I Am Not An Ostrich


Ostriches get a bad rap from people who don’t understand them.  The unfounded myth is that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when they’re scared or threatened.  I’ve heard it here and there since I was a kid.  When I would see an ostrich at the zoo, they’re the ones that scared me.  A full grown ostrich can be 7 to 9 feet tall, but they are aggressive, and not a friend of mine.  The truth is though, the male ostrich digs a hole (sometimes 6 to 8 feet wide, and 2 to 3 feet deep) to place the eggs when he and Mrs. Ostrich decide to have babies.  Each parent ostrich take turns getting their heads down in that hole and with their beaks rotate the eggs during the incubation period.  The illusion they create with this posture however is a great metaphor for denial.


I’ve known some well educated, sophisticated, reasonably likable people who live in constant denial of something.  Whether it’s a disease they are fighting, a relationship that’s broken, an addiction they can’t control, or some fearful circumstance of life that they simply can’t deal with… denial is an unmistakable symptom of a much larger issue.  When faced with these kinds of dilemmas many people seem to just stick their head in the sand, like the proverbial myth about the ostrich.  One might think they would search endlessly for a solution to their situation.  Yet, rather than seeking wisdom or spiritual counsel or Biblical solutions, many just pretend the thing that causes their hiding action simply doesn’t exist.

One of the hardest things a pastor/teacher does from time to time is preach or teach about lostness.  The human condition of being “lost” without Christ.  It truly isn’t a “religion” thing, it is a “relationship” thing.  The Creator knows us, He created us to have personal relationship with Him.  But Sin encroached on this relationship, creating distance and communication issues between humans and their Creator.  Since the very beginning, humans have tried lots of different ways (mystic and religious) to solve this issue because we are hard-wired in our DNA for this relationship to function properly, and when it doesn’t we know it… even if we deny it.

Regardless of how hard mankind tries to find its way back to God, every attempt falls short of what God intended.  This is why Jesus came.  To re-establish this relationship allowing for the human creature to find His way back to God.  Don’t miss this next part.

We are so far removed from this event, the Jesus event, that many people actually deny at the top of their voices that it ever even occurred.  Those who hold this view, deny their own personal need to acknowledge any god other than themselves.   They, like William Ernest Henley in Invictus, believe undeniably that:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Granted, Henley wrote this poem while recovering from an amputation due to complications of tuberculosis.  It is a tribute to that “stiff upper lip” concept of self-discipline and gut-wrenching fortitude of fighting against the odds of adversity.  Unwittingly I fear Mr. Henley has captured the essence of the attitude of many people today, who don’t feel or believe in the need for salvation.  They are the master of their own fate, the captain of their soul.  They use the creed to position themselves diametrically opposed to the teaching of Scripture.

This kind of denial is the hardest challenge to face for those of us who are believers who care about people’s eternal destiny.  Brow beaters, and Bible thumpers have tried for hundreds of years now to snap the denying souls out of their sleepy mindset to see their true “need” for God’s grace.  How has this been working so far?  I’m not in denial here, this very article might wreak to some of “brow beating” or “Bible thumping.”  It’s not my intention, however.  My point is that while we love people who are lost, whether they are friends or loved ones, we cannot make them believe in their own need to be saved.  We cannot coerce them, or chain them up until they “confess.”  Many have tried, doing more harm and damage than I fear any of us know.

So how do we reach, those who seem most unreachable, the denying masses?  What form of communication can we use to reach down into that hole where they have stuffed their spiritual head, and speak truth to them in a way which will yield a positive response?  What would God have us do?

Don’t deny the answer, for it too is denied by many, if only for its simplicity.  Love them.  Live out your love for them in such a way that you “earn” the opportunity to discuss spiritual matters.  Until you earn their trust, and keep their trust, nothing you say or do will help them get past their denial and listen to your message.  Oh, but love!  Love indeed conquers all.  When someone sees you willing to sacrifice yourself for them, like Christ did for you, then they “might” be open minded enough to listen.

Ephesians 4:15
But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, Christ.

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Locks & Keys

via Meaningless



The purpose of any lock on a given door is dually defined, either to keep someone out, or to keep someone in.  It may be to protect the thing inside, or to protect the thing outside from the thing inside. The lock in itself doesn’t necessarily define the meaning of its existence, it is after all, just the lock.  Therefore its meaning, or purpose, is defined by the thing it protects, or serves; that which is wholly outside of the lock.  In this way, the lock is not self-determining, rather the owner of the lock determines its meaning.  The lock can spend its whole day by agonizing over whether it is a good lock or a bad lock, whether it is truly living out its intended purpose in life, or whether it should have been used to lock a larger more significant door, or even deserving of the door it is locking.  But all of these thoughts and emotions on the part of the lock would be meaningless, since the lock has no part in any of it.

In fact, the most significant part of any lock is its counterpart: the Key.  The key is like the lock in that its meaning or definition is dual in nature: it either opens the lock, or locks it.  The key itself is exactly like the lock in that it too can waste time asking and trying to answer similar questions the lock asked, but these are just as futile for the key.  Both the lock and the key find ultimate meaning in their use by the owner of each item.  Power is in the one who locks and unlocks.  The owner using this power, inherent in holding the key, brings meaning to either as He deems fit.

It seems to me that when we search for the meaning of our life without examining whether we are locked up or free, the natural result or conclusions are meaningless.  I suggest we are all locked up in our pursuit of meaning and purpose, while ignoring the very things that bind us from discovery.  We are locked up because we think foolishly we hold the keys to everything that would make us happy.  We are locked up because we think putting on “religious” attitudes, or wearing “pious” clothes, or donning pretentious “masks,” will set us free.  We are all locked up because whatever thing you are holding onto that you think is a key of happiness, is actually the lock that keeps you enslaved.

This existence of human experience has but one purpose or meaning.  We were created to bring glory to God the creator.  When we search for keys to unlock doors leading anywhere but to this truth, we remain enslaved to a meaningless life.  When we pursue our purpose with wholly committed hearts to bring God glory with every fiber of our existence, He alone uses the key called “Grace” to unlock a beautiful existence designed specifically for us as His children.  Every day we have this choice, to live in God’s grace and to extend God’s glory to the ends of the earth.

When its over, life as we know it, will your life have had meaning?  Who determines this answer? You? No. God alone holds the keys.  He said so.  Jesus said to His disciples:

John 14:6
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  

This same apostle recorded the words of Jesus in the beginning chapter of The Book of Revelation, and guess what He talked about… yep, KEYS!

Revelation 1:17-19
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said,

“Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look–I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades. Therefore write what you have seen, what is, and what will take place after this.”

We are God’s highest creation.  We mean more to him than simple objects like locks and keys.  Yet to find our meaning in life requires a higher level of thinking and understanding than most people are willing to give.  It also requires knowing who “actually” controls the locks and keys… of life itself.

If you would like a brief glimpse inside this passage click here: Revelation 1_17-19

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via Swarm

What we called “fads” when I was growing up (think bell-bottom jeans, chia pets, and disco dancing), are more likely today called trends.  However, it might just as easily be called “mob mentality” as people swarm to what’s hot at the moment.  Some easy examples might be: the stock market, fashion apparel, automobiles, music, and yes… religion.  Let me be clear.  I said religion, not Christianity.  Not many people today rush to join the movement of TRUE Christianity.


Pundits like to lump all faith models together in a box, and call them “religion,” and in so doing deny there is ever really any difference in any of them.  Whether it’s Islam, Baha’i, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Sikhism, Unitarianism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Native Spirituality, Judaism, … or Christianity… pundits say they are all the same.  They say it’s a swarm mentality that draws us to these flames.  I contend that the religions of the world have only one thing in common.  Humans are created with an awareness of God, and have tried since the world began to worship the Creator, but in twisted man-invented ways.  Humans in their core DNA are hard-wired to worship something, or someone, so in the absence of wealth, fashion, cars, and music… they create deities of their own design.

Within the construct of each world-religious system, there are variations and themes which spread their influence in thousands of different directions.  Following the trends of ancient peoples, in the 21st century it is often “fashionable” (I call it swarmy) to announce your inclusion into one of the “newer” or “more ancient” religious systems like Scientology (newer) or Satanism (ancient).  People swarm to a widely-shared but short-lived enthusiasm for something new.  Until the next “new” thing comes along.  Or until the fallacy of the bandwagon they hopped onto fails to satisfy their need for new.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus had thousands of followers swarming into every tiny village and town He wandered through.  They all sought to catch a glimpse of the miracle-working carpenter who taught the Torah and read the Prophets with authority.  The swarming, teeming crowds became so strong at one point that He had to get into a boat and push off shore just a bit to keep from getting trampled under foot. [Matthew 13:2]  Most of the crowds from His first year had abandoned Him by the third year, and were no where to be found in the end.  Thousands cheered and celebrated as He entered Jerusalem on Sunday before Passover.  Thousands yelled and cursed Him, as He carried His own cross through the streets to Golgotha.  Do you see the “swarm” mentality in this historically accurate narrative?

It takes more commitment than a “fad” mentality to be in relationship with the Creator of the universe.  Jesus told one woman, “But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.  Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” [John 4:23-24]  These words apply today, at least as much as when they were spoken, perhaps even more.  Combine this thought with what Jesus said that night he was arrested, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

These two foundational truths compel us to seek more than a fad, more than a trendy spiritual answer.  We find it only in the ultimate reality of Jesus’ words to one of the Jewish leaders named Nicodemus.  John 3:16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and ONLY Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”   Jesus died for the swarming mass of humanity.  When Jesus said “everyone,” everyone means me.  Everyone means you.  It requires more than just being part of the swarm.  Stepping over the line of faith, and believing these three verses, receiving the grace offered in Christ, is a personal commitment.  It is how a person fulfills their created purpose.  Living in this grace and extending God’s glory, is what true worship means.  It requires more than just being part of the swarm.