>I served four years in the Army. Enlisted right out of high school. Long before Jesus captured me.
Did a couple years in Korea…discovered kimchi! Was in Korea when the “Pueblo” was snatched by the North Koreans. Never thought we’d sell those guys out. We did. Most reading this never heard of the incident…
From Korea to Germany. Was there when the Russians invaded Czechlosvakia. Sent my unit out to the Czech border several days before it happened. Did we have a hunch? Duh.
Then went to Vietnam (with the 11th Armored Cavalry) for the remainder of my enlistment.
Army was a lot like prison. Learned a lot there; don’t wanna go back.
But the dumb decisions I made after the military were not Vietnams fault…or the Armys fault…or even the devils fault.
The decisions were influenced by all those things, and more; but the decisions were not dictated by those things.
I made my choices, my choices made me. It’s called personal responsibility.
The most disgusting phrase in English? “It’s not my fault.” Well, yeah, it is.
We may have a lot of “excuses,” but to paraphrase a military saying, “Excuses are like elbows; everyone has a couple.”
And our God did not send His Son to die for excuses, but for sins. “There is a way that seems right to a man…”
I’m thankful the Lord sent His Spirit to invade my life in a Texas jail cell in 1974…and that His mercies are new every morning.
>Okay, I’m sure I’ll get in trouble for this…but truth is truth, regardless of who says, or sings it. Got in a conversation this morning with an adult about human responsibility and so forth, and the fact that there are so many who blame their screwed up lives on things of the past (when I went to prison the authorities told me the reason I was a dealer/thief etc was because of the bad attitude I had because of my Vietnam service…in other words, “poor little boy, it’s not your fault”)…
Anyway, as we talked, I recalled one of my favorite songs of all time performed by (whatever else you may think) amazingly talented musicians. Caution…there are some “bad” words…sort of…But I strive to convey this message:
>Caution! The following (from James Emery White) could offend some who have false expectations of the role of a church:
I love the church. I have given my life to the church. I believe, as is often said, that the church truly is the hope of the world.
But that’s not the church’s job.
Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Here you go:
Make me close to Jesus!
It’s not the church’s job.
Save my marriage!
It’s not the church’s job.
Raise my kids!
It’s not the church’s job.
Give me friends!
It’s not the church’s job.
It’s not the church’s job.
It is not the church’s job to give you the life you want, or hope for, much less the one that you are expected to forge through a relationship with God through Christ under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The church cannot ensure that all goes well with you. Most of life is your responsibility.
Why do I say this?
To defend the church.
Why do people often come to a church? To get fixed, find friends, renew faith, or strengthen family. All well and good, and the church can obviously be of enormous assistance in all four areas. But the church can’t be held responsible for these four areas of life, nor should you expect it to.
Let’s try and drive this one home:
The parents of a middle-school student drop their child off at a middle-school ministry. The child does not change into a model Christian student. The parents immediately search for a new church with a more effective middle-school ministry.
What is wrong with this picture? What is wrong is the complete absence of any sense that spiritual life is the responsibility of that middle-school student, not to mention that spiritual leadership within the family is the responsibility of her parents.
Instead, we have a mentality of “drop-off parenting,” which is just part of the mentality of a “drop-off church.” We drop our wives off at a women’s ministry to get them to be the wives or mother’s we want; we drop our husband’s off at a men’s Bible study to get them to be spiritual leaders; we drop ourselves off at a service or recovery group to fix our problems, or a Bible study to renew our lukewarm faith.
It reminds me of the sixties and Timothy Leary’s famous line regarding not only the benefits of LSD, but the spirit of the age:
“Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.”
That is not the way to approach the church.
There comes a time when personal responsibility kicks in.
The church exists to coalesce and enrich; to coordinate and inspire; to provide order and leadership. It exists to pull together the collective force and will of those who follow Christ in order to fulfill the Great Commission given it by Jesus Himself. Yes, it serves the family trying to raise a child; it seeks to heal those who are broken; it provides the richest of communities for relationships; it offers the necessary resources for a vibrant relationship with Christ.
But it cannot circumvent the choices and responsibilities of the human will.
It cannot do life for you.
That’s your job.http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0830833927&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
>Speaking at camp these last three weeks, I’ve only got glimpses of the story; the tragic and ongoing tragic, of the governor of South Carolina. Al Mohler diagnoses accurately:
Al Mohler on the Gov. Sanford situation:
Put simply, Governor Sanford’s most recent comments point to a worst-case scenario. His words make clear that his heart is still inclined toward his mistress, and not his wife. With tragic candor, the governor has spoken of trying to fall back in love with his wife. He refers to his mistress, not his wife, as his soul mate, and speaks wistfully of the affair as “a love story at the end of the day.”
Governor Sanford may cite King David, and he may even suffer the illusion that his response is similar to that of Israel’s King. Nevertheless, the difference is clear. David’s adultery was mixed even with murder, but his own acknowledgment of sin came in a flood of contrition, remorse, broken heartedness, and humility. David acknowledged the reality of his sin, expressed his hatred of the sin, and became a model for us all of repentance. Governor Sanford, on the other hand, demonstrates the audacity to speak wistfully of his sin, longingly of his lover, and romantically of his descent into unfaithfulness.
Governor Sanford is no King David, and the people of South Carolina — as well as the watching world — now observe the sad spectacle of a man who, while admitting to wrongdoing, shows no genuine repentance. As the Christian church has long recognized, true repentance is reflected in the “detestation of sin.” This is a far cry from what we’ve heard from Governor Sanford.
If the governor is really serious about demonstrating character to his four sons, he should resign his office and give himself unreservedly to his wife and family. He must show his sons — and all who have eyes to see — how a man is led by the grace and mercy of God to hate his sin, rather than to love it. Until then, the governor must be understood to indulge himself in wistfulness for his affair and in a desperate determination to maintain his office. His remaining days in office are like a Greek tragedy unfolding into farce. The whole picture is just unspeakably sad.
This line runs through my mind every time I hear someone say, “It’s not my fault…”
“I figure if we are prisoners of the past, we are jailers as well.”
Jack Kerley, “The Hundredth Man”
>On my other blog, www.crossfocused.blogspot.com I’ve been writing this month each day from the appropriate chapter of Proverbs. This is a good discipline for me, if no one else.
Tonight I was getting a sneak peak at chapter 23, and came across what I’ve often referred to as my pre-salvation life verses.
To anyone who has struggled with alcohol and alcoholism (Yes, I am an alcoholic; the only drug that I was ever addicted to back in the day…I recognize some might pooh-pooh and say I need to ‘claim the victory’ of being a new creation and thus no longer in bondage to alcohol…yeah, right…I’m so paranoid I won’t take medicine with alcohol as an ingredient!)…
Anyway, Proverbs 23.29-35 is spot-on-descriptive of my life from about the age of 14 until I got saved at 26.
Thank You, Lord!
My favorite blogger is Justin Taylor.
Today he has this link to an article in a “gay” newspaper in which Ray Boltz describes his “coming out of the closet” as a homosexual. (be careful, if you go to the link there may be some inappropriate advertisements alongside the article)
The article quotes Boltz, “This is what it really comes down to,” he says. “If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”
Ah, he had a bunch of good songs, but the song he now sings to himself is deception. Do we toss out his music? That’s an individual call, but we don’t toss out the psalms etc of David? Of course David came to repentance…let us pray Ray does also.
It appears to me that Christians, in large number, have tired of the fight against abortion. I hesitated posting the photo of a 22-week old (aborted) baby here; but conviction won out – we must be reminded that the slaughter continues.
Here’s part of a letter to the Editor of Time magazine published in the July 21 issue. The letter is from Kelli Conlin, President, National Institute for Reproductive Health in New York City.
Here’s what she writes,
“There are three ways that women and teenagers can take responsibility for a pregnancy: abortion, adoption, or parenting. One option is not more responsible that the others. Each is a valid choice, as long as the chosen path is the best for the individual pregnant woman.” (emphasis added)
Should not the unborn childs’ “best” be considered?
My view of abortion is one of the ONLY things that did not change when I began following Jesus. I knew abortion was wrong, was in fact murder, if for no other reason that it could have been me.
Do we still care enough to at least pray that legal abortion is ended?
Christ invaded my life while I was in jail. Months later I was sentenced to prison. During those days I learned that one of the chief failings of the laughingly-referred to “criminal justice” system is that the very system meant to help programs inmates to fail.
By giving them excuses for their behavior. The system told me I was incarcerated because I had a bad attitude because of my service in Vietnam. They might tell another inmate that being a minority was his downfall; or his parents’ divorce; or his economic status. Certainly these factors contribute, but Jack went to prison because Jack made some rather dumb choices!
The most disgusting phrase in our culture is, “It’s not my fault.”
I’m reading Chuck Colson’s newest book, “The Faith.” Thus far it is a very good read (and, if you have a desire, you will see it listed in the top left-hand column as one of “Jack’s Picks”)
Just read this sentence…which, like much of Colson’s stuff…is so patently obvious; yet I’ve never thought of it in precisely this way:
“And you get God wrong because without human responsibility there is no need for a Savior.”
Ponder that for a while…