NOTE: This post is part of a series on God’s Priorities
One of the first tasks in resetting our priorities as Christians is to change our relationship with God.
Naturally, that starts with what is known as ‘regeneration’, or being ‘born again’ through receiving Christ, as the scriptures describe:
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name ~ John 1:12
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” ~ John 3:3
Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever ~ 1 Peter 1:23
As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby ~ 1 Peter 2:2
Many people dismiss this necessity for rebirth, thinking it is merely some profound emotional conversion experience (which some do have), but even if it is not such an experience, it must be a reality in order to begin. Otherwise, all that comes after this is merely our own efforts at becoming spiritual, without the cooperation of God – it’s merely building another idol to our ego, another self-improvement project instead of a self-surrender and renewal project.
I’ll admit it – I am NOT a fan of comic book movies. I don’t hate them, they are just uninteresting to me. Recently, for The Dark Knight Rises, I wasted 3 hours of my evening, and $45, and I wish I could get them both back.
Let me rant, er, explain.
This sermon got some strong positive and negative feedback, including the criticism that it contained ‘profanity.’ You be the judge. Contains the following points:
- Failures of the Left and Right
- Emergence of the Christian Center
- Organizations moving from LEFT to Center
- Organizations moving from RIGHT to Center
- What are God’s priorities?
To download Adopting God’s Priorities, please subscribe to our podcast feed.
NOTE: This post is part of a series on God’s Priorities
This is the second of the four basic priorities of spirituality, as I outlined in my Introduction is that of Receiving God’s Truth.
As you may remember, this a combination of Loving God and prioritizing truth.
In attempting to love God and seek truth, we must first adopt a posture of being open to truth. This is no mean task – if we truly desire to become spiritual people, we must be open to ideas that we have not yet encountered or accepted. This means all of the following:
A. Seriously considering ideas that are new to us
By definition, accepting that we need to grow means that we admit that we don’t know it all yet. Our limited experience means that we may not have yet encountered the whole truth – we may have missed huge swaths of it! Those who seek to grow must be open to new ideas.
With regard to loving God in truth, we must be open to this important concept – we do not understand God. In fact, we may misunderstand God pretty seriously – not only because we are finite and God infinite, but because truths about God are sometimes notoriously counter intuitive. For example, when Jesus says “love your enemies” or we read “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” we may need to sit down and consider such advice as opposite of what we’ve been taught.
This series contains the following posts:
- God’s Priorities 1: Introduction
- God’s Priorities 2: Receiving God’s Love
- God’s Priorities 3: Receiving God’s Truth
- God’s Priorities 4: Giving Love
- God’s Priorities 5: Establishing Truth
- God’s Priorities 6: Ethical Norms and Public Policy
- God’s Priorities 7: Freedom of Conscience
- God’s Priorities 8: Family
- God’s Priorities 9: Life
- God’s Priorities 10: Poverty
- God’s Priorities 11: Creation Care
- God’s Priorities 12: Human Rights
- God’s Priorities 13: Peace
- God’s Priorities 14: Conclusion
So you want to import that CSV file into gmail contacts, and it does absolutely nothing when you try? Me too.
Here’s my workaround.
- Log into your probably now unused Yahoo Mail account.
- Import your CSV file there.
- Export to vCard Single File
- Email that file to your Gmail Account
- On your Android device (phone or tablet), import the .vcf file you just emailed.
I still don’t have a solution for a unified contact list between Outlook and Gmail, but I’m trying.
Reading Watchman Nee’s classic book Spiritual Authority, I realized that my priorities, and what I thought was important, were perhaps quite different from God’s.
“This”, I thought, “might account for why I see some of the Old Testament punishments as Draconian rather than unbalanced – like my underestimation of the wickedness of sin, perhaps I have also misapprehended other items.”
A quick survey of the capital crimes listed in the Old Testament gave me a quick idea of what God valued, and this alone was sometimes a smack in the face to what I thought was important, especially the last item:
- Worshiping false gods
- Child sacrifice
- Sexual sins, including rape, adultery, homosexuality, incest, and bestiality
- Disrespect for parental, ecclesiastical, government, and any other type of authority
Then, when I went on to study the prophets, there was a whole other list of things not high on my list. Things that perhaps I should have known, but did not really value:
- Ensuring that justice was fair and impartial
- Helping the poor, outcast, and foreigner
- Being honest in financial dealings
My subsequent studies have revealed to me that my view of Biblical ethics was lacking.
Now, having surveyed the Bible for God’s priorities, as well as completed a class in Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, i am presenting an overview of what I’ve learned so far. I suspect that my priorities will continue to shift as I grow closer to God over time, but here’s my current snapshot.
Allow me to start with a disclaimer – I am not a sports person. In fact, I never enjoyed the many possible benefits of sports participation, since I was small and fearful. Instead, I was the butt of bullies’ towel snaps, royal flushes, and ben-gay in the jock strap hi-jinks.
My exclusion from playing sports led to a disinterest, if not disdain, for spectator sports. I carried the caricature of the mindless screaming fan who, failing to grow up or forge his own identity, got stuck in the identity moratorium of his teens, and found his only identity in sports fandom. Insult his team and you were insulting him. That’s a tough image to shake, especially if you watch football beer commercials. In truth, I still view spectator sports as largely a serious waste of time.
Candidly though, I waste my time on movies and games (both board and electronic), so I’m not allowing for a little leisure activity. But I wish that people would admit to their own wastage of time on spectator sports. Sure, actually *playing* sports can forge character, and I am all for that, but mere cheering?
The amount of vicarious excitement and idolatry of modern sporting, including the Olympics, ought to be acknowledged, and even spurned by Christians. I realize that saying such a thing sounds as unChristian as questioning whether your country should go to war in the Middle East, but it needs to be said. Here are my reasons for spurning the Olympics.