November 3, 2021
I have been anticipating this weekend and the next six weeks. I believe we will be talking about the most important issue and truths we can understand and embrace. We are kicking off a brand-new series called The Illusion.
If you get a group of reasonably aware and mature people together for very long it is likely the conversation will eventually turn to the news and the culture/environment around us. Eventually someone will sigh and say with some level of angst something like, “Wow. How did we get here? What happened to America? What happened to us?”
Good question. Social media and the news report constantly the state of our values, emotions, and violence. Our words are toxic and violent, so much so that it’s not unusual for the police to get involved over something that was said on Facebook or Twitter. Disrespect for authority and disregard of simple courtesy and human dignity is flagrant. Almost everyone knows a friendship or a family that has been torn apart by the last presidential campaign and election disagreements. Many companies have had to issue prohibitions about discussing politics or the greatly politicized COVID situation.
An article this morning said homicides are rising at a record pace in the U.S. Last year they were up 30% from the year before, the largest annual rise on record. The pandemic shut down schools and left millions out of work. Numerous deaths (most notably George Floyd) have rattled confidence in law enforcement and sparked national protests. Firearm sales have soared, and laws are being passed to allow conceal/carry without training. Gun sales are soaring. Akron is one of several Ohio metro areas with increased violence, murder up 66.7% from the previous year. Do YOU ever wonder how we got so messed up and divided?
Jesus was very plain about the fact that the world even then was messed up beyond belief. They mistreated each other, propagated lies as truth, rejected real truth. He was also very plain about why. Jesus says there is an unseen world affecting our lives. This world is all around us. It is more real than what we see with our eyes. It impacts every single thing we do; everything about us. It affects all of our relationships. It influences our thinking, our attitudes, and our decision-making.
Jesus says there is a kingdom in the unseen world ruled by our Enemy, Satan. He’s neither casual nor timid. He has a specific agenda. He wants to destroy everything God loves, which is mankind and human life and relationships. He has specific strategies to achieve those goals. He wants to deceive, confuse, divide, and conquer. His great tool is deceit. He blinds us to truth and encourages us to live out the lies we tell ourselves and receive from others.
Most of us are extremely naïve about it. We hate those who think differently than we do and enforce our own ideas and opinions until we are so strongly wrapped up, we can’t be penetrated by truth. We go back to our own opinions and decisions, regardless of the evidence to the contrary. But despite our denial or naivete it continues to have a direct and powerful influence and impact on all we are experiencing at home, school, work, and our nation and world. What do we do?
That’s what this series is all about. Jesus and the apostle Paul give us direct instructions on recognizing and defeating the strategy and schemes of the Devil. It’s the only way to stop the damage and destruction. Our Enemy was doing the same thing back when Jesus and Paul stepped onto the pages of human history. Jesus and Paul won. We can too.
I am so anticipating sharing with you. We have never needed these truths more than today.