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Monday
Dec052016

Fake News

The news trending these days is “Fake News.”  We all know that “Fake News” is the phony news stories you find on line, but I think we need to include in that category all the news networks as well.  The news media in America is a poor excuse for news organizations. They gather the details on a story and then spin it in the manner in which will influence their viewers in a particular direction. According to the Washington Examiner most Americans agree that the News Media is bias.

Nearly three quarters of Americans believe the news media reports with an intentional bias, according to a new survey.

The 2015 State of the First Amendment Survey, conducted by the First Amendment Center and USA Today, was released Friday. It shows that only 24 percent of American adults agree with the statement that "overall, the news media tries to report the news without bias," while 70 percent disagree.

A recent PEW research found that the traditional method of news delivery has changed.

A January 2016 Pew Research Center survey found that just 5% of U.S. adults who had learned about the presidential election in the past week named print newspapers as their “most helpful” source – trailing nearly every other category by wide margins, including cable, local and national TV, radio, social media and news websites. (About one-third got at least some election news from a print paper, which again trailed nearly every other category.)

Fake news is another way of describing a narrative of an agenda put forth by a political worldview. I have enclosed a link to an article written by some “Evangelical authors” who have a problem with Christians voting for Trump. This campaign season has provided American’s with the most outlandish articles including this one from some Evangelical leaders.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/opinion/the-evangelicalism-of-old-white-men-is-dead.html?_r=0

In the America I grew up in, we were not made out to be a villain just for voting for a specific candidate, however it is quite different today. On Facebook, I have noticed Christian leaders posting articles that like the one I read recently comparing Hitler’s Germany to a Trump’s presidency.  Really? These are Christian leaders in our community posting untrue fake news. I call it fake because you can’t compare Trump to Hitler, and even to suggest it seems irresponsible. I wish these Christian leaders would post more about God’s Kingdom to come than posting articles that create fear, anger and uncertainty.

It is one thing for the New York Times to write and post such things, but I am amazed when Christian leaders do it. Aren’t Christians to be about their Father’s business here on earth? If that being so, then why not post challenging articles that point people to Christ, and His Kingdom?

Personally, I think those who voted for Trump feel vindicated from the last eight years of President Obama. However the media won’t let Trump succeed, they will not give him a pass like they did for Obama over the past eight years.  Their revenge against Trump for winning the election will be to create a false narrative about every thing he does. The media did this to President Bush by making him out to be a buffoon, something even David Letterman picked up on and for eight years played clips of Bush making grammatical mistakes. I have a problem with this kind of political arrogance. Speaking of arrogance, it has been seven months since I have darkened the door of a Target store, and I don’t plan to go back anytime soon. When a corporation disregards the safety of women and children for the sake of an immoral cause, they lost my business and respect. I don’t respect business leaders who think they can influence public opinion by making their bathrooms transgender friendly and be arrogant in the process.  In the same way, I have no interest in watching any news on Network TV, because I don’t care about the opinions of the network news writers who assume Americans can’t think for themselves, this too is arrogant. The recent election proved them all wrong, but everyday since the election they continue to spin the news, (or fake the news) in order to discredit Trump. It helps me to remember that the last days will be days in which deception will run rampant, and people will try to influence others to abandon righteousness, and be arrogant in the process.

Revelation 13:16-18 - And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

Revelation 21:8 - But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake, which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Arrogance isn’t a quality that God supports. In fact the Bible says that He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. I am convinced that on the day of a person’s death comes the greatest revelation of their lives. The big surprise will be the revelation that they lived their lives in a fake world with fake ideas. The real world is based in eternity with God, but they had invested everything in the fake world. It is a dilemma that all unsaved people will face when they think this fake world is everything. This world has nothing to offer you but fake ideas, and fake promises.  Remember anything that is fake, is worthless.  

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Thursday
Dec012016

The Hook

There is always a hook in all promotions, temptations, and presentations.

In advertising it is the opening idea that snags the attention so the rest of the story can be told. Evil also uses a hook that is usually a subtle enticement that will cause you to want more. Twenty years ago there was a popular sitcom on TV called “Friends.”  The re-runs of those shows are still on cable but I remember back then we refused to watch the program because they used humor (the hook) to promote all kinds of sexual immorality.  Now watching the program today, it’s mild compared to what is out there now, but at the time the hook of comedy paved the way for a generation of people to think sleeping together before marriage was just fine. Hollywood is the master at using “hooks” to make morals seem antiquated and out of date for today’s world. The nice looking hero of the movie always has a bedroom scene, which makes him more of a man in the eyes of the audience. Sex is always the hook in movies because it plays upon every persons desire for more skin, more nudity, and more sensual stimulation.

There is also a hook in religion. Some denominations have used a liberal agenda as a hook to draw people who want religion but without all the restrictions. Others have used prosperity as a hook to draw people who are convinced God will help them become wealthy. Still others use a mystical format to entice people into believing in personal prophecies that are spoken to people about their future and this hook of prophecy creates more curiosity to know the details.

False teaching is also a hook because it usually borders on the bizarre and is presented in such a way that it makes it exciting and fresh.

Hooks are everywhere and especially are present in fund-raising. Some of the ads you see on TV for either starving children or abused animals are the emotional hooks to get you to contribute. There is always the political ad that presents an issue to be so relevant that it has to be addressed today before it becomes law. Then comes the hook of the ad, give now to our organization that will fight for you on this issue.

Now I realize some hooks can be used for good since we are all creatures of habit that often need motivation. I use hooks all the time in video productions. We hook people by the emotion, the graphic reality, or the naked truth. Something has to grab our attention today because everyone is competing for it.

However, many hooks present a false narrative in order to entice your curiosity.  Evil uses hooks and is a master at creating an illusion to draw you away into the temptation of wanting more.

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

One of the best ways to prepare for temptation is to recognize what kind of “hook” is being used to entice you. I know this may sound cynical, but unless you question the “hooks” you will be cleverly fooled and tempted before you know what is happening. For example: the workplace is full of hooks where people are lead into temptation. The unsolicited affection in a work environment is one of the “hooks” that evil uses to draw you into an affair.  The hook of gossip about your boss, or a co-worker usually starts with an innocent conversation about someone’s dark side and soon the person is being indicted before the group. A couple of the hooks most preachers face is the “hook” of always being right, or the “hook” of defending your personal beliefs.  I can’t tell you how many times I have seen preachers become irate defending a personal belief. It is one thing to defend the truth of the gospel, and it’s another to defend your personal beliefs. There are those who use the phrases, “God told me, or showed me” in their prelude to the explanation of the revelation. Again, those phrases are “hooks” to legitimize what God said.

Today, I wanted you to think about the “hooks” you encounter everyday that make you vulnerable and take you by surprise.  

The Apostle Paul understood this concept of “hooks” as he told Timothy, “flee youthful lusts” run from the stimulation that leads to temptation.

2 Timothy 2:22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

My hope for you is that you will be more aware of the “hooks” that work on you everyday, continually trying to gain your attention for all the wrong reasons.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Tuesday
Nov292016

Context Is Important

A few years ago I took the StrengthsFinder evaluation and found out that one of my strengths is "context."  Let me identify what this evaluation is by the author’s own definition.

Rather than focusing on developing personal weaknesses, the StrengthsFinder includes hundreds of strategies for identifying the unique strengths, or skills, talents and knowledge, of an individual. StrengthsFinder is geared towards refining these strengths for increased production, better performance and more engaging effort.

I am sure many of you have taken this evaluation and I am sure you were surprised by some of the things it revealed.  As I said, one of my strengths is “context” which means I work best when I  understand the context of idea, or a project, or a philosophy.  This strength comes in handy for anyone who does Bible commentary or preaches, because “context” is really important when you are trying to interpret a passage of scripture.

This blog contains a lot of context as I try to evaluate how we as Christians are to live in our day. For example, I try to equate the context of what the prophets were saying in their day to the people of God who often were moving away from God. I look at the context then and look at our context today and see what is similar. Religious leadership must be correct in their assessment of the scriptures, or they will find themselves in opposition with God.

Ezekiel 13:9

My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.

God refers to false teaching by religious leaders quite often in scripture, and the context is always the same. Leaders are trying to persuade people by using God as a means to do it, but God is not in their message. Another example of this would be the message of peace and the persuasion that we have nothing to worry about because God is in control. 

Ezekiel 13:10 “This will happen because these evil prophets deceive my people by saying, 'All is peaceful' when there is no peace at all! It's as if the people have built a flimsy wall, and these prophets are trying to reinforce it by covering it with whitewash!

While it is true that God is in control, it doesn’t mean that we will live in peaceful environments. Even Jesus told us to be as wise as serpents in this world knowing that our enemy the Devil will never cease to pursue God’s people.

So the context is found in the fact that God never loses control over this world, He simply allows for evil to co-exist with us. That co-existence is what we struggle against here in this world. The problem with evil co-existing with us is that it gets entangled in all aspects of our lives, which means we will never be rid of it. The context for this co-existence is found in the parable of the “wheat and the tares,” that Jesus told.

Mathew 13:27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

You see the context is that evil will grow next to you and we are to learn how to deal with it short of trying to pull it up. Again, we do not ignore evil, nor do we just put up with it, but we expose it. Identifying evil is the first step in protecting yourself against it and that helps you fight for those who are persuaded by it. This is why the prophets spoke as they did, exposing the evil fraud that was masquerading as truth from God.

The idea of “context” for the modern church is like the term discernment. Both terms have the same root in determining an understanding to an issue.  Unfortunately we are losing the practice of both terms since we don’t discern much anymore especially as it relates to doing any contextual homework.

My purpose is always to find the context of a matter, because everything has a beginning. Finding that original root of an issue will save us a lot of heartache and keep us from believing in false prophets and educators.

Ask more questions and don't settle for someone else's understanding, be alert in the Word and be diligent in pursuing truth.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Sunday
Nov272016

Faith Is Always Risky

For most of us, living in safety is a desired way to live. However, safety is becoming more difficult to preserve simply because the world is a much more dangerous place. Along with more danger comes the lack of respect for human life. This lack of respect for human life is what makes the world more dangerous.  When I was a young Christian in the 1970’s there was a sense of risk taking that permeated the church. The idea of "send me" oh Lord wherever you want was the battle cry.  Today there may be pockets of this kind of Christian commitment, but much of what I hear is: "keep us safe oh Lord, protect us and provide us a hedge of protection" Now I am not being critical of people who want safety over risk, however, I am pointing out the difference that has transpired in the last 40 years in the church.  When reading Hebrews 11, you find that those who lived by faith were killed, ridiculed, and many died without seeing their faith change their circumstances or see God fulfill His promises.

Hebrews 11:13 "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth"

Many of those who lived by faith wandered in the wilderness and were put to death.

37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. 

Faith is definitely risky business.

I called your attention to this today because the time will come when many will be calling for peace and safety, but there will none will be found.

Jeremiah 6:14 “They offer superficial treatments for my people's mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.”

One of the ways the Devil will deceive people in overcoming their faith perspectives, will be to offer them peace and safety.  Of course an offer of peace and safety is different than the reality of peace and safety. Today safety has become the most important commodity in our modern world, and people will do whatever it takes to find it. People of faith however will be tested just as it describes in Hebrews 11, and it will be risky to live by faith. Today people are changing what it means to live by faith. There was a story the other day about a female preacher who got pregnant out of wedlock, and was determined not to resign her job because of the moral failure.  The article reminds us that living by faith requires a commitment to God that does not compromise the morals of God's Word. She wants to change the rules to accommodate her sinful life. 

http://christiannews.net/2016/11/26/new-york-preacher-pregnant-out-of-wedlock-says-she-wont-step-down-from-pulpit/

Faith isn’t about sounding spiritual on Sunday it is being spiritual all week long. As I stood in church yesterday and watched all the people dance, sing and praise the Lord, I wondered how this all transfers to their daily lives?  Now I wasn’t judging anyone for their worship time before the Lord, but worship isn’t the music, the dancing or the uplifted hands. Worship is a lifestyle that lives out the mandates of Christ in everyday life. It forgives, it brings healing, it tells the truth, it prefers others before self, it relies on God for direction, it makes you a witness of the gospel, and finally it studies and obeys His word in all circumstances.  That definition of worship is a lot different than the melodies of the worship band as they lead a church service on a Sunday morning. Worship is a lifestyle that begins with a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. 

The preacher described by the article doesn’t have that kind of a heart for worship. Her worship is about how important she is in preaching to people.  People don’t need another sermon, they need lifestyle models that are battle hardened against sin, and takes a stand against this age of deception and temptation that surrounds us in America.  

Having faith and taking a risk with God is not easy nor is it popular. If the church continues to promote Christianity as safe and non-offensive to all, then truth somehow just got silenced. 

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Tuesday
Nov222016

Doctors, Needles and Thanksgiving 

I went to the Doctor yesterday because I had some issues. I happen to like the guy I see at the V.A. Hospital because he is foreign born and thinks a little differently. He is very kind and honest. (Sort of reminds me of Dr Ben Carson in demeanor) Anyway, after getting four shots with long needles, I wanted my cry room and comfort therapy. (oh, I guess that only applies to political losses)  As I was getting those shots, I had a funny thought that maybe all the snowflakes, or whatever they call these kids who had mental breakdowns because of the election, maybe they see Trump like my big four needles?  Needles are scary at first, a long looking needle is not a friendly icon, and you know it is going to hurt even before you get pricked.  However at the end of the day when I am writing this blog post, I feel great. The needles delivered the exact kind of remedy I needed, and in the end the needles have my support.

Trump may surprise a lot of people with needles of hope necessary for the inner cities, or a needle of hope for job creation, or a needle of hope for cleaning up Washington and the dirty political system that has gridlocked our government. I really do pray that the Trump vaccine will surprise even the liberals into thinking differently. I know that is a long shot, but so were my knees when I walked into the Doctors office this afternoon. I was hobbling like a 90 year old man, but tonight I bet I could bet most of you in the 50 yard dash. So, we can pray for our new President Elect, we can pray for some liberal politicians to see that its time we think country first, and not the partisan politics of their party. Republicans and Democrats need to think how can we get America back on track and get away from the selfish politics of special interests. (the swamp) Yeah, I know it’s a long shot, but that’s what God specializes in as we pray. America is full of cancer and that requires specialized treatment to survive. I am thinking of a friend of mine, her name is “T” who survived four major cancers and has a new book out chronicling those experiences in how God worked in her life.  https://vimeo.com/191983822   If God can heal a person full of cancer, He can heal a nation. 

I want to be positive this Thanksgiving, we have spent so much of the last eight years walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and now there seems to joy in morning. I am so thankful for all the people I surround myself with everyday starting with my family, my co-workers, my extended family of friends and neighbors. I have great clients whose hearts are dedicated to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and they will be doing so until Jesus arrives. I will refrain from naming them because I didn’t get a needle for my weak memory when I was with the Doctor and I don’t want to forget even one of these wonderful people in my life.

So this thanksgiving, even if you have had a bad run of it, think of one kind person you are thankful for, and then think about how God loves you a million times more than that kind person. Thanksgiving is a time you just say, “I am thankful,” and leave it at that. May God bless all you who faithfully read this blog when I post, I hope it has been honest and truthful.  In today’s blog, I am as truthful and honest as I can get, and I thank God for being so good to me. Thanksgiving is a time we turn from politics and turn to the one we have most to thank our merciful and loving Heavenly Father. 

Happy Thanksgiving from CitySites Urban Media!

P.S. I know some of you want to say it, so I will say it for you!  “You should go to the Doctor and get needles more often, you’re much nicer in your blogs.”

K

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