:Faith

Artist John Feknew Growth and Decay

Innovation

May 1, 2017 | Andrew Mann | Faith

Programs don’t change people; people change people.

Speaking at a TED Conference in 1998, Billy Graham pointed out, “There are many problems that technology hasn’t solved”. He described the following:

1. Human evil—Why do racism, injustice, and violence sweep our world bringing a tragic harvest of heartache and death?

2. Human suffering—We have families that self-destruct, friends that betray us, and unbearable psychological pressures that bear down on us.

3. Death—One thing we have in common . . . all of us. . . . We are all going to die.

In the twenty years since Billy Graham shared these words, a lot of new programs, technology, and research have attempted to understand or rectify these problems, yet they persist. Then again, the Bible says, God didn’t send a program to help us; He sent a person.

Jesus offered solutions to all three of these problems. He lived a life that was truly innovative—like none before and none since. Ultimately, the most impacting innovation wasn’t His life or His death. It was His resurrection. He, Jesus, is alive, and promised to be with us always through His life-giving Spirit. His Spirit teaches us to love even those who hurt us . . . to be patient . . . to be gentle . . . to control ourselves . . . to relax . . . to use kind words . . . to forgive. Now that’s innovation!

Seems to me when I learn what He’s teaching, there will be a lot less evil, suffering, and death in my world.

Street art bull headed people by artist Jaz

Hope for Knuckleheads

March 27, 2017 | Andrew Mann | Faith

You stubborn and hardheaded people. Acts 7:51, CEV

Knuckleheads—hardheaded, stubborn, limited in perspective, and unwilling to change. I often use this phrase to describe young men with whom I work. I credit them for the many white hairs that have emerged in my goatee. The truth is we’re all knuckleheads. I’m a knucklehead; I hate admitting I’m wrong!

Peter in the Bible was a knucklehead. Jesus told him, “Repent!” In others words, see yourself rightly—you don’t know everything and you need help. “Believe.” See me (Jesus) rightly—I’m like you but not like you; only I can turn your thinking upside down and your world right side up. “Obey.” Take what I teach you and apply it to your life. Faith weaves all three—repentance, belief, and obedience—together. However, it often doesn’t come all at once.

Peter realized his way wasn’t right; that’s why he started following Jesus (Mark 1:17). Later Peter came to the conclusion that Jesus was not just a teacher but something so much more (Matt. 16:16). Obedience though didn’t come until after Jesus died, was resurrected, and sent His Spirit (1 Pet. 1:14, 22). Even then Peter still had things to learn (Acts 11). When I’m frustrated at myself or with others, it’s worth remembering—faith is a process, not an address.