Each has turned

 In America, choice itself has become our god. We worship freedom of choice. We worship the individual will to make choices for ourselves.  The words of Isaiah the prophet are haunting in this day and age.

“Each has turned to his own way.”

We call this “freedom.”

As author David Bentley Hart has written about freedom today,

“Freedom is the power of choice rather than the ends the individual might choose.

The power of choosing itself is liberty…

Neither God, then, nor nature, nor reason provides the measure of an act’s true liberty, for an act is free only because it might be done in defiance of all three…

We have a pronounced tendency in society at large less to judge the laudability of particular choices by reference to the worthiness of their objects than to judge objects worthy solely because they have been chosen.”

In other words, the only thing sacred is to choose whatever I want as an individual, regardless of what impact this will have on my life or society at large.

“Each has turned to it’s own way.”

For my parent’s generation it was different. They still had a grand story that believed in right and wrong, good and evil, and sacrificing for the sake of others. They followed the grand story of Jesus and his ways, or at least they were haunted by it enough to stake their claim on the story.

The results are in. My parent’s generation overcame the great Depression of the 30’s,  and then saved the world from unfathomable evil in the 40’s in WW 2. Well, that took three and a half years. This generation, sometimes called the Builders or the “Greatest” generation, believed in something bigger than themselves. Now, like all human beings, my parent’s generation had many flaws and failures, probably no greater than not passing on the grand story to my generation, the Baby Boomers, who cut our teeth in the 50’s and came of age in the 60’s. Somehow, we lost the sense of the grand story, we lost a big enough drama to bring us a sense of meaning and purpose that would last and cause us to thrive. We were called the “Me” generation.

Is it shocking to discover that my generation, the one who followed, the “Baby Boomers” would have a price to pay for the loss of a grand sense of meaning and purpose in our lives? Well, what do you think?

More and more for my generation, it is the freedom to choose to do what I want that became the ultimate good. The freedom to buy more and more, the freedom to tune in or tune out, the freedom to do my own thing. And when my will becomes supreme over the will of the source of all creation, there is a terrible price to pay. And we are paying it.

Just one example, Baby Boomers are diagnosed with 10 times more severe depression per capita than my parent’s generation.

And the generations that follow mine are rampant with a loss of meaning and purpose that addictions and consumerism continues to try to fill. The will to choose is now supreme, regardless of how this affects society in general.

Hart says two things happen as a result of individual choice itself being supreme. First we become a society of consumers.

“We give in to a fairly banal kind of liberty, no more- though no less- significant than a consumer’s freedom to choose among the different kinds of bread, shoes, televisions, political parties, or religions.”

“When one considers our culture’s devotion to acquisition, celebrity, distraction, and therapy, it is hard not to think perhaps our vision as a people has narrowed to the smaller preoccupations and desires of individual selves, and that our whole political, social, and economic existence is oriented toward that reality.”

Yes, we are better in one way because we don’t have the miseries of our ancestors and we can gratefully embrace the triviality of media, social media, and shopping.

This consumerism and distracting ourselves because we have lost any sense of meaning and purpose is one result of choice itself being supreme.


What are ways we distract ourselves today?

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Only when Jesus becomes the center of our lives and we use all of our time, energy and resources learning from him how to live well in a broken world, will the society around us change.

We are the problem, and through Christ in us, we are the solution.

God Time February 26

But there is more. We don’t exist unless our transcendent source is good. Our source makes it possible for us to flourish. And because of consciousness, we can discover what is good. We can be naturally drawn to the source of good. We can choose to follow the good God. And human beings have done just that. Humans have worshiped the transcendent source in one way or another since the beginning of humans. Human beings have made choices in the way they live as a result of seeking the will of the source. And over this time the human will has been drawn to discover more and more who this God is.

About 4000 years ago, some humans beings began to discover the true source. At least that is what I think! God begins revealing himself to his people, Israel, and they are given the choice to worship and follow him, or not. They make good choices when their will is subject to God’s will. He reveals his will in his law, most clearly in the Ten Commandments. Ten guideposts for human beings to flourish. But God’s people use their wills most often to reject his ways. Like one of God’s prophet’s, Isaiah, said, “Each has turned to his own way.” This brings destruction to God’s people, so instead of restoring the world to God’s blessing, hope seems lost.

Then, 2000 years ago in the Middle East, in the little town of Bethlehem, hope becomes eternal. Something amazing takes place. The transcendent source of the universe, the source of all that exists, reveals himself in one human being, Jesus. And this human being flourishes and lives life according to the will of the source, whom he calls his “Father.”

And it was revealed that Jesus himself is the source, as Paul says, “For in him all Fullness was pleased to take up dwelling.”

And so the source of all existence not only revealed himself, but gave all human beings purpose and meaning in their lives. As our wills are drawn to that which is good, it is revealed that the path for our choices in life, what is right and good, is to follow the model and teachings of Jesus. As we trust in Jesus, and choose to follow in his ways, we flourish. And when we, the assembly of the people of God birthed through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, use our wills to serve his will, our neighbors flourish. The world itself transforms for good. Our purpose is to seek the good of God and seek the good of our neighbor.

This sounds like a beautiful picture doesn’t it? A grand story that the transcendent source of all that exists reveals himself for all to see and is Fullness itself. Tragically, this grand story, which the transcendent source of all that exists lives out in our world, is no longer the story of our society.


We all have a view of the world that influences choices we make. Why are the model and teachings of Jesus so dynamic when they are actually lived out?


What does it mean to be human?

Biologists tell us we are primates.

More specifically we are haplorhini. Dry-nosed.

As opposed to wet-nosed primates. Strepsirrhini.

Now that we got that out of the way, are we more than that? Of course.

The one thing that separates us from all other animals, more than anything else, is consciousness.

We think and make choices. We have a will. Our will gives us the ability to make choices.

Today there is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence. AI. Computers that can think like humans. Computers that can make choices.

This is nonsense. Computers don’t even compute. Humans compute using computers as information tools. Computers don’t make choices. They simply record human choices, store them, and retrieve them.

A computer is not like you. A computer is a tool used by you. A good analogy is pen and paper. When we use a computer we are using electronic ink on silicon paper.

No, human beings are unique in all of creation because of consciousness. Making choices. The ability to think about thinking.

But where does this consciousness come from? What is the origin? Consciousness can’t create itself. It has to have an origin outside of itself. The origin can’t be located within our universe. So, logically, there has to be a transcendent source. Transcendent, meaning outside of our own creation.

Our consciousness comes from a non-physical transcendent source. Or, welcome to God, with a capital “G”.

God is the source of our consciousness. And God is the source of the consciousness of our universe. The physical world, along with the rational laws of the universe like gravity or mathematics, didn’t just show up magically. They didn’t somehow evolve. The laws of the universe, like our own consciousness, come out of God. We don’t exist without God.


“You can’t create something out of nothing.” Why is this basic truth ignored so often?

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Human beings have consciousness which makes real choices possible.

What influences the choices we make?
Is there good and evil?
Is there right and wrong?
How do we know?

Our answers to these questions, and others like them, are lived out in real day to day life….a life of beauty…a life of monstrosity…a life of choices

God Time- Free to Choose…But What?

Living in the real world

17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 

When we look at the world around us what do we see?

If we are focusing on suffering and struggle and evil, that which works against God, the brokenness of the world, that is what we see. The world appears in chaos.

If we are focusing on the beauty, sacrificing for the good of others, the joy, the wonders of creation, that is what we see.

So what is the real world? The real world is where people are invited to connect with their creator and live forever. The real world is where the creator reveals himself in human history as the human Jesus. And through Jesus all people have the freedom to reject God’s ways or to follow him. The broken world isn’t created by Jesus, God doesn’t create evil. The broken world exists because people have the God-given ability to reject him.

But the broken world is being restored to the world where Jesus reigns forever. And God is using us to be his agents of restoration right where we find ourselves.

In Jesus, all things hold together. Just like the gravity Jesus creates to hold our world from tumbling into destruction, the love he shares with us makes it possible for us to bring his good to the world which cannot tumble into destruction.

Because Jesus is the creator of all things and in him all things hold together, we know who is in charge. Jesus is in charge.

And because he is in charge we can focus on beauty and the wonders of creation, we can sacrifice for the good of others, we can bring joy into the lives of others, we can do all these things, because Jesus is in charge.

This is what we do. This is who we are.  We join with Jesus right now, in the midst of a broken world, and we learn from him how to live well.

Who we are and what we do.

Learning to live well in a broken world.


Why does focus make a difference?


16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by Him and for Him.

Jesus is the source of all things. He exists. And out of his existence, we are created, along with all things. What we can physically see. The visible. And all things we can’t physically see. The invisible. The spiritual realm.

When Paul says, “whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers,” he is talking about the Jewish concept of angels. The spiritual realm. Good angels and angels who rebel against God. The physical realm is contained within the spiritual realm. We are in the spiritual realm, as well. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Yet, like the angels, we have the choice to reject our creator.

Jesus forces no one to follow him. He forces no one to worship him. But, when we realize who he is, why would we do anything else but worship and follow?

Both humans and angels have the same goal: to honor and glorify the creator with our lives. Yes, Jesus is the source of all creation and the goal of all creation.

“All things were created by him and for him.”


Do you often think of angels?

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Question: What is a Christian?
Answer: Someone who follows Jesus.
Question: Why would I want to follow him?
Answer: You join with him and learn from him how to live well in a broken world…

A sermon based on Colossians 1:15-17

God Time February 12


Colossians 1

15 He is the image of the invisible God and is supreme (first born) over all creation.

He is the image. The Bible word is “eikon.” Where we get the word, “icon.” Icons are used for worship as a representation that we see God through. “The good news in line and color.”

Jesus is the image of God for us.

Think of it this way.

When someone is sitting in the room next to you, you know they are there, but you can’t see them. However if there is a hallway between the rooms and a mirror in the hallway, you might see them in the mirror. You see the image of who they are. It is their icon, their mirror image.

This is who Jesus is. We can’t see God. We can experience his presence, but there is so much we don’t know.

But, when God comes to earth as Jesus, we get to experience him in a whole new way. We have a record of what he did and said. We have eyewitnesses who wrote things down and saw how he lived life. So, we see Jesus in a whole new way. He is our image for how to live.

Think of it. Jesus lives in a world of struggle, pain, and suffering. Exactly like we do. Jesus lives in a world of love, joy and beauty. He sees things we see. Birds. Lilies. He sees the beauty exactly like we do.

And there is more. God tells us we are created in his image. His icon, as it were.

Listen to these words again from Genesis One.

So God created man in His own image;

    in the image of God He created him;

    male and female He created them.

Jesus is the image of God. We are the image of God. Jesus is the model for who we are to be. Firstborn, meaning supreme over all of creation.