Value of Words

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Imagine if every word you spoke were actually money, would you be a little more careful?

As we look at communication, it might be helpful to look at communication like an economy between two villagers in a marketplace. In ancient times if one had sheep and wanted potatoes an exchange or barter would occur, a price would be negotiated, and both parties were aware of the transaction.

Communication in everyday life works in a similar way. Our trade carts are filled with a jumble of words and experience and we wish to trade these goods for produce that we find usable.  We wish to trade with other people in the market through the road of communication.

Before we continue down this analogy, it is imperative that we answer a question. “Why do we talk?”  We all have lots of words and phrases to sell at the market place, but we need to answer what it is that we are trying to ‘buy’ with our words.  It would be ridiculous to go to the market place and not know what we plan to buy, yet how many times do we engage in a conversation and do not know what it is that we are planning on accomplishing or purchasing with our words?

As in any economy each set of goods can be broken down into categories.  In communication 2ancient times textiles might be traded for produce, or livestock for pottery.  In order to simplify transaction money was invented to represent and simplify the process, yet the marketplace still runs on that basic principle.

The main currency that we all possess in language is information.  Just like currency, we use this information in the form of words to buy goods at the market place of conversation.  Suppose a child wants to buy the praise of a teacher.  He will use the information he possess (the right answer) to buy praise from the teacher.  A transaction has occurred, as well as a trade agreement.  If this transaction continues the relation will grow stronger and the dividends for the student will be greater praise which he then will exchange for other goods be it, respect, happiness, or even a scholarship.

Just as it would be foolish to go into the marketplace without understanding transactions or what one wishes to buy, it is equally foolish to enter into a conversation without understanding what it is that you are buying or selling.  In fact, that ignorance will leave you frustrated and taken advantage of.  Sadly, a great number of people enter the marketplace, throw out their word currency and hope to get the goods they desire.

It would be wise before any of us talk to mentally ask the question, “What am I trying to buy with my words? (Pr 10:19)  If I do not know what I am expecting to get out of a conversation, I am guaranteed not to get it.

Another question to ask, “Is what I want going to last?”  Am I spending my limited currency on worthless trinkets?  If I enter into the conversational market place and blow all of my words on self-adoration where I am the hero of all of my stories, it may feel good for a while, but have I counted the long term cost?  I may have happy feelings temporality, but I will have no goods to sell in return after wasting my currency on frivolity.  A good business stays in business because the products that it sells are quality and useful.  If my words are not useful to anyone else, those with quality or useful wares will quit frequenting my store, and I will be left to trade with others who do not value words.  The great investors of the world are wealthy because they saw the value of an asset and were willing to trade their money for the asset.

Another great question to ask ourselves is, “What type of currency am I using?”      (Pr communciation25:11) Am I hoping to gain respect from other people, then my words must also be filled with respect.  I could buy a lot of straw with an ounce of gold, but I would not buy much gold with a wagon of straw.  If my words are not precious or carefully chosen, I will not be able to purchase the item of quality I desire.  A mother may wish dearly to have her children obey, but if she does not choose wisely her angry words may buy her disrespect.  The quality of my goods will depend on the quality of my currency.

What is it that you try to buy with your words?

What words do you possess that others would want to buy from you?

What are ways that you could increase the value of your words?

Six Year Old Theologian

Six Year Old Theologian

As Einstein once related, “If you cannot explain something to a six year old, you do not understand it yourself.”

I wanted to post an assignment for my Knowing God class.children-788782_1280

For this assignment, write out how you explain God’s love to a six year old by answering these questions.  Each answer should have at least one Scripture verse included in the explanation.  (If you can find a real child (5-8) you can walk the child through the questions and give a verbal explanation to the class instead of writing it out.)

How did God show His love to everyone?

How does God want us to show our love? (make sure you stay away from guilting them to love)

What things make God happy? (make sure you think through the reasons why we do certain actions)

If God loves us, why does He give us so many rules?

How did a Bible character show God love?

 

 

Dear Representative of the People

Dear Representative of the People,

I have been deeply concerned by the recent debate and unofficial regulations regarding the transgender bathroom use, and I urge you to not succumb to the political pressure of our day at the expense of our children.  So you know that I am not simply jumping on the bandwagon of social media, I consistently work with members of the LGBT community, have read the documents including title IX and the presidential letter to school districts, and counsel youth and adults whose basic human rights have been violated.

Many differing reasons have been given for the allowance of transgender bathroom privileges.  When boiled down, the arguments seem to all include the ideas of fairness and dignity.  The most succinct evidence of this is shown in Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin’s statement, “This is a truly significant moment not only for transgender young people but for all young people, sending a message that every student deserves to be treated fairly and supported by their teachers and schools.”[1]

The idea is repeated by President Obama, “We’re talking about kids… potentially they are vulnerable. I think that it is part of our obligation as a society to make sure that everybody is treated fairly, and our kids are all loved, and that they’re protected and that their dignity is affirmed.”[2]
I would submit that the dignity of the individual is destroyed by the support of legislation allowing transgenders to decide which bathroom they feel most comfortable with as well as the more moderate approach of building special bathrooms for transgender use.  The individual dignity is destroyed by these types of legislation, and we are confusing our children in several areas.

     First, we are modeling for this vulnerable generation that dignity is something that can be bestowed upon us from outside of ourselves.  If my dignity is able to be given me by my government, then it can also be taken away by the same entity.  If society can give me dignity, then society can take it away.  Should the government mandate who can be invited to after school parties or which players should be selected for the football quarterback based on their own self-identification?

     Second, we are commending the destruction of our society by supporting anarchy.[3]  By supporting such legislation, in the name of love or dignity, we are supporting nihilism and moral anarchy.  Catering to this type of legislation undermines the very fibers that hold all societies together.  This is not to say that transgenders using the same restroom will destroy a nation, but that the driving philosophy behind the legislation is acidic to the foundations of any civilization.  Actions like these are training our children to be the moral compass.

Third, we are confusing our children not simply genetically, but morally.  We train them in school to believe that they can identify their own gender based on a subjective standard, but then preach to them that actions of bullying and terrorism are wrong.  “What if I self-identify as a bully?  What if bullying makes me feel affirmed and dignified?”  This seems to be a dual standard.  It is impossible to have a moral statement without a moral anchor.

Fourth, we are confusing our children by telling them that what they do determines their value.  By refusing to allow bathroom legislation you are not attacking anyone’s dignity, but affirming that dignity is not based on the actions of an individual.  Refusing a policy change is not a value statement on the individual or an attack against Trans-lives matter.  If that were the case, I would also say that murderers lives matter, and we should also have a rapist bathroom and schools that teach acceptance of torture and infanticide.  In fact when taken to its logical conclusion, regardless of your belief, you could not disagree with me without viciously attacking my dignity.

     Fifth, we are confusing our children by following the Luciferin narrative that humans can determine meaning and morality.  We are teaching our kids that meaning and morality can come from society untethered from God’s laws.  The same Bible that condemns murder, rape, and pedophilia also clearly states that man’s meaning and dignity do not come from ourselves, but from our relation to Jesus Christ. If we hold open the door for choosing one’s own standards, we are setting a precedent for more violence in our society.  If men and women like yourself are not courageous enough to stand up with a clear voice against this mafia style “love” enforcement and show that morality is not subjective, we will see an increase in Columbine or Roseburg type shootings.

I am not in favor of the denigration of people in society, but I want to encourage you that the rejection of the new bathroom policies is not an act of aggression against people of a varying view point, but is actually an act of love.  It is an act of love that seeks to stand with a clear voice warning the next generation of the effects of mistaken ideologies.

As a fellow concerned citizen, I urge you to stand against politicians playing philosophical Russian Roulette with the lives of our children and oppose any legislation that would seek to confuse our children and undermine the foundations of dignity and morality.

 

Daniel Mielke

7th Congressional District

Polk County, WI

 

[1] http://abcnews.go.com/US/obama-administration-public-schools-transgender-students-access-bathrooms/story?id=39081956

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/17/us/politics/obama-defends-transgender-directive-for-school-bathrooms.html

[3] A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy.  Friedrich Nietzsche argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history. http://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/

 

Lies We Tell Ourselves

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Are there lies that we tell ourselves?  If we are truthful, we know we are very good at lying to ourselves (Jer 17:9). We have become so good at this skill, that we believe our lies make good enough excuses to fool other people. Ironically, once we have believed our contortions of reality, we view those who do not agree as foolish for not entering our pseudo-world. One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves in this pseudo-world is that spiritual things have a class of their own.

Since reality has a way of uncovering falsehood.  Let’s take a look at some of the arguments often given for spiritual apathy and see how well the same arguments would line up in reality.

  1. “I am too tired to read the Bible.” “I am too tired to eat food.”gym 2
  1. “I don’t go to church because it is filled with hypocrites.” “I don’t go to the gym because I’ve seen fat people there.”
  1. “I don’t go to church because it is all about money.” “I don’t go to Wal-mart, Target, or any business, because they are about making money.”

 

  1. “I don’t read the Bible because I don’t understand it.” “I don’t use computers because I don’t know binary code.”

 

  1. “The preacher preached directly at me.” “The doctor prescribed medication to fit my situation.”

 

  1. “I am against organized religion.” “I am against certified mechanics, carpenters, or USDA approved food.”

 

  1. “I am waiting to fix a few things in my life before joining a church.” “I think I need to lose 20 pounds before I join the gym.” doctor-563428__180.jpg
  1. “I have too much baggage.” “I am too sick to go to the hospital.”
  1. “My parents used to make me go to church.” “I will recant from potty training, nap taking, and eating solid foods.”
  1. “I felt too convicted at church.” “I quit looking at the mirror.”
  1. “My pastor won’t understand my problems.” “What would a mechanic know about fixing a car?”
  1. “They tried to convince me to change.” “The traffic controller wouldn’t let me pass.”
  1. “I don’t go to church because people judge.” “I will not watch any movies or read books that have had reviews.”
  1. “I cannot go to a place with such high expectations.” “I think the military should lower its standards.”
  1. “The church wasn’t there for my physical needs.” “I called all the bars, and they wouldn’t give me any money.”
  1. “I can’t go to a church that doesn’t care about my feelings.” “Please don’t operate on me doctor, it hurts when you cut out cancer.”

God has made it perfectly clear that the very purpose of a church is to help us see past our own lies and excuses, that we me be perfected by His truth.  So next time you are confronted with reality, be thankful for a church body or friend who is willing to grow with you in Christ-likeness.

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

 

 

 

 

Super Hero Training Part 2

Last week we looked at some of the basic super powers God has given every believer. This is the default setting for all believers, yet to each church God gives special gifts to accomplish His Capttask and purpose (Eph 4:12). Sort of like the Avengers team, these gifts must all be used in the proper order. Hulk is good at smashing, Captain America is good at leading and to reverse these roles or trade gifts would be disastrous.

This team principle is exactly what happened in Acts 6:1-6. The Apostles were truly gifted at studying, preaching, and praying, but there were some serious physical needs in the church. So God brought up some men with “super powers” specific to the need of the church.

When our A-Team runs into problems is when we start working in areas that we have no super powers (Hulk starts thinking). We continually look at people through the lens of our own super power. “If they were spiritual they would teach a Sunday school class like me…. If they cared about church they would have people over more often….” And we forget that some have the gift of teaching while others the gift of hospitality.

That which upsets us most in our relationships is probably someone else’s gift shining through.

Another aspect that often happens in churches is the gift of God is never exercised (I Tim 1:6). If your gift is not used, it is impossible to stay attentive at church, and you will get restless and eventually frustrate others. Think about it, if God sent you to a church according to Ephesians 4:11-16 you are there to serve the A-Team. Anything else but service, is selfishness and the whole team suffers.

The team will suffer in many ways. First they will not have your specific talent, so either the important task will go undone or someone who is not qualified or gifted will have to fill your place, both are disastrous.

Secondly, you will start getting restless.  The Spirit that indwells you and gifts you will let you know that you are squandering His gifts.  There will be no peace for a believer that refuses to submit and serve (Eph 5:18, Phil 4:7).

As restlessness steps in, the very next step will be a spirit of criticism and disunity.  Instead of seeing the benefit of playing together, we will expect everyone to “pass us the ball.”  We become individuals instead of a team as we seek confirmation for our own abilities and perspective.

Finally, if the gift is not exercised, we will feel lost and out of place.  Instead of putting on our work boots and seeing the skills and talents we all posses, we will live in isolation.  Soon we will feel like nobody understands us, and find a need to justify our lack of service.

The worst side effect of isolation is that we cut ourselves off from the gifts of the body designed by God to help us grow, and doom ourselves to immaturity.

God has given us all gifts and talents and expects them to be used for Him and His glory.

So to make it personal, what tasks could you do at your specific local church?  What special talents do you have?  How could they meet the needs of your A-Team?

Where Are Our Heroes?

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“Who will protect us?” While thousands of families across the globe, mourn over the recent heinous attacks of terror, the question rages, “Where are the heroes?”

We are inspired by stories of devotion and personal sacrifice. We rightly rejoice at the thwarted terrorist attack on a Paris bound train last summer by three Americans (Spencer Stone, Aleksander Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler). We stand and remove our hats as our men and women go off to war, and then we complain, criticize and reject everything they do for us.

“A nation that forgets its heroes will itself soon be forgotten.” Calvin Coolidge

Where are our heroes, I will tell you, we have killed them. LikThe_Last_HOPEe the warriors of Vietnam we have rejected them. We have driven them off. When they return bloody and battle warn, we have refused them solace. Their tales of protection are discouraged. We are a nation in danger of losing our protection, because we have rejected our heroes.

Sadly, I am reminded of the same pattern in Christendom. Where are our heroes? Where are the Jonathan Edwards, the Moody’s, or the Billy Sundays that will boldly proclaim the truth of the Gospel? Where are the men that against the forces of evil would lead the charge and storm the gates of hell? Where are the men that would stand in the gap and wage war against the darkness that threatens to overtake us?

I will tell you, we have killed them. We see no need for warriors of a forgotten age that would stand unwaveringly for truth. Our churches have embraced neutered views of godliness. We have rejected, “Thus saith the Lord!” and replaced it with, “Listen to what I feel!” Therefore men of strength are unwelcome and even hated. Our churches have fulfilled the prophecy of the Apostle Paul, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” (2Ti 4:3)

When challenged by the Words of God through these rugged men, we have slain them. The truth becomes too hard for our softened shero8ouls. They enter the pulpit in full armor. With quivering voice and the boldness of meekness (submission to God) honed through years prostrate on their knees, these heroes reach into their scabbard and unveil the sword of God. They boldly lead the charge to follow our Captain…!

Our reaction to such heroism? We gnash our teeth. “How dare he speak such things, a true prophet of the Lord would not let me feel this way?” We cringe at the audacity as the double edged blade comes down with such force penetrating our defenses. We justify ourselves. We borrow from the worldly arsenal and hurl atheistic ideologies of self-worth and validation. We forget that the very barbs of malice were forged by God haters[1] to remove any ounce of the natural occurrence of guilt from violating God’s Word

     We cannot endure the truth, our desires of comfort and rights have grown so large. We must defend ourselves at any cost or our pleasure will be lost. [2]

What is our reward for rejecting our heroes?

If we do not embrace our heroes, we will be forced to submit to that which they protected us from.

I am reminded of Roger Sherman’s haunting words. A man whohero was willing to sacrifice all by signing the Declaration of Independence. “Sad will be the day when the American people forget their traditions and their history, and no longer remember that the country they love, the institutions they cherish, and the freedom they hope to preserve, were born from the throes of armed resistance to tyranny, and nursed in the rugged arms of fearless men.”

It is popular today in Christendom to herald boldness as unloving, but we must realize that we cannot claim to love God and hate or run from the truth. We need military heroes who will stand up to the destructive force of terrorist groups such as ISIS or Al Qaeda and protect the weak and innocent.

      In the same way, we need warriors who have submitted themselves to God’s commands and will protect the weak/immature believers from acts of terror.

Bloodied and weary these great warriors wander on. Rejected for faithfulness, hated for protection. We forget the wounds thero7hat they bare were received in battles, protecting us. As their Master, they have no place of welcome to lay their head. Where are our heroes? We have rejected them. To the heroes who love their Lord and the souls of men too much to lay down your sword, this is my prayer.

Rise up, oh men of God! Without you, the church is unequal to her task, rise up and in the power of the Gospel, boldly proclaim the truths of your commander. Let not one child sleep under your protection in fear, let not another person fall to the poison tongue of bitterness or deceit. Proclaim the truth! Shout above the din and clatter of demonic voices that would ravage and destroy Christ’s Bride. Make us believe again that heroes and giants, of whom the world is not worthy still live. We need you, please do not abandon us in our hour of desperate need.”

Please help encourage our wounded heroes by listing their names in the comment box, and then sharing this link with spiritual heroes that have protected you.

Thank you for your faithfulness to God. My Father Pastor Mielke is my hero, mom too.

My Pastors and Mentors are my heroes: Pastor Dennis Seiler, Pastor Lenard Hubscher, Pastor Greg Huffman, Pastor Shane Belding, Pastor John Schofield, Pastor John Macarthur

My Professors are my heroes: Pastor Ken Marsh, Dr. Hudson, Dr. Crane, Dr. Lumm, Pastor Dan Morrel, Dr. Casey, Jim  Calcamuggio, Dwight DePenning, Dr. Brownewell Dr. Marriot, Dr. Mayes, Dr. Oats, Dr. Moritz, Dr. Meyer,

(Thank you also to the wives of these men that sacrificed at home so they could mentor me. I am also grateful to the many supporters of ministries where these warriors have served.)

————–

[1] Many of the ideologies of validation and self-worth were created by men who found suicide a better alternative then submission to God, Freud, Nietzsche, etc.

[2] Sometimes we feel so horrible and it does not seem pleasurable. Yet we must realize that when God calls us to repentance, we have to be willing to let go and let Him deal with the consequences, and we are too comfortable in the safety of our sinful reactions.)

 

Are You a Terrorist?

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Are you a terrorist? Would the government ever consider you a terrorist? With the incredible amount of technology and the ability of our government to spy on its citizens at any moment would they ever convict you of being a terrorist? A terrorist as defined by the FBI, “Involve(s) violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law; Appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.”

Before you get nervous about the government locking you up for buying extra ammunition, or keyword searching your emails and Facebook, let’s break down some characteristics of terrorists.

     Terrorists have no outside authority. It may surprise you to know, that I am personal friends with several trained killers. I actually feel very safe military-81782_640when I am with my friends, and the reason for that, is my military friends do not have the luxury of killing whoever they choose. When I realize that they are under orders, I am actually safer and feel more protected with my military friends. Because they are under their commander’s authority.

How about us as Christians?  Do we continually submit our actions to God’s authority, or are we spiritual terrorists? A soldier can neither make up his own orders or get creative with the ones already delivered (II Tim 2:15). As Christians we are duty bound to follow our Commanding officer.

Terrorists fight for their own purposes. Before we get on our moral high horse and condemn the acts of terrorists (and they are wrong actions), let us take a moment to consider our own actions as Christians. Do I follow my own purposes? Do I seek to destroy people because they offended me? Do I point to other people’s wrongs to justify my own acts of hatred? Do I lash out with destructive accuracy?

If terrorists are wrong for acting on their own authority and their own purpose, should not I apply the same moral standard to my domestic acts of terror?

At core, am I acting any differently than a terrorist when I want my own way? According to the FBI part of the definition of a terrorist, Involve(s) acts dangerous to human life…. Appear intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” How many family members will I attack and tear down, in order to gain a piece of respect? How many friends will I coerce, so I can get what I want? How sweet will I be in order to get close enough to plant a bomb in someone else’s life if they do not give me what I want?

The problem with Christians is not that they have a difficult time standing and fighting, the problem is that we wage war continually against each other, in order to get what we want instead of what God wants. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your desires that war in your members? From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your desires that war in your members?” (James 4:1)

We must continually ask ourselves, “Am I upset, because God’s Kingship was called into question or mine?”

What does God want? What are the results of a true Holy War? Peace. Peace with God and then with each other. The Gospel is the message of good news of peace between God and man through the submission of my rebellious state (Rom 10:15). This submission to God through Christ, changes us from terrorists running around blowing things up for our own agendas and transforms us to mighty heavenly warriors with weapons that are unearthly. God’s weapons are those of truth, grace, and humility that can never be destroyed because they were forged in the armory of Heaven.

When I realize that I am included in the inheritance of God’s Kingdom, I do not have to fight and scrap for a measly piece of temporal ground. I become temperate and controlled as a warrior. Because I am no longer fighting for myself, I am able to boldly desire rebels (unbelievers and believers) to bow in submission to the commands of the Great King.

Ours is not a battle where the spoils are divided, but rather a call to submission where the Joy is shared.

     So back to the original question, “Am I a spiritual terrorist?” Do I continually submit to God’s authority as defined by the Bible? Do I try to coerce and force my own purposes on others? Our call to Christ’s service is clear, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2Co 5:20).