Introduction then Indoctrination

launch

On February 25, 2007 an advertisement aired on ABC introducing Apple’s first iPhone.  In June 2007 the iPhone was released and the indoctrination was launched.

At that time, 10 years ago, I was not using apple technology, although I had been around it since my early days in computer retail selling Apple II’s.  This Apple product sold for $1298 with only 4K of ram in 1983.

The Apple iPhone 8 base unit with 64GB (34 years later) was introduced at $999.  Predictions of iPhone 8 unit volume for the first 12 months is 241.5 million.  This is what I call an introduction and indoctrination plan that worked.  I realize there are people reading this right now who do not purchase Apple products, and never intend to do so.  That’s ok, I’m not endorsing them, each to his own I say.  I’m sure Samsung, Motorola, Nokia all make a good product, but can we all just agree that Apple (at least according to the latest Gartner data) is leading the industry in market share (as of Q4 2016).

Introducing a new idea is one thing.  Indoctrination of this new idea in such a way that it impacts the entire world, is a whole other thing altogether.

The Old idea in the first century had been around for a about 1400 years, first given to Moses while he lead God’s people out of bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land.  We call it by different names:  The Law,  The Torah, etc.  Made up of the first five books of the Old Testament, the Old idea was God’s role as Creator, God establishing a Nation, and God’s Laws for that Nation.  The initial instruction set was only 10 Commandments, encompassing everything a person would need to relate to God and to his fellow human.

  • No other gods before Me
  • No idols
  • No using my name in vain
  • Keep the Sabbath day
  • Honor mom and dad
  • Do not murder
  • Do not commit adultery
  • Do not steal
  • Do not lie about your neighbor
  • Do not covet your neighbor’s stuff

It just seems to me that even now, after 3500 years since this stuff was written down [Exodus 20:1-17] we still don’t do any of these things very well.  I realize that these original DOCTRINES were given to a specific group of people (the Hebrews), but God’s intention was that the Hebrews be a light to the world about God’s blessings.  By now we should be so convinced of God’s blessings that the world would look different than it does.

Here’s the thing, after 1400 years of indoctrination the Hebrew people were not only NOT a light to the world, they had been so cut off from God that the last prophet to arrive, announced the coming of God’s Kingdom and the arrival of Messiah, the NEW IDEA.  So steeped in the Old idea were the leaders of Israel, that they had no clue God was doing something New.  The arrival of Jesus is Good NEWS!  The introduction of Messiah should have been the pinnacle of Jewish existence.  Instead it became infamous for the actions of the Sanhedrin, orchestrating the death of the Son of God.

Here we are, 2000+ years removed from this event.  And while there is much indoctrination among the many different beliefs about who Jesus was, or is, or will be, when I look around our world I’m a little sad that we don’t seem to have made the same impact today as the first apostles did when it all started.  Peter preached on two separate occasions and 3,000 and 5,000 men respectively, came to be first time Christ-followers.  Where is that kind of preaching today?

When the church gathered for prayer, because two of their own were chained to the wall in a prison cell, God heard their prayers and the chains fell off, while an angel of God lead them out of that jail.  Where is that kind of praying today?

Have our hearts grow so cold?  Have our wills become so weak?  If we can’t get folks to just stand up and hold their hand over their hearts for the singing of a national anthem, how could we ever expect them to stand and do battle against the spiritual forces of evil at work in this world today?

We’ve lost sight of what Jesus said about His church.  Do you remember?

Matthew 16:18
I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

Jesus wasn’t talking about Peter building a church.  Jesus was talking about the faith statement Peter has just uttered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

If this is the faith statement, and the Church is living this out in truth and power, then why does it seem Satan and Hell are winning so many battles today?  … in the media, in politics, in our school systems, in almost every entertainment venue, including the NFL?

We’ve fallen prey to his deceptive ways.  Tolerance was introduced as the Prime Directive.  Now it seems the indoctrination of “tolerance” has led us to the point of no return.

God save us from ourselves, and from those who would destroy us with agendas of hate and condescension.  God, show us the way back to you.  God, launch us back in Your direction…

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Launch

 

Emanating His Eminence

Radiate

radiate

Emerging from my slumber, and after an invigorating hot shower and shave, I’ve sat at my computer early this morning, pondering today’s word, “radiate.”  Going through my normal routine and practices of inspiration for writing, I stumbled over this image.  Right about now, I’m not necessarily feeling all that energetic.  However, as I examine my activities for yesterday’s article, and how it began with a thought, was energized and amplified by my emotions, the momentum carried through in writing the article.  Which happens regularly for me during these morning meditations.  If you missed yesterday, click here.

Everything is energy beginning with thought.  If this is true, then don’t the words of Scripture just leap right out of these words and into your minds?  Let me help you.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

When I’m caught up in the truth of who God is, [He is LORD], and think on all His attributes [see verse above], I’m often overcome with emotion.  Some have called this weakness, or not very manly.  I was often looked on with condescension in Seminary by those who took a more stoic approach to interpreting scripture, or preaching the grace of God.  I just didn’t get that.  I couldn’t understand how someone in the face of it all, could be so emotionless about the eminence and grace of God.  I found myself smiling and the simple phrase came back to me: “God is good all the time.  And all the time God is good!”  These words can fuel a person’s energy in unlimited ways, because with this truth nothing can stop His goodness.

The Lord Jesus Christ is excellent and praiseworthy!  He is true (truth itself – His claim), noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable.  So, here’s the thing…  where is the glory of his eminence today?

What is going on with those of us who call ourselves Christians, that the world is not compelled to come to this same experience?  Is the power of the god of this world, Satan, so strong that he is capable of holding back the forces which Jesus said even the gates of hell couldn’t prevent? (Matthew 16:18)  Perhaps the problem is as simple as the interpretation of this one verse.  Some churches and some preachers have the interpretive mentality that the church is a fortress, and there should be gates to keep the heinous out, to protect the innocent (saved) inside.  They see the verse saying the church is being attacked and standing strong against an evil army.  While the fact of it may be true, this verse isn’t saying that.

However, this interpretation is the very antithesis of what Jesus meant.  We are the army, and we should be on the front-lines of the battle.  It is the very core meaning of the last instructions Jesus gave His followers:  go make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).  Actually in the original language it says, “As you are going…make disciples” which means every single day of the rest of your life, the job is to emanate His eminence.  The energy placed inside of you at salvation, fueled by emotion (dedication), and amplified into action, gains momentum as you seek to think daily on God’s attributes and Lordship. This energy should transform you into a beacon of hope to a lost and dying world. (Matthew 5:16)

Doesn’t this sound like something worth pursuing?  Are you doing anything today?  If you are let me ask you, “why?”  Have you given any thought to the energy you will expend, and whether or not it might have eternal value?  Whatever you do today, I’m sure will be important, or you wouldn’t plan to be involved.  The question is…

While going and doing today, will you emanate His eminence?

 

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The Stuff of Fellowship

Harmony

harmony

There is a certain balance, or symmetry, in the coordinated efforts of an orchestra and chorale, being lead by a brilliant conductor, producing the mellifluous tones of the original composer’s intent.  Whether the classical works of Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart, to the musings and arrangements by Ray Chew and his new band on Dancing With The Stars, the tight harmonies produced along with the familiar melodies touch us somewhere deep within.  This alone makes the human being distinctly different from all other creatures on our planet.

The first title used for a congregation of believers in the first century was “church.”  It actually comes from a Greek word: ἐκκλησία  (ekklésia) pronounced (ek-klay-see’-ah).  The first appearance of this word is found in Matthew 16:18, based on Peter’s profession that Jesus is “The Christ (anointed One, Messiah), the Son of the Living God!”

Jesus response was:
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

This verse has lots of great teaching material but the word today is “harmony,” so where is this idea seen in what Jesus proclaimed?  Easy; those who truly know Jesus, and follow Him as Lord, they will allow Him to lead, and they will follow Him, which build’s the church that belongs to Jesus.  Each person working in harmony with the others, like the image Paul gave us, like a body following the lead of the head in all matters.  A hand doesn’t act independently of the foot, or the intestines of the eyes, because all engage in their own part as the head leads.  Every part of the body works in unison to achieve the great glory God deserves for our human presence on earth.  Which brings us to another word, which to me more clearly states “how” we function as a body.

1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Fellowship is really the “how” of a church identity.  When the conductor (Jesus) directs and leads the orchestra and chorale (members), each faithfully providing their contribution in work according to the composer’s (God’s) design and will; what happens is the most pleasing, peaceful, participation that it can only be described as Fellowship.

This word used in scripture comes from a Greek word: κοινωνία (koinónia) pronounced (koy-nohn-ee’-ah).  In Greek it means:  participation, communion, fellowship, but more literally PARTNERSHIP.  We are partners together with each other to follow Christ as our leader, to build His church.  Too many individual believers, and way too many pastors or teachers have fallen under the spell of believing it is “their” church.  But it’s not.  The Church belongs to Jesus.  We are privileged to be alive inside this body of believers, and to participate in God’s glory.  But the church is not ours… it is His.

Having had the great joy of singing with world-class voices, on stage in front of thousands, accompanied by a world-class orchestra, lead by a brilliant conductor, I never once thought of it as “my chorale”, or “my symphony”, or my “stage.”  I remember feeling so insignificant it brought tears to my eyes just realizing I was really there.  These memories still live and breathe within me, touching me to the core of my being.

Next time you join in a congregational gathering (fellowship) for worship, ask yourself, “Am I in harmony with what God wants to have happen in this place today?  Am I a willing participant?  What do I have to offer that would demonstrate I’m willing to bring God great glory today?”  These thoughts, from every member, bring harmony in the worship of our Creator, Savior, and Lord.

 

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