Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Coke Commercial

Who would have thought that the biggest talking point after the Super Bowl blowout would be a 60 second commercial featuring Coke and the song America the Beautiful? Well, I did take notice of the commercial when it came on and I remember trying to figure out what the message was they were trying to get across. I think Coke left it mildly ambiguous and I also think they expected the responce the commercial has recieved. I mean any press is good press for a giant like Coke. We are all talking about Coke now!

There has been a huge reaction to the ad by the conservative proponents of society who see the ad as an a front to American Exceptionalism and an example of the Liberals lackadaisical attitude towards the hot button issues of immigration and amnesty.  The "others" of society see it as a beautiful example of the diversity and cultural melting pot that is America. Again, I am not aware of the intention of the Coca-Cola Company, but America was all too willing to quickly fill in the gap.

It's issues like this that reveal the division, hostility and partisanship that exists in our culture today. No matter what side of the issue you fall on, your presentation of your ideas means as much, if not more, than your philosophical position or political leanings. We have lost the ability to hear each other,  learn from different perspectives than our own and make better decisions for all Americans as a result. Nobody wins today. We all lose.

Jesus said that we are to love others. We are to love others as we love ourselves.  We are to care about the needs of others over our own needs. Have we forgotten that our passions do not trump that command? Have we forgotten that the shortcomings we see in others is no different than the shortcomings God willingly overlooked when he committed to loving us?

I'm not saying that the issues discussed are not important,  I'm saying that the way we say them is more important.  I remember another Coke ad from the 1970's that sang a song we all need to remember.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Changing Tapestry of the Church

Church is changing. No longer is it a part of the cultural fabric of society. Less and less people are attending church and even many of those that attend do not hold to the foundations of Scripture. There is a great pressure on the church to conform to a changing society if it wishes to survive and churches are looking for a “balance”, if a balance can be found. The younger 20-something generation has all but abandoned the traditional teachings and practices of the church in favor of an alignment with the new “tolerance culture”, that to them, just feels right. John Dickerson writes in his book The Great Evangelical recession, that culture is shifting faster than it ever has. If we look back to the 70’s or 80’s or even early 2000’s we will see the most rapid cultural shift our nation has ever seen. In the last 15-20 years, culture has shifted more than it had in the previous 100 years.

In a society that is marked with its doctrine of tolerance that’s lived out in its embracing of any behavior or activity that feels right to a person, it is amazing how intolerant it is of the church. I would go as far as to say our society has moved past just a distaste for church and has settled on a disdain for it. The voice of the church has been tuned out and there is no room for its teachings or practices. Churches are left with either conforming to the culture or becoming obsolete.

Paul said:

Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 

I am not fearful. Truth is still truth. Jesus is still the only way to the Father. The Church is still the hope of the world. If this is true, then it is up to the church to infect the culture and stop allowing the culture to infect the church. It is time to show love…real love, a love that is sacrificial. It’s time that the church becomes a positive presence in times of suffering. It’s time that the church open its doors to the morally decayed in order to offer the cure they so desperately need. In fact if we do conform to the behavior and customs of this world we will only succeed in diluting or withholding the only thing that can bring healing.

Pray for the church. Stand firm in what you believe. Love the world like Christ does. This is our calling!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Selfy Bobble Head gift for 15 years of ministry!

This month I had the privilege of celebrating my 15th year at Hillcrest Church. It’s hard to believe that at 43-years-old I started there at age 28 (just a kid)! The national average that pastors stay at their church is 3.6 years, so to surpass that by 400% is exciting and humbling. It takes a commitment from a both the church and the pastor to experience and benefit from that kind of longevity. The 3.6 year average is nothing to celebrate for the church or for the pastor. Ministry can be messy but when the church and the pastor commit to being there for each other even when there are bad times, you have an illustration of the kind of love Christ has for the church and for people. It’s easy to get mad and frustrated with each other and part ways, but to stick in there and love each other through each other’s sin, failures and shortcomings is a beautiful picture of grace. It’s by God’s grace that I have put up with Hillcrest and it is by God’s grace that they have put up with me. This grace has blossomed a love that you can’t experience or foster in 3.6 years. Thank you, Hillcrest, for loving my family and for loving me. We are fortunate to have you and look forward to every moment God has us together. May he receive all the glory that comes from the love of the saints!