It All Comes Down to Love

Persuasion, conformity, obedience, discrimination, and other positive and negative social behaviors are all important topics to consider in regards to the Christian faith as we attempt to live like Christ in order to reach others with His truth. Each of these has a unique role in Christ-like behavior.

In order to bring people to Christ, there is a natural inclination to persuade people to believe. The movie God’s Not Dead shows this truth in a rather captivating way. A college student enters a class where the professor is forcing everyone to admit that “God is dead”. The student refuses and is then requested to provide a defense for God in the upcoming classes. The approach taken by the student revolves around scientific facts, like a presentation in a court case. However, there is a twist that occurs at the end of the discussion. All of his points become irrelevant to the ultimate decision everyone must make, which is actually just a decision. There will always be debate over whether God exists or not, so the only thing an individual can really do is decide which side to have faith in. This revelation destroys the initial need to persuade people to Christ. It all comes down to living a life that portrays Christ to others so they can have a desire for God, hopefully making that decision to believe.

Other interesting issues involving social behavior also penetrate the church. Conformity has an interesting role in churches. For many church-goers, their faith is based off of family or friend’s beliefs. They do not have a personal commitment to their faith and miss out on the most important parts of following God.

Like the negative impact conformity can have, discrimination is a huge problem for Christians. Christians are both discriminated against and are guilty of the act of discrimination. In some ways, that discrimination is partly backed by biblical principles, specifically an avoidance of homosexual acts and behaviors (1 Cor. 6:9-11). But at the same time, an overt and hurtful discrimination of homosexuals pushes away potential followers of Christ. There is a fine line between standing up for what you believe in and bringing everyone to God. Discriminating against different races and religions can be difficult for some Christians, but there always needs to be an extension of God’s love through us to all people (1 John 4:7, Mat. 22:39).

Obedience is something God requires of us. The psychologist’s definition of obedience is a simple one—a change in behavior in response to the commands of others. Stanley Milgram’s experiment testing obedience to authority demonstrates an interesting variable in this quality. In the experiment, the participants’ actions showed a certain willingness to follow authority to extreme measures, especially when it is known that any repercussions will not affect them. There is a certain trust in that relationship between the participant and experimenter. Similarly, the trust between us and God, knowing that we can live for Him in confidence, can influence our obedience to Him. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).  That creates a special bond between “those who are in Christ Jesus” and Christ Jesus himself. At the same time, we know that this trust cannot be replicated to anyone here on Earth. God is our ultimate authority and we have full trust in Him.

The love that God has for us is amazing. I trust God with my life because I made a decision to believe that He sent His Son to die a horrible death for me, only to be raised to life again three days later. By doing so, he saved me from my sins and conquered death. Romans 8, Ephesians 1:1-14, Ephesians 2, and Ephesians 3:1-13 all illustrate this through amazing words. Paul knew that God’s love for us is like nothing that can be produced here on this Earth, so our love for Him and our trust in Him should be like nothing else we have or could have.

The many negative and positive social behaviors we constantly exhibit are all important to consider while walking with God on our way to God. There is amazing power in what we do and how we do it. Making sure we live like Christ is important in everything that we do. At the very least, God deserves that. He deserves our life long dedication to glorifying and worshiping Him because He loves us so very much. Louie Giglio, the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta said it best: “In the end, our worship is more about what we do than what we say.”

Creativity

Creativity, or the ability to bring about an original thought, expression, idea, and the like, is a gift from God to his children. This creativeness was a result of the Creator creating man and woman in His image, almost a reflection of Himself. Humans are naturally creative, as Sir Ken Robinson explained at a TED talk filmed in February, 20061. Robinson supported his thesis that creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status. He reasoned that we are born with creativity as a part of ourselves and then we beat it out of our kids in the education system. A very illustrative story from his speech introduced a girl who would not pay attention in school until one class they had a drawing lesson. Robinson continues, “The teacher was fascinated and she went over to her and said, “What are you drawing?” And the girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” And the teacher said, “But nobody knows what God looks like.” And the girl said, “They will in a minute.” That creative imagination is ingrained into human beings’ heads. There are multiple creative aspects that reflect God wired in humans, including two specific examples—originality and intelligent design.

First, originality is commonly associated with creativity, but it was originally given to us from God when He used His creativity to create Adam and Eve. Humans and the world we live in, as well as the redemption story, are His great original work of art. When God created us, we were created in his image with creativity. That creativity allows each of us to formulate unique thoughts, art, projects, and ideas. Psalm 139:14a says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We each have good works that we are able to do because of our uniqueness as a result of God’s creativity. As humans, we have that ability to create original works of art. Just look at the many artists that are spread throughout time. From Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, to Claude Monet with his impressionist Water Lilies, to the pop art of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, the originality of artists is revealed through their works. Though, originality is not restricted to just art. Frank Lloyd Wright was a fantastic architect who created the intriguing home famously named Falling Water, which is located on top of a water fall. Even those who own businesses, lay out neighborhoods and cities, or design cars must have some level of creative originality in order to separate themselves from others who have similar skills. Originality was used when we were created, and we inherited that gift and should use it to serve the one who gave it to us. John Stuart Mill, a British philosopher from the 1800s, once said, “All good things which exist are the fruits of originality.”2

Secondly, intelligent design is a unique aspect that humans have that was inherited from God. We are constantly looking to the future and visualizing our lives as we want them, then making adjustments accordingly. As a high school student, I am creating what my future will look like with the choices I make. Such as my choice of college, major, friends, classes, even food sometimes. I have a design for my future that I am creating as the days pass by, and that design reveals me as a person. God had a plan when he created us. This plan would reveal God to us. A plan to show His love, compassion, and mercy, and He chose us to be a part of that plan. Jeremiah 29:11 illustrates this when God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We make plans for our lives all the time, but ultimately, God’s will shall prevail. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes His steps.” As a result we should, as Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” As we arrange our lives, we must realize we are working for our Creator, not ourselves. Intelligent design must be used in order to figure out what God’s will is for us and then act on that so that we may please Him.

In conclusion, we have many attributes of God involving creativity, including originality and intelligent design. We must use these attributes to serve our Creator according to His will. Personally, as I go further into deciding and arranging what I want to do with my life, I must find the originality that I carry and use it through my work for the Lord.

 

 

  1. “Transcript of “How Schools Kill Creativity”” Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity. TED Talks, Feb. 2006. Web. 29 Aug. 2014. <http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity/transcript?language=en#t-221000&gt;.

 

  1. John Stuart Mill. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved August 29, 2014, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_stuart_mill.html
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/citation/quotes/authors/j/john_stuart_mill.html#HxEdYbvH1fjfvDrr.99

The Mystery Revealed

Have you ever wondered what the angels are doing? Have you even wondered if angels even exist? How about whether they float around among us or not? The Bible doesn’t say lots about angels, but it does say they exist and explains some aspects of these unseen creatures. We know they were created by God, as all things were created by God for Him and for His purposes (Colossians 1:16). There are thousands upon thousands of them, as we can see in many places in the Bible, including Jesus’ birth and Hebrews 12:22. We are not to worship the angels, for they are servants of God just like us (Revelation 22:8-9). So we know that there are many angels that are servants of God. So is the only difference between them and us that they are up in heaven, already with God? Maybe they have more shine to them when they enter into a room and wear white clothes with halos above their heads? Or maybe another difference is that they have wings?

Yes, angels are up in heaven with God already. Yes, they may shine a bit more because they are from heaven. Yes, they may or may not dress a little differently, but I don’t think that any of these differences are important. The angels are servants and worshipers of God, just like us. They are already in heaven, but we will eventually be in heaven worshiping and serving God. The way they dress or glow with light doesn’t really seem that important either. So what separates humans from angels?

In Ephesians 3, Paul talks about the mystery that has and is being revealed. This mystery is Christ. God sent His one and only Son to die for our mistakes and our wrongs so that we would forever live together with God, forgiven of everything that we did or even thought that separated us from God. In verses 2 and 3 of this chapter, Paul says, “Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.” Paul wrote, apparently briefly, about the glorious blessings that we now have through Christ because of his sacrifice in chapter 1 of Ephesians. Verse 3 of chapter 1 states, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Amen! But Paul continues to reveal the mystery in chapter 3!

Paul continues in Ephesians 3:4-6 saying that we are all united, Gentiles and Jews, because of what Christ has done for us, and this knowledge was not made known to former generations. I want to just stick Ephesians 3:7-13 in here now just so you can read it on your own, because there is some powerful stuff in what Paul says here:

7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

I don’t know if caught some of the things Paul mentioned, but there are a few things that really stick out to me. Verses 8 and 9, verses 10 and 11, and verse 12 all have something different to say and they all say something powerful. But they all come down to a very important point in the end.

Paul gets as humble as a person can possibly be when he says in verse 8, “…I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people…” How can Paul think that way?! Paul was a very highly respected person in the Jewish society, but Paul persecuted those who proclaimed Jesus’ name. Paul did this until Jesus literally appeared to him and blinded him. After this moment, and after he got his sight back, Paul became one of the most influential missionaries for the Lord. The Ephesian church is one of the churches that he helped to establish. So with all of this, Paul says, “…I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people…” How depressing, right? But wait, Paul says less than the least of all the Lord’s people, and he continues, “…this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.” So even though Paul says that he is the least of all the Lord’s people, he does realize that he is the Lord’s and that he was given the honor of reaching people with the good news of life. That mind set is outstanding! He realizes that he has done terrible things and is probably at the bottom of the totem pole, but he still gets it. He gets to serve God. Do see that? He gets to serve God. He is joyful that he gets to serve God and tell others about Jesus’ sacrifice! This verse makes me think about one thing: Am I focusing too much on the bad and not on the joy and honor that I have in Christ?

Now we get to the angels. Verses 10 and 11 reveal what the angels think of what is going on down here on this little planet called Earth. “Through the church, the manifold wisdom of God is being made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Uh… WOW! We, the church, are unfolding the MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD! And who are we revealing it too? The rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. I would assume that is mostly angels. God’s plan was to save us and show us His love through Jesus Christ and that plan is unfolding before the angels very eyes. The angels had no idea what was happening! They want to know what is going on in us humans! We were discussing the difference between us and the angels before. Well, that is the difference. We have been reconciled through Jesus and are now filled with God’s Spirit, and our job is to tell everyone we can about this reconciliation. The angels serve and worship God, but they don’t have the experience of being taken away from God and brought back to Him through His Son. What a privilege to be the ones that God loves enough to send His Son to die for. But the crazy part, is in the next verse.

Verse 12 says it all. “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Did Paul just say that? We may approach God, the ruler and creator of all life, with freedom and confidence. God would have struck anyone down had they done something wrong in the tabernacle or if they approached and touched the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6), because that is where He dwelt with His people at that time. But now, if we trust in Jesus and give our lives to Him, we can approach God with freedom and confidence. We are free from our transgressions and we are confident in forgiveness of God. Nothing is more encouraging than that! We are blessed with every spiritual blessing, so we can approach with freedom and confidence. I cannot wait for that day when I approach God with freedom and confidence, ready to worship and serve him for all eternity.

So all of this combines into one main point: We are privileged. We are privileged because we have been saved by God and we now have His Spirit in us, and because of that, the angels look down in wonder and amazement. Through the grace God has given us we can now reveal the mystery of Christ to all of those around us. We need to spread the word that God has saved us and we can now approach God with freedom and confidence! We are privileged! No matter what we go through we know that we are forgiven and we have an eternal life with God coming our way and we need to send that message out the world. So after reading this today, I hope that you feel privileged to be apart of God’s chosen children. Even the angels look down in amazement at the mystery that is being revealed in us, so do you feel that amazement, thankfulness, freedom, and confidence in Christ?

Destruction from the Moon!

Umm, an article found at the following link – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41997880/ns/technology_and_science-space/from/toolbar says that the moon is going to be closer to earth than it has ever been… in 18 years. This is going to happen on March 19th, and of course, 2011. So, Just because it is going to be closer to the earth than it has ever been in 18 years, astronomers have said that many (and some big) natural disasters might occur. Now, this might happen! I don’t doubt our scientists and astronomers and all them peeps enough to say that they are totally wrong… but this just doesn’t sound right. It says that it is going to be closer to earth than it has ever been in the past 18 years, right? 18 YEARS!!! NOT 100!!! 18 years ago, I don’t remember there being big natural disasters because the moon was really close to the earth.

But, on the other hand, the moon does effect the earth’s tides and stuff, so why couldn’t it effect some other things, such as volcanos, hurricanes, earthquakes, and whatever else they mentioned in the article. And sometimes scientists are right. I am not going to say most of the time because in the past two years, I have done Apolagia’s Science curriculem and their biology curriculem, And he has pointed out many, MANY times that scientists have been wrong. Well, not just scientists, but astronomers and biologists and archeoligists, and so on. So, I have come to realize that science has had many flaws, but many of those flaws have been corrected.

Anyways, I think that this might make tides go farther inland (maybe) and stuff, but I don’t think that all the volcanos of the world are going to explode on March 19th. So, my vote is that some minor things might happen, maybe an earthquake, but overall, not much.

So, what do you think?