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New Lenses

Happy New Years and welcome to 2021.  We had the privilege of hosting our first event of the calendar year: the first in our new Gospel Basics series.  The title of the weekend was Gospel Worldview and in it we explored what a worldview is, how that leads to asking questions about beginnings and truth and eventually about God.  We also explored who God is and rediscovered that He is a Holy, creator, loving and just and much more!

Our discussion about world view seemed quite appropriate in light of all that’s been happening in our world as of late.  With blatant lies being told over and over again until they are accepted as truth - it has caused all of us to question the validity of what used to be trusted sources in the media, and unfortunately has led to innocent trustworthy casualties as we are led to ask - can anyone really be trusted anymore? What I’ve found even more interesting and frightening is the fact that we all seem to have willingly decided to give up some objectivity by viewing most important issues through external filters or lenses - and we do this willingly! 

The Uncomfortable Open Mic 

Have you ever been to a wedding where there was an open mic?  Do you remember that uncomfortable feeling when old uncle so and so headed for the mic (or perhaps it was the inappropriate long lost cousin).   We know intuitively that giving someone a microphone and an audience can be uncomfortable - especially when we aren’t sure about the credibility or appropriateness of the impending message.   Social media has kind of become like this where we have opinions and perceptions trumpeted for all the world to hear with no need for credibility or integrity required to earn the platform. The result of this has been a cacophony of noise for all to hear and has made understanding and discernment so difficult.  

Bad Lenses → Poor Sight

To make matters worse, our time and focus has been monetized by said social media platforms which has created a motivation for them to keep us engaged for longer periods of time - they do this by showing us more of what they think we want to hear (regardless of the credibility of the content) and before we realize it, we are experiencing much of our news about world events and opinions about moral issues through this lens of social media… the problem with looking through lenses is that they can drastically change what you see and how you perceive reality. It gives great power to the holder and shaper of those lenses!  A warped lens will make it very difficult for you to see the details of the events or issues properly or to walk in a straight line.

As we discussed world view with the retreaters in our first Gospel Basics retreat, I was reminded to check myself on what lenses were in front of my eyes as I thought about current events, politics, morality and spiritual issues.  The amount of time I spend viewing these things through the lens of social media platforms, the more prone I am to being pulled off into left field (or right field - not trying to make a political statement here).  

Back to 20/20

As a follower of Jesus, our primary call is to go and make disciples of Jesus, baptizing and teaching them how Jesus taught us to live (Matthew 28:18-20).  Our best bet to accomplish this is to go directly to the source - and often.  To read scripture directly and meditate on it - ask the Holy Spirit to help us make sense of it.  It’s not that listening to podcasts and sermons online is bad but be aware of what lens they are placing between you and God’s word.  Godly mentors help us - not by just telling us what God has said in His word but by equipping us to read and understand God’s word first hand.  Let’s stop settling for regurgitations and begin (or get back to) feasting on the fresh Word of God.

We have an opportunity at the beginning of a new year, during a time of division and confusion and upheaval to examine how we talk about God’s Word and to really ask ourselves - “Am I adding to what God’s word is trying to say?”  “Am I trying to make it say something that I hope it will say?” “ How can I just let the Word of God speak?”  

We need discipleship in this area because we’re saturated in a culture that struggles badly with the definition of truth and discernment.  I pray that you will take the opportunity to reflect on what lenses you’re wearing and maybe find time to renew your prescription with the Lord so you will have eyes to see and ears to hear (Matthew 13:11-16).  This is worth fighting for - so don’t give up.  Fight for that time in God’s word - read it for yourself and look for Godly mentoring that will point you to the Word.  Here’s to seeing clearly in 2021!

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