Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

There was that Sunday School song we had when we were kids. Be careful little eyes what you see… and remember that one verse that said be careful little mouth what you say? Well a lot of people need to work on that one and now that we can broadcast our thoughts to the world on a whim, it is more important than ever.

Case in point, Roseanne Barr. Her show was rebooted and seemed to be going very well. There were a few things a lot of my readers would find objectionable, but over all, it had some pretty funny moments and it looked like it might be in for another long run. Then she tweeted. One tweet and it’s over. The show is cancelled, just like that. Unemployment in 144 characters. Cast and crew find themselves out of work and some of those folks haven’t worked since the last time the show was on the air. In my opinion, the network was right to do what they did, Barr’s comments were pretty unconscionable, but I do feel for the cast and crew. Pay attention, there is a lesson to be learned here.

Before I say what I am about to say, remember, I think Ms. Barr’s comments were reprehensible, but in our day, people’s offense meters have hair triggers. When we make a statement, we better prepare for quick and harsh consequences. Gone are the days of meeting each other half way and having constructive dialog, now we just shout each other down on our way to shutting each other down. Again this is not in defense of Ms. Barr or her comments it is simply a statement to be careful what you say. Offend someone, anyone, and the gloves might just be off, and the price might be high. Are you prepared to own the fall out of your words?

Does that mean we should shy away from being offensive. I don’t really see how you could do that in this day and age, but the Apostle Paul did give us some wonderful advice. Speak the truth in love. Say what you have to say in the most loving, kind-hearted way you can, and before you speak, or tweet, ask yourself a question. “Am I speaking this out of love and concern or do I just want to fight?” Maybe even ask a couple of follow up questions, like: “Am I right or just self-righteous?” “Will anyone be helped, edified or blessed by me making this statement?” “Will the person I am directing this comment toward be helped, edified or blessed by what I am about to say?” and the one we should ask first, “Is this statement even true?” Remember, once you hit send, it’s out there forever. Look, there are times to stand your ground, and there are hills you should probably die on, but a political argument usually should not be one of those. If you decide you have to speak, or tweet, are you willing to live with the fall out? More importantly are all the people who will be effected by what you do willing? All this should be considered before we open our mouths or put fingers to keys as the case may be.

Before you speak maybe you should heed the words of James 3:5 ‘Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” Sometimes when you start a verbal fire, a lot of people get burned.

Use wisdom.

The book of Proverbs portrays wisdom as a wonderful female sage to be pursued at almost all costs. Not knowledge, although that is also important, but wisdom. Don’t get me wrong, I love knowledge too and I seek it daily but I also agree with Paul who wrote, “We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” I’d rather build up than be puffed up. Knowledge is important, but love is more important and so is wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied. Wisdom is reflected in wise living, good choices, godliness and common sense. Ah common sense… If wisdom is a wise female sage, common sense is her beautiful sister and I am sorry to report, she has been under near constant attack and is currently on life support and fading fast.

Every day social media seems to be blowing up with some new story. Controversy rules the day and it feels like people puffed up on knowledge but short on wisdom, not to mention love, rage at each other and tear everything down and it’s not getting better. My confession is I usually end up wanting to join them. I’m not immune to opinion and controversy and I believe I have a reasonable amount of knowledge, but the thing is, I don’t want to add to the noise. I have opinions and needless to say, I think they’re right, otherwise I wouldn’t hold them. I’ve come to the point of wondering is the best thing I can do to share them or is there something more important. I’ve decided there is so my pledge to you is, I intend to try to stay out of the controversy and pursue something higher. I want to walk in wisdom.

You see I’ve come to a conclusion. Seeking political solutions to these problems is akin to idolatry. We act as though the leaders we select can fix what is broken in this world and they can’t. We act as though ease and comfort are signs that God is pleased with us as a nation. They clearly are not. We act as though our advanced knowledge will triumph over all the brokenness in our world and that’s not true either. Knowledge puffs up but love builds up. There is only one man who can fix what’s broken. His name is Jesus. He is our only hope. Conventional wisdom says mankind can fix all of our problems. Well, conventional wisdom has proven to be neither. We need Jesus and so from this point forward, my efforts in all public contexts will be to advance His cause. I have faith. He can fix what’s broken.

Last night, I spent the evening with my grandson. He’s two and it was fantastic. Every time I look at him I think about the great blessing he is to me. When I think about the world we are leaving him and all the others like him, I grieve. We have got to do better. Our leaders will not fix this nation. If you were to throw them all out and replace with them with the people who opposed them, it wouldn’t get any better. Men and women can’t fix the mess we’re in. We need real wisdom. Supernatural Wisdom. We need God. Let’s work together, submitting our gifts to the One who gave them, to turn this nation to the Truth that will set us free. Truth is a person, Truth has a name. His name is Jesus.

Yesterday, I launched into a bit of a diatribe about dialogue and how obedience is better. You may have wondered why I went there. Well here’s the truth, for those of us entrusted to leadership, obedience is key. It’s vital. Imagine if you’re trying to lead, but all those entrusted to you (because leadership is a sacred trust) decide to go their own way. Your leadership pretty much ceases when the people cease to follow. I am pretty well convinced that this is what happens to our Lord when we decide to dialogue and debate rather than follow His lead.

To lead effectively, we must follow the Lord. After all isn’t He the one who entrusted us with leadership in the first place. Leadership is not about doing it our way, it’s about leading people His way. All leaders, they know it or not, have been entrusted with their position from the Lord. (Romans 13:1) When a leader breaks trust, all the people under their care are impacted. I’ve seen this happen and it’s not pretty. It leaves people broken and brokenhearted, it damages and wreaks havoc. It hurts.

Creative friend, we have been entrusted with creating things that make people think and hopefully point people toward God’s truth. That is a form of leadership. Additionally many of us have been entrusted with leading groups of creatives. This amplifies the responsibility we have to be faithful followers of Christ. What we do matters. How we act matters. How we live matters. Our choices matter and they matter not just to us, but all who have been placed in our care. Where we lead they will follow. This is why it is imperative that we follow God and not just our version of God.

Bad leadership damages and destroys. God’s leadership saves and rescues.

How will you lead?

Roar!I’m re-reading a book I haven’t read in over 20 years—a book that pretty much changed my reading habits from “read as little as you can and only when you have to” to “voracious reader.” It’s Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. It’s a page turner from start to finish, and while it can be brutally violent (cloned dinosaurs running free on an island/amusement park, what could go wrong?) it is one of my all-time favorite books, a really smart thriller.

A strange thing is happening to me though, and it happens quite often these days. When I first read this book, I was in a much different place spiritually. I was fairly new to the faith and now I’ve gone quite a bit deeper and as a result my thought process is different. This brings forth some questions and I think some of these may be helpful to all of us as creatives. I spend lot of time on this blog talking about the arts, but to be clear, if creativity is problem solving, then scientists are some of the greatest creatives on earth. In reading Jurassic Park, there is little doubt in my mind that someone has already tried to bring back the dinosaurs and part of me wonders if anyone has succeeded. After alL, if Crichton was smart enough to write all this down, surely there has to have been someone over the last 20 some years who said “hmmm where can I get some amber?” (Insider book reference: They got the dinosaur DNA by extracting blood cells from the bodies of prehistoric biting insects preserved in amber.)

Regardless there are a few things we can learn from the pages of Jurassic Park.

Some things are better left to God
There may have been a reason there wasn’t a pair of T-rex’s on the ark. Maybe they went extinct because they were supposed to.

Greed is a great and terrible motivator
Even when it was clear that an amusement park full of dinosaurs was probably going to be a horrible idea, the amount of money invested (billions) and the amount of money that stood to be made (tens of billions) blinded people to the dangers. How many times have you kept yourself from pulling the plug on a bad idea simply because you had too much invested?

There is a time to walk away from a dream/vision
Usually it’s before you have to wonder “Did the T-rex eat my grandchildren?” (another insider reference). Dreams and visions are great things, especially when you’re sure they come from God. There are times however, when that line gets blurry. I remember a certain young artist who almost lost everything because he was sure art was his God-given talent. That artist was me. I was partly right, but the call was for what I am doing now, not sacrificing my family on the altar of being a rich and famous artist. I had to walk away from that dream to live in God’s vision for my life, creative arts ministry. Dreams and visions have to be handled carefully

And finally…
Just ’cause you can, doesn’t always mean you should!

I’ve been wanting to post this for a while but I wasn’t sure how to proceed. One of the gifts I received for Christmas was Stephen King’s new novel 11-22-63. It was 849 pages and I read it in right around 2 weeks. It’s an amazing page turner, though I should warn you there is a fair amount of foul language and some sexual scenes that will be off putting to some readers. (For me it was kind of like this is such a good story and you really didn’t need to put that in there, but I digress).

The problem with posting this blog is it’s almost impossible to do it without giving a spoiler. Nonetheless, I will try. I’ve never been a fan of horror, which is why I’ve never read Stephen King before. It’s not a horror book. It’s a book about time travel. The main character in the book finds a portal back in time to 1958 and he is sent back on a mission to save President Kennedy from assassination. What makes this a unique story is he can continually go back to the future and reset things if something goes awry. Sort of like a reset button on history. The book is amazingly well written and I wish I could say more than that, but I can’t without being a spoiler, so I am going to switch lanes.

What’s so appealing about the idea of time travel? I mean hundreds if not thousands of books have been written on the topic. Why? I think it’s because of regret. There are events in most of our lives that we wish we could do over. (If you don’t, congratulations or stop lying to yourself, you decide.) The idea of being able to go back in time and change something is very appealing, but would it be wise?

The main character in the book gets caught up in a situation, a choice. Does he do the right thing for his for himself at the cost of the world or does he sacrifice what he desires most for the sake of the world? It might be a tougher choice than you think.

The thing is, life doesn’t have a reset button and even if it did, it would probably be a mistake to push it. The tough stuff in our lives makes us stronger if we let it. The bad choices can give us the wisdom to make better choices in the future if we let them. The hard things in life can change us for the better if we will let them. The reason for this is there is a God, who is never surprised by any situation, always knows what He is doing (and what we will do) and has it all under control. We can’t travel back in time, but we can trust God with today and give Him tomorrow.

Time travel is impossible. The Bible says, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” That means we only get one life so we need to use it wisely. I believe the best thing we can do is offer that one life to God and ask Him to be your Lord and savior, loving Him like He loves you and following Him through this difficult life all the way to the end. He’s the best guide and the only one who knows the way. He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Secondly, there is another promise, a promise reserved only for those who love God. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In other words, all the pain, all the mistakes, all your past sin, everything in your life, good bad and ugly, when given over to God can and will be used by God for your good. He is faithful, He will do it. I know this because He has done it for me.

The only way we can travel through time is forward, one day, one minute, one second at a time. So give this moment to God. He won’t let you down.