Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Deceitful Thrill of Living Dangerously

Not long ago my wife and I took our grandchildren to an amusement park in New Hampshire. We had a great time. Without question, our granddaughter’s favorite ride was the log ride. She had this love/hate feeling going on about the steep drop into the water where she got all wet. She said “I loved it, expect the part I didn’t like very much.” Whether you are 4 or 40, such rides can be a lot of fun. Perhaps they are so much fun because they scare us, even though deep inside we know we are safe. It is almost like seeing just how far we can go into danger, without actually getting hurt. For most of us, that is actually a caricature of our lives. 

We like to live on the edge, seeing just how far we can go before getting in trouble. That desire to embrace danger while denying the potential for hurt is actually part of our fallen sinful nature. No, I’m not saying amusement parks are sinful. I’m saying that tendency to see how close we can get to trouble - without actually paying the price for it - comes from our sinful nature.
While rides at an amusement park might be safe, even if they scare us, when we toy with sin and live dangerously close to sinful life choices, there is no way to keep hurt and pain from finally impacting us.

The ugly truth is that sin destroys us. While our sinful nature wants to live on the edge, hoping the thrill will outweigh the cost, it never works out that way. Sin always takes us farther than we wanted to go, keeps us longer than we wanted to stay and costs us far more than we thought we would have to pay. We must determine to live holy lives and not get caught up in sin.

Lord, help us keep our hearts turned to You so that the wiles of the world do not lure us into harm’s way. Amen.

Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the executive director of the Baptist Convention of New England.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Mannequin By the Pond

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,” Colossians 2:13

Last Sunday my wife and I were out for an afternoon drive. We were enjoying the fall foliage when we happened upon a lovely scene near a campground. At the entrance to the campground there was a river that emptied into a pond, a lovely covered bridge, and several historical items on display. But what caught our eye the most was the lovely mannequin of an old man fishing. It was meticulously set up beside the covered bridge and looked like it had been there many years. We pulled into the small parking lot and took in the whole scene. It was amazing.

And then we got a shock that took our breath away. The mannequin moved! Suddenly we realized it was not a mannequin after all, but a real, live elderly gentleman who was actually fishing beside the bridge. He had been standing so still, and looked so poised in the scene, that we didn’t even realize he was alive!
I wonder how many churches are viewed by their community just like we viewed that old man? Churches often are in central locations in town, with meticulous buildings and stately lawns. But perhaps it has been so many years since the community has seen any real movement, any meaningful activity, that if the church actually did something, it would be a shock to anyone watching.

We may appear to our community to be dead as a church. If that is the case, then we need the Lord to make us alive again through His Spirit. The community should not be shocked when our church actually does something good.

Lord, help us to find life in You and be active in serving You. May the life within us be evident to all who are watching us. Amen.

Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the executive director of the Baptist Convention of New England.