Thursday, March 19, 2009

Resonance Truth

I remember trying to encourage a young believer once by telling him all the great things God thought about him. He nodded his head in agreement, but his eyes were looking downward. I actually reached out and lifted his chin with my hand so that he could at least look me in the eye. “God loves you”, I exclaimed, “and He has forgive your sins!”

He said he believed this, but as soon as I removed my hand his head fell again. Did this man believe what I said? Yes and no. His mind accepted it, but it did not resonate within.

Resonance. If you know anything about music you know that a well-tuned piano or guitar will resonate the same note as a tuning fork. In fact, if you sing a certain note into the body of a guitar or piano the strings that are in tune with that note will respond with the same note. Try it.

However, if you drop that well-tuned piano or guitar a few feet you will find it nearly impossible to find a coherent note in those instruments with a tuning fork. Humanity itself has been dropped more than a few feet. The drop was so great that we call it The Fall, and when fallen humanity comes into contact with God’s salvation truth it is so out of tune that there is no inner response unless the Holy Spirit strikes the chord. To keep the theology and the analogy simple I will call this chord “conviction.”

Even when we as believers agree with our minds we find it difficult for our emotions to be in tune with God’s truth. We still live in unredeemed bodies and in a fallen world, so the tendency of our souls is to resonate with the environment. The only solution is for us to tune our souls with God’s word on a daily basis to the point that the lies and temptations of the world no longer resonate as true. This is no mere exercise because in doing so the Holy Spirit is also at work.

The strongholds of the enemy also produce resonance, a resonant lie. This happens when a whole society or region agrees with one particular lie such as abortion, gay marriage, atheism, etc. To these people God’s truth sounds out of tune, and in fact they use that phrase, “You Christians are out of tune with your antiquated morals.”

The only way to retune society is with truth, and we usually have to do this one string – one person - at a time. The only way to change society is to change people, and the only way to do this is for them to meet their original composer, God.

In order for us to help people return to God our souls need to be in tune with God and not in resonance with the world. Imagine for a moment Lance Armstrong as he cycles to his umpteenth victory of the Tour de France. Just 200 meters before the finish some guy from the crowd yells, “Loser!” Lance hits the brakes, and walks over to argue with the heckler. NOT!

I do not think that an empty lie would resonate in Lance any more than an empty lie should resonate in us such that we quit the race.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dad, Can I Help With That?

We all remember growing up watching our dads, grandfathers or uncles assembling some contraption or building something in the backyard. We always wanted to lend a hand, and we were disappointed if they said, “No, it is too difficult for you.”

Even as parents we too lightly consider our kids when they want to be a part of what we are doing. We deem our work too important for their input at times, and moreover when they ask us to be a part of what they are doing or to show some interest we are too often too busy with our own thing.

I often try to remind myself the following. I say, “Mike, stop what you are doing, and go watch that silly YouTube video that your daughters think you must see.” When I do it we always have a good time and a good laugh.

I also try to talk about my work with my daughters to see what they think. They are interested in some aspects, and they even offer good ideas at times. This shows them that I value them.

Not doing this will put me well on my way to fulfilling that Harry Chapin song
Cats in the Cradle where the father has no time for his son, and when the son grows up he has no time for the father.

Not only is this important in parenting, but it is equally important in Christian leadership. Some leaders think that they are the only ones who can do the job right, and they never bring their team or others into their thinking on anything.

When the young leader grows older he may become frustrated because the main leader would neither let him help nor would he ever be interested in the “smaller” and less significant things that he was interested in. Once again the Chapin song plays, and the younger man learns oh too well how to do his own thing and does exactly that. They part ways.

On the other hand we can always bring younger leaders into our thinking even if we are the ones who have to make the decisions. They can help us, but even when they can’t they can stand close by and watch us as we discuss together the “what”, “why” & “how” of the task at hand.

Jesus did this with His disciples as He modeled ministry for them while talking about it. He asked their opinions on various situation, He sent them out to do the same work and He was interested in hearing about their exploits when they returned. Finally He told them that they would do more than He when He went to be with the Father.
Jn 14:12

Even in the Old Testament God had a high regard for Abraham to the point of bringing him into what He was going to do. We would do wise to follow the example of Jesus as well as heed the warning of Harry. If we do we can like Abraham be fathers of generations who will father nations. We just need to rememeber that the word father is both a noun and a verb.

The Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him." Gen 18:17-19