Friday, April 27, 2012

Value Unchanged

I found this penny today in a garbage disposal in an old house. When I reached in (after turning the breaker off!) and pulled it out I immediately recognized what it was and its value. Though the image that it bears is barely discernible, its value remains unchanged. It must have been in the disposal for years; it's all chewed up corroded and worn down. And yet...its value is the same. I could take it to the bank and deposit it as money.

The point? You may have been through some things. You may have been thrown away by others and forgotten. You may be all chewed up and worn down by choices you have made. BUT you're value remains UNCHANGED to God. In Romans it says that while we were still broken by our sin (worn down, thrown away, corrupted), Jesus died for us because our value to Him remained UNCHANGED. Though we surely look as bad or worse as this penny we still bear His image as worn and faded as that may be. Because of His love and value for us, He paid the ultimate price for us because we are the most precious thing in the Universe...much more than a penny. Because of this we don't have to stay as we are. When we bring our broken, chipped and worn down selves to Him we are transformed and made new. His image is freshly places in and on us. We are made whole and complete in Him...a new creation. But through it all, our value remains the same...worth the highest price

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Love" & "Justice"

I love young people.  I was a full-time youth pastor for over ten years working with the teens and college-aged.   I love it when their heart awakens with passion and a cause.  There's nothing like it when a young person realizes they can make a difference in this messed up world because of Christ!  But with that comes such a need for godly leaders who will mentor them.  I'm not talking about someone who will snuff out there fire and make them act more "adult." Ugh!  I've seen some "leaders" who operate that way.  If anything most adults I know need to learn from our young people and wake up and DO SOMETHING!

...but I digress.

What concerns me recently is definition.  (No, I'm not trying to turn my kegger into a six-pack)  I'm talking about definition of powerful words that people rally behind.  Words like "Love" and "Justice."  Wonderful words because they convey such wonderful ideas and imagery.  But because of the times we are living in, these words like most others are not anchored to anything real, they just float around and occasionally bump into something solid.  I don't want to make this a super-long post (because you won't read it!).  But suffice it to say that my concern lies in two areas related to the upcoming generation.  One, many are fatherless.  Two, many are biblically illiterate and/or have had their understanding of the bible twisted by false teachers.

The modern definition of love is so warped and diluted that it is completely unrecognizable to most.  We love our friends.  We also love pizza. We love Spring.  We made love to a girl we met last night.  We fell in love last month, but we can't stand them.  See the problem??  What about "Justice?"  When someone uses the word justice today they are most of the time saying it is synonymous with the word "fair."  It is not justice to see people in this world have more than they need, while others struggle.  (as if money or "stuff" fixes everything in this world and makes people complete)  "I was wronged and I demand justice!" (vengeance.  I want to get back at them to make it even.)  

No where in their thinking it seems is the biblical idea of these two terms.  Only shadows and bits are revealed, but never the fullness of both of those noble words.  For example it is clear that the biblical idea of love contains way more than warm fuzzy feelings. That it is more than lust, desire, attraction, affection.  It contains things like sacrifice, confrontation, discipline (punishment is the non-pc word), commitment beyond feeling.  Love even contains breaking of relationship as well as initiating it. (1 Cor 5:5; 1 Tim 1:20).  My point is that it is so much deeper than we know and the only way we know true love as God designed is through an honest reading of His Word and through seeing godly examples in our lives.  No one has more power to display this than a dad.  It is imperfect of course, but even if a poor reflection it still reflects the perfect to some degree.  When men are refusing to stand up and be counted, refusing to undertake the responsibility for their actions and commitments and instead just leave, they inflict the deepest wounds upon children that they can.  

What about Justice?  Anyone who grew up with a dad knows that sometimes things were the way they were because Dad said so.  Not only was he conveying authority in establishing what is right and wrong, but it was often the only answer suitable, because we weren't at a place as a child where we could understand the complexity of the situation.  Similarly what is "Just" is connected to the One who created all things and is Holy, and there are certain things He gets to say are right and wrong and we may not get an explanation.  Justice has to do with what is righteous, and there is only one that is righteous.  

Today we can twist everything.  We can make it ok for someone to commit evil because they had a troubled childhood.  We can make it ok to murder babies, because of legal rights of women.  We can it ok to have sex with whoever or whatever we want and call it whatever we want because it makes us feel good.  The most prevalent and current example of misguided sense of love and justice is found in the gay marriage agenda.  This generation is   passionate about this because they see it as a love (feeling) and justice (fairness) issue.  Nowhere is there an understanding of what sin does to people presently or eternally.  Nowhere is there an understanding of honoring God and doing things His way even if it is simply because He said so.  

The younger generation is turning away God as He has revealed Himself and instead making up their own God from bits and pieces, from culture, from a wounded child's perspective because there is no foundation, no anchor.  

Chase them.  Love them. They're worth it.