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For the love of money is a root of all the evils, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1Timothy 6:10

Materialism is a mindset that substitutes the things of this world for the promises of God. This includes security, comfort, peace, joy, etc. In the Scriptures, materialism is called by another name:  Idolatry.

The use of “wandered” – in the verse above – is interesting. In the Greek, it means “to go astray, stray away from”.  It is a passive action; like a child wandering away from his mother.

In other words, materialism is not something we actively set our minds to pursue, like adultery or murder. It comes to us like an unseen toxin or cancer, many times wrap in attractive packaging. We don’t have to ask for materialism; it is an active agent – a catalyst for many kinds of sin.

Most American Christians are born into materialism. It is a big part of our culture – an inherent measure of the American Dream. “Keeping up with the Joneses”, once viewed as a negative pursuit, has now become an obligation. Homeowners’ association and our kids demand it. We have been deceived into thinking that making our neighbors and children happy is a redeeming activity. In reality, it is simply an excuse to procure more stuff.

From a Romanian pastor: “In my experience, 95% of the believers who face the test of external persecution pass it, while 95% of those who face the test of prosperity fail it!” Church leaders in China are recognizing the same threat. While persecution serves as a catalyst for church growth, China’s newfound prosperity is drawing believers away.

Assuming that Americans are somehow immune to this disease is both arrogant and dangerous – for ourselves and our children. To avoid or break free from the poison of materialism, we must recognize and respect it as our enemy. We must set our minds against it.

Once we acknowledge the potential for brokenness in the set of our mind, we become free and empowered to a healthy suspicion of the way we think and the affect that thinking has on our hearts. At this point, we must be particularly cautious.

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Before we delve into another article on the way we think, what we think about, and how our thinking impacts our faith walk, I would like to clarify something.

These articles are for Workplace Leaders. In fact, this is true for every article that God uses me to write – whether or not they are workplace focused. Why? Because God has positioned Christians in the Workplace to make disciples. That is our primary responsibility.

Furthermore, God created inLight Consulting to encourage, edify and equip Workplace Leaders for that purpose. Consequently, every resource that comes out of this ministry is for Workplace Leaders to use in making disciples and transforming their spheres of influence.

I encourage you to be a good steward of all that God is entrusting to you.

Foundational Thinking

As we have proposed previously, for reformation to occur in the Western Church, committed Christians must begin challenging the way they are thinking and what they are thinking about.

The way we think (i.e., paradigm, mindset, worldview) is built on foundational convictions. The stronger our convictions have become, the harder it will be to reform our thinking. Our minds do not like their foundations challenged.

I recognize that to even suggest such a thing is likely to set off alarms. Who am I to challenge the way you think and what you think about – much less your foundations? It is a great question. The answer is better:

I am just the pen.

You don’t have to answer to me. You don’t even have to like or agree with everything I write. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ! Hold these things up in the light of His Gospel, and the truth of His word.

I truly believe that I am simply the instrument God is using to get you to challenge the way you think and what you are thinking about.

The Old and New Covenant

The following is intended to get you thinking about what (if anything) you think about your covenant with God.

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It seems we have embarked on a series of articles about the way humans think, and what they think about. If that is the case, then this is the third article in the series. The first two are 3 Realities of Workplace Leadership and Did Jesus die, sacrifice and suffer so we wouldn’t have to?

Here is the premise of the series:

The church in America desperately needs a reformation. Where do reformations begin? Romans 12:2 encourages us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Perhaps, in this Age of Reason, we need a reformation in the way we think.

We have gotten lazy with our thinking. We trust our thinking way too much. Those of us that preach and teach trust the thinking of others more than we should.

The way we think, and what we think about, is commonly called our mindset, worldview or paradigm. Everyone has one, though many do not recognize that they receive and respond to external stimuli through a mental filter that has been developed throughout their lifetime.

We are born with a mindset that has certain predetermined settings. Other come through learning. A baby crying when its hungry is not a learned behavior. Learning to manipulate with emotion is learned and developed. Both predetermined and learned behavior can be unlearned. Our minds can be renewed. Read the rest of this entry »

Doubled chaos by PokornyA paradigm is a pattern or model we use when considering – and responding to – the world around us. Workplace Leaders operate out of their paradigms. For the most part, paradigms are a matter of the mind, exposed by what we believe, confess, and do.

The Scriptural term for paradigm is mindset. Our paradigms should be an expression of “things above” (Colossians 3:2). Paradigms set on the things of this world are dangerous paradigms to have. They cause us to operate in ways that are contrary to the will of God.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Our pursuit of the will of God requires the renewing of our mind – the regular, even continual, transformation of our paradigms. God has made a way for this, and He has graciously given us a Transformer.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18

While we are not the primary agent of our transformation, we must be diligent in our participation. It is important to recognize our role in the renewal process. We must set our minds on things above; particularly the glory of the Lord. We must submit to the Holy Spirit’s work. We have been given the mind of Jesus Christ; and we should use it by exclusively seeking the thoughts and ways of God. Read the rest of this entry »

the light of GodThe Holy Bible is a treasure of hidden treasures, written in a very deliberate way, through pens called men, by the Holy Spirit.  The languages used in its writing were deliberately created by God; to reveal the word of God.  Furthermore, in His sovereignty, God determined that it was good to hide things.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Proverbs 25:2

God works all things to good; even the fallacies of man. Over the ages, godly men have done their best to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leading in collecting and translating the Holy Scriptures into the other languages of man. It is understandable that even the most inspired and insightful endeavors were influenced by their culture, and their personal way of thinking. It would serve us well to assume that the same is true for those of us that are reading those translations.

Before I get in trouble with you, let me say that this is not about the validity or perfection of the Holy Bible. The Lord’s encouragement in this article is for our desperate need to read the translations we prefer with a heart to search out the matter; with at least a mild suspicion that things might not be what they seem. It is not a matter of the infallibility of the Scriptures; but of the paradigms of both translator and seeker of the truth.

To better explain, let me share something I discovered in reading a short passage in 2Thessalonians (using my favorite translation, the New King James Version). Read the rest of this entry »

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