Our culture loves despair. We ignore the facts and choose lamentation.
Listen to an hour of the news and you’ll hear how dangerous our country is. (Crime is down significantly over the past 30 years) You’ll hear how horrible the economy is. (The image above shows the NASDAQ Index the past two years.) Public school stink. (In fact, most major metropolitan school systems have seen test scores steadily increase over the past decade.)
Find a slow news and the media just goes back to the wheel of despair news stories that you love. Teen pregnancy, homelessness, violence in schools, date rape, sexting… you know the list. They go back to that wheel of despair because YOU LOVE THAT NEWS! Our culture is sick, twisted, and upside down.
We love to point to examples of bad news and apply them to our entire culture.Gang violence up 2% in Chicago? People in Arizona will go buy a handgun, just in case it spreads. A school in the district is struggling? Pull financial support, start a private school, all the kids with means will go there.
We’re all going to hell in a handbasket and there’s nothing you can do about it. Armageddon is on the horizon, cope and deal baby!
That’s our culture of despair.
I reject despair for a posture of hope
I refuse to be defined, to think of myself, or to allow myself to be manipulated by an evil system which loves despair. Jesus did not die so I could live a life of despair. He subjected himself, even to death, so that I could live life to full. (John 10:10)
My project is faced with impossible odds? I like my odds of winning.
Life biggest challenges afoot? I smile at the opportunity.
One of my students lives in ruin because of bad decisions? Today can be the next chapter in an amazing story of redemption.
1.5 million people left homeless after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince? Well, let’s feed this 5,000. It’s a start.
The church cut the budget, staff let go, initiatives put on ice? Time for some soft innovation.
Everything that could have gone wrong today did? Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s learn from this and move forward.
I choose to fear God alone and allow Him to have dominion over what He’s asked me to do. He’s not surprised by my circumstance. He’s never let me down. And He takes great pleasure when I put my faith and trust in Him despite the odds.
The only story Americans like more than despair? A comeback. Your comeback can begin right here and right now. But you have to put on hope. You have to wear it like a jacket. You have to allow hope to define you.
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Christians believe that Jesus’ work gave us access to the King of Kings. Not only do we have access through Christ– We are adopted as children of God.
Adopted children of the King with unlimited access to God. That’s status.
And yet, as I interact with Christians in leadership at their church, and especially as I interact with Christians in the public arena I’m appauled how many of us take a posture of weakness, irrelevancy, and… other postures unworthy of respect or the high calling we have on our lives.
We genuflect to the kings, demigods, and pseudo-powers of our society instead of carrying a prescence and posture of a prince.
A prince would never need to genuflect to a local lord. Nor would he entertain, beyond amusement, the solutions of those who didn’t have access to the knowledge he had.
But that’s the posture many people take in society.
The only thing worse than an arrogant prince is a weak, defeated one
A prince isn’t cocky, he is confident. A prince isn’t intimidated by challenges, he uses his resources to overcome. A prince isn’t lead by fools, he is entertained by them. He isn’t overcome by his insecurities in the public arena, as he knows his King owns the public arena and His Father has the power over the people. Ultimately, the prince isn’t worried worried what people think, because he understands that any power in the room belongs to his Father.
A Prince’s Posture
A doer of his Father’s business, not a debater of what his Father might want
As we begin a new week, my encouragement for my fellow princes and princesses is to put on the Prince’s posture and put away the insecurities.
Which of these introductions garners the most trust to you?
Hello, my name is Adam McLane. Thank you for inviting me here today. As an expert in my field, I look forward to sharing with you this morning 7 insights which will revolutionize ________.
Hi. I’m Adam. I guess you’ve invited me here this morning because you’ve tried everything and looked around and found the one guy in the world who has tried more ways to _________ than you have. Well, I guess a broken clock is right twice a day. Let’s get started.
Chances are you like the first one a little better. The first introduction would cause you to reach into your bag and fish out a pen and some paper. But the question isn’t who would you like better or who would give you the most stuff to write down, it’s which introduction garners the most trust?
An experts role is to teach 5 things in an outline, collect his check, and move on to the next place. But a teacher creates questions inside which spurs on your own thoughts and solutions to the problems you are facing.
I have a tendency to trust the second introduction a lot more. I might not write down as much stuff… but that second introduction will cause me to lean in. Something about that humility tells me he has something to say.
It tells me that this person isn’t just rolling out their presentation… but they are probably going to take me somewhere I need to go. They are going to help me recognize that while I’ve failed in the past I can keep trying and searching for the answers I need.
And they aren’t going to lie to me and tell me that success is just 5 bullet points away. I already have mountains of notebooks filled with outlines on things that didn’t work. The second person is going to share the truth that the journey to success is paved with many pitfalls and traps along the way.
I can trust that person.
I think this is one subtle way the world has changed.
Expert = distrust
Humble guru = trust
We laugh at the irrelevance of the person who stands on the street corner proclaiming into a bullhorn that he has all the answers to life. Turn or burn, that’s all you need to do. Stop fornicating and you’ll be fine.
Let’s face it… it’s a stupid way to communicate.But it’s not unlike what we do in our churches. We hide behind our degrees, we point to our bookshelf, we hide from tough questions and real ministry by filling our schedule with meetings, and we gather as a staff to celebrate how awesome we are. But in the quiet moments, sharing coffee with a friend, we are no more faithful or have the answers than the person sitting in the pew behind us.
Trust me, but how?
I think most of us were raised in a time when we were told to always put our best foot forward. So we do that.
But times have changed. We can no go faster and further with people in building trust when we start by putting our worst foot forward.
“My name is ___________. I’m no better than you. I don’t have all the answers.”
Go ahead, repeat it out loud until it feels natural. It just might lead to something unbelievable.