Overcoming: With Truth, Humor, Wisdom

silhouette of a man pushing a large boulder up a hill


The World is a Fractured Place  

Devious deception from self-absorbed leaders is all too common.  News stories highlight the wary distrust of one group toward another group of people who have different backgrounds and experiences.  Monetary greed, personal comfort, and a spirit of going-it-alone dominate our culture.  The back-biting, bickering, and back-stabbing might not be so bad if it weren’t for the power plays, office politics, and Machiavellian triangulation.  How do we come together in unity?  Why haven’t we all come together for the advancement of something that’s bigger than ourselves?  What does the Bible say about all of this?

Incidentally, you might be thinking that the paragraph above is about society at large.  Clearly the society in which we live faces a cultural crisis, so I can understand why you might think the opening paragraph was addressing broad sociological issues.  However, the first paragraph is actually about a narrower group.  It’s about us and our church culture.  Sad, isn’t it?  But true.  Sadly true.

In the first seven chapters of Acts we learn about the establishment of Christ’s Church, built through the Holy Spirit to bring unity, to equip godly leaders, to prayerfully give witness to the advance of the Good News of the Kingdom.  We should examine what this means for God’s people corporately, what it means for God’s ordained leaders, and what it means for God’s people individually.  We must open our ears to hear a message about our beautiful King Jesus, filling those who do have ears to hear with encouragement and boldness.


So, Are You Depressed Much?

Someone I know said, “I’m just too tired.  People are too mean, too selfish, too close minded.  I can’t change it, but I can’t ignore it.  And it literally hurts, in all places.  I need a break.”  All I could say in the moment was, “Too true”.

Worried by the weight of the world?  Wondering why you believe in Jesus Christ – or if you actually even believe at all?  There’s a powerful and encouraging message from the Apostle John.  It’s a message for all of us.  In 1 John 5:1-12 we read why we can and should have hope, and that we can be sure of what John writes to us because it’s attested to by God Himself.  Further, we discover that the trials which tempt us to quit are actually reminders of our victory in Christ.

Admittedly, the struggles are hard and real and painful, but the struggles are now being overcome and will one day be overcome because they’ve already been overcome.  How’s this possible?  Only by the truth of the Gospel.  Jesus Christ is THE Overcomer, and by our union with Him, we’re also overcomers.  If you have ears to hear, then listen and hear the Good News of Jesus the Messiah.  If you’ve heard it before, you need to hear it again.  Trust me, you do.  We all need to hear it again, and again, and again, and again, and again…


Highway To Hell

A friend posted this Babylon Bee link about AC/DC and shared that he found it, “Highly interesting.”  Not being sure that he was familiar with the Bee’s satirical approach to things in the world, I added my thoughts:

Thanks for posting.  The Babylon Bee is one of the great sources of satire in the world today!  And as usual, they have an interesting take.  Also as usual, they take a pretty strong (and mostly fair) swipe at the typical American church – in this case rebuking what passes for contemporary worship music in many circles today.

However, not everyone will be clear on the satire, perhaps.  So, I feel compelled to add that it’s definitely a joke to say a song cheerfully celebrating going to Hell is 96% theologically accurate.  Certainly, referring to Hell as “the promised land” is not biblically accurate.

Similarly, Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast” is theologically accurate in acknowledging evil and the Devil.  However, it’s biblically inaccurate to ascribe ultimate authority to the beast (as the song does with the lyric, “I have the power to make my evil take its course”).

The article’s joke continues with the mention of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”.  This is really a song about drug addiction, rather than theology.  Yet, not jokingly, it does capture the pain and destruction that comes from seeking satisfaction in unsatisfying things.  It’d actually become a somewhat more robust biblical song if the lyrics also pointed to a solution, rather than just a problem.

Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction” includes the words “mortal”, “god”, and “heavens”.  That’s all that can be said about the theological substance of this song, I believe.  So, to quote all the political pundits on cable TV, “There’s no there there.  It’s a total nothing burger.”

Anyway, I’m likely being a bit too cautious in pointing all of this out.  Yet, some have said, “You never can be too careful.”


Abhorrent Behavior is the Problem

A friend slammed Terry McAuliffe for a misstatement made by the former governor of Virginia.  I understood where my friend was coming from, but still, I offered a friendly word in reply:

“Funny ‘hot take’.  However, I’m more than willing to give the governor a break.  Everyone misspeaks from time to time.  I’m more concerned by the words of political leaders when they say what they mean to say.  With this politician he means to say that guns are the central problem, while discerning voices counter that abhorrent behavior is the central problem.  According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, in Europe (32 countries) knives outpace guns as the weapon of choice, with 43 percent of murders involving knives (not guns).

I guess Europe needs tighter knife control laws.  (And lately Europe also needs tighter truck control, van control, and car control laws).”

My friend didn’t like everything I had to say:  “But a munch like McAuliffe deserves no break.  Straight up Socialist.”

My last salvo:  “I hear ya.  But I still prefer ‘do to others as you’d have them do to you.’ 🙂  Even Socialists need love.  (Speaking of which, give hugs and love to your wonderful bride for me)”.

My friend’s last salvo:  “Are you saying my wife is a Socialist 😳? 😁  Back to the gun grabber, McAllfluff.  He was surrounded by his personal security, aides, and numerous LEO’s who could’ve gotten him stats in seconds.  I prefer to live by the adage, ‘It’s best to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.’ 😉✌🏼”.

Putting a bowtie on it, I ended with:  “With regard to your wife, I was speaking of love, not socialism. 🙂  Of course, she is very social, come to think of it.”


Sometimes You Need to Laugh Insanely Just to Remain Sane

I hear that Whole Foods employees get a 20% discount on purchases.  This means they’re only paying like double for their food.

“I’m sorry” and “I apologize” mean the same thing, except at a funeral.  Kind of like “he tells the truth” and “he’s a straight shooter” in the courtroom of a murder trial.

The first step to lunar climate change:  China Trying to Grow Potatoes on the Moon.

If the truck had fired back, would that mean the truck backfired?  (Or maybe if the truck had fired back the headline would have read, “Racist Hate Crime Against Peaceful Protestor”).

“Sean Lennon, wrote on his Facebook page that the announcement of the joint credit had come as a surprise.”  In other words, he never imagined this would happen.  Imagine that!

Question for parents:  What would happen if your child came out as a conservative?  Would you still be able to love them?

Did you hear about the dad who got hit in the head with a can of soda?  Dad was lucky it was a soft drink.  Yeah, much better than if it was hard liquor.

News reporter, on-site at the hospital where they “think” injured people from a shooting will be coming:  “We have no idea who’s arrived or what their condition is, and we have no official confirmation they’re coming to this hospital.  Back to you, Bob.”  Well, thank you for that informative and helpful breaking news.  But at least it’s straight truth from beginning to end.


Things Not So Funny

A quote I saw somewhere:  “Real fatherhood isn’t anything like a greeting card.  We all screw up.  Here’s to all the dads out there who show up and try again.”

Another quote I saw somewhere:  “Mothers don’t play both roles; they play the role of the mother.  I had a single mother and she’s the most amazing woman on the planet.  Single moms might do more than other moms, but it’s still part of being a mom.”

Awesome story.  In a world with vast numbers of differently-abled people, be kind.  Reach out to find solutions.  Show love.  It may be difficult to enter the autistic world, but the triggers for melt downs are real and not always the same.  This makes it especially difficult for the individual to enjoy any sense of normalcy.  What an extra-ordinary man.

I wonder how many of his public school classmates wouldn’t refuse to read, but would rather be unable to read.  But more seriously:  Non sibi sed patriae!

Interesting, even the cults are unsure what to do with LGBTQIA+ issues.  Given LDS teaching, it’s odd she was able to speak as long as she did before the leaders asked her to sit down.  Now I wonder what happened next.  If she’s called brave for saying what she did, will those with concern that she’s in theological error also be called brave for saying that?

“It’s better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.” – Psalm 37:16 NLT


Random Snippets Before Wrapping Up

Keep preaching, in season and out of season.  For God’s Word never returns void.

No more public financing for stadium projects!  Enough!

To those who’ve heard, “If it’s true, it ain’t bragging!”, have you ever considered:  To be accurate, it MUST be true to be in the bragging department.  If it weren’t true, then it’d be in the lying department.

Thanking God for prayers answered.


Many blessings to you,

Pastor Troy Skinner