Conquering the Madness of the Moment with God’s Story

God structured reality in such a way and embedded reality in his creation so that His image-bearers (humans) can apprehend it, albeit imperfectly. For sure, the fallen world, sin and broken lives distort and dim the good world God created. But, that is not the end of the story. It’s just a moment.

We live in an ever expanding crisis-centered culture.

Stress at home and at work, and free-floating anxiety are in the air. It seems like you can almost touch it. The world says, “just deal with it” as moments like waves pound you like an ocean storm. Some deal with stress and anxiety by indulging in excesses like drinking, eating, drugs, video games, social media scrolling, pornography, or other unhealthy activities. Some will fall into a pit of despair, depression, or apathy. Many barely make it through the day. It’s a chore to sleep at night. The alarm goes off in the morning shouting, “Wake up! Another crisis ensues!” It can be maddening.

I hear it and see it in the faces of people everywhere. It’s a problem.

The “Out of Control vs. Control” Problem

Most situations we face are completely out of our control. You can only control yourself and your responses – which is extremely difficult.

Out of My Control:

Are you helpless to do anything about a world on fire?

School shootings, natural disasters, wars, a traffic jam on the way to work, a serious health diagnosis, a family member making destructive decisions, an abusive boss, a flat tire, or the dying garden caused by the relentless Texas heat are examples of our limited control.

Don’t confuse the madness of the moment with the bigger story. Remember, we live in moments within a bigger story.

Open your newspaper or newsfeed. You come face to face with empirical evidence of evil, brokenness, and pain. Deep down you know what you’re seeing and experiencing is bad, it’s wrong, it’s cruel, it’s unjust! The madness of the moment militates against a deeper notion that the world is not supposed to be this way. Something is wrong.

Where did the notion that “the world and life are not supposed to be this way” come from?

C.S. Lewis said about his conversion from atheism to Christianity the following, “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.” (Lewis’s full quote below this post)

In other words, although we live in a world of brokenness and sin, God did not obliterate goodness, truth and beauty embedded in creation. In a fallen world things are disjointed, distorted and decaying. However, God structured reality in his creation so that His image-bearers (humans) can apprehend it, albeit imperfectly. The fallen world, sin, and broken lives distort and dim God’s good creation. But, that is not the end of the story. It’s just a moment.

By God’s mercy that we have “some idea of a straight line.” The “straight line” is God’s Story.

Within My Control:

Presuppositional truths of the Christian worldview – God’s Story:

1. God is… (God exists, whether one believes or not does not change reality of God’s existence)
2. God is the source of all goodness, truth and beauty…
3. God created all things…
4. God created all things good… (God is the source of good).
5. Sin entered creation because man chose to “be like God” and rebel against his creator…
6. Creation fell into the curse of brokenness, pain, decay and death…
7. But, God sent Jesus Christ to redeem people from sin and His creation from the curse…
8. God is setting right what sin sets wrong…
9. God is currently redeeming and will restore all things in the future…

How to Conquer the Madness of the Moment

Remember The Story
So, when you find yourself caught up in the madness of the moment, remember The Story. Out-narrate the moment with God’s bigger unstoppable redemptive story. It is The Story we inhabit. The Story can be described in four chapters; creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. The story of the Bible contains all other stories.

Did you choose the circumstances of your birth?

Of course not, we did not decide where, when, and to whom we were born. We were born into a cultural moment within God’s bigger Story.

Discover or Rediscover Your Calling
Every man or woman’s life mission is to seek out their unique role in The Story. Merely existing is NOT what life is all about. Escaping life’s troubles and pain through pleasure or distraction leads to meaninglessness, madness, and self-destruction.

God created you for this place and time to serve His purposes in this generation.

Those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved!” (Roman 10:13) Those who God saves He calls into the biggest, truest and most beautiful Story ever told. God writes His Story with the lives of ordinary people just like you and me – moment by moment, one life at a time.

Reflect on the following:

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
– Isaiah 26:3

“Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion, dynamism, and direction lived out as a response to his summons and service.” – Os Guinness

Note: Join me as I interview Os Guinness on August 8, 2022 at 7pmCT via live Zoom (ask your questions). Link…

“For the secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

C.S. Lewis’s full quote from above:
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it?… Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if i did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

Gaining Wisdom and Cultural Intelligence

Cultivating Wisdom and developing greater Cultural Intelligence will help you understand the time and place you live, along with the people who inhabit the world with you.

In a world of disinformation, misinformation, mass-formation, click-bait, and soundbites how are we to know what to believe or respond?

How are we to navigate challenging conversations? How are we to create real solutions for seemingly impossible problems? The majority of real and lasting solutions to problems are created locally, not by distant institutions or bureaucracies. You and I are responsible for bringing solutions in our own spheres.

Now more than ever, we need Wisdom and Cultural Intelligence. How?

Let’s begin with wisdom.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Wisdom is defined as;
a : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
b : good sense : judgement
c : generally accepted belief
d : accumulated philosophical or scientific learning : knowledge

The world defines wisdom as a proper application of knowledge, or judgement.

While that definition is helpful, a theological definition brings a fuller vision of wisdom into view. Michael S. Craven defines wisdom as an “ancient virtue.” He develops it further by stating, “Wisdom is an ability, it’s a skill. It’s the ability to discern what is good, true and beautiful.

Wisdom is not the same as education or knowledge.

Wisdom is not attained through academic or intellectual pursuits. Wisdom and its opposite folly (or foolishness) are moral categories. No amount of education can make one wise. Wisdom can’t be learned by just reading books or listening to lectures. Those are just means of transferring information. By all means, we should all read and learn. However, we should not confuse academic knowledge with wisdom.

We all know wise people who do not have a college degree or who barely finished high school. Think of that older lady or gentleman in your life who may not have a formal education but, they are extremely wise. You seek out their advice and act on it, right?

On the same token, we all know foolish people who have degrees from the finest universities. They’ve attained the highest levels of knowledge but they are foolish. Think of professionals, CEOs, doctors, heads of state, attorneys, and the like who make foolish decisions and end up in jail or on the front page of the paper. Would you seek out their advice?

In our modern culture, we falsely believe we can educate people into being moral and wise citizens. Highly educated people are not necessarily wise people. In fact, education devoid of morality and the virtue of wisdom can create morally empty monsters (fools). They use their academic knowledge for ill. Today, we educate a man without cultivating virtue in him. Thus, we give him more advanced and sinister devices to commit evil.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”


– C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Biblical wisdom is deep, immeasurable, priceless, and rare.” (Dr. Michael A. Milton)

My working definition of Wisdom.


Wisdom begins with the fear of God. Wisdom is the art and virtue of living one’s life by applying understanding of God’s moral commands. It is the active application of knowledge, understanding, and discernment to everyday life. It leads to answering the deeper questions of life. Wisdom is designed to be passed down to future generations. In fact, not transmitting wisdom to the young is foolishness.

What is the purpose of wisdom?

Wisdom brings the individual in line with reality as God created it. It aligns the one who attains wisdom with God’s commands. The result is a rich and meaningful life that brings a ‘moral good’ into the culture.

It begs the question, “Do I want my children and grand children to live wisely or foolishly?” If I hope for the former, then it is my responsibility to transmit wisdom to them. It is their responsibility to apply wisdom and live accordingly.

Cultural Intelligence

Without going into too, much detail, I’ll give you my working definition. Cultural Intelligence is the understanding of the place, time, people, and movements of a current moment. It combines a kind of a cultural situational awareness with an understanding of historical antecedents, current reality, and ability to extrapolate where society is heading. Cultural Intelligence is the ability to draw the cords of the past, present, and future in order to understand how to respond. In other words, Cultural Intelligence is understanding the times in order to respond properly.

To be culturally astute, one must understand the assumptions and sub-currents that shape current reality. This affects how we think of ourselves in relationship with others and the world around us.

How does one cultivate Cultural Intelligence?

It requires effort. Reading books, news papers and blogs, watching forms of media, and such is required. The objective is to posess a general understanding of how an issue became an issue. Reading primary sources and counter-perspectives is vital to Cultural Intelligence. Understanding where and why people disagree is clarifying and helps our critical thinking. Talking to others who are either experiencing something or have a good working knowledge of an issue is important as well.

For instance, the suicide rate among teenagers and young adults has risen significantly in the last three years in America. Why? What set the preconditions for this to occur? What are the root causes of the current suicide crisis? Simple, one answer conclusions rarely reveal the root cause. We must dig deeper. When we do, we often discover a confluence of movements, events, sub-currents, and philosophies leading to the current moment. The massive uptick in suicides did not just appear out of thin air. We’re seeing the emergence of an issue that is decades in the making.

The Tsunami Example

An analogy may be helpful. A tsunami is created by the shift of tectonic plates deep with in the earth (or volcano). That shift generates an earthquake. The movement from the quake displaces water deep beneath the ocean’s surface. It transfers energy from land to water. As the energy moves through the ocean, it creates a wave. That wave undetectable on the surface until it approaches shallows. By the time it crashes on the shore, they tsunami can be a hundred feet tall and move at 20-30 mph (NOAA).  It only takes one foot of water moving at these speeds to carry away vehicles and destroy buildings. Remember the tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004? It was devastating.

So, the suicide epidemic in America is much like a tsunami. In order to solve it, we must understand how it came to be – it’s root causes. This is where Cultural Intelligence comes in.

The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert to cultivate Cultural Intelligence. You just need to be open-minded, a critical thinker, and willing to accept facts as they are. You have to be willing to learn from history and explore deeper understanding. Often times, that will require conversations with people who are very different from you. That’s the exciting part!

Combining Wisdom and Cultural Intelligence

In the final analysis, cultivating Wisdom and developing greater Cultural Intelligence will help you understand the time and place you live, along with the people who inhabit the world with you. We live in a world of massive institutional programs and one-size-fits-all solutions pushed by governments and corporations. Wisdom and Cultural Intelligence will help you bring meaningful solutions that are localized to your community. The majority of real and lasting solutions for social problems are created locally, not by distant institutions or bureaucracies. At the end of the day, you and I are the ones responsible for bringing solutions to the problems we face.

Wisdom and Cultural Intelligence are necessary now more than ever. Below are some resources to help you on your quest!

 …

Additional Resources:

What does the Bible say about wisdom?

Proverbs: The Wisdom We Need Right Now

BreakPoint Podcast and Commentaries

Colson Fellowship

What Time Is It?

The modern concept of time is truly unique to moderns.
One of the most powerful technologies ever invented was the clock. Prior to the clock, time measurement was not precise. Seconds, minutes and even hours were not something humans considered. Think about a world without clocks and watches for a moment.

What time is it? What if I told you, your watch, the timepiece on your phone nor the clock on your wall can tell you what time it is. Time is a realm we think we understand but don’t.

We’re told that in the grand sweeping scope of human history, we’re just a ‘blip on the radar’ – Here today and gone tomorrow! That is true to some extent. But, are we to live like a ‘blip’?

Are we simply left to resign ourselves to a YOLO (You Only Life Once) mentality in which we strive for every mountaintop experience or pleasure we can find? Or are we just left to thoughts of life as some cruel joke?

Do our individual, family, community, and national stories trickle like meaningless isolated streams through human history?

Are we to adopt the fatalistic determinism of Friedrich Nietzsche where human existence is a cold dark reality and life is absurd and hollow?

By no means!

Here’s the question behind the question.

Does your individual life have meaning?

Either life has meaning or it doesn’t. How you answer that question will determine how you live.

What we believe about the meaning of life will determine how to understand time.

A major over-arching theme in my work is to help individuals realize they are created for a time and place. Moreover, you (reader) were born into a certain family, in a specific location, culture and time in history.

The modern concept of time is truly unique to moderns.

One of the most powerful technologies every invented was the clock. Prior to the clock, time measurement was not precise. Seconds, minutes and even hours were not something humans considered. Think about a world without clocks and watches for a moment. Today, cultures remain that do not share the modern-western understanding of time. We tend to call those people “backwards” or “behind the times.” But are they really?

As moderns, we are time bound slaves to the clocks on our wrists, phones, walls, and calendars. I hear the refrain, “I don’t have time!” “I’m running out of time!” “I’m killing time.”

In our rush and hurry between meetings and events, we miss the everlasting moment that is rich with meaing. Frantic activity is followed by chronic inertia. It’s exhausting and sucks the joy and meaning out of life. We wake up and ask, “Where did the time go?”

Don’t confuse the moment with the story. Don’t miss giftedness of each moment.

“Time is at the heart of our existence.”
– Os Guiness

Time therefore has a purpose. You were placed in a specific time and location in history. Don’t miss the significance of that.

In the book, “Carpe Diem Redeemed – Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times“, Os Guinness makes two points to reflect upon.

You have a choice to know and develop a relationship with the “Author of Time” or not. If there is a God who created time, space and reality, don’t you think it’s important to know him?

If you determine that God is the “Author of Time” then, you need to learn what part He calls you to play in His “grand story.”

Os Guiness suggests, “We will never be able to see and understand time objectively” if we are so immersed in time that we miss the bigger story we’re a part of.

I leave you with the question and one of my favorite passages.

What time is it?

Reflect and meditate on this passage:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

Ecclesiates 3:1-11

“So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

Word Wars – How Academic Activists Manipulate Language to Win Political Battles

Who wields cultural power? Whoever tells the stories that shape the cultural imagination. Whoever creates ideas and concepts that diffuse throughout a population over a period of time. This is accomplished through language.

Language and more precisely, words are extremely powerful. Words have the ability to shape identity, reality, and the future.

Why do academic activists manipulate and distort language?

Here’s the short answer. When attaining cultural (hegemonic) and political power are the goals, distorting and weaponizing language is in the realm of options. Progressive academics who have colonized our universities and schools know that words can confuse, silence and break the will of their political enemies. But the question is, ‘How did we get here?’

All social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering.

William Smith

A little set-up is necessary.
Let’s consider something familiar. The old saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” seems like a good sentiment when dealing with toddlers and school bullies. However, is it a wise sentiment?

Having ministered to several people who’ve experienced childhood abuse, I have learned that while the physical injuries eventually heal, the damage inflicted by words leave deeper wounds than most of us realize.

My intention is not to diminish the horrible pain and lasting trauma caused by physical abuse. On the same token, I’m not attempting to claim that every single offensive word, disagreement or challenge to one’s political identity should carry a trigger warning. Furthermore, I’m not advocating for any censoring or silencing of free speech. I’m attempting to demonstrate that words carry more force than we recognize. Force for good or for ill.

I have met adults who, as children experienced terrible physical abuse from a parent. At the same time, the abusive parent was calling them, “worthless” and “stupid”. Uttering vitriolic statements to their child like, “I wished you were never born!” or “I wish you were dead!” Let’s STOP right here and read that again. Imagine your father, mother, or the person you trusted most saying those words to you.

Statistically, based on the numbers of readers and subscribers to this blog, some of you have experienced abuse. I am so very sorry for how you, as an image-bearer of God with intrinsic value and eternal worth, were treated. I pray you experience the grace of God to bring healing and restoration in your life – as several of you have shared with me. My intent is not to bring up past trauma but to bring insight to my readers on the power of language.

Let’s continue. The physical wounds leave lasting scars on the body and emotions. However, the verbal wounds cut deep into a child’s mind and heart. Those harmful words from an abuser potentially shape the psyche, thought-life and eventually the identity of the victim. That will extend into one’s relationships with others. If left unaddressed, the dysfunction begets dysfunction. There is a phrase that I hear from time to time, “Hurt people, hurt people.” In other words, people who have been abused often times (not always) end up abusing others. That doesn’t excuse an individual’s responsibility for wrong-doing.

While words can inflict great, sometimes irreparable harm, words can also build-up, encourage, bring order and restore.

I share this in order to demonstrate the power of words and language before addressing how language shapes the social imagination and culture.

Theologians, philosophers, poets, and academics have understood the power of language for thousands of years. Language forms the fabric of human history, relationships and cultures. Language shapes the contours of our thoughts and comprehension of reality. It’s also internal dialog and external expression of what we believe and thus, our behaviors.

As a part of my studies in anthropology, courses in linguistics were required. Through the study of linguistics, I discovered the profundity of human language. I admit, I did not fully appreciate what I was learning at the time. I do now.

Leading up to now

What I’ve discovered in the last several years is the extent to which words and language have been warped, distorted, disjointed or re-defined. We are creating new words, like “Google”, which can be a noun or verb (I “Googled” my name yesterday). 30 years ago, no one would understand what you meant if you said, “I Googled my name to see what came up.”

In 1950, the majority of people would have understood truth as being objective. What’s true about reality for me is also true for you. Truth doesn’t change, truth just is. Back then, the social order and society ordered itself around objective truth. However, with the rise of post-modernism, standpoint epistemology and obsession with individual self-expression, “truth” has been re-defined to mean what an individual wants it to mean. Truth is based on their subjective experience and how they view reality. Some academics go as far to argue that “truth” is a social construct. Today, it’s progressed to point of absurdity.

How did we get to a place as a culture where words don’t mean what they use to?

Why are we seeing a growing trend of weaponized language?

This is where we must pause and exercise discernment. I think Carl Trueman said it best, “Understanding the times in which we live is a precondition to responding appropriately to the times.” It’s vital that we have a basic understanding that there are cultural pathologies and undercurrents that led to this moment.

“Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.”

– Voltaire

For the sake of clarity and time, I will not go into great depth here. Suffice to say, philosophers and academics realized obscuring language and distorting meaning was a powerful tool to change society. We can trace this back to influential people like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Marx and so on.

The Rise of Progressivism

At the turn of the 20th century, we begin to see the ideas of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Antonio Gramsci worm their way out of the academy into cultural institutions like the arts, elite circles, and eventually diffuse through politics in America. By the late 1950s and early 1960s, Marxian academics came to the full realization that language is a tool to attain political and cultural power and dominance. We saw the emergence of the “New Left” that would evolve into what we now call “Progressivism.”

Progressivism is one of those words that is new to the modern lexicon. It represents a philosophy and totalizing vision of life, history, and reality. In the 1940s and 1950s, most Americans repudiated Marxist ideas like socialism and Communism. So, Marxist academics in places like the Frankfurt School, began to create linguistic cloaks to conceal and camouflage their ideology in oder to make them more palatable and acceptable to the masses. Terms and concepts like “Critical Theory”, and “Social Theory”. Progressivism eventually emerged. Given, I know I am over-simplifying. But, the point is, redefined language could be used as a cloak for ideas. In the mind of the progressive academic activist, words should be both emotionally and politically charged in order to be used as weapons of revolution.

Recently, new phrases and categories employ familiar words but their meaning is obscure or totally new. You’ve probably heard words and combinations like, “white fragility“, “white privilege“, “antiracism“, “birthing person” or “transgender“.

Remember, words carry ideas that shape how people think about reality. Where did these words and ideas come from? Well, they originated in the academy (universities).

Familiar words have been re-defined. Words like, “justice”, “racism”, “tolerance”, “equity” and “truth” don’t mean what they meant just a few years ago. Fifty years ago, people would be perplexed if you told them you were transgender. No one would would understand what you meant if you told them you were fighting for “climate justice” or “equity”.

Why do academic activists manipulate and distort language?

Here’s the short answer. When attaining cultural (hegemonic) and political power are the goals, distorting and weaponizing language is in the realm of options. Progressive academics who have colonized our universities and schools know that words can confuse, silence and break the will of their political enemies.

Don’t be fooled or lulled asleep by nice-sounding words (justice, antiracist, equity). Those words don’t mean what you think they mean. No, words are their preferred weapons of war. Don’t believe me. Try to debate a progressive activist on the merit of their ideas, or logical consistency, rational coherence, or basic reason, it will not be long before they call you a name (racist, sexist, bigot, intolerant, deployable, misogynist, etc).

A word of caution, not every liberal-leaning self-described ‘progressive’ thinks this way. I have many liberal friends with whom I disagree and debate. They don’t buy into the total war of leftist progressivism bent on destroying political enemies to obtain power. So, don’t go out there attacking everyone who uses suspect words and language. Marx, Alinsky and Marcuse would love it if you responded that way (if they were alive). Instead, pause and think.

How does one respond?

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 15:1

Ask questions like, “What do you mean by that?” Help each other define terms. “What do you mean by justice?” And when you use a word or phrase in a disagreement or debate, pause and define it for the person.

For example, “When I say, “tolerance”, I mean it in the traditional sense which means I will endure or allow for disagreement. In other words, we can disagree without being disagreeable. Is that fair for you?”

Who wields cultural power?
Whoever tells the stories that shape the cultural imagination. Whoever creates ideas and concepts that diffuse throughout a population over a period of time. This is accomplished through language.

From a biblical perspective, we understand that the Word (logos) that grounds and shapes total reality in truth is found in God. In the beginning God created… He said, “let their be…” It was by His word that all creation, reality, language and culture came to be. So, God gets to define reality, not academic activists. Someone once said (using a baseball analogy), “Reality get to bat last.”  In other words, reality and truth have the last say… It doesn’t matter what you believe. If what we believe is not grounded in reality, sooner or later the world will crash in around us.

Furthermore, Christians ought to reside in the spheres of academics and art where the stories are told and concepts are argued. We bear the truth about total reality through God’s Word and His created order.

In conclusion, we must recover language and words that have been highjacked and distorted. We must ground them in their biblical meaning. Why? Because language shapes reality and how we understand the world we live in. If we do not take back language and plant it in the bedrock of truth, reality and the world around us will grow more confusing and chaotic.

All truth is God’s truth. Remember that.

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Fear, outrage, helplessness and eventually apathy colonize our imaginations and take up residence in our hearts. These experiences and emotions are not unique to modern humans. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not allow that to distract you, cause you to fear, or shape your reality. Focus on what you know to be true and what is right in front of you.

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you dare not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24:6-7)

Every human being attempts to make sense of the world, human history, events and trajectory.

We moderns possess the blessing and curse of realtime global communication through powerful technologies. The chaos, injustice and suffering of the entire globe can be seen and heard through tiny screens in the palms of our hands. The impact of the images, scenes and helpless cries are felt in our hearts. For many, we can’t unsee horrible images seared into our minds.

Fear, outrage, helplessness and eventually apathy colonize our imaginations and take up residence in our hearts.

These experiences and emotions are not unique to modern humans. Human history is marked by tribulations and conflicts. However, what makes the current moment singularly unparalleled in history is the velocity and quantity of information that we can access at our fingertips.

Think about it. Today is February 24, 2022.

On this date in 1836, a cry for help was sent forth by the commander of a tiny garrison of less than 200 men defending a small Spanish mission against 5,000 enemy troops. The enemy general called for the surrender of the men occupying the mission or they would be “put to the sword.” The reply from Colonel William Travis to General Antonio de Santa Ana’s demand was cannon fire.

In one of the most famous letters ever penned in human history, Col. Travis wrote:

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World-

Fellow Citizens & compatriots-

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man – The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls – I shall never surrender or retreat…(He goes on to write) If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country –

Victory or Death.

(signed)

William Barret Travis

186 years ago is a blink of an eye in human history. Communications required days, weeks and even months to reach their destinations. In 1836, most of the world was unaware of the now famous “Battle at the Alamo” in a place called “Texas.” Most of the world didn’t even know Texas existed, nor would they care if they did know.

Life expectancy in the 1800s was between 40-45 years. Let that sink in for a moment. Daily existence was extremely difficult – death was a daily occurrence. Today, life expectancy is around 73 years globally.

What does this have to do with “wars and rumors of wars”?

Whether we are aware of it or not, our powerful technologies deliver massive amounts of information from around the world to our handheld devices. My iPhone is millions of times more powerful than the computers used by NASA to guide Apollo 11 to the moon and back.

Our modern devices shape our reality and worldview. When an earthquake occurs on a tiny island in the South Pacific Ocean, I know within seconds. When one nation’s leader is threatening another, I know almost immediately. When a school shooting occurs in a city hundreds of miles away, I can see realtime coverage on my device! All of the pain, suffering, chaos, tragedy, evil and terror in the whole world is delivered immediately into my hands. Most of the time, these emotional scenes bypass logic and reason impacting our imaginations and emotions. The result is a constant state of malaise, helplessness, and fear.

How does one make sense of it all?

The Bible offers us the answers and a framework to help us.

First, we must understand that “In the beginning God created” all things (Genesis 1-2). God stated that His creation was “good.” Furthermore, when God created humans in “His own image,” He said humans were “very good.”

Second, we learn that humans chose to rebel against God in Genesis 3 and turn inwards in an attempt to become “like God.” This “fall” of humanity into sin brought all of creation into conflict with the Creator. Shame, guilt and hate soon entered God’s good creation. One chapter later, we see the first murder in human history (Genesis 4 – Cain and Able). Since then, the entire world has spiraled into chaos, injustice and suffering.

Third, we see God initiate a plan to set things right when He sends His only son, Jesus Christ to redeem the world through his death on a Roman cross and bodily resurrection from the dead. The name “Jesus” is “Yeshua” or “Joshua” in Hebrew. The name means “the Lord saves.” “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name as some people would think. “Christ” is a title. It means “Messiah” (Mashiach) or “anointed one of God.” But, what is Jesus Christ saving us from? He saves us from the eternal separation created from the fall (Genesis 3).

The Bible says that Jesus came to “seek and save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10). In God’s providence and wisdom, He had a plan to redeem that which humanity lost and that which humans do not possess the ability to reclaim for themselves. This is where the man or woman can have real hope for today by trusting that Jesus accomplished His mission. While we’ll still continue to experience the effects of sin and evil in this life, we know they are defeated. Wars and rumors of wars is the current state of things – but not the eternal state of things.

Wars and rumors of wars is the current state of things – but not the eternal state of things.

Forth, we learn that there will come a time when God will restore ALL things. He will set everything back in order throughout creation. The chaos, injustice, evil, pain, suffering and death will be swallowed up in a victorious unfolding of God’s restoration (Revelation 21). This is where we have real hope for the future.

So what does all this mean for me today?

When you scroll through the news feeds on your smartphone today, you will see the truth of a world gone wrong. You know deep in your heart that this is not the way it is supposed to be. This is the objective truth of Genesis 3 to Revelation 20 shining through our dim reality. Even if you don’t believe what I’ve just laid out above, take a moment and reflect… Is what the Bible says about reality in this world true?

Finally, when you scroll through your news feed and you feel your heart breaking, or anger, or hopelessness or fear, set your device down and close your eyes.

Consider the following thoughts:

What is the crisis or opportunity I can take responsibility for or take initiative to help RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME? Set aside the world’s massive problems and look around your immediate relationships. Our immediate lives abound with crisis and opportunities right in front of us. My advice is to begin right there. The world changes one life at a time.

Is there something good in your life or someone else’s that you can celebrate?

Is there something missing from someone’s life or perhaps in your community that you can contribute something good toward?

Is there something bad in your life or in the community that you can stop?

Is there something broken in your life or someone else’s life that you can help restore?

When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not allow that to distract you, cause you to fear, or shape your reality. Focus on what you know to be true and what is right in front of you.

Jesus gives us hope:

“Fear not, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Read the full passages

Signs of the End of the Age (Matthew 24:3-14)

3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

God will make all things new (Revelation 21:3-5)

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”