Thursday, July 26, 2012


“...woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”Isaiah 5:20 

There is a growing frustration in our country, our world really. When injustice grows through tyranny, or in our country’s case, through rampant anarchy in the name of tolerance and diversity, you will find the people become restless and agitated. Now you may recoil, but the words, tolerance and diversity have been redefined. Tolerance no longer means that I believe what I believe and I agree to disagree. It has become everyone is right and there is no debate or standard. Morality is being rewritten to make that which is evil, good; and that which is good, evil. Injustices are present and people know when they are being taken advantage of, or when they are being manipulated. There is somewhat of an inherent understanding of right and wrong, particularly when you are the one wronged.
Out of this frustration which comes from the lack of uniform rules and protection through a government that protects its people, there have been and will continue to be outrageous acts of violence with no seeming reason. The media continues to report and wonder what is going on, but down deep in the culture there is a growing frustration.
We produce movies about bullying, but where is the protection from the bully at school. Teachers do not protect the student anymore because they have no recourse of discipline. The superintendents do not back the teachers for fear of lawsuits. The schools are segregated into cliques including nerds, geeks, goths, and jocks. Some are lost in the middle. So, rather than a simple rod to the rear of the offenders applied by those in authority such as the teacher or principal, frustrated students who fringe, resort to the ultimate equalizer. A geek may not be able to fight a jock in school, but a gun levels the field. The senseless violence and loss of innocent lives is in part the responsibility of a failed educational system that has stripped the power of discipline from those who are supposed to educate and protect our children. The schools are entrusted with our children for so many hours a day and even into the evenings with the various activities; yet, they have been stripped of the necessary tools to discipline and protect all the students.
We think there are a few who just snap and go on rampages killing and then usually taking their own lives. The repeat of this scenario has grown into an “I do not care about the consequences. I will just get my moment of revenge.” To allocate this to insanity on the part of the occasional lunatic is naiveté at its worst. The disease goes much deeper into the culture.
Sad as the Columbine, the Chardon, the numerous other schools, the college campus shooting in Virginia, Texas; workers who shoot fellow employees, assassination attempts of political leaders, and the craziness of the theatre shooting this week, they are indicators of a pandemic failure of morality, society, government, and church.
To stop this slide into anarchy, it will take moral change. Gun legislation will not change the heart of man. The liberal media attacks at that point every time there is a crisis of this nature. No one ever addresses the moral decay of the society, at least in the media.
There are key areas which need salvation.  The first is the home. The high divorce rate has contributed to much of the lack in our culture. Children have little or no discipline in a litigious society. Children have learned to play the game as the state asserts itself as the parent of all children. Children now accuse their parents and bring prosecution. They threaten parents and teachers with child services even though it would mean the end of their lives as being normal. The systems wants to label all parents as abusive, sexual predators, and incapable of raising a normal child. While we need some protection in place, the overall threat is undermining the sanctity of the home and the discipline that is needed for children. There is anarchy in our families. Where children rule, the society is doomed.
The second place is the schools. Yet, with the current climate, discipline is hard because parents are non-supportive of the teachers. They are quick to threaten and sue rather than helping the school handle their brat. Sometimes the parents are more a problem than the student.
Thirdly, government is being controlled by people with little or no moral fiber. The perpetrators are better protected than the victims. They are incapable of leading in a positive direction.
Fourthly, the church has become anemic and more like the world. A stand for righteousness is hard to come by in the church world today. Injustice. Frustration. Chaos follows. Change is needed on many levels.  A new voice needs to be heard.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kitchen Disaster

 Did you ever walk into a situation with your children that took your breath away with the damage or the mess and they are standing there smiling because they thought they were doing something nice for you? The kitchen is a disaster, but the child was fixing you breakfast. The yard looks a mess with mohawks everywhere and the child is proud they mowed the lawn. You are now in a quandary. You want to discipline, you want to teach, you want to correct, you want to scream. I remember doing that once as a kid. I decided to clean the basement in the old house where we had a coal furnace. I thought I was really helping. When dad got home and saw it, he was really upset. I remember mom telling him that I was just trying to help. Honestly, as a kid, I had no idea what I had done wrong. As an adult now, I probably just pushed a lot of dirt and ashes around and made a big clean up job for dad.
As parents, Cathy and I have had a few of those moments. One particular vivid moment was Mary trying to help mom by taking care of baby brother. The brother happened to be John who is three years younger than her. John was a baby; so Mary was three. She came walking into the room helping mom by carrying John, but she was carrying him around the neck. Cathy gasped, but kept her calm and told Mary, “thank you honey,” and immediately took John. No panic. But in her mind, there was panic.
Responding to children when they are doing their best; and for you doing their worst, is an art form. Encouraging the child to do well, encouraging their willingness to serve, encouraging their innovation and initiative is so important to their healthy development into responsible adulthood. It is sad that wrong responses at a moment like that can scar a child and defeat their creativity. Harsh words when the heart of the child was to serve are damaging beyond the parent’s imagination.
Those in authority such as parents need to realize the power that is in their words and responses. The aggravation of a child’s mistakes can cause responses that are damaging and life altering. The child loves the parent and is attempting to please. Often, they are copying what they see the parent doing. Gardening may cause the child to help and pull flowers instead of weeds. Mary knew Cathy loved roses and she picked the neighbor’s rose for her. It was the town mayor’s rose. A son may want to help dad in the garage and mess with his tools; dad later finding them in the yard after a rain. Remember the first time your son washed your car? Yes, it was streaked and places missed.
The authority figure, the parent, boss, or pastor, or teacher has an inherent place of responsibility. The parent is to teach, encourage, and train. Perfection is not in the child’s repertoire. Little hands, inexperienced hands cannot accomplish what the parent expects fully. But with training and encouragement, sometimes the gift in the child exceeds the parent.
In the spiritual realm we must accomplish the same thing. Everyone who starts out to be a man or woman of God and wants to move in the power of God are like our children. Beginnings are imperfect. It takes time to develop into mature Christians, and especially those who seek to move in the Holy Spirit.
As a pastor, I am watching for the flock and over the flock of God. There are people who have latent gifts that need to be developed. I remember when I started to move in the gifts of the Spirit, it took God to move on me so strong that when I finally yielded it would come out in a torrent, sometimes loud and strong. Early prophetic words were fairly generic, but I was learning. I had a few good people to encourage me to keep going. I had an old cowboy evangelist kick me to get me to prophesy. I got a cowboy boot in the leg during that meeting and was told to let it go. Prophesy.
As I have worked on stewarding the gifts, working on people to move in the gifts, I find all kinds of responses. I have those who are afraid. You have to work with them to get going. I have the bold who get something and think that now everything they get is God. I have those who hear God, but expand it so much that they flow into the flesh with their opinions and reflections on the core God gave them. I have had those who when God is moving have strange motions and affectations which cause people to question the message. Weirdness is not a sign of anointing.
Responses to those learning is important. Too many in authority just shut down, forbid, teach against in order to control. We cannot develop a spiritual church by shutting down the Holy Spirit. We must learn to steward the move, encourage, train, and lead. We all can get better at hearing the voice of God and following Him. We need more young Christians learning. 
Encourage and Train!