March 28

…and give you peace

peace-of-god

Peace is always at a premium.

Whether it is world peace or inner peace, peace is not easy to come by, and a most prized possession to those who have it.

Outrage is easy. Just open Google News in another tab. I can almost guarantee you will find something outrageous. You may find yourself more than outraged. You may be enraged. If Google News is not enough to get you there, peruse Twitter. Turn on MSNBC. Listen to a government official explain how the lie he brazenly told was not actually a lie at all, and here’s why…

“Read my lips…”

“Let me be clear…”

Please.

Politics are important. Policies are important. It matters that you vote and how you vote. It matters that your voice is heard on issues that may bring the peace of God or His judgment upon our nation.

But peace does not fall along party lines.

 

Sports are exciting, dramatic, an escape, something to believe in and hope for…if only for a fleeting moment.

But peace is not found in a trophy made of crystal, a medal made of gold or a cup made of silver.

Peace requires perspective. Peace is not circumstantial, as most believe. At least, the kind of peace God offers is not.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

The peace politicians and crusading secularists offer is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. It may hide the bleeding for a while, but it cannot address the damage.

They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:14

Jesus did not come to bring Israel peace by conquering Rome, as many had hoped. That would not have been real peace. That was no way for His people to experience the peace of God. He did not offer a peaceful, trouble-free existence. He offered peace in tribulations, peace despite problems, peace as deep as the soul, peace beyond human grasp or comprehension.

Real, for-sure peace.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Whatever your circumstance, whatever your challenge, whatever your burden or heartache or trouble, this is my prayer for you…

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:1

 

Still true. Still does. Always will…hold in the midst of the storm…

and give you peace.

March 18

Ban Bossy: Irony, hypocrisy, and idiocracy all rolled into one

Ban-Bossy-Beyonce

Feminists have taken it up a notch with the launch of a new campaign called “Ban Bossy.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, is leading the charge, along with the Girl Scouts (an organization constantly veering as hard left as possible).

Sandberg and her LeanIn.org have launched the website banbossy.com.

The masthead of BanBossy.com reads:

When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.

There are a few problems here:

  1. Assertive boys are often not called leaders, but bullies or ADHD. They are sometimes given Ritalin to curb that “assertiveness” and may, if they act out or assert themselves too much, be shoved into a special education classroom.
  2. This is not the turn of the last century. We are 14 years into the 21st century and the problem of little girls feeling too threatened to speak up is completely relegated to personality types, not gender pressures. It is just bogus. Visit any elementary class and you will see as many outspoken girls as boys. This woman and her ilk are using this smokescreen to further push a militant feminist agenda that is meant to emasculate males more than it is to liberate females. (That is my assertion and it is based on as much scientific and observable fact as her mantra.)
  3. “Encourage girls to lead” is as ridiculous as any statement made. Why not identify leadership qualities in people regardless of sex and cultivate that? If everyone is a leader, who are they leading? There is by default more followers than leaders in the world. If there wasn’t, what a mess…

Sandberg has star power behind her push to reinvent society and build yet another impenetrable hedge around every member of society, except of course, the heterosexual, white male. (Everyone else is some sort of “minority” that needs protection against the great white manly threat.) The star carrying the “ban bossy” torch is none other than the Boss Herself (Sorry, Bruce Springsteen), Beyoncé…

Other words to ban while you have nothing better to do…

BAN BULLY!

I think maybe we should ban “bully,” too. Assertive boys are often called bullies, always making the rules, always picking the teams, always insisting on their way.

Oh, and ban calling male bosses who are too bossy an unflattering appendage. “He is such a *%$@head.”

Ban that.

Ban PUSHY.

Used car salesmen all over the world have to overcome such an unflattering caricature of themselves…just to do their job.

Ban CRANKY.

Aren’t you just trying to force someone who woke up on the wrong side of the bed to be cheerful, you annoying, bossy bully!?

Ban ANNOYING.

Annoying is one of the most annoying words to have to say, which is ironic, I suppose. Ban it.

Speaking of irony

Is it not ironic that Sandberg and co. are being so bossy about all this? Just wait until your kid is sent home from school for saying it, or your daughter is taken from your home because she told an authority figure that you admonished her for being so bossy with her friends.

There is more than irony in this stupidity. There is also hypocrisy. The same proponents of easing the verbal restraints on these poor, mistreated adolescent girls are perfectly willing to crank down the bindings on their male counterparts. They talk about liberating on one hand and seek to legislate language on the other.

Hypocrites!

I would add there is a touch of Idiocracy in the whole thing, too. Who knew that the geniuses that wrote that disturbing movie would be more in touch with where we were headed than we could possibly imagine.

“Welcome to the identity processing program of America.”

Welcome to Idiocracy, Sandberg style.

Category: Blog
March 13

I’m just sayin’ that saying “just sayin’” is overdone

just-sayin1

“Just sayin’.”

How many times do we hear it in conversation or see it in an email or on social media?

just-sayin1“Just sayin’” is the qualifier for all sorts of observations. It is used as a psychological buffer or protective force field against the blow-back that might otherwise be expected to accompany an offensive, derogatory, or mean-spirited remark.

I decided to Google the question, “Why is everyone saying just saying?”

The top result is from Psychcentral.com and here is a bit of their wisdom on the subject:

Lately the annoying expression “I’m just saying” — usually tacked to the end of what would be an otherwise thoughtless remark — keeps coming up in everyday conversation. We cannot escape. But we can be onto the hidden dynamics that make this and other such figures of speech so irritating, and we can prepare ourselves for the next time.

Brooke was chatting with her sister Ashley and provocatively remarked, “Don’t you think you should stay longer when you visit your family? You’re so selfish.”

“I’m doing my best. You’re pressuring me,” Ashley replied.

“I’m just saying!” Brooke retorted.

Oh, well. In that case….

Brooke used the expression “I’m just saying” after making an off-putting remark, conveniently absolving herself of responsibility for the affront. This tagline is a handy conversational tool: It serves as a free pass for the speaker to say anything and then negate any ill intent.

Often the remark preceded by “I’m just saying” is unsolicited and provocative. “I’m just saying” creates a confusing interpersonal dynamic. The speaker unconsciously attempts to trick the listener into believing an altered reality in which he or she is blameless, and the listener is implicitly accused of having an unfounded reaction. In this altered reality both are supposed to pretend that:

  • The speaker didn’t really say anything upsetting.
  • “I’m just saying” magically neutralizes any negative reaction.
  • The speaker can say whatever he or she wants as long as it’s followed by “I’m just saying.” Then, no one can hold the speaker accountable.

Pretty good observations. The writer goes on to note that when we make comments that we suddenly feel exposed or possibly stupid for making, we may use “just saying” as a kind of parachute (my analogy, not theirs).

I am happy to find that I am not the only one annoyed by the people who are always “just saying” stuff. I think it is a cheap trick and an easy out for people to be mean and ornery and avoid accountability for it.

“What??? I was just sayin’…”

I also like what Joshua David Stein had to say about this irritation on Gawker.com:

Just Sayin’ is meant to be a puckish little disclaimer to convey, “I have no vested interest in what I’ve just said. The preceding thought was meant only to be informative and, in fact, I might not even believe what I just said.” Just sayin’ is almost always used sarcastically and passive aggressively. It is frequently the last phrase in a sentence or a thought. There are 2258 Lexis hits for Just sayin’ and an astonishing 1,940,000 Google hits. Many of the instances are in comments but clearly the pandemic is here.

“Passive aggressively.” Stein nailed it right there.

Since some of my readers know me too well, I may as well confess to sometimes being mean and ornery. I have resisted, however, the temptation to avoid responsibility for my explosive or acerbic commentary by “just saying.” I am not asking for any special credit here. I think the reason I do not use the phrase is that it has always annoyed me to no end when it has been used on me.

I guess I would rather offend you than annoy you.

At any rate, I say it is high time we quit saying that we are “just saying” and either say what we have to say or shut the Hell up.

Just sayin’.

February 21

I like big “BUTS” and I cannot lie

i-like-big-buts--1

i-like-big-buts--1When the song, “I like big butts and I cannot lie was at its zenith and featured in Disney’s brilliant animation, Shrek, I wanted to use that phrase as a sermon title. BUT caution got the better of me.

So, here I am, all these years later, randomly remembering that the biggest—and best— “buts” the world will ever know are found in the Bible.

Here are some of the better buts in the Bible:

THE EVIL BUT

Genesis 50:20“You meant it for evil, BUT God meant it for good.”

Joseph magnanimously forgiving his brothers and teaching them a lesson about omnipotence and sovereignty.

This is a good one for people like me to remember in times like this. How any good can come out of the Obama administration, only God knows. BUT God knows.

I tweeted a story about the homecoming queen at Auburn yesterday. Her mother was sexually assaulted and became pregnant. Her mom’s husband said she would abort the baby or he would be done with her. She did not abort her. She delivered the baby and then delivered her to an adoptive couple who raised her in a wonderful family environment… Well, here. Read it yourself at Lifenews.com..and share it with as many people as you can.

Another good verse on the evil but, and one that fits the above story, is Deuteronomy 23:5 “Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God e loves you.”

THE AGELESS BUT

Isaiah 40:8“The grass withers, the flower fades, BUT the word of our God stands forever.”

The world can try to trivialize and marginalize God’s Word all they want. Generations come and go. Detractors grow old and die. The Word of God never ages, never diminishes, never fails, never dies.

Psalm 73:26 - “My flesh and my heart fail; BUT God is the strength of my heart and my s portion forever.”

God never wearies in His work. He doesn’t grow old and soft. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. When you are at your worst, He is at his best.

THE FRIGHTENING BUT

John 3:36 - “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, BUT the wrath of God abides on him.”

Some so-called preachers these days have expressed the opinion that Jesus is a way to God, rather than THE way. Nothing about that statement is true, nor could it be. Either Jesus is everything He claimed, or He is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on planet earth. His statements are too radical. His claims are too bold. His teachings are too clear. You are IN or you are OUT. In means life. Out means eternal death and damnation. Period.

John 14:6 - “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

Pretty tough to misinterpret or miss the message there.

The most frightening but in history is the one in John 3:36.

THE BEAUTIFUL BUTS

The most beautiful buts in the Bible are about the grace and mercy and salvation that is in Christ Jesus.

John3:16, 17For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten q Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 

If you have ever attended Sunday  School or a bible study at any point in your life, you have likely seen this but. If you have memorized even on verse in the Bible, it is probably John 3:16. It is not about condemnation with Christ, BUT it is about salvation. It is about redemption. It is about real hope. Real change. Real life.

One of the most beautiful passages in the Bible—and one of the most heartening, encouraging, stimulating—features one magnificent but.

Ephesians 2:1-10And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, which you once walked according to the 1 course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in g the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. BUT God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should s boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

That doesn’t need any elaboration or enlargement. That is preaching, right there. Just wind it up and watch it go. Watch it crush the hopelessness Satan wants to sow in the wounded heart. Watch it ease the mind of the man or woman who has made a mess of things. Watch it bind the broken heart and ease the worried mind. Watch it give sleep to the sleepless, rest to the restless, hope to the hopeless, help to the helpless.

And YOU He made alive. You! Alive. Now. Forever. Not just existing. Not just marking time. ALIVE.

YOU are his “workmanship.” In the original language, the word is poeima, from which we derive “poem.” You are the work of a lifetime, which for God is eternity. You are more beautiful than Di Vinci’s Mona Lisa. You are more important than Michelangelo’s David or his Sistine Chapel. Monet’s Water Lilies and Van Gogh’s starry nights have nothing on the beauty of HIS workmanship.

I love the big buts in the Bible. Without them, we would be lost. Without them, there would be no beauty, no hope, no healing, no help.

 

PS – To you bible scholars and sermon connoisseurs: I know that the “But God” sermon idea is nothing new. It has been a powerful theme preached by many great ones from Martin-Lloyd Jones to the great (and much less known, but no less eloquent or powerful) Earl Oldham. It remains a great theme—the great theme of the ages. But, God! If you cannot preach that, turn in your frock and turn over your flock to someone who can.