Battlefield Vietnam: Ep 3 “Search and Destroy” (1/6)

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, or the Vietnam Conflict, occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from 1959 to April 30, 1975. The war was fought between the communist North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States and other member nations of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). The Vietcong, the lightly armed South Vietnamese communist insurgency, largely fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region. The North Vietnamese Army engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large-sized units into battle. US and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search-and-destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery and air strikes. The United States entered the war to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of a wider strategy called containment. Military advisors arrived beginning in 1950. US involvement escalated in the early 1960s and combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Involvement peaked in 1968 at the time of the Tet Offensive. Under a policy called Vietnamization, US forces withdrew as South Vietnamese troops were trained and armed. Despite a peace treaty signed by all parties in January 1973, fighting continued. In response to the anti-war movement, the US Congress passed the Case-Church Amendment in June 1973 prohibiting further US military intervention. In
Video Rating: 4 / 5

How to Destroy Your Church: Don?t Look in the Mirror

How to Destroy Your Church: Don?t Look in the Mirror

Mirrors are useful things. They show us when we need to comb our hair, reveal the ketchup stain just out of sight on our shirt, and help us to get the specks out of our eyes. And because of that last item, if you want to destroy your church, you should never – figuratively speaking – “look in the mirror.”

Don’t spend time examining yourself for sin. Don’t put your words, actions, attitudes, and thoughts to the test. Don’t do group evaluations to see whether the church, the leadership team, the committees, etc. are on target scripturally, or are perhaps heading off the straight and narrow down the path of sin.

Just assume that everything you do, say, think, and believe is 100% accurate, and does not require further analysis. No need for a mirror here, thank you. Every hair is in place and there are no specks in my eyes – I’m sure of it.

The fact is, that attitude tends to spawn a second attitude … a tendency to point out specks in other people’s eyes. You remember Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7:3-5?

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

You can see the progression: sin (the speck in my eye) covered by pride (the conviction that I could not possibly be wrong) leads to hypocrisy (telling other people what’s wrong with them, while ignoring what’s wrong with me). The final result? Instead of helping others, you alienate them.

Hypocrisy can be a very subtle sin, because the hypocrite may truly believe he or she is trying to help another person. And may very well have found a speck in the other person’s eye that needs removing. And may know all the right Scripture verses. But with a hypocritical attitude – an unwillingness to see the plank in his or her own eye – positive change will never result. People resist, ignore, or are offended by hypocrites. That is why hypocrisy can often be found at the root of church dissension and splits: hypocrisy polarizes people into separate camps. 

The antidote? A healthy dose of examination, individually or as a group, in order to take a good look at ourselves and remove the planks out of our own eyes. Here are a few “mirrors” you can look in:

 I Corinthians 13: How do you stack up to this description of love? Romans 12:9-21: Are you living out each phrase in this action-packed chapter? Galatians 5:19-26: How do you compare to the virtues listed here? How about the sins? Matthew 5:1-12: Do you live out the Beatitudes each day?

 

When we spend time in examination, rooting out our sin, confessing it, and repenting of it, it builds a strong sense of humility. Clothed with humility, we can indeed help take the specks out of other people’s eyes … because we admit how many planks we have to deal with ourselves. People can accept help from someone who admits their sin and weakness much more readily than they can accept help from a self-proclaimed supersaint. Humility is the antithesis of hypocrisy. Humility is the foundation of church unity.

Take a good look in the mirror. Is there a plank in your eye?

 

 

© 2008 Paula Marolewski

Paula J. Marolewski of Sink Your Roots is the author of challenging and interactive adult Bible studies for individual and group use, available at http://www.SinkYourRoots.com/. Sink Your Roots is also the home of Seedlings, a free weekly journal of “Little thoughts that grow big results.”

How to Destroy Your Church: My Way or the Highway

How to Destroy Your Church: My Way or the Highway

Destroying a church is easy, particularly if you are in a position of leadership. Simply insist on “my way or the highway.” It’s a very equestrian position: dig in your heels like a mule, and get on your high-horse at the slightest provocation.

If you want to take this position, remember these simple principles:

 If anyone disagrees with me, they are de facto in the wrong. My way is God’s way, so he is on my side. There are no grey matters, ever. Everything is black-and-white, and I call the color scheme.

 

Now, in order to hold to this position, you will probably have to ignore principles like grace, tolerance, kindness, gentleness, and love. It is imperative that you remain true to your convictions, no matter who gets hurt or what gets said.

Above all, don’t ever attempt to walk in someone else’s shoes, understand their opinion, or consider their interpretation of Scripture. That could very well upset the whole applecart, because you might see that I Corinthians 12 talks about the importance of every member of the body of Christ; that in Joshua 5, God says clearly that it’s not so much about his being on our side as about us being on his side; and that in Romans 14 Paul reminds us that there are grey matters in life, and we are to be gentle and tolerant with one another.

Now, if you would prefer to preserve the health and life of your church, then I have one simple word for you: humility. In Philippians 2, Paul writes, “make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Ironically, people with a “my way or the highway attitude” are actually trying to attain exactly what the above verses call for: one mind, unity of spirit, singleness of purpose. The problem is that they assume that their mind is the one that everyone should emulate, their spirit is the one everyone should follow, and their purpose is the one everyone should embrace. And that, at its most basic level, is pride.

Scripture is very clear about what pride precedes: destruction (Proverbs 16:18). And the church is not exempt from that warning.

Humility, on the other hand, seeks the mind of Christ instead of self. It demonstrates love, regardless of differences. Discovers unity within diversity. Establishes purpose that embraces everyone’s unique contributions. Humility not only looks out for the interests of others, but it honors others above self. No mule heels digging into the rocky soil. No high-horses from which you can look down your nose at others.

When we live in humility, dialogue about differences becomes the fertile ground from which good fruit is grown. We discover anew the wealth of God’s grace at work in the lives of others. We rejoice at the Word of God, “living and active” in each of our lives (Hebrews 4:12). And we affirm with every breath, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Matthew 26:39).

 

© 2008 Paula Marolewski

Paula J. Marolewski of Sink Your Roots is the author of challenging and interactive adult Bible studies for individual and group use, available at http://www.SinkYourRoots.com/. Sink Your Roots is also the home of Seedlings, a free weekly journal of “Little thoughts that grow big results.”