From Sunday, July 28 to this morning, August 4 there have been 4 mass shootings. If data is your thing, then here are the number this past 7 days of mass shootings: Wounded: at least 68 Killed: Current Count, 34
The reasons for such carnage? Does it make a difference? And who is to blame? Well, it depends on which news channel you watch and who you talk to. Here are some of the conclusions I have heard about where to pass the blame:
Guns and their availability
And ad nauseam other reasons
The one in South Haven, Mississippi is less than 180 miles from me. All this violence has caused me to once again put to use daily my “Concealed Carry” permit. I do so, not out of fear, but my deep concern for those who could be among the next 102.
There are those who think if there were more controls for inanimate objects, there would not be another 102. We are being told all kinds of explanations for this carnage. But most I’ve heard speaks to the symptoms but fail to deal with the real disease.
It is what it is–human violence perpetrated by humans against their fellow human beings. Some of the victims were known, but most were unknown by the shooters. Human violence comes from hearts that have turned away from The Creator. Thus, they lose the sense of purpose we had before the fall. And that is to live in kindness with each other.
More laws can and probably will be passed. But the problem will not go away through legislation. Change of heart is what is needed. There’s an, call it irony, today. It was in the message I shared with the congregations I serve. You can see it here.
Our culture is being fueled by irritation, aggravation, and frustration that is creating the toxic environment of Despair. And without a radical change of direction, a Divine Recalculating Moment, it will only become worse.
So I appeal, appeal to you who profess your faith in Jesus–to get busy with the work of God’s Kingdom. The work of God’s Kingdom is changing hearts, lives, situations and institutions to reflect HIS Glory, and His love. This is the time for believers to become followers of Jesus. Don’t give up Hope. Share your faith, using words only when necessary. Our culture needs an awakening and a renewal that comes through the Holy Spirit.
And it will to our culture–when you expected an awakening and renewal in YOU. When there is an awakening and renewal IN, then there will be an awakening and renewal THROUGH you!
Let’s be examples of treating ALL people with respect and dignity. Refuse to judge others by any human characteristic or standard. Don’t point the finger of blame at others–instead point the way to Jesus, the Jesus that is clearly seen in you.
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way HE loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to HIM!
We began this series by
stating the obvious: That our culture is
in deep turmoil, unconstrained chaos, and relentless fear. It is fueling irritation, aggravation, and
frustration that is creating the toxic environment of Despair. And without a radical change of direction, a Divine Recalculating Moment, it will
only become worse.
When we use that
navigational tool called GPS and follow its directions, we see those long
awaited words: You Have Arrived At Your Destination. Global Positioning System works when the
receiver connects with 3, preferably 4 satellites. Those satellites then triangulate that signal
and then sends it back to the receiver.
GPS needs the reference points from those satellites. Without those 3-4 satellites, it just doesn’t
But sometimes, GPS is
wrong. In my experiences, there are
times when my GPS says You Have
Arrived At Your Destination, I’m looking at an open field. Or, I don’t see what I’m looking for. Sometimes, I see it but it’s across the
road. Those GPS systems are not always
correct and can make us feel even more lost than before we started the trip.
And when our
Spiritual Navigation system is off, it’s even more so. Every person, without exception, has a
certain set of Values, Ideas And
Beliefs. Each person is on a
journey to a destination defined by those values, ideas and beliefs. The values, ideas and beliefs are the
reference points that ultimately determines their destination, tells us when
and where to turn, and defines when we have arrived.
Without the right
Reference Point, we will always end up at the wrong place…and this is where our
culture is at. Life on earth has an
intended Destination. Yes, ultimately
Heaven, but there’s a Destination for us here on earth.
If You Can Remember Only One Thing, This Is It:
Our Destination Is To Become Peculiar.
There is only one people in the Church–God’s own people. The church does not have a ministry; it is ministry; it does not have a mission; it is mission.
Without a Recalculating Moment Of Heart And Purpose, we will journey farther and farther away from the heart of God—and the only life our hearts long for. This is the last in the series and there’s a word I’ve been using throughout. That word is Peculiar, and I could not end this series without taking a look at what it means to be peculiar.
The only way we can
arrive at our spiritual destination is to have the correct reference
points. Now, think back to those
satellites. Their position is used to determine your position. But, if their position is off, their orbit is
not in the right place, then the information it delivers you will be wrong.
In our Spiritual
journey, to live the life we are created for, it’s absolutely essential that
those Reference Points are in the right place. I’m not talking today about how to be peculiar. This is not another how to
sermon. The Christian walk is
more than just knowing how to —more than just a mechanical
response to God’s call.
When our response to God
is mechanical we lose our excitement and start looking for another fix-it-upresponse. So instead of talking
to be peculiar I want to talk about being peculiar. I think you will see that the difference is
more than subtle. Let’s Read 1 Peter
1 “So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy,
and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must
crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of
salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have
had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living
cornerstone of God’s temple. He was
rejected by people, but He was chosen by God for great honor.
5 And you are living stones that God is building
into his spiritual temple. What’s more,
you are his holy priests. Through the
mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please
God. 6 As the Scriptures say,
am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who
trusts in Him will never be disgraced.”
7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God
has given Him. But for those who reject Him,
“The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”
8 And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the
rock that makes them fall.” They stumble
because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen
people. You are royal priests, a
holy nation, God’s very own possession.
As a result, you can show others the
goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful
10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you
are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s
These Christians knew
what Peter was talking about. Once they
had been No People, just
ethnic and cultural groups that could be classified as heathen. Among them were also small pockets of Jews.
They understood Peter. Once they had
been no people. They had been proud and self-sufficient—and lost—
but now they had become the recipients of God’s mercy.
This is not some new insight
on Peter’s part. It comes right out of
Hosea 2:23; Peter takes this and runs with it—he begins to apply title upon
title on this “No People” who had become redeemed
by the grace of God.
No People are nowChosen
No People are nowRoyal
No People are nowA Holy
No People are now God’s Very Own Possession.
This is what it looks
like to be “peculiar”. I know that’s a
word we don’t like to use to describe ourselves. I mean, who really wants to be “peculiar”? Well…we should want to be “peculiar”. Think about what this word means: “characteristic of only one person, group,
or thing; different from the usual or normal”. If the confusion, chaos and hatred in our
culture is ever going to change—Then
We’ve Got To Unashamedly Embrace Being Different From The Usual And The Norm.
To be different from the
usual and norm that floods Facebook and the news, then we need that Recalculating Moment that will
enable us to reach our destination here, and later in eternity.
There are 4 Reference
Points that assure us we will Arrive
At Our Destination. These Reference Points is what will make
us peculiar in this culture—and will transform us into God’s very own possession. I want to give you these 4 Reference Points in the form of
questions. Question #1:
1. Are You Hungry For The
Word Of God?
Not what others say or
write—but hungry for just God’s Word.
There are many in our culture, especially the church culture, who only
want to hear what others say about God’s Word.
They want an interpretation—a spin—an angle that meets their own
expectations and beliefs.
There are so many who want to speak FOR the Bible in ways that will support their Values, Ideas And Beliefs. We don’t need more people speaking for the Bible. We need the allow God’s Word to Speak TO us.
We don’t need more people speaking for the Bible. We need to allow God’s Word to Speak TO us.
There are so many who want to speak FOR the Bible in ways that will support their Values, Ideas And Beliefs. We don’t need more people speaking for the Bible. We need the allow God’s Word to Speak TO us. If we are going to arrive at right destination now and in eternity, we need a reference point— The first reference point is to align our life with God and His Purpose for our life through The Word Of God! Now, Question #2:
2. Are You Living With Deep
Have you noticed that Values, Ideas And Beliefs of our are
not producing deep joy? Or is it just
me? People of our culture are seeking
and pursuing happiness at the expense of deep joy. Life is meant to be filled with deep
joy. Our culture has anything but deep
joy. It’s chaotic, angry and
We will never give the world Deep Joy living life by the Values, Ideas And Beliefs of this Culture. Our Deep Joy comes from surrendering all of our life to Jesus—freely submitting to God’s Rule in our daily life. Those who resent giving God Rule of their heart do not, can not, find the Deep Joy that comes from living Care-Free in God’s hands. No heartache, no disappointment, no pain is ever greater than the freedom we find in the life surrendered to God.
Our Deep Joy comes from surrendering all of our life to Jesus—freely submitting to God’s Rule in our daily life.
Our culture needs to see
us living in joy regardless of the circumstances. Jesus describes it this way: “I have told you these things so that you
will be filled with my joy. Yes, your
joy will overflow!” (John 15:11)
What were the things Jesus told them?
Look at Verse 5—“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who
remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can
do nothing.” Joy Is A Reference
Point Because It’s Based On Our Relationship With Jesus, Not Our Circumstances. And now, Question
3. Are You Experiencing High
The social, cultural and
political turmoil in our culture is crushing countless hearts. The Values,
Ideas And Beliefs of this Culture isn’t concerned with hope—it’s
focused on hate. It’s focused on what’s
wrong, what’s missing, and who’s at fault.
None of this is conducive for hope—only despair.
One day Jesus was looking around at His culture. He saw hurt, lonely, confused people—like sheep without a shepherd. Do you know what Jesus said about the culture that is so much like ours? It’s in Matthew 9:38 (TM)—“What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” Our Hope should be High Because We Live For And Serve The God Who Sees Opportunities For Greatness In Every Situation And In Every Life. Our world will never find Hope if we see our world as Hopeless.
Our world will never find Hope if we see our world as Hopeless.
Hope That God Is Greater Than Every Human Despair Must Be Our Reference Point. And the final Question #4:
4. Are You Expecting The
Holy Spirit To Bring Awakening And Renewal In Your Life And To Our Culture?
The Values, Ideas And Beliefs of this
Culture expect us who follow Jesus to change.
At the Wednesday Bible Study we were looking at the time Peter was in
prison. He was waiting for his trial and
then his execution. The church was
praying earnestly for Peter—but their faith was not overwhelming because they
didn’t believe Rhoda when she said Peter was at the door.
You and I need to live
in each moment expecting the Holy Spirit to bring Awakening and Renewal first
to us—and then to our culture through us.
If you don’t expect to see Awakening and Renewal now, then why are you
even here this morning?
It’s time for us to act in faith to a reality that no one can see—except those who have the heart of God! Expect The Holy Spirit To Bring Awakening And Renewal In Your Life And To Our Culture. And this is our Fourth Reference Point.
Expect The Holy Spirit To Bring Awakening And Renewal In Your Life And To Our Culture
Being peculiar means having
the right answers to these questions. These are the 4 Reference Points that will guarantee that we will Arrive At Our Destination. Our Destination for now is Verse 9—“To BeRoyal
Priests, A Holy Nation, God’s Very Own Possession.”
And our Final Destination will be “Well Done, My Good And Faithful
Servant. You Have Been Faithful In
Handling This Small Amount, So Now I Will Give You Many More Responsibilities. Let’s Celebrate Together!” (Matthew25:21 NLT) But you can never Arrive There until you Arrive Here.