Dangerous Personality

There are so many celebrities in our culture. I have never been good at keeping them all straight. As a person who legitimately struggles with names, I have kind of lived under the assumption that they don’t keep track of my life, so I don’t have any need to keep track of theirs. So, don’t come talk to me about celebrity gossip, expecting me to know who is into who, who got married/divorced/had a baby. I simply will not know. If you’re into that stuff, then I will do my best to engage with you but I wanted to warn you ahead of time.
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I also operate under the policy (and living in California, I think this is probably best) that if I see them in public, I ‘m just going to leave them alone. If they’re eating dinner with their friends/family/crew/whatever, I was not invited to that meal. I will happily give them their space.

There have been so many stories of people who take things to the opposite extreme. They stalk celebrities, hang on their every word, know everything about their lives and some even begin doing dangerous/illegal stuff to try to get their attention. They develop an unhealthy obsession with that person. They go beyond fandom and into idolatry, aggressively defending that person, and caring far too much for someone that doesn’t even know they exist.

I also grew up in the ear of the televangelist. These people almost did everything possible to make my generation cynical in regards to fame & ministry. The Robertsons & Swaggarts of the world built up such a cult of personality around themselves that their inevitable human failings made their falling from public grace all the more devastating. We cannot invest ourselves, devoting the whole of our lives, to a single human person like this. People are broken. Celebrities and preachers will let us down. No one is perfect.

Paul recognizes this danger in the church of Corinth. This church had encounters with several powerful leaders within the early church and people were beginning to take sides:

10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
1 Corinthians 1

When we follow Jesus, we cannot spend our time espousing the benefits of any human individual. We simply need to focus our efforts on Him. It’s not about Paul, Peter or Apollos. It’s not about Joel, Steven, Judah, Kyle or Francis. It’s all about Jesus, 24/7/365. All of the rest of us are simply His servants, brothers born of His blood, recipients of grace, standard bearers for His kingdom. We don’t need to waste our short time on this earth and in this life to build up a little kingdom of our own. We all belong to Jesus. His Lordship does not get sub-divided, His sovereignty cannot be shared.

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”
Luke 17

Jesus is our concern. He is our solitary celebrity. If we want to devote ourselves to knowing all the details about someone’s life, then may it be His.

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Saturday Something – Episode 10 – Know-It-All

It’s always good to be situationally aware as we speak into the hurts and pains of this life. We have been tasked with bringing comfort and the wisdom that God provides, but remember, you and I don’t personally have the corner on being every answer for every person. That honor belongs to Jesus…we just point them to Him.

Day Three – The Daily Lapse into Sin

Come along on the journey as Ben reads from Johann Gerhard’s “Meditations on Divine Mercy.” This is Day Three, “The Daily Lapse into Sin.” In today’s devotion, Johann reminds us how daily struggles result in our daily need for God’s great mercy. All scripture read comes from the ESV.

Let’s turn our hearts toward God together:

Remembering the Sins of Youth

Come along on the journey of mercy each day as Ben reads from Johann Gerhard’s Meditations on Divine Mercy. This is Day Two, Remembering the Sins of Youth.

Make sure to leave your comments & questions below! I’m glad you’re coming along on this trip with me.

Saturday Something – Ep 10 – Failure Happens

Just as an example…today was supposed to be a live stream event. It didn’t work when I went to start it up. Oh well! Life goes on.

Nothing is perfect. Just keep trying! Set yourself up to do well, and then work through it. Don’t let fear keep you from trying.

Begin Here: Simply Listen

There have been so many times where I have allowed myself to be sidelined by worry. It’s not a point of pride, that’s for certain. As a minister of over 20 years, one who has taught and told and discipled so many people to walk by faith and not by sight, who has repeatedly looked to the words of Jesus in Matthew 6 where He expressly tells us not to worry, and where we are reminded that worry is a lack of faith in so many other places where He has these daily interactions with His disciples. I shouldn’t have any doubt in my mind in regards to the struggle that worry creates, and of the handiwork of the enemy that can be found in those faithless places…I should know better. I should be more aware. I should be stronger…right?

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As a pastor, I sometimes put that pedestal underneath of myself and have expectations for myself that can be unfair, ill-advised (seeking my own counsel) and all in all, not God-honoring.
And so I repent, and I repent again later. I’ll likely have to do it again.

So much of worry comes from the lies I tell myself and the lies I listen to from the world and from the enemy. These are all old tricks, old means and they are well worn pathways for so many of us. We let ourselves walk down them without thinking. It’s like navigating our own house in the dark of night. We know where the sofa is, we are aware of the coffee table, and we can walk through without so much as stubbing a toe.

And we fall right back into the pit in the living room floor. We knew it was there. We’ve known it was there. We’ve fallen into it before. And we let it happen again.

Why? Why do we do this? Paul voices this struggle well in Romans 7. It’s something that is deeply familiar to all of us. We know this struggle, and we have the scars from the struggle.

And when we finally look up and open our eyes, our ears begin to listen and we hear the voice of our great God singing over us. An unbroken tune, rich in love, deep with mercy, overwhelming with compassion, rhythmic with grace, peace and a shelter only He can provide. Here we rest. Here we are reminded. Here we begin to listen again, the harsh, broken, sickly-sweet croaking of the enemy is drowned out by the everlasting love of YHWH G_d.

It’s so simple we often forget it, but it’s always there.
Begin here: simply listen.

Passages to help with worry – BibleStudyTools.com 
33 Verses on Anxiety from Debbie McDaniel
Keys to Overcoming Fear – Bible in One Year

Saturday Something – Ep 8 – Glamour Shots

Spolier: Ministry isn’t glamorous.
I know it’s shocking, but there’s good news in this.

Actually, it’s pretty amazing. Check it out.