Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tattoo My Face, Pierce My Ear, My Nose, My Tongue, My . . .

Not long ago I went to a restaurant and had concerns when the wait staff assigned to my table had a tongue stud induced speech impediment, something gold protruding from the side of a nostril, and a gold loop through their left eyebrow. This event can left me wondering how sanitary can all that be? Especially a pierced tongue. If a waiter or waitress does not care appear to care about their own health, why should I think they care about mine?Maybe you have similar concerns . . . or not.

I admit that the preceding thoughts are just that . . .thoughts. They are my thoughts and that is all they are ultimately worth. Recently someone asked what the Bible says about tattoos and body piercing. After giving it some thought, I wanted to share my answer. Let me begin by saying that this article concerns multiple piercings and not an earring or two. It concerns what some call "body art" and not a personal tattoo.


What does the Bible say about piercing and tattoos?

There are two Old Covenant passages we should look at as we begin to find an answer. These two passages are part of the Laws God gave to Israel through Moses. They served a purpose for the people then and have a principle that applies to us.

  • Exodus 21:5-6 – "But if the servant plainly says, `I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,' then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever."(NKJV)

  • Leviticus 19:28 – "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord." (NKJV)

Exodus 21:5-6 is a law concerning masters and slaves. If a slave chose to continue in his master's service after being offered freedom, his master would pierce his ear signifying perpetual servanthood. The slave volunteered to be a servant for life. This passage has no specific application to the body piercing that is part of our culture. This passage does however teach us the depth of dedication we should have for our Lord and Master. Compare Romans 6:16-18 where Paul tells us that we are slaves of the one we obey.

Leviticus 19:28 is in the context of warnings of idolatrous worship. God gave Israel laws that prohibited them from imitating the ceremonies of those worshipping idols. The mutilating of the body in this passage is how many cultures mourned for their dead. They would cut their skin to show sorrow to their gods and neighbors. The tattoos were symbols in memory of the dead. (Pulpit Commentary, Vol II, p. 289.)

Again there is no specific correlation to our present culture of piercing or tattoos. The message for us is that we are "called out," separate from the world. Compare Deuteronomy 26:18 and Titus 2:14. Like Israel whom God called out as His own Special people, so are we as Christians today. We cannot allow ourselves to be molded by the world. This thought does speak to tattoos and piercings. Who am I trying to be like? Who am I molding myself after? Am I imitating God or the world?

Now we need to turn to the New Covenant. Paul talks about jewelry in 1 Timothy 2:9-10. " . . . Women adorn (yourselves) in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works."

Paul is contrasting the worship of the true God with worship of idols. Worship of idols was a social event. Participants wore their best to impress each other and to impress the gods. Paul is telling Christian women that godliness and good works are more important to God, not how much gold they can wear. This passage teaches that we are to always be modest in our manner of dress. We (men, women, boys and girls) are not to dress to attract undue attention to ourselves. We live life to give glory to God and not to self. Peter says the same thing to wives in 1 Peter 3:3-4.

So what does the Bible teach about body piercing and tattoos? It says very little. What can we say then? Is it wrong to pierce my ear, nose, eyebrow, tongue, etc.? It is sinful to cover my body with tattoos? To answer in one word, "yes." Yes, if I am doing it to draw unnecessary attention to myself. It seems that the motivation behind today's cultural tattoos and piercings is to get attention. It is ostentatious, self-serving, and rebellious in nature, and that is what makes many tattoos and piercings wrong.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Widows Worthy of Honor

Lamuel's mother lists the Godly attributes of a worthy woman in Proverbs 31. Paul describes widows who are worthy in 1 Timothy 5:4ff. Yesterday evening my family and I had an often repeated treat. One of the widows from Parrish invited us into her home as she does regularly for my family and many others in the congregation. This time however we brought a couple of extras in tow (my parents). This kind sister knew they were in town and specifically invited all five of us to have dinner with her. What a spread! A true fellowship feast! We sat down to fresh field peas, coleslaw, fresh cream corn, corn bread, chicken fried steak, boiled potatoes, fried okra, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced onion, macaroni and cheese, and for desert a home-made chocolate pie. I know I am forgetting something! The meal was wonderful and the hospitality worthy of mention.

I wish every congregation had a lady like our Sister Lorene. I owe her a big thanks for opening her home to us so often and especially for including my parents in this invitation. If more Christians were like this great sister, then maybe we could have a better influence on the world because they would see our love!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ivy Green


Yesterday was a day full of adventure. My parents are up from Florida visiting with us for Memorial Day Weekend and for our son's 6th grade promotion. We had a picnic in a field, drove through Wm. Bankhead National Forest, but the height of yesterday's long drive was a trip to Tuscumbia to visit the birthplace of Helen Keller. There is something inspiring about her story as well as that of her teacher Anne Sullivan. The grit and determination that these two had makes for a dramatic encounter and an "eye opening" adventure for both of them.

The fever that left Helen Keller deaf and blind as a toddler combined with her intellect created a desire for her to learn all that she could (once Ms. Sullivan and Miss Keller had a famous "break-through" at a water pump). Miss Keller graduated from college in a day when few women had degrees and when fewer blind or deaf people graduated much less one who was both deaf and blind.

Gone are all my excuses. No longer can you and I who have less disadvantages say, "I can't." We can and we will. Especially, when we are working for God.

Scott

Friday, May 22, 2009

Meet Bryant

Some of you already know Bryant Evans and may already read his blog. His recent blog about Internet pornography is a good read. You can find his blog HERE

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Turning Point part III

If you did not read Tuesday and Wednesday's blog, go back and catch up. This is the conclusion of My Turning Point.

I did not know then how I would serve him, I just knew I would. During my Junior High School years, I planned to play off-side guard for the Boston Celtics and help guide them to World Championships. I would use the fame and fortune of stardom to help people in the name of God. By the end of my Sophomore year of High School I became aware that colleges were not looking for average skill level players. Add to that fact that a driver's license and a 1967 Mercury Comet that needed fuel and a few repairs required income, so basketball became a PE and backyard sport and I stopped playing on a team after that season. Now that hoop dreams were just that – dreams, I began to find enjoyment in biological sciences.

I began thinking back to the care I received in the hospital. I realized I could serve God as a Pediatrician, I might even make a little money too! I soaked up the information we learned in Anatomy and Physiology. My lab partner, who would be class Valedictorian wanted to be a Brain Surgeon (he is by the way), I was going to be a Pediatrician, and we fed off each other all year. Yet, I had concerns. All the schooling and the long hours of a medical doctor might interfere with regularly assembling with a congregation and may keep me too busy to serve the God the way I wanted too.

Then my English and American Literature teachers began placing a heavy challenge on us. They started making us write – every week! We had to expound poetry, review novels, write research papers, compose reactions to the papers of other students, and write about current events. This may not seem pivotal, but when career day came our guidance counselors suggested that we look at what we wrote about and what we enjoy reading about to help us determine what we might want to do with our lives. Somehow, every other paper I wrote brought in a spiritual point, even a paper on Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea. My English teacher gave me the highest marks she could on my research paper entitled, “The Existence of God.” There was a theme evident in my writing.

God kept showing through. Like Jeremiah who said, “If I say, 'I will not mention Him, or speak anymore in His name,' there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot,” (Jer 20:9 – ESV), I could not help but mention the God who delivered me. I still cannot. Could I serve God as a Pediatrician? Yes! But not full time. Not the way I felt he deserves from me. I knew I could have a greater impact for God by using my gift of communication. I wanted to use my talents to point people to Him and his saving power (Rom 1:16). By my Senior year, I determined to preach. That is how I could serve God to the best of my ability, I was fulfilling a promise made a decade earlier. I am still trying to keep my promise.

What about you? Here is something for you to think about: How will you use the events and opportunities in your life for God? (cf. Eph 5:15-16; Col 4:5).

Have a great day! Thanks for letting me share!
Scott

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Turning Point part II

If you did not read part one click here:

A young college-age student was returning home from dropping her little sister off at school, when she could not avoid hitting a 7 year old pedestrian who darted out in front of her 1970's era Chevrolet Impala. Only when I became an adult did I really begin to understand the emotions that ran through this young lady that day. Doug tells how after seeing me bounce off the bumper of the car like a rag doll and then skip head first across the gravel, he ran all the way home to get Mom. Mom tells of her disbelief and panicked realization. Only as a parent raising a boy that is too similar to my father's middle son, do I realize the pain my parents experienced that summer. All the plans for the Summer had to change. All the hopes for a 7 year old boy were put on hold. Yet even with all the hurt and disappointment the events of the summer of 1974 brought; there remains evidence of a silver, if not golden, lining.

Let me interject here that I do not believe the Bible teaches that every event in life is predetermined. I do not think God causes every event or allows every event in order to work His purpose. I do however believe that His people can take the events of life, both good and bad, and at the least learn from them, or even to help them in their walk with God. The life of Saul of Tarsus (the apostle Paul) exemplifies this point. Paul was not necessarily imprisoned because God wanted him there - Paul taught the gospel and man arrested him. While incarcerated Paul would use his talents for God and would convert many – a jailer in Philippi, a run away slave named Onesimus, and some in Caesar's household.

We did not get to make our excursion out West and we did not get a Color TV. I wondered how I was going to be the ring bearer in a wedding if I could not walk. I found out that my walking was the least of my parents worries. I have no memory of the first three days in ICU at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital. Later I would learn that there were moments in those early days when medical professionals questioned my survival, and my ability to learn to walk if I survived. The three weeks that followed are full of memories – nurses, doctors, family, and church folk visiting me. Then there were the cards. All four walls of my room had cards all over them. Cards from school friends, cards church friends, cards from family, and cards from people I did not know but Mom and Dad did. What an impact! I began then to realize that there were a lot of people that cared about me and wanted me to get better. Rick Bird and Mary-Lou Favorite still wanted me in their wedding, they would even let me use a wheel chair or crutches if I had too. I learned the power of encouragement. Those encouraging cards, visits, and messages led to the development of a personality trait:

Determination! I did not know that word then, but I developed the trait. I determined that I was going to get out of the hospital and would walk with out crutches in time for the wedding. After nine weeks (three in the hospital and six at home in a cast up to my waist), I received crutches. After a couple of weeks using the crutches, I put them aside and walked with that pillow and the rings up the aisle for the wedding.

Determination! I determined to do what I could to make people happy. I determined to help people have a reason to laugh, or at least to smile, especially children.

Determination! I promised God that I would be His person if He would help me through. He did! My favorite Bible story from as far back as I can remember was of Hannah promising Samuel to God in service to Eli the priest. In the hospital, while in bed at home, and when in that reclined wheel chair, I thought about the young boy Samuel who heard God's voice. I thought about what he must have felt like being away from his mother contrasted with the thrill of serving God. A few years later, when I was old enough to decide for myself I gave my life to God in Christ. I confessed my faith to the congregation and the preacher buried me in the blood of Christ lowering me into the waters of baptism. I came up from that event of faith as a newborn child of God, ready to serve the Lord of my life.

More tomorrow -- tune back in.
Scott

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Turning Point

May 15, 1974 was a turning point in my life. That Wednesday literally changed not only the summer of my seventh year, but when combined with the day and weeks that followed played a major impact on making me who I am. The anniversary of that day came and went this past Friday, I spent a few moments reflecting on that day. I wanted to share my reflections with you.

That mid-week day started out like any other school day. My brother, Doug, and I finished our breakfast (either cereal or a pop-tart along with a glass of milk or juice) and headed out the door. Mom stayed at the house taking care of my baby brother, so we walked as we did everyday to wait for our ride to school. Coach Rick Bird was our ride to school. Rick was the preacher's son and was soon to marry one of my Bible Class teachers at church, they had asked me to be their ring bearer.

Two weeks of school remained before summer break. That summer had great promise. We were going to travel out West, we were going to see the Grand Canyon and maybe California. We had even talked about an excursion into the southern part of Canada. We were also getting a Color TV! Summer was beckoning, but we had to endure the last few days of school before all those magical moments of Summer could come true.

While we waited for Coach Bird, we played our usual games: floating leaves in the street gutters, bouncing loose road gravel down the road or splashing them in a puddle, or watching ants scurry to work to rebuild a foot-sized section of their anthill. Doug was looking for something to float or toss when he found a treasure – a steel ring – not a shower curtain ring mind you, this was one solid piece that rang when you dropped in on the concrete curb. After investigating it, he asked if I wanted it. The ring was cool, but if Doug who was 5 years older and a wise 13 year old wanted it, I was not going to fight him for it (at least not before school). I said, “No.”

What happened next set up a chain of events that neither Doug nor I will ever forget. He decided that the ring was of little value and checked out its aerodynamics by tossing it as far as he could across the road into the yard on the other side. I could not believe he did not want such I treasure! Now I wanted it. After a short altercation on the seemingly invalid point of my originally not wanting it, Doug said, “If you want it that bad, go get it!' I did. I looked both ways, crossed the road and went after my treasure. After looking and not seeing it, I looked at my brother for help. He said something about going to miss our ride, so I started back across the road. Here is where my memory gets a little fuzzy I recall this in slow motion. I looked to the left – no cars. I looked to the right – two cars, the last a little red hatchback. I took off, forgetting to look back to the left. That was my mistake. A mistake that would change my summer, my family's summer, and ultimately much of my life.

To be continued . . . tune in tomorrow.

Scott

Monday, May 18, 2009

Top Ten Realities of 2009

From the Home Office in Oakman, Alabama . . .

10. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

9. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

8. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.

7. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

6. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

5. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

4. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

3. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

2. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee (tea, juice, milk).

And the number on reality of 2009 . . .

1. You have more friends on twitter and Facebook than you do in your office.

That last one hurts, and admittedly, I considered number 5 on a few occasions. I find it interesting how technology affects humanity. Things that come about to be conveniences soon become necessities or even worse begin to control us.


Today our ability to communicate via text-messaging, Twitter, FB, IM's, and the like may connect us to more people, but are they disconnecting us from the society around us? How are you interacting with real people? You and I may have a good influence for God and Truth in the cyber-world and neglect to have an impact where we are! We cannot allow the prince of this world to keep us from turning people toward Christ, by keeping us busy in a cyber-only society. We must stay connected with the people in our neighborhood. Take time today to have a positive impact on someone you come across.

Have a great day!
Scott

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance

May 1985, I was where three of our young people here at Parrish are in their lives. Like Jenny, Heather, and Dakota, I was about to walk across a stage and receive that piece of paper I spent my life working for. I had plans, I had dreams, and some of them came about.

I would finish the summer as a steak cook and apprentice butcher, mow a few yards for extra cash, spend some time with fellow graduates, then it was off to Montgomery, Alabama to begin college at Faulkner University. There I would sing in the chorus on scholarship and learn how to become a preacher from men like Wendell Winkler, Carl Cheatham, Eris Benson, Ken Randolph, Leonard Johnson, Donnie Hilliard, Levi Sides, and others.

Overall things turned out great for me. There were a few speed bumps and pot-holes in the road to here, and I had to attend the UHK as well (University of Hard Knocks) to get where I am now, but I have no real complaints.

Now, twenty-four years later -- I cannot fathom (or I refuse to fathom) that I am old enough to say that -- I am married to a wonderful woman (Amy, the love of my life and my bride of 20 years this August). We have a bright, talented, 11 year old young Christian man for a son (can you tell I am proud of him). We work and worship with a great group of like-minded folk at Parrish Church of Christ (10 years this July!), and we live in a great small town where people still seem to care about each other. I knew that May in 1985 that life held great things for me, life has proven that true. I look forward to what the next quarter of a century brings.

Beyond that, I look forward to the day we all graduate from this physical life and enter eternity with God in heaven. I hope to see you there. Do you think we will get to throw our hats in the air when He says, "Welcome home, my child, enter in!"? I know I will want too.

Scott

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Really, Really Big Word

Pnuemonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. That is one of the longest words in English. Everett Smith coined this word in 1935, he was trying to come up with a word that would be the longest in the English language. His efforts paid off; according to online dictionaries, pnuemonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a pulmonary disorder caused by inhaling microscopic silicon ash to the point that the ash accumulates in the lungs and causing breathing problems, including hyperventilation, coughing, and increased susceptibility to tuberculosis. You know the chronic form of this disorder by another name - Black Lung Disease.

Well, Mr. Smith I have another word for you: “pnuematheonagonepiosporeuomaikatalogosaletheia.” Alright, I admit that my word is more Greek than English. But I think it is a good word none-the-less, and maybe it will catch on. I think my word is descriptive of who you and I should be. Come to think of it, since I am suggesting that we live up to this word, you may want to know what my word means. My word to describe you and me comes from studying and applying

  • Romans 8:14, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God,”

  • 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light . . .”

  • 2 Tim 2:15, “. . . rightly handling the word of truth.”

Pnuematheonagonepiosporeuomaikatalogosaletheia means: Spirit of God led children walking according to the word of truth. I believe the apostle Paul would agree with me. Do you agree?

- Scott

source: http://tinyurl.com/qfbxws

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's Yours?

First things first -- Happy Birthday, Amy. I am privileged that you call me your husband.

Now on to this morning's drive. As I was detouring through Jasper this morning, I began singing without the radio. I was singing one of my favorite hymns -- Nearer, Still Nearer (by Lelia N. Morris, 1898). I love this song for a couple of reasons:
  1. The words and music go hand in hand. This is not always the case with church songs. Some songs have great lyrics, but the music takes away from the message. Others have great musical themes, but the words are trite or sometimes archaic.
  2. The message of the song is a great, life-long desire; to be ever nearer to God and Christ. I long for the day when I am near to Christ in heaven and can walk and talk with Him face to face.
  3. Verses 2 and 3 of the song break my heart and humble my spirit.
Nearer, still nearer, nothing I bring,
Naught as an off'ring to Jesus my King,
Only my sinful, now contrite heart;
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.

Nearer, still nearer, Lord, to be Thine;
Sin, with its follies, I gladly resign,
All of its pleasures, pomp and its pride;
Give me but Jesus, my Lord crucified.

As I wipe the tears from my eyes and bow my head in prayer asking to grow nearer to God, I ask you - What is your favorite church (worship) song?

Have a great day!
Scott

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Fishing Story


This is not about one that got away, although I have a few of those to tell. This is about a deep sea fishing trip from a few years ago. This story is on my mind because I am planning to go out from Destin, FL next month to bring in a Grouper, Amberjack, or Mahi-Mahi. I'll try to take good pics and have a story to share then as well.

Today's story is about a trip some men from the church I was with took about 12 years ago. It was a nice day in May, or at least it started out that way. We headed out for the gulf getting ready for a great day of fishing. Much to our surprise, and I am guessing the captain and deckhands surprise as well, we ran into a squall-line out in the gulf. Somehow we had all missed the small craft advisory. On board we had the experienced deckhands, a few retired Naval seaman, a couple of Air Force pilots and navigators, and an avid sailor and boat owner. Then there were the rest of us; a handful of experienced land-lubbers. When we hit the squall line the wind and waves began to rock the boat. Waves crashed over the sides, deckhands began running around with a panicked look. Experienced sailors and seasoned deckhands were leaning over the rails. I decided to take matters into my own hands . . . I went down below into the galley to pray and to look for Jesus so I could wake Him up so he would still the stormed seas!

Needless to say, he was not there physically, but He was there to talk too. As I prayed for safety, I thought about the disciples in the boat on Galilee. I immediately understood their fears, I understood their desire for help.

This event made me think. Do I pray regularly, or only when there is an emergency? How often do you pray?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Marriage Season


I attended Faulkner University as an undergraduate and completed my Bachelors in Bible in 1989. While there many joked about April and May being the month the guys on campus began thinking about what their girlfriends were thinking since the Fall . . . . Marriage. As a minister, I perform a few weddings each year and many of them are during the Summer months. As I was thinking about this morning I thought I would share some advice from my 20 years of marriage. (BTW - The picture to the right proves I am the luckiest man on earth.) This is for the men and women who are not married, who want to be married, who recently married, and who are celebrating decades of marriage. The advice is simple. I guarantee that this advice will help you in your marriage. Are you ready? Here it is:

Be the right person! Profound advice this morning. Take a look at 1 Pet 3:1-7,
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."

Although Peter is speaking specifically to wives, much of what he says applies to husbands as well. We each need to focus as much, if not more, time on who we are on the inside as we spend on our outside. Below is a list of ten traits that will make me a better husband, and you a better spouse:
  • Be Unselfish
  • Be Patient
  • Have Sense of Humor
  • Be Trusting
  • Be Forgiving
  • Be Honest
  • Be Adaptable
  • Practice Self-Discipline
  • Be Trust Worthy
  • Be Able to Apologize
God Bless,

Scott

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thank You, Teachers


Today is Teacher Appreciation Day in the US. Accordingly, I would like to take the opportunity to say thanks to:

Mrs. Farley (Kindergarten - the picture above is from my Kindergarten promotion at ECS a long time ago. I am on the far left.), Ms. Simon (1st Grade), Miss Lagrone (2nd), Mrs. Ellis (3rd), Mrs. Nelson (4th), Mrs Gulsby (5th), Coach Akers, Mrs Reynolds, Mrs Sprague (the Middle School Years), and way too many in High School to remember you all, but a special thanks to Mrs. Pain (Algebra), Mrs. Gibson (Chorus), and all my English and Literature Teachers. All my professors at Faulkner University as well as Troy State and Freed deserve a mention and of note are two of my Bible instructors that have left this physical life Wendell Winkler and Leonard Johnson these two men had more impact than they will ever know.

Now on to all those who have taught and are currently teaching my son - thank you and bless you for all the effort you put into the education of our children in this area.

James record that Teachers of God's Word have a heavy responsibility; I think the same goes for teachers on any level. You have a difficult task and you are deeply appreciated.

THANKS,

Scott McCown

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Video Blog

video

I don't like the still that Blogger chose, but I do not know how to change it :-(

Have a fun out there today!
Scott

Monday, May 4, 2009

Four Questions - OK Five

A great Sunday at Parrish. Attendance was good for both services and Bible Classes despite severe weather and allergies. Worship both times was uplifting as Ryan Mullinax lead us in singing Sun AM and his dad, Keith lead our worship Sunday evening. Ryan is one of our great young adults at Parrish, he was a teen at Oakman High School when we moved here a decade ago. Now as a young father of two (about to be three), a high school science teacher, baseball coach, and football coach, he is also a leader at Parrish. Ryan and Britney are a great asset to our church family.

Sunday mornings sermon consisted of four questions and a fifth one as a concluding thought. Here are the questions along with a thought about each one:
  1. Who do you love? That question seems simple enough. Since I asked this in a sermon, you know the answer was God, Christ, Church, or maybe your spouse. But then again, there are other things that we love. Answer question number 2 to really see who you love?
  2. What is your focus? Paul says in 2 Cor 4:18 that the things that are seen are transient, and the unseen things are eternal. John says the world and its desires are passing away (1 Jn 2:17). Stop for a moment, what do you spend most of your time doing? Do you focus on entertainment, business, sports, family, or self? What you spend time with is your focus, and I dare say your focus on what or who you love. Who you love and what you focus on determines your answer to question three:
  3. Who (what) do you worship? One definition of an idol is anything that takes the place of God in our priorities. In modern western culture we can list a few idols quickly: entertainment, self, money, sexuality, and sports. That last one even has temples (stadiums), high priests (star athletes), vestments (uniforms), congregants/devotees (fans), and rituals (music, seventh inning stretch, etc.) Who do you worship?
  4. Now, what will we do? James says to put away the things of the world (Jas 4:4-10) and to flee from the devil and cling to God. Can I put away my idol(s)? Will I?
Joshua challenged Israel with the following words, "choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Josh 24:15) -- The fifth question is: What is your choice?