Monthly Archives: December 2011
|We all have lessons to learn from Herman Cain…|
Not too long ago, Herman Cain was a political unknown to many. I was only familiar with him through his many radio appearances on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” show on AM radio. Recently, he gained a tremendous amount of political steam in his bid for the Republican Presidential nomination.
Even more recently, “The Hermanator” became “Hermanated”, when he announced amid scandalous charges that he’d be suspending his run for the Presidency. Theologian Albert Mohler made some very important observations regarding Cain’s political/personal foibles in his week-daily podcast “The Briefing”.
The day after Mohler’s post, Churchleaders.com published a post, which we posted on our Facebook fan page, called “7 Ways to Affair-Proof Your Ministry“. Oh, and by the way – even if
you’re not in full time vocational ministry, you still have a ministry… all around you. So, read on. My comments were as follows:
“Interesting, God has convicted us to put virtually all of these into practice for years now. Are there any that you would add to this through experience or as a result of wisdom passed on to you?”
In reply, one reader said – “keep an eye even on same-sex relationships” because of the current trend in the media leaning toward normalizing homosexuality. Fair cop. Another reader reminded us of one practice we’ve followed very closely – when emailing a member of the opposite sex, either cc or bcc your spouse (and/or theirs). Food for thought, thought for practice. I hope their post helps you out. But, back to the question – are there any practices you would add to these?
We are not here to present ourselves as some model of “above it all” morality, rather as sinners saved by the grace of God, prone to temptation, and living daily in the victory over sin and death not that we have won, rather that Christ won for us. Good grief, without Christ, we’re prone to do anything, right? So, let’s learn not only from what was done wrong, but what was not done well, here, in the humility that it could have been any of us at this level of “success”, power, and public exposure. Let us not allow ourselves to give in to the sway of the world, which the bible tells us, is clearly run by the enemy of God, the father of all lies, and the lion who roams about seeking to steal, kill, and destroy.
Herman Cain made some very unwise moves here. Today, we celebrate the wisdom that God has passed on to us through leaders like Andy Stanley, Voddie Baucham, Tommy Nelson, Jentezen Franklin, Casey Sanders, and others – Do whatever you must do to keep yourself out of harm’s way and do not even allow a hint of sexual immorality. We live in a broken world. We must guard ourselves from temptation. A sexual affair is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this kind of matter, because all sexual affairs began as emotional affairs. The best way to avoid a sexual affair is to STAY CLEAR of an emotional affair. And, in the hyper sexualized climate we live in, the best defense is a good offense.
Below, I am posting a link to Mohler’s blog with two hopes:
- You will actually take the time to read it in its entirety and share it with people around you, especially your children and those you disciple in the marketplace, in church, etc.
- You will consider the steps that ought to be taken in ones’ life to ensure you are “blameless” and that any such attack on your character as a Christian man (or woman) will immediately bounce off not because you “said so”, rather because those around you can attest to the amount of space you intentionally put in your life between temptation and you (a.k.a. “margin”).
We have this really great, point-and-shoot camera that I got for Christmas a few years ago. Some of you may have already tuned out, because you believe “great, point-and-shoot camera” is an oxymoron. I understand. Work with me here. It’s taken hundreds of photos of our four kids, especially Presleigh (3) and the twins (20 mos). But, lately, the oxymorons are right. It’s not that great. It’s taken its share of hard knocks and now 9 out of 10 shots it takes come out just sliiiiightly… blurry. It leans toward blurry.
Question: which way do you lean?
I have this problem – an idolatry problem, really – that the Holy Spirit (often as channeled through my “thank-God-for-your-prophetic-discernment” wife) is working on abolishing from my life. The idol I’ve often come to worship is progress. If you’ve seen our one man show “That Day”, you can relate to a guy who looks back on his life and realizes if time were a bucket of paint, his wife and kids would be really pale and his job, wellllll painted.
I lean toward progress. Today, I’m grateful for that leaning, as I read the opening line of Proverbs, chapter 12. “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” Some translate the word “ba’ar” as “stupid”, others as “brutish”. Hey, I’m not sure which one is worse, but I don’t want to be either. How about you?
I’m grateful that I lean toward progress, because there’s something about me that doesn’t want to be stupid. Really, there’s something about me that wants to lean toward improvement and constant innovation. Can you relate? The hard part about this is here: “reproof” is defined as “rebuke, correction, punishment, chastisement” – none of which is a very comfortable, fluffy, cuddly word, either. I’d rather lean out and away from punishment or chastisement, if I had my way in the natural. But, I’m more comfortable with those prickly words than I am with “stupid/brutish”.
A few months ago, we went through some of the greatest trials we’ve ever experienced as believers in Christ, as a ministry, as a family. As we walked through it, Cristine remarked how grateful she was for the presence of one particular guy in my life who prayed with us through it. He reminded me of the first lines of the book of James and summarized the “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” part as follows:
“Trials are necessary.”
Often, leaning in to one thing means leaning out of another, by necessity or even default. However, when it comes to trials, leaning into trial seems the most honest way of leaning into Christ. The questions that remains are – are we willing to pay the price to “be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”? Are we willing to love discipline in order to obtain the knowledge wrapped in its precious core? Are we willing to love reproof in order to grow beyond stupid? What are some of the possible future benefits of this trial (if not at a minimum, heavenly rewards for perseverance), that make the current discomfort of the trial worthwhile?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3.5)”
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And, let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may become perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (Jas. 1.2-4 NASB)”
PRAY: “Lord, grow my appetite for discipline and reproof so that I may become perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Help me to lean into You and appreciate You in the midst of pain, discomfort, and/or disease.”