faithclt: Wrote a message to Unka Glen some time back, asking him about something related to the kind of work I want to do, and here’s his favorable reply.
“The great thing about following the Lord is that He knows our desires (in many cases He put those desires where they are), and He knows how to take our small-minded dreams and turn them into something big. Sometimes as part of that, He asks us to go through the desert to get to the Promised Land. Learn to depend on Him, to receive what you need from Him, and to find joy in whatever He has for you to do today. Then the rest will be icing on the cake.”
Unka Glen’s awesome like that.
Could it be that what I thought was the promised land, is really just the desert place, and God is leading me somewhere else, meeting me at the point of my desire?
This is some truth that will set you free. Big time.
What is the best thing you bring into the Kingdom of God? Is it your talent? Is it your mind? What is the thing you can uniquely offer God as He is turning this world upside down? Is it your background or your experience? What is the thing in you God is most eager to put to use? Is it your knowledge or your courage?
Nah. It’s none of those things. You may have tons of distinctive and amazing things to offer and I’m sure God has plans for all of the things that make you the unique person you are. I know He made you on purpose with certain gifts and qualities only you have, and every single one of those things is important, but none of those things are the best thing you have to offer God.
The very best and most important thing you have to offer is your need. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. The thing God most wants from you is your weakness, your inability and your dependence on Him. He wants to turn the world upside down and He wants to do it by empowering the powerless and strengthening the weak. God wants the world to know that you don’t have to be beautiful, talented, powerful or smart to have a life that means something. God wants the world to know that He is the one changing the world and there’s no better way to show that than to offer Him your need.Source: leeyounger
mustardseedguy asked: I was talking to this guy at my job. He said every time I say “Jesus” I make a white man smile. He told me that Jesus wasn’t His real name, but it was Hey-sus. He hands me a book titled “a Chronology of the Bible” I skimmed through It. It’s basically about how “the white man” took who Jesus really was, and used It to their advantage or something, and how It was really written by African Americans. I was too angry to keep paying attention. He also said I have blinders on. Help. I’m just so angry right now.
Unka Glen answered: The book you mentioned was written by a guy named Yosef ben-Jochannan. He advocates a theory of Afrocentrism, saying that most of the world religions, including Judaism (and by extension Christianity) come from Africa, and that much of Western Philosophy and thought comes from Africa as well.
Speaking as a man with a degree in History, all this would be fascinating, if it was true. Alas, it isn’t. Ben-Jochannan claims, for example, that Aristotle visited the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, and he stole his ideas from there. The only problem with that theory is that the Library of Alexandria didn’t exist in Aristotle’s lifetime. Such are the perils of wanting something to be true, and trying to make history fit.
But here are the things we know for sure:
— Racism, as we know it today, can’t be shown to exist in the ancient Biblical and Mediterranean world. Almost no indication of negative stereotypes connected to skin color have been found in ancient literature, the closest I’ve ever heard of was a Roman account of Ethiopians apparently having superpowers because they had touched the sun, and been turned black, but still lived. Futhermore: “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
— This author, ben-Jochannan, donated his works to the Nation of Islam, which you will recall, has some rather extreme ideas about race, that even most orthodox Muslims would not agree with at all.
— If you meet someone wound up on this guy’s writing, ask them to read a book called “Not Out Of Africa” by Mary Lefkowitz, who breaks down some of these historical inaccuracies.
— Jesus was not called “Hey-sus”, that’s the Spanish translation of His original name, just like Jesus is the English translation of His name. His mother called Him Yeshua.
— The Gospels tell us that Jesus traveled with His family to hide in Egypt, and He grew up there. He knew it as home, and managed to successfully blend in with the local population. As Egypt is on the continent of Africa, there’s already a strong enough connection between Jesus and Africa.
— The Gospel spread throughout Africa, by divine intervention, even before the book of Acts was written. You’ll recall the interaction between Phillip and a member of the royal Ethiopian court (Acts 8:26-40). By contrast, it took somewhere between 300 and 400 years for Christianity to make its way as far as the then-primative tribes of England.
— In every respect, people of African and Middle Eastern heritage have more of a historical claim to Christianity than any Westerners do. By very early accounts, we even have the Apostle Thomas planting churches in India. White Man’s God, my @$$.
As for the way to respond to this guy, I think I might say something like this:
“You were mistaken when you said I called Jesus by the wrong name. I call Him ‘Lord’ because that’s who He is to me, my Lord, the one who leads me. He’s not your Lord, and I can tell, because nobody would be led by God to act as insultingly or as dismissively as you’ve acted towards me.
It doesn’t matter if I know the name His mother called Him, it matters that HE knows MY name (John 10:3). I’m not wrong to call Him:
You know ABOUT Jesus, but you don’t know Him. I know Him, and though I’m not worthy of Him, He has claimed me as His own. I am His. He and I are, step by step, figuring out what that’s going to be. You are not invited to be a part of that process, you have no vote, no power, no input, no influence. Jesus and I are working all that out just fine without you.
If you want me to school you on how to hook that up for yourself, so you aren’t caught captive by every “hollow and deceptive philosophy” (Colossians 2:8) that comes along, I’d be happy to help. Otherwise, if you want to talk out of turn, and repeat more of that poorly researched mess to me, you can kick rocks.”
In our inner-city ministry, we often talk about how it’s important to “de-fang” sin. that is to say, it’s important to reduce the emotions that surround sin, in order to better defeat it. If people are overwhelmed with their sin, then they can’t overcome it, so step one is often putting sin in perspective.
Take, for example, this conversation I had with an inmate, as part of our prison ministry:
Inmate: I’m in here for something really terrible
Me: Mmm, what’s that?
Me: That’s not terrible, it’s wrong, but it’s not terrible.
Inmate: I burned my step-father’s house down.
Me: Uh huh, and what made that seem like the thing to do?
Inmate: He used to beat me when I was a kid.
Me: Oh, well that makes sense. It’s wrong, but I see the logic in it.
Inmate: Can I ever be forgiven?!
Me: Sure.You put two kids on a playground, one kicks the other, the other is gonna want to kick him back, it’s the most natural thing in the world. It’s a sin, seeking vengeance like that, but nothing could be more ordinary, natural, and understandable.
In this situation, we have very big themes playing out. Childhood trauma, potential long-term jail time, and a long road to good mental health. But we’re not able to deal with any of those important issues because we’re obsessing over the sin, to the point of being convinced that it’s somehow become unforgivable.
There is a desire in us to play up the drama of our own sin, to see it as part of some epic struggle against powerful forces beyond our control. These are the head games we play with ourselves that allow us to keep on sinning while giving the impression that we’re deeply engaged with the fight against this particular sin.
Here’s the truth about sin:
— God has given us power over all of it. Scripture says that we won’t be given more temptation than we can handle (1 Cor. 10:13), so therefore, we can handle it all. We have power over ever dark forces that would tempt us, and we have our shield of faith and breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6).
— It all starts with something small. The truth is, every massive ugly backslide started with one tiny step in the wrong direction. If you focus on the big dramatic backslide and ignore that tiny mis-step that caused it all to eventually unfold, then you’ll be doomed to repeat the big ugly backslide.
— Guilt, like all emotions, clouds the truth. If you feel like what you’ve done is unforgivable, then it doesn’t matter how many verses you read to the contrary, your emotions are giving you a perfect sense of certainty about something that is perfectly untrue. And all that guilt does is drive you AWAY from God, because you feel like He’s looking to punish you.
— The key is consistency. You can sit alone in a room for an hour and not commit this sin that you’re struggling with, but it’s another thing to be consistent for a day, and then a day at a time, and then adding up the weeks and months.
— The key to that consistency is wisdom. There has to be a wise strategy that will allow you to fight this thing successfully. The enemy wants to tell you this is all about will power. That’s because he wants you trying harder and harder, getting more and more intense and failing again and again, without ever seeking the least bit of wisdom and direction.
— Sin thrives in the dark. Once you get emotionally overwhelmed by your sin, then you can‘t stand to look at it, and if you’re looking away that hard, then it will be impossible to get wisdom on it, and again, you’re doomed to repeat it.
— Sin is natural. Over and over the Bible refers to our “sin nature”. Sin is your default setting. You may have convinced yourself that since you became a Christian and got power over that sin, and the enemy, that somehow your sin nature was no longer in the picture. Think again.
— It’s all paid for. We can conquer the sin in our lives because Jesus conquered sin on the cross. He paid for all sin, for all time. He has taken away it’s sting. We can play games in our heads and pretend that God isn’t inclined to forgive us, but if He didn’t want to forgive your sins, why did he pay for your sins with His own blood?
In the end, it’s all just plain ol’ boring every day ordinary natural forgivable and conquerable sin. To beat it, you need less emotions and more wisdom. If you’re wallowing in the wrongness of it, and not seeking wisdom on it, then recognize, this is why you aren’t overcoming it.
The more you obsess and beat yourself up over your sins, ironically, the more likely you are to repeat them, but by contrast, the more you de-fang your sin, and the more you can add wisdom to your sense of determination, the more likely you are to overcome. There’s a time to grieve our sins, a time to repent of our sins, but the most important moment comes next, the one in which you decide to either wallow, or seek a wise battle plan.
Anonymous asked: Hi there. Before I became Christian I was a very devout Wiccan, and it made me really happy. Once I was saved, I didn’t think about it all that much for a while, but now it’s all starting to come back to me. Every once in a while I just get this intense need for Wicca, and I wonder how I could have ever rejected such an intimate part of myself. It feels like I just decided to not use my left hand. It’s obviously a part of me but I just ignore it, and it’s painful. What should I do?
Unka Glen answered: Forgive me if I remember this story incorrectly, but I seem to remember reading about a conversation between C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, where they were working out the reason for the similarities of all the world’s religions. They decided it was due to this idea of: “now we see only a dull reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
What they were saying, is that one day Christians will see God, and know Him fully, but for now, we see the truth of God through this distorted mirror that is our imperfect understanding of God. They were further suggesting that different religions simply had a a less accurate mirror. So they’d get bits and pieces of the truth, and then maybe fill in the gaps with their own imagination.
This view would suggest that it’s not so much that all the world’s religions are evil, so much as it might suggest that they may be woefully less clued in. This view would also suggest that there might be elements of other religions that are true reflections, but that Christian culture has forgotten, or simply left out.
For example, meditation is central to Buddhism. But when Moses hands over leadership of the Jews to Joshua (a very important moment in Biblical history), he commands Joshua to “keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” David mentions meditating on the Word sixteen different times in the Psalms.
Christians have as much of a scriptural instruction to meditate as any Buddhist. Christians, generally speaking, just don’t.
So where does that leave us? Well, it means that the answer is not in Wicca, or Buddhism, and that modern cultural Christianity may be a much more accurate view of the truth, but that there is always a deeper, simpler, more accurate, more Biblical Christianity to be discovered (I mean, compare the Christianity of today with Medieval era Christianity for example).
Pray that the eyes of your heart be opened, that you may see God more and more as He truly is. No filters, no labels, just truth.
Anonymous asked: Hi Unka Glen. I’ve been feeling so down lately and I noticed that it affects my christian life (prayer & devotion). How can I restore it again? How can I make my christian life more lively?
Unka Glen answered: There are two schools of thought on this kind of situation. The first is that people are sinners, so when they feel bad, or do something bad, it’s because of the sin in their life, and they need to stop sinning, and know that Jesus is the answer to everything.
The second school of thought is similar, but perhaps a bit more evolved. Yes, we are all imperfect sinners who constantly feel the pull of temptation from our flesh, but on a deeper level, it’s about a struggle between the lies we’ve been sold, and the truth. Moreover, there is also a constant pull from the Holy Spirit, drawing us closer to Himself.
Thus, if we break down the lies, it’s like casting off a hindrance and ridding ourselves of those things that entangle us (Hebrews 12:1), and then we can better respond to the pull of the Holy Spirit.
In this second school of thought, sin (and lots of our suffering in general) is the result of buying into those lies. Think about it this way— if I open a person’s brain and implant a lie that says that God doesn’t love you, what would be the likely result? Well, they wouldn’t go to God for strength or comfort because they’d figure God wouldn’t want to give it to them.
So they’d turn to the things of the world to comfort themselves, and they’d have no strength to resist becoming addicted and dependent on those things. But here’s the important part, you can get someone over that addiction, they can confess their sins with bitter tears, but if the lie is still there, then this whole thing will just play itself out again.
At the heart of every struggle, there’s a lie. That struggle could be an emotional struggle, a lifestyle struggle, or a relationship struggle. Dig deep enough, and you’ll find a lie from the enemy (no wonder Jesus called him the “Father of Lies”). Replace it with the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Here are a few common lies you may have bought into:
Your life should be about finding these lies, and replacing them with the truth of God’s Word. Every time you beat up on yourself, you’re feeding a sin-producing lie in your life. Every bad body image thought, every insecurity, all the self-pity, they’re all symptoms of lies that are spreading like a cancer, and taking things from bad to worse.
Know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Here are some truths to focus on:
jesusfreak5610 asked: Hey Unka Glen!! I recently had a friend challenge something. We were talking about different religions vs Christianity and what happens to people after this life. He told me he was a Christian but that he believed that whatever faith people accepted, be it Hinduism, Reincarnation, Islam, etc., they go to the respective afterlife of that belief. I know that the Bible states that no one can get to the Father unless they accept Christ. But I don’t know how to respond to him in a Godly way.
Unka Glen answered: So your friend stared into space, came up with this cute idea about the afterlife, and then he decided that his idea, that he just came up with, is now… the truth? And you’re wondering how to break that down? I mean, it’s an interesting and cute idea, but, ya know, this is not how we discover the nature of reality.
Okay, so let’s track this wacky train of thought, shall we? So, the first thing he was taught in whatever liberal arts class he took in college, was the idea that truth is subjective. What’s true for you might not be true for me, man. So, like, don’t subject me to your reality, man. That’s like your truth, man.
From this brilliant and insufficiently scrutinized observation, he made the bizarre leap that if truth is subjective, then whatever he comes up with, that has to be true. So if it feels true to me, it is true. This is, of course, a big ol’ pile of poo (to use an academic term). What those liberal arts professors were trying to say, is that by definition truth is obviously objective, absolute, and universal, it’s our perception that’s totally subjective and often flawed.
Two plus two equals four. That’s not my own personal subjective truth, that’s just how it is. For me, for you, for everybody. This isn’t an opinion, this isn’t a theory. Two plus two equals four, that is true. Period. The truth can be discovered, deduced, taught, observed, or theologically arrived at, but truth is not, nor ever will be, whatever cute idea I just make up in my head.
None of that really matters though, because your friend knows that the world doesn’t organize itself around his imagination, (otherwise Victoria Secret models would be hand feeding him bacon right now), so the real thing for us to ask ourselves is: why would he make up this particular fantasy, and then repeat it to you? I think the answer is clear— he dislikes the idea that sweet, devoted people, doing their best to live a devoted spiritual life, might find out that they picked the wrong religion.
Heck, I don’t like that idea either. Yes the New Testament does talk about the condemnation of those who reject the gospel message. But what about those who were never given a clear offer of salvation to reject? The answer is kind of buried in a lot of other details in Romans 2, but the basics are that non-believers will be judged according to “the requirements of the law that are written on their hearts”, and according to the sense of conscience they are given.
So in a sense he is almost right, some people who’ve never really heard of Christ, have devoted themselves to their own best understanding of God, and they did the best they could to follow their conscience, and on that basis, one presumes that some of them will be getting into a pretty kick-butt afterlife, even if it wasn’t the sad little afterlife they’re expecting.
Stick with the actual truth. If you do the math, it’s always better than what people make up.
jessicaaa-annne asked: Hi Unka! First off, I want to say thanks so much for your blog, its a been a real blessing to me! Now my question, I serve with the college group at my church and one of the things I have noticed with our girls is the difficulty in not allowing society to dictate what is beautiful and what is not. A lot of girls have gone through things that, in their mind, has diminished their worth, looks, intelligence etc. How can I, other than through prayer, help them see themselves as Christ sees them?
Unka Glen answered: Okay, I’m gonna give you some of my super-secret ninja ministry moves here, but keep it to yourself, this is powerful stuff… Let’s start with this: we tend to assume that when people have severe struggles, that they’re totally dug in to their way of thinking. We assume they’ve thought it out and considered all the angles, and that our only hope is to debate them long enough to discover something they haven’t thought of yet.
The hidden reality here is that if you look at most people’s hangups, even the severe ones, they are not only not thought out, they often don’t even make sense to the sufferer. You can ask the person, “why do you hate yourself so much, what makes you such a loathsome person?” and they can only say, “I dunno, I just feel it so strong.” So what I’m saying is, the thing that drives people nuts is mostly in the dark.
So you have to take these hidden struggles, our unexamined thought processes, and bring them to light. We want to make them more concrete and real. Jesus said, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. The idea is to find the hidden lie, expose it for the source of pain that it is, and put God’s truth in that spot.
So let’s start with something like this:
“Imagine your brain as one big control panel. All sorts of readouts and blinking lights and various controls that you use to deal with your thought life. On that massive control panel is a big knob with a pointer on it, and it’s labeled “BEAUTIFUL”. If this knob is turned up, you will think of yourself as beautiful, inside and out. Not flawless, not perfect, not desirable necessarily, just beautiful.
So the key question is— why in God’s name would you let anyone else fiddle with that knob? Even someone you love, even someone you trust shouldn’t have access to that knob. If they truly loved you, they’d leave it turned up anyway, and if it turns out that they didn’t love you, they could flip that knob all around and have you riding a very ugly emotional roller-coaster. Heck, you wouldn’t give this guy your ATM pin number, but you’d let him monkey with your self-image? Heck, you’ll even let people in magazines, people who don’t even know you, decide where that knob should be set!
It’s your brain, why not ask God where that knob should be set, lock it in, and move on.”
Of course, this is just the top layer, you need to keep digging into these hidden thought patterns using the same technique. So let’s say one of your ladies comes along and says, that she’s unwilling to see herself as beautiful because she was molested as a child. Well you can already see the lie there. Sick people do what makes them feel good, they aren’t looking to treat people how they deserve. They victimize whoever they can.
The behavior of a sick person marks him as a sick person, but it’s not exactly a critical assessment of their intended target. The thing that makes this behavior evil is precisely that they don’t care about the people they abuse. When you you’re a kid, you might think that adults know you and that their behavior is based on your character, but as a grown woman, you know some adults treat people like objects, with no regard for who they are at all.
So, it’s still your knob, it’s still your decision, why in God’s name would you let a mentally sick person even comment on something so important? …and so on. Also, remember that it takes courage for people to move on from issues that have shaped their identity.