Overcoming: With Truth, Humour, 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.


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.

So, are you depressed much? 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 is 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 is attested to by God Himself. And 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 have already been overcome. How is this possible? Only by the truth of the Gospel. Jesus Christ is The Overcomer, and by our union with Him, we are 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 still need to hear it again. Trust me, you do. We all need to hear it again, and again, and again, and again, and again…


A friend posted this link https://babylonbee.com/news/study-highway-hell-theologically-accurate-96-modern-worship-songs/ 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 is definitely a joke to say a song that cheerfully celebrates 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 is 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 would 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 here in pointing all of this out. And yet… some have said, “You never can be too careful.”


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. And with this politician he means to say that guns are the central problem, while discerning voices might 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 kinda sorta 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 have 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. https://www.iflscience.com/space/china-will-try-and-grow-potatoes-on-the-moon-in-2018/

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”.) https://insider.foxnews.com/2017/06/15/shots-fired-truck-flying-make-america-great-again-flag-i-465-indiana

“Sean Lennon, wrote on his Facebook page that the announcement of the joint credit had come as a surprise.” In other words, Yoko 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 has 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 may 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. Rach 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. https://www.inspiremore.com/autism-panic-at-airline/

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! https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/06/15/graduating-senior-refused-to-read-speech-written-by-administrators-so-they-withheld-his-diploma/
Interesting that even the Christian cults are unsure what to do with the LGBTQIA+ issues. Given LDS teaching, it’s so odd that 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 is called brave for saying what she did, will those who have concern that that she is in theological error also be called brave for saying what they will say? https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mornon-girl-comes-out_n_5942cefbe4b0f15cd5b9e561

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


Deep (or Not so Deep) Thoughts:

It is so significant that the American church (it seems) has, in large measure, forgotten that Christians have been granted the privilege of sharing in Christ’s suffering. Consider this an important reminder.

Sadly “churchgoers” and true “Christians” are not one and the same. The church needs true Christians to be engaged as models for how to have loving discussions, even about (especially about) things over which we disagree. Christians need to do this inside the church and then also do this on a wider scale in the general public and on social media.
I encourage us to not get ahead of ourselves if we don’t need to. Sometimes we might do well to keep our powder dry until the spirit of the age shows its hand. Those standing for truth don’t need to go looking for a fight, deceivers will bring their fight to the defenders of truth. (There are plenty of real examples going on right now. I believe we’ll be more effective if we concentrate our focus there.)

Someone shared a speech given by Oprah Winfrey, saying, “You are nothing if you are not your truth”. During the speech Oprah said, “Your legacy is every life you’ve touched.” I commented that this is really so very good in sooo many ways. Sadly, it also sets us up for continued dissatisfaction if we’re not careful. Oprah shares “her truth” in this video. But is it “the truth”? Is “your truth” or “my truth” any different? “Our truth” only matters if it squares with “the truth”. A word of caution: Beware of swapping a primary focus on your shoes/cars/houses for a primary focus on your legacy. Making your legacy your primary focus “doesn’t fill up your life” either. Legacy is a good thing. It’s just not the ultimate thing.

Here’s an article by one of my former seminary professors that’s worth a read, even if I’m not totally onboard with the premise. The author says, “It might seem like a totally foreign concept that visiting a church building could inspire a conversion — especially in the US — but as we move into an increasingly post-Christian culture, purpose-built worship space might be one of the great witnesses we have for a watching world.” https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/17/one-six-young-people-christian-visits-church-buildings-inspire/


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 have 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,

Pastor Troy Skinner