I know what you’re thinking

Let’s try something fun.  First let me lay down some ground rules.  I don’t want you to skip to the end of this post right away or else you spoil the whole thing so just keep reading from right here.  I will help ease your temptation by giving you a little space in between this and the punchline but do your best not to cheat…   Okay, how many of you already cheated and looked at the bottom?  Come on, fess up, it’s just you and me and I promise not to tell.  Well, if you did, shame on you.  You blew the fun part for yourself.  If you are playing by the rules right now I am proud of you!  So without further delay, here we go.

Pick a number between one (1) and ten (10) – Not 1 or 10, but between.

Now multiply that number by nine (9).

You should now have a two digit number…  Take those two digits and add them together…

Now subtract five (5).

Now take the answer you have for that and transpose it to a letter of the alphabet like so.   1=A, 2=B, 3=C…   

Got the letter?  Good.   Now think about a name of a country that begins with that letter…  Take your time….

Now think of the 2nd letter in the name of that country…

Now think of an animal whose name begins with that 2nd letter…

And now what is the usual color of the animal…

Got it?  Good deal – now my guess for what you are thinking of is at the bottom of this post  just under my signature line.  Go have a look, then come right back up here….  I’ll wait here.

Back already?  
Very good.  If you are like most people I probably got the answer right.  If you thought of anything other than what I said at the bottom, pat yourself on the back and know that you have a truly original mind.  This works, in my estimate, on about 95% of people.   You may be wondering at this point where I am going with all of this.  

Here is my point.  

We all like to think of ourselves as independent thinkers.  We have our certain set of values and beliefs and we see those things as something we developed over our lifetime through experience.  The fact is however, that we are easily influenced by others.  We are constantly inundated with ideas, by corporations who are motivated by profit, government officials who are motivated by profit and power, and mass media who are motivated by profit, power, and ratings.  We are fed what they want us to consume and when you get fed enough of their steady diet of ideas you start spitting those same things back out to others and the effect multiplies exponentially through e-mail, small-talk and social media.  

For example, for the last couple of weeks I have had an incredible craving for Lobster.  You know why?  Because it’s Lobster-fest at Red Lobster and I’ve been fed a steady stream of commercials showing beautiful looking lobster dishes, they look so good they make your mouth water.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit around waiting for Lobster-fest every year and pay close attention to the commercials.  In fact, many times during commercials I am up messing around on the computer, getting something to drink from the kitchen, going to the restroom or reading a book, magazine or newspaper.  Still I have this craving for some of that delicious lobster dipped in butter.   But, now that I know the reason for my craving, I can do something about it.  Knowing that these commercials have influenced me I can choose to either accept the programming and go get lobster or I can do what I know I should and eat a less expensive and healthier meal and just drive right by Red Lobster.  

I just want you to think about how you are influenced by what you watch on TV, the books and magazines and newspapers that you read, and the people you talk to on a regular basis.  These influences are not always bad, but they can be.  You don’t have to totally shut yourself down to outside influences, just be a little more aware of them and use the mind that God has blessed you with to question things.  The Bible says that if we are in need of wisdom that we should ask and that if we ask we will receive it.  James 1:5 So just because I say something, or just because the person on the news says something, or just because the Pope or the President or the Speaker of the House or anyone else for that matter says something, don’t be afraid to question it and don’t be afraid to open yourself up to new ideas.   Always seek wisdom through prayer and allow God’s Holy Spirit to give you an answer that you may not have expected or even one that you didn’t desire.  

Have a Blessed Day!

 

Pastor Michael

My best guess:   A Grey Elephant in Denmark – (Go back up now).

Lent? I don’t remember getting Loaned…

How is your Lent Season going so far?  Have you maybe slipped a little bit?  We were talking yesterday during Bible study about how easy it is to do that.  I have to admit that I too have slipped up on some of the things I wanted to do for lent.  Just before Ash Wednesday I felt led to start a fast.  I thought, “Hey, maybe I can go through all of lent, just like Jesus did in the wilderness!”  How great would that be!?!  How arrogant I was!  It didn’t last long.  About 36.857 hours (or somewhere around there) was as long as I was able to make it before the smell of supper cooking made me eat like a horse!  See how I did that?  I blamed it on something else “the smell of supper” rather than on myself.  Really I was just weak and gave into temptation.  But alas, I have settled into a little more reasonable goal of just eating less, avoiding deserts and working on those other things that I mentioned during the Ash Wednesday service.  

Listen, if you decided to give up something for Lent and you’ve slipped up and given in, or forgot and mistakenly partook of whatever it is, I am giving you permission to forgive yourself.  Not that you need my permission, but I want you to know that it is okay.  Part of the lessons we have during Lent is that we are all sinners.  Recognizing that sin is really what it’s about.  Jesus died on the cross so that your sins could be forgiven, so allow that to comfort you now.  It’s alright to feel a little bit bad about not living up to your own expectations, and it will be alright if you shed a tear or two.  Go ahead.  Let it out.  – Now, do you feel better?  Good.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on the path.  If you need to readjust your goals, do it, if you need to pick up where you left off, then do that.  Let us all continue together, imperfect as we are as we remember the path that Jesus took for us to Calvary.

May God Bless you in every way!
Pastor Michael.