Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

So God Made A Farmer Follow-up

Posted: February 8, 2013 in God, Life

field

So I just got back from speaking at a men’s event in rural Kansas.  There’s an amazing group that has formed out there called “Sons of Thunder” which is bringing together men for the cause of Christ once a month.  It was an great time and I saw God move in a number of very powerful and clear ways.

But on a somewhat less “spiritual” level, I found myself thinking frequently about the “So God Made a Farmer” Superbowl ad.  With that ad fresh in my mind I watched the people in Ulysses, Kansas with a keener eye and I have to say:  there is something remarkably refreshing and…re-grounding I guess is the right word…about people in farming communities.  I don’t know that I would ever enjoy living in rural America myself, but I very much enjoy the people in rural America.

Here are 7 reasons why:

1.  They know each other.

2.  They care about each other.

3.  They have a shared history that provides a context for their relationships and lives.

4.  They care a lot about the important things like God, family, the community, etc. And they care enough to not just talk about these things and instead get up and do things about them.

5.  They don’t have much patience for unimportant things.

6.  They don’t beat around the bush and play games with each other – they say what they mean when it needs to be said.

7.  They take pleasure in simple, but profound things like family, worship, children and each other (see #2).

I know this is a bit of an oversimplification and there are probably rural folk who don’t exhibit any of these characteristics, but as a general rule, you’ll see these characteristics in more people in rural America than not.

And I love that.

If you haven’t seen this ad yet, you need to take a couple of minutes right now and watch it:

I can’t believe how much press this commercial has gotten, but I’m thrilled that something like this has overshadowed the shallow garbage that companies like GoDaddy.com tried to shove down America’s throat.

What really interests me, however, is why this “God Made A Farmer” was so popular (although not everyone thought it was so great).  I think there were several factors.

1.  It had genuine substance.  It talked about something that matters, even though it’s a thing that most of us don’t have a lot of exposure to.

2.  It appealed to that part in all of us that longs to know that we are leaving a legacy that matters.

3.  On the technical side of things, it had visuals that were viscerally engaging, but didn’t distract from the voice-over. That’s a welcome relief from the rapid-fire image bombardment that most commercials subject us to.

4.  It talked about God!  Regardless of the liberal and atheistic agendas in theis country, the average citizen of the United States believes in God (the latest statistics suggest that only .7% of Americans identify themselves as atheists).  It was nice to see a commercial that acknowledges this oft-ignored backbone of our culture!

That’s what I think.  Why do you think it was so popular?

Oh, and check out the full text of the Paul Harvey speech featured in the spot here.

uncertaintiy

When I was in high school, there was song that was popular for a while called The Future’s So Bright – I Gotta Wear Shades.  No one’s singing that song anymore.

For a variety of reasons, our outlook on the future has grown less confident.  These are uncertain times that we live in, but here are four certain truths that may allow us to face the future with renewed confidence:

1.  Uncertainty is nothing new…and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  God doesn’t tell us everything about the future.  This means that human beings have always faced the future with uncertainty, but at times we have managed to forget this uncertainty when things in which we are tempted to trust seem stable (careers, bank accounts, nations, etc.).  But when those things are no longer certain, we go looking for something that can give us a sense of security and we find that the only things in which we can truly be certain are God and His promises.  Uncertainty drives people back to God and this is not a bad thing.

2.  To understand our place in history we must take a broad view of it.  Is the world better or worse than it was in the past?  It depends entirely on where, who and what you’re talking about.  It is better to be a Jew in Germany today than during the Nazi regime.  It is better to be an African American in the U.S. now than before the Civil Rights movement.  Medically speaking, it is better to be alive today than when polio could not be prevented.  But on the other hand, this is not a good time to be an unborn child.  1 in 5 pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion, while heart disease only claims 1 in 6 people in this country, meaning that human beings conceived in America today are more likely to die of abortion than anything else.  Cancer and other diseases caused by exposure to toxins and pollution are skyrocketing.

So are things better or worse today than in the past?  It depends on where, who and what you’re talking about.  To say categorically that things are worse may be to cause unwarranted despair.  To say categorically that things are better may be to give people a false sense of security.  We have to take the broad view to really understand our place in history and that is a difficult task for which few of us have the patience.

3.  God expects us to learn to view our circumstances from His perspective.  Things in the United States are tough right now and our future as a nation is uncertain.  This can tempt us to panic, but listen:  as Christians, our future is not tied to the fate of our nation.  I love my country and hope that it changes course and recovers from the downward spiral it seems to be in, but let’s face the simple truth:  there have been millions of Christians throughout history who have seen the rise and fall of the nations in which they sojourn.  If the U.S. fails to thrive or even survive, this is not the most important thing in the world for those of us who trust in the King of kings.

4.  Because God loves us, He has given us a broad outline of history so that we do not lose hope.  According to Scripture:

a. The Resurrection of Jesus ushered in a new phase of history that the Bible calls the “last days” (see Acts 2 for an example). So…yes, we are in the last days…and have been for almost 2000 years now!

b. This “last days” phase of history will culminate in a period of intense unpleasantness known as the Great Tribulation.

c. At the end of this Great Tribulation, Jesus will return to earth with all of his people, bind Satan and establish something we often call the Millennial Reign which will last for about 1,000 years (Rev. 20).

d. At the end of this Millennium, Satan will be loosed, gather the unrepentant for a final rebellion and then be cast from Creation (along with all who refuse to bow their knee to God) (Rev. 20).  Then, God will take the Creation into which we introduced disarray and decay and make it new (Rev. 21).

Obviously that’s an oversimplification (and if you’d like at least a little more detail, you can listen to a recent message of mine on this subject here) but even with this broad outline there is a great deal to be encouraged about here.

I’m not saying these truths take all the fear out of facing an uncertain future, but when we embrace them we will find that uncertainty about the future will no longer feel so paralyzing.