Luke 5:16

Pop Culture

Idols: Revisited

I originally posted this about two years ago, and it’s still valid by itself, but this has just been resonating in my head for DAYS now:

Here’s the original post:

It’s ironic that season 10 of American Idol started last night. It is one of my favorite shows, but I realize that so much of the contestants’ participation in the contest is based on their own desires and temptations.

They want to become an idol by worshiping one.

What are their idols?  Money?  Fame?  Acceptance?  Recognition?  We don’t really know.  Only God knows their hearts.

But, my thoughts throughout much of the last couple of days has revolved around the question, what idol am I seeking to worship by giving in, or even considering, my human temptations and desires?

No Other Gods Before Me

Throughout the Bible, idols were created to represent or take the place of God, and no matter the instance there was always one response:

“Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden.”
~ Deuteronomy 4:23~

Then it goes on to say why:

“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
~Deuteronomy 4:24~

God wants nothing else to take the place of Him in our lives.  He is jealous of all other idols that we choose to worship and will not bless any action if taken to satisfy the desires of our own hearts.  If we audition to become the next American Idol, it should be because God has directed us to that opportunity, and it should be for the purpose of being obedient to his direction and making him famous.  Nothing else.

So it is with every other desire that we have in our life.  The desire for acceptance.  The desire for prosperity.  The desire for a thrill.  They take the place of God, and they begin to mold how we make decisions, how we respond to temptation, how we interact with the people we come in contact with.

Idol Worship

So, you see, by focusing our decisions, our plans, and our lives around the wants and desires of our human hearts, we are worshiping those idols.  We are not living lives of worship of God by basing every decision on what gets us the best result, the biggest thrill, or what satisfies the temptation towards sin in our hearts.

One Final Thought

Psalm 37:4 states:

Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

I have heard this interpreted two ways.  First, God satisfies the desires that we have if we simply seek him first in all things.  Second, if we are seeking him only, then he will show us the true desires of our hearts.  In fact, he will place those desires in us so that his purpose can be fulfilled through us.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
~Matthew 6:33~

So, today, I ask you: What idol are you worshiping by giving in to the temptations and desires of your heart?


Are You A Hater?

I haven’t written in a while because, honestly, I haven’t felt like I had anything to write about.  However, I decided to throw this out there today because this video, and one quote in particular from it, struck me.  Take a look:

So which part of his story got you the most?  For me it was the question, “how much do you have to hate someone to NOT
proselytize?”

I don’t believe in bible-thumping, turn-or-burn, proselytizing.  However, I do believe that our story and our faith should be shared because of its importance and the implications that it carries.  Do you agree that we’re “hating” the people we don’t share our faith with?  In what other ways could we be sharing our faith without walking up and handing the person a bible?

I think the key to the story in the video was the genuine and authentic attitude with which the man approached Penn.

How have you reached out recently?  How?  Were you “successful?”  What was the experience like?

Carlos Whittaker (@loswhit) recently wrote about an experience with reaching out.  I believe that what he did was definitely a form of proselytizing.

I want to know what you have to say…


The Church at Auvers

Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists.  His paintings are considered by many to be the epitome of Impressionism.  I ran across this painting by Van Gogh today, and was not only struck by its beauty, but sensed something more in the symbolism of its colors and form, so I decided to do a little research.  Here’s what I found out:

Toward the end of his life, Vincent van Gogh succumbed to his mental illness, cut off his own ear after a fight with friend Paul Gauguin, and in May 1889 committed himself to a mental hospital in Saint Remy…

In the last 10 weeks of his life, while in the care of the doctor, he created over 100 pieces including The Church at Auvers, a scene from his youth created out of memory…

The foreground seems to be in daylight, whereas the church itself and the sky seem to be in shadow, nearly a night scene. The church’s form is distorted adding a feel of gloom to the scene…A church painted in this manner may reflect van Gogh’s feeling about the church and religion after his failed studies as a preacher and missionary.  (http://www.theartistvincentvangogh.com/vincent-van-gogh-painting-Church-Auvers.htm)

One other site explains it this way:

Rather than the church looking like a place of refuge and solace, Vincent has shown it as a place of impending doom and gloom. (http://www.artquotes.net/masters/vangogh/vangogh_church.htm)

Early in his life, Van Gogh aspired to be a pastor and missionary.  However, he failed miserably at both callings and, even though there is no specific documentation about his spiritual crisis, it’s pretty safe to bet that he got turned off from religion because of his inability to “meet the expectations.”

This is a sad story, and comes to life through this man’s paintings.  If you notice, the church is surrounded by light, but the church itself does not create or emanate any light, which gives the impression that it is dead.

Is your church dead?

I hope that your church does not resemble Van Gogh’s Church of Auvers, nor does your own example of faith.  Christ’s view of the church is clear: “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” (Matt. 5:14 NLT)  I pray that, when surrounded by darkness, that we might be the light of hope and encouragement to the world around us, and not just as a church building with its lights on, but that we, ourselves, glow with the love of Christ, so that people might be drawn to us, and Him.