Archive for June 2009

Fewer Idols – More Heroes!

June 26, 2009

We’ve seen an interesting progression, or “degression” in this country over the past couple of decades. In my dad’s generation, there were heroes – Audie Murphy, Sgt. York, even the make-believe guys like the Lone Ranger and Superman were based on the actions of doing good and helping people – but they were always humble. For example, the Lone Ranger was often gone before anyone got the chance to thank him.

Then when I was a child there were still heroes, but we also began to see the rise of superstars. People like Elvis were larger than life and sports stars were lifted up because of their talent event when their personal lives were a wreck.

These days we have seen the coming of age of the “idols”. These are people whose sole basis of their popularity is based on people’s opinion of them – whether they have talent or use that talent is not so much a question.

In other words, they are famous for being famous.

The situation is not hopeless. If godly men and women will stand up and be bold in their faith. There is a need for heroes, and what better place to find them than in our own homes?

Here are some “ABC’s of being a Hero.”

I.    “Absolutes”        
There is a need for people to know – and be committed to their principles – to draw a line and determine they will not cross that line – no matter what.

We live in a day when everything is so situational and it “just depends” as to whether something is right or wrong. What kind of hero is that?

That kind of attitude goes along with the crowd and there has never been a hero in history that did something just because it everyone else was doing it. Heroes do things because it is the right thing to do.

II.    “Bold”
It is possible to be a person of absolutes and be a wimp.

Being bold takes guts, it takes courage, it takes a boldness that is willing to make convictions known. Being bold means taking a stand for what is right and then standing up for what you believe in.

You family and friends need to know what you believe and they need to know you aren’t ashamed of it.

III.     “Christian Character”    
It’s possible to be a bold man of absolutes and be absolutely wrong and staunchly committed to the wrong things.

The compass that keeps a godly hero on target is Godly principles. “WWJD” is more than a bumper sticker or a bracelet.

May God give us more Heroes!

Advertisements

Judging by the Looks of that Guy . . .

June 12, 2009

I learned a lot when I worked as an undercover police officer. I had the long, long beard, the earring. Some said I looked like I belonged with ZZ Top (for you young ones – that was a rock ‘n roll band back in the “the day.” J

One of the things I learned a lot about was being treated by the way I looked. I remember holding the door open for a lady at a restaurant, and she wouldn’t go through. She just stood and looked at me like I was going to knock her in the head if she got in front of me.

When I would go to someone’s office, people would move their stuff away from my side of the desk – so I wouldn’t steal their stapler I guess.

One of the funniest incidents took place when I met my wife for lunch one day when I had court, so I was dressed in a suit. An older lady she knew who was always ragging me about the way I looked came up and spoke to us– by the way, she had no idea what I did for living. I excused myself and told my wife I had to go back to court. This lady then informed me if I “got a different bunch of friends, I wouldn’t be in court all the time!” She was so precious!

But, all these folks were looking on the outside. Inside, I was still me. Often I find myself doing the very same thing. I catch myself judging someone by their appearance or what they are wearing. When I do, God kind of smacks me on the side of the head and reminds me that once that was me.

He, the true Judge, looks where it matters – at our hearts. And sometimes the cleanest folks on the outside are the ones most in need of “cleaning up” on the inside. So, instead of looking so hard at others, maybe . . .

“I’ll Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse” by Michael Franzese

June 5, 2009

What on earth could someone in legitimate business learn from a former mafia capo? Apparently, quite a bit. In “I’ll Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse,” Michael Franzese writes about how the lessons learned from conducting mob business can be applied in today’s business environment. He rightly points out the goal of both is to make money, the difference is in how it the goal will be accomplished. Franzese pits the philosophies of Machiavelli (the Mafia way) and King Solomon of Israel.

The advice given is very practical. From streamlining meandering business meetings to resemble Mafia “sit downs” where everyone knows the agenda and follows it to guarding against losing company funds to gambling addictions. Franzese’s style is very matter of fact and he makes it clear he does not advocate or condone any of the illegal or unethical behavior of his former lifestyle.

With his focus now clarified, the author makes it clear the true measure of success goes well beyond the bottom line. I would recommend this book to anyone in business, considering going into business or in any leadership capacity.

On prayer . . .

June 3, 2009

Prayer is a much neglected, yet powerful asset for the Christian. Prayer is entering into the presence of a Holy God and presenting our praises, our petitions, our confession and we acknowledge our dependence upon Him for all we have and are. Prayers are to be made both publicly and privately, but always with the focus on communicating with God in our mind.

 

Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about prayer today. So often, prayer is viewed as a last resort. We hear folks say, with exasperation, “Well, all we can do now is pray.” It is said as if all the “real” options, all of the good alternatives, have been exhausted.

 

Truth is, prayer should be our “go to weapon.” It should be the first thing we think of and the last we do. Not a last resort.

 

Other Christians in our culture today pray with a focus on themselves. This is done by making demands, or going before God without a proper sense of awe and reverence. This attitude is also evidenced by the presentation of petitions as if God owes us in some respect.

 

Some have a general unconcern regarding prayer. Almost as common as taking the Lord’s name in vain is using the phrase, “Pray for me,” flippantly as if it were some kind of joke and that was the punch line.

 

Prayer, rightly viewed, is a God-given privilege to appear before His holy presence. It is by His mercy that we are not consumed (Lamentations 3:22) especially as we draw near to Him in prayer. Then, we are given the privilege of worshipping Him (Matthew 6:9-10) and thanking Him for all He has already done (Colossians 4:2). We are given the grace to repent of the sin which makes us so unworthy (Matthew 6:12). He then tells us we are to make our requests known to Him (Philippians 4:6).

 

Sometimes I find myself in a position where I know God can answer my prayer, I am just not certain that He will.

Recalling Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose, I know that all prayers of believers are answered. It is just that sometimes the answer is “no.”

Jesus pointed out to His disciples in Luke 11:11that if a son asks for bread from his earthly father, certainly that father would not give him a stone. Or, if he asked for a fish, he would not give him a serpent instead. There are times when we ask for things which are not for our ultimate good. To use Jesus’ analogy, if our child were to ask for a serpent, we would certainly not give it to him. Neither will God say yes to our request for things which He knows will harm us.

So seek the Lord early and often in prayer. And expect Him to do great things.