Wednesday, June 29, 2016
As most of you know, we are ministering on the front lines in Harrisburg as community life coaches. God has been using this aspect of our ministry to provide practical tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives in the midst of great devastation. Part of that recovery process involves helping them see the lies that they have received and believed.
We have been presenting you several quotes from Dr. Chris Thurman, author of the book, The Lies We Believe. He categorizes the lies we believe as Self-Lies, Worldly Lies, Marital Lies, Distortion Lies and Religious Lies.
Over the last few weeks, under the category of Self-Lies, we exposed the thoughts that many of us believed were truths; thoughts we built our lives upon that are really lies that the enemy has tricked us to believe; thoughts that cause us to be unhappy, unloving, and unsuccessful. This week we will begin to talk about the warping effect of worldly lies.
Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, states, "The truth must essentially be regarded as in conflict with this world; the world has never been so good, and will never become so good that the majority will desire the truth."
Dr. Chris Thurman shares some very strong views on popular media as he introduces the worldly lies. He says, "...advertisements, television shows, movies, magazines, music, and self-help books shout messages at us such as: Grab all the gusto! Look out for number one! Do your own thing! If it feels good, do it! Your feelings are your best guide! You deserve to be happy!"
My husband and I have been appalled about the prescription drug commercials! Of course they begin with what the medication is designed to do to help someone, but then the rest of the presentation is about the seemingly endless list of negative side effects of the medication.
It's simply bizarre that one of the side effects usually includes some of the symptoms that the medication is supposed to relieve! So what is the truth about the drug?
It’s amazing that there are people who believe everything they read in the newspaper, as if the articles are written by people who aren’t imperfect human beings, biased by their own opinions and agendas.
People actually believe that all these Reality TV shows are actually real. They don't see the obvious, that the scenes are staged and arranged to make the storylines more interesting to the audience.
As we go about our daily lives, we are so busy that we start to believe that all of the news presentations, the reality TV shows, and the popular talk shows, as if though these celebrities know best how we should live our lives and deal with life’s challenges. Even some Believers tend to follow these worldly views more faithfully and willingly than the Word of God.
We now have Believers adopting worldly quotes and instead of denying self, taking up our crosses and following Christ, the motto is a bold and self-promoting claim of, "Do You!"
We must stop and think about these heart-warping effects from the lies of the world. How many of the subjects, presented by the world, are coming from a place of integrity? Many of the world’s viewpoints are dangerous and hinder us from having a healthy mental and emotional well being. Regrettably, there are many who are so indoctrinated in the world’s viewpoint that the true harmful nature of these viewpoints is not recognized. They are seen as harmless and entertaining.
Dr. Chris Thurman reminds us concerning the analogy of the “frog and water” metaphor.
It goes like this: if you drop a frog into boiling water, it will immediately jump out because it can tell quite clearly the danger it is in. Yet if you put a frog in room temperature water and slowly heat the water until it is boiling, the frog will remain in the water and boil to death.
A frog adjusts to small changes in the water’s temperature over time until it loses its life for having done so.
This is the society in which we live. Worldly belief systems have been added to the TV shows we watch, the advertisements we absorb, the music we listen to, the books we read or listen to, school books, games, etc. Every aspect of society has been indoctrinated with a view point that dismisses God as irrelevant.
What’s even more dangerous is that these destructive belief systems have been added to our daily lifestyles. The outcome of accepting these worldly lies is that our lives are now filled with unhealthy emotional and mental instabilities, self-centered living, and selfish behavior.
For instance, I see this strong selfish mindset as the foundation that leads to deadly car accidents because people refuse to stop texting and driving. Their impulse to text is more important than anything and anyone else. You can see this warped mindset in husbands and wives who are having relationships with people outside of their marriage. I see the worldly lies as the foundation in abuse of every kind, hatred, jealousy, selfish ambition, envy, murder, and the way it seems that people are not able to distinguish between what is good and what is evil.
The TRUTH is, God sent His only Son to die for us in order that we could have life and have life more abundantly. He has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. God has made hope and a future available to us, but we have to choose to believe it and receive it. God’s kingdom and the way His kingdom is ordered, is diametrically opposed to the way the world lives and believes.
Which belief system will you choose to follow? Will you follow the worldly belief systems that are fraught with and led by selfish human beings and their personal agendas, or will you choose to be a Kingdom citizen and receive the benefits of an abundant life?
We are teaching our coaching clients how to turn away from the worldly lies, so they can have the opportunity to become rich beyond monetary value.
For the least of these,
Dr. Carol L. Green
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
This week, in anticipation of Father's Day, I want to make an encore presentation of a blog I posted last year on Father's Day. The original blog can be found at http://themenofhonor.blogspot.com/2015/06/blog-post.html
I have some very fond memories with my dad. He was a fun-loving dad who always threw caution to the wind. It got him in trouble many times, but it also gave his children a sense of adventure and daring that proved to be very helpful for us when we found ourselves called in to the ministry.
My dad saw my love for sports and took me to my first baseball game. The St. Louis Cardinals were playing the Montreal Expos and Jose Cardenal hit a two run double in the seventh inning that gave them a 4-2 victory. I couldn’t believe I was actually there, in a 50,000 seat stadium, looking at the high tech scoreboard, the massive crowd, and experiencing all the sounds I always heard when I listened to games on the radio. I had become a devoted fan; and dad gave me a chance to experience the real thing; to actually see my heroes live and in person. I have cherished that memory all of my life.
There were many other games in the years that followed. I especially loved the day I sat between my dad and his dad and watched Bob Gibson, my all time favorite Cardinal baseball player, pitch on Labor Day. I actually realized I was experiencing something very special that would never happen again; three generations, sitting together, enjoying our favorite sport.
Those were the times that established something in my heart that I have tried to give my children. There are once-in-a-life-time opportunities that come your way, and I tried to stay prepared for those moments with my sons. Then there are some things you cannot wait for, because some memories you simply have to make.
Through the years, I hope my children have had special moments that they can recall with the same kind of fondness and deep impacting love that I feel when I think back on special moments with my dad.
My dad didn’t always put his arms around my shoulder, or say 'I love you' in those moments. He wasn’t that kind of man. He gave us nicknames and he always told us he was proud of us. When I was struggling in arithmetic, he started calling me 'math major' and it built my confidence to try harder and I found success. I became a straight-A student in math.
My dad is not perfect. He had his issues with his children from time to time, like any father. I was sort of a middle child. He married my mom, who already had a precious little girl, and they had three sons before I came along. One son died while my mom was pregnant with me. Then they had two more children after me.
There were many times when life was very hard. It was downright harsh and cruel for him. I was angry with him a few times, mainly because I had no idea what it took to be the head of the household. I learned from his mistakes, as well as his resiliency. And maybe that’s the greatest thing my dad gave us; resiliency.
Just like my dad’s journey, as a husband and father, life has been hard, sometimes harsh and downright cruel for me, but I learned from my dad how to get up and go to work every day, no matter how you feel. When I lost jobs, opportunities, homes, friends, and loved ones, I knew how to get up and keep going. Dad demonstrated to us that you should never give up, even after a failure. You never stop, no matter how you feel.
So in honor of my dad and ultimately, God, my heavenly Father, I wrote a song many years ago that expresses thanks. I gave it an informal title: Thank You Daddy.
I just want to share that song with you this week.
The original recording can be heard HERE.
The lyrics are:
There’s so much I take for granted, Like the rising of the sun
Every time I see the morning, Never thankful for the dawn
Like a father who’s always there, With the same things every day
So consistent and expected, Sometimes I forget to say
Thank you daddy
For the blue that’s in the sky
Thank you daddy
For the light that’s in Your eye
Thank you daddy
For the life beat I’ve been handed
I get so busy
I'm taking you for granted
There’s so much you’re always doing, You watch my life and keep me safe
Sometimes you throw in extras, Giving me a little bit more grace
You take the time to listen, When all I bring are complaints
You carry me on your shoulders, And you sing to me in the rain
I can always recall the discipline you gave
All the nights you spent with me, And the path that you have paved
You’ll give more love tomorrow than all my yesterdays
So please forgive me daddy, I never take the time to say
Thank you, thank you
For every single day
Thank you, thank you
For every breath I take
Thank you, thank you
You made us sons and daughters
Thank you, thank you
Because you are our Father
© Green, Christopher 2001
For the least of these,
Dr. Christopher G. Green
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
...And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Acts 11:26b
As most of you know, we are ministering on the front lines in Harrisburg as community life coaches. God has been using this aspect of our ministry to provide practical tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives in the midst of great devastation. Part of that recovery process involves helping them to work through the pain of the past and begin making plans for the future.
As we have coached our clients, worked with professionals, consulted with heterosexual couples, and had impromptu conversations with a gay couple, we have been astounded by a very negative theme that has been at the core of nearly every encounter; and that has been people's understanding of what it means to be a Christian.
Before I go any further, I need to ask you to intentionally lay aside all feelings of offense and don't get defensive about what I'm about to tell you. This is more of an informal survey and an observation, but it is extremely important if we are going to be serious about reaching people today.
From what people have expressed to us, these are their definitions of the word Christian, according to what they all have experienced first-hand, primarily from family members, co-workers, classmates and various professionals.
Christian: Someone who abuses you physically, sexually, mentally and emotionally, and then stands in a pulpit and preaches about love.
Christian: Someone who hates Blacks, Latinos and Asians, and then preaches about love on Sunday morning.
Christian: Someone who is vindictive, cruel, unloving, and vengeful, but they attend their church every week, participating in its many activities and events.
Christian: A religious group who slaughtered the natives of this land, brought in slaves, and use big business and politics to continue to promote their way of life.
Christian: Dominating, imperialistic people who have an agenda to force everyone into their way of thinking and living.
Christian: Evangelical, right wing, conservative, Tea Party, racist, KKK, Bible quoting, hypocrites.
Christian: African American pastors who impregnate young girls in their churches, force them to get abortions, manipulate people to give money, and do nothing but grandstand in the public to draw attention to themselves.
Christian: Gullible congregants who continue to follow and support corrupt church leaders and will defend those leaders, no matter what.
Christian: African American congregants who live out nothing that they profess. They are often the worst employees, and the most unreliable business people.
Christian: Someone who buries all of the family secrets with religious talk. They never talk about their own dirt and never explain themselves. They never answer real questions and shun anyone who is not perfect like they pretend to be.
Christian: Fake people, phony people, liars, and hyprocrites.
This is just a small sampling of the type of descriptions that have invaded our conversations. Ever since God led us to the front lines of Harrisburg, we have been brought face to face with where people REALLY are in their thinking and beliefs. We realize there are some people who are just looking for excuses to live any way they choose, but these descriptions came up in the midst of conversations about past trauma, not religious debates. After many of our coaching sessions and private conversations, we could only sigh and say, "No wonder people don't come to our churches anymore."
We even found opposition to our Life Coaching. One young lady cancelled several appointments with us because her abusive, religious mother has the same title of Life Coach within the church she attends. So this young woman thought our coaching was going to be like her mother's coaching. When this came out in our session we told her, "Life Coaching is not about dictating to people and doing things to try to run another person's life." She was so relieved to find out that we were not like her religious, mean, unloving, and hypocritical mother.
The challenge is quite daunting as we work past decades and centuries of a type of Christianity that was never of God. But people don't know that, so we are out there showing who Jesus Christ really is.
We encourage you to take on the challenge as well. Instead of merely proclaiming that you're a Christian, just show them the true love of Jesus. Personally, when asked, I find myself telling people that I follow The Way, which is what this new move of God was called before Believers were given the name, Christians in the city of Antioch.
"But this I confess to you, that according to THE WAY, which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets."
I find this description disarms their prejudices and makes them a little bit more curious.
During the last century, the word Christian had a very different meaning. In this century, for the most part, in the understanding of many, if not most people, a Christian has very little to do with Jesus Christ. I used to get very upset with that conflicting reality, but now, I no longer fight it. We don't have time to waste, trying to change everyone's personal definition of what it means to be a Christian. However, we can work and live to change their understanding of Jesus. On the front lines of this battle, that's what we are doing with greater success every day.
For the least of these,