple, the Wright Brothers and Martin Luther King as examples.  Why for instance was Apple, a computer company, able to succeed in selling an Mp3 player while Dell and Microsoft failed?  How did MLK inspire hundreds of thousands of people to hear his message and why were the underfunded Wright Brothers successful in achieving flight before their competitors?

He suggests that many organizations know “what” they do and “how” they do it but not all know “why” they do it.  What is the purpose, the cause, the main belief or vision of the organization?  These individuals and companies who understand the “why” are successful because as Sinek points out, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

  • Apple makes great computers.  That’s the what.
  • They are beautifully designed and easy to use.  That’s the how.
  • Want to buy one?

Sinek suggests our message should start with the why and work from the inside out.

  • We want to disrupt the status quo and change the world (why)
  • So we build products that our beautifully designed and easy to use. (how)
  • Want to buy one of our great computers? (what)

According to Pew research, Christianity is on the decline.  Fewer and fewer people are interested in partaking of what Christians are offering.  Perhaps we should use Sinek’s model and first start with the why.  Why are we Christians? Why do we serve Jesus?  What we do is expand and disciple the church.  How we do it is by comforting the sick, building hospitals, feeding the homeless, sending out missionaries and praising God.  Why we do it should be obvious but sometimes our message is focused more on the what and how.  “We want to shepherd and save the lost so we build hospitals, give to the poor and welcome you into our homes.  Come follow Christ.”  Is that a successfully compelling message?

Why do we care for the homeless, provide snack for our children at church, and sing songs to the Lord? Let’s start with the why.

  • We love you like a brother/sister.
  • So we care for you, feed you, welcome you into our arms.
  • Please join us as we praise and worship our Father.

Maybe your why message is slightly different than mine but in the end it always comes back to love.  Love is what we’re selling, not hospitals, food, hymns or fancy stage lighting.  Like Apple, we too want to disrupt the status quo and change the world by doing something radically different; loving our neighbor.  Any takers?

Please watch Simon Sinek’s full discussion here: