The Earth is Flat – When Personal Experience Becomes the Sole Authority for Reality

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Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 4.11.32 PM.pngThis past weekend was the NBA All Star Game Weekend. One of the items that made the headlines had nothing to do with basketball.

Kyrie Irving is legitimately one of the most talented basketball players playing in the NBA. Kyrie was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first pick in the first round after playing a year of basketball at Duke University. And Kyrie Irving honestly believes that the earth is flat.

Kyrie Irving was quoted as saying:

This is not even a conspiracy. The earth is flat, the earth is flat.

For what I’ve known for as many years and what I’ve come to believe, what I’ve been taught, is the earth is round. But if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move, and the fact that – can you really think of us rotating around the sun and all planets aligned, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these planets?

How can an intelligent young man possibly believe that the earth is flat?

When we live in a world where one’s personal experience and one’s own personal perspective is the highest authority for what is reality, this makes perfect sense.

Kyrie Irving is simply saying, I’ve never personally seen anything to tell me anything other than the “fact” the earth is flat. That’s what I see. The only earth he’s ever seen is perfectly flat.

And since personal perspective is the ultimate authority, everyone that’s telling him otherwise are liars.

While most reasonable people can see the absurdity of this when it comes to science, reasonable people do this all time when it comes spiritual realities and morality. We, somehow, fail to see how absurd it is to make ourselves the supreme authority of reality.

Things You Can’t Do When You’re Giving Thanks

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Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good…(Psalm 136:1)

In the Hebrew, this is written in the imperative.

Hmmm. You’re telling me this is a command?

Yup. This is a command. It’s not a suggestion. It’s not just a good idea. This is a command. “I COMMAND THEE…GIVE THANKS!” (read it in a deep thunderous voice)

Why would God command creatures he created to give thanks to Him?

Seems kinda pathetic…create a bunch of creatures and make them go around thanking you. “Thank you God”, “yeah, thanks God,” “gee, you’re awesome. Thank you God” (read it in a squeaky mousy voice)

What can this be about?

I want to suggest that God commands us to give thanks because giving thanks has more to do with making our lives better than it has to do with making God feel good.

I suggest that we are commanded to give thanks, for when we do our lives significantly improve.

You see, think about all the things you can’t do when you’re grateful. Think about all the things that are impossible to be when you are giving thanks.

When you are giving thanks:

  • It’s impossible to be angry
  • It’s impossible to be jealous
  • It’s impossible to be sad
  • It’s impossible to be critical
  • It’s impossible to be cynical
  • It’s impossible to hate
  • It’s impossible to be fearful
  • It’s impossible to fill in the blank

There are so many things that are simply impossible to do and be when you are giving thanks.

Now look at that list…wouldn’t your life be better without those things?

Wouldn’t our world be better without those things?

So who is the command for?

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!

Who Christ Stands With

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Standing with the disenfranchised, the powerless, the stranger, the alien, the outcast is not a democratic thing or a republican thing.

This is a Christ thing.

This is who Christ stood with.

E Pluribus Unum

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Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 11.27.56 AM.pngE Pluribus Unum…

Recognize it? Ever seen it?

It’s on the Great Seal of the United States. It’s on US currency.

E Pluribus Unum…

It’s been a de facto motto of the United States since her founding.

It means “One from Many.”

When the founders of our country were working on the constitution and how they thought the country should be made up, their intent was to have 13 distinct states that make up one nation. “One from Many.”

They also recognized that they were a people from many different backgrounds: British, Scottish, Welsh, German, French, etc. Even though each came from different backgrounds, they would be united as one nation.

E Pluribus Unum…

But unity doesn’t just happen. In fact, unity is elusive. So how does many become one? What is the uniting factor?

For the founders of our country, it was a dream. A dream of a nation where people can freely live out their convictions without the threat of persecution. A dream of a nation where people of different backgrounds and nationalities would come together to form a greater nation that promised freedom and the pursuit of happiness for all people. And most importantly, a dream of a nation that would find herself living under God.

Living under God…

“In God We Trust” is the official motto of the United States. I don’t think that’s an accident. It’s only God who can unite us. It’s God from whom unity comes. Everything we do as a nation, everything we are as a country is based on this fundamental understanding – “In God We Trust”.screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-11-45-54-am

Without that, unity is merely a dream. Without binding ourselves under God, unity will never be reality.

You can not like this. But you cannot change our history.

E Pluribus Unum…One from Many…is only possible when it is “In God We Trust.”

Worship – Weekly Recalibration

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Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 2.01.31 PM.pngOne of my best friends worked for a company that made nothing, but earned millions in profits every year.

I know. That’s the kind of world we live in. But I am personally thankful for the work they and companies like them do because their work saved my life. I have had four bypasses, three stents, multiple angiograms to count, too many days in the hospital, etc.

Andy worked for a company who worked with hospitals to ensure their equipment were functioning within acceptable tolerance. The equipment and the machines our doctors use must operate within an extremely tight window of acceptable tolerance. The equipment is only useful if the readings are reading correctly. If the readings are off then the equipment is not only useless, it is dangerous.

Andy’s company made sure that the equipment used in hospitals and by doctors were operating within acceptable tolerance.

Isn’t it interesting that through regular use, and with time, equipment drifts. And very rarely does it drift toward perfection. It always drifts further from acceptable tolerance.

Equipment needs regular recalibrating. The same goes with us.

Our focus, perspective, hopes, goals, dreams tend to drift away from God’s best for us. In time, we forget God.

Regular worship is our weekly recalibration. We need it because we drift. We get further away from acceptable tolerance and worship brings us back.

So, when’s the last time you’ve been in God’s house to worship God? Isn’t it time for a recalibration?