“You attract what you think about most, and you become what you attract most.” Focus. Mental discipline. The Secret, written by Rhonda Byrne, is located in the New Age section of your local bookstore. Before you decide to tune out, read on for at least another paragraph. CultureFeast has never been dedicated to New Age materials and has no intention of beginning to do so. CultureFeast was founded upon the Christian faith, though we are willing to seriously scrutinize that faith and all others in pursuit of truths which those who have gone before either missed or refused to accept. The purpose is to know the truth. It is the truth that shall set you free.

Picking up a book from the New Age section of Barnes & Noble was an unnerving experience for me. What mental traps might I be stepping into, I wondered. Reason prevailed, however. It is because of one idea that I will open my mind’s doors to something labeled as an enemy by people sharing a similar faith to mine. The idea is best explained in several parts. They are:

  1. All people are human, regardless of whether they live today or centuries ago
  2. All humans are limited, fallible and incapable of knowing everything
  3. Because of this, even the authors of our faith did not possess all knowledge or understanding
  4. Because of the Canonization of Scripture and subsequent traditional beliefs of Scripture, many people fear to believe that we could learn anything new and true outside of Scripture because of how that might affect the strength of Scripture’s primacy
  5. Because of this, the Christian community has failed to lead the way in pursuing knowledge and understanding of God’s universe. That task has been left largely to the secular community, which has done the best it knows how.
  6. The secular community can provide scientifically tested data which indicates the probability of certain truths
  7. Just because the scientific community can postulate certain truths (the what and where) does not mean that it can answer the ever valid and crucial questions of how or why (or even when)
  8. If Christian leaders are not going to answer my questions, I must seek the answers on my own.
  9. Since Christian leaders often fear to consider the possibility that nuggets of truth can be discovered by non-Christians, and since these leaders do not themselves search diligently for certain answers, they’re assumptions cannot be automatically trusted
  10. Since non-Christians can discover or understand (on some level) universal principles such as gravity, inertia, and harvest, they have the capacity to discover or understand other such universal principles which the Christian community has yet to understand or acknowledge
  11. Since non-Christians will not often explain why a universal principle is true in a manner that instantly corroborates Scripture, I am responsible to sift the gold from the dross and accept only what either agrees with Scripture or might agree with Scripture upon further reflection and consideration.
  12. Overt disagreements with Scripture must be discarded because we must have a solid starting point from which to work
  13. We must challenge ourselves to find truths which support Scripture, explain/clarify certain mysteries in Scripture, and strengthen the body of Christ by filling in the holes which have riddled our faith over the years

Having said that, it might seem that we have left the Bible behind and have chosen more “exciting” texts to focus upon. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are finding ourselves led to sources of truth that support Scripture and make Scripture make sense to us in ways that we never before imagined.

For example, it’s not enough to read the verse: “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Uh…what? For years, when I realized that my mind was constantly consumed with unhealthy thoughts, i’d rethink that verse and find myself at an absolute loss. I couldn’t come up with a single really “good” thought. Which thoughts are pure? What thoughts are just? What kind of thoughts are lovely? What is a thought of good report? Seriously!

I realized that I had not conditioned myself to know these things. I had spent my adult life fascinated with morbidity, death, dying, crime, suspense, intrigue, suspicion, slander, and on and on. I had become one of the “bent ones.” My thoughts were naturally bent towards selfish or less than holy issues.

Historians tell us that everyone once believed that the sun, stars, and planets revolved around the earth. It is referred to as the geocentric view. The heliocentric view (sun-centered) was suggested by some and considered heresy by the leaders of the time. As in many instances throughout history, scientific discovery has not been welcomed by religious or even political leaders. Men do express their own opinions throughout Scripture, as is obvious by David’s crying out for the death and obliteration of his enemies and Solomon’s declaration that everything is utterly futile and meaningless. Not necessarily views we should adopt. Then there was Peter’s snubbing of Gentiles until set straight by Paul. You get the picture. We’re all human.

It is the mature acceptance of these truths that enables us to allow something outside the realm of our comfort zone to challenge us and engage us. It is by setting and adhering to the tenets of our faith while simultaneously insisting on the pursuit of wisdom and understanding that we arrive at a rich and rewarding mode of existence.

The pursuit continues. For me, it continues with the reading and examination of The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne. This book contains possibilities which absolutely excite me. On the surface, it appears to elaborate on biblical statements such as, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he,” and “He who seeks, finds; to him who knocks, the door is opened,” and “think on these things,” and perhaps most importantly,

“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (physical/earthly) but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

What we see here that the weapons of a Christian are mighty to pull down strongholds, to cast down arguments and things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, to bring every thought captive. So the weapons of a Christian involve strongholds, arguments, knowledge, thoughts, and obedience.

We are being told that the weapons involve our minds. The language is dated, because of the period in which it was written, so we miss the point all too often.

More on this soon…

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For years, I worried about being a righteous man. I never measured up to the standards set by my church, my family, and my Bible. I constantly felt overwhelmed by all the ways a person should respond with kindness and love and selflessness. I failed miserably.

For a time, I stopped caring. I surrendered. I accepted the fact that I didn’t measure up, and I quit trying to. These days, I see things a little differently. I don’t try to be a man who is perfect at everything. Now, I try to be a man who excels at one thing. One thing is easier to manage than hundreds.

For me, that one thing is being a husband. I couldn’t have forseen it before marriage, but satisfying my wife is an fairly life-consuming task. I don’t mean to say that my wife is difficult to please. Far from it. Sometimes I think she is just grateful that I’m not a drunk or violent man. Sometimes I really think she must have set the bar fairly low to be so happy with me.

Then I realize that for all my faults, I provide her with one of the things her heart needs most, which is. wait for it. loving attention (sorry – the old Doogie Howser dude is getting to me on How I Met Your Mother). That’s right. I give her my attention. I’m not always the best listener; in fact, I really like to hear the sound of my own logic. But I give her the best of my time always. We spend lunch times together. We spend weekends together. I go with her to the grocery store. We curl up on the sofa and watch television together (except when it’s the Dallas Cowboys or Mavericks).

There are times when I have the opportunity to hang out with a friend or go out by myself. That’s fine. I enjoy it. But as we wrap up our third year of marriage, I am blessed to enjoy spending so much time with this incredible woman. The truth is that she is my best friend. I enjoy her company. It’s actually fun to hang out with her!

My goal in all of this is to establish within her a deep revelation of my love and desire for her. I want her to be confident in my affection. She will not “think” that I love her or “hope” that I love her. She will know it. She will know it more than she will know anything else.

That is my one thing. I may or may not be a righteous man in any other man’s eyes, but I believe that a loving, nurturing husband is a righteous man.

There’s no reason to duplicate greatness. A copy is a copy is a copy. There is a certain appeal to the layout and approach of a website like GodSpy. First, there are quality photos and graphics which make the homepage seem to be a brilliant display of topical choices. Second, you have the scholarly writing style in most of the articles which lends an air of authority to the writer. Third, you have website navigation, allowing for search of information by topic. Fourth, you have a forum where all intelligent or wannabe intelligent people can go to voice their opinions on matters of faith, politics, philosophy, and culture. Why pretend? I CultureFeast cannot compete with the quantity or genre of writings available on GodSpy. Having multiple contributors plays a rather large roll, let’s not forget. Still, this is CultureFeast, and the goal of this website is to discuss culture in all of its forms at one time or another. This site may not focus on the Renaissance, the Bible, or Hollywood, but each reader is likely to find something of interest within these pages. As the Senior (and currently only) Writer of CultureFeast, it is my hope that you will appreciate the voice behind the topics – the personality, if you will. That is what CultureFeast offers: discussion of cultural topics with personality. It may not always be witty or gritty, but as long as it’s not sh!*$y we’ll be just fine. Opinions are important. Cold, hard, objective, factual evidence is overrated and usually mislabeled. So what is that will make you return? What do you want to know? What do you enjoy reading here?

I have participated in what is now termed “Harp and Bowl” worship at the All Nations House of Prayer (ANHOP) in Grand Prairie, texas, for the past two months. No single type of spiritual act has challenged me as much as this has. Something about the still and peaceful attitude of worship demands so much more of my focus and attention. It requires a man or woman to be fully engaged. We still sing familiar songs that everyone knows. But those songs are the starting place, not the end. They allow us the ability to begin on a common note, a common idea, and we progress into singing in the spirit. Here, all the singers on the team are encouraged to be bold and sing out in unison with various tongues, melodies, and sounds.

The prayer leader reads aloud a Scripture, which is then sung by a chorus leader. After the chorus leader sings the passage two times, the singers sing out different phrases that relate to the theme of the passage. It becomes a dialogue of the whole group singing to the Lord, elaborating on his beauty, his glory, his majesty, and so on. Each time of worship is different. The spontaneous parts are always fresh and challenging. We must engage the Lord with our hearts in order to follow what the Spirit of God is saying at that time. He leads us into themes which release waves of revelation, refreshing, healing, or peace.

It’s not a perfect model, but I love it for what it offers: enough structure to keep us on the same page without stifling the flow of the Holy Spirit.

It’s a simple thing, transformation. It’s not complicated. It doesn’t require men and women to become super geniuses and strategists. Shady Grove Church moved to its new location at the beginning of June. I have noticed that this is a season of community building. Families far and wide are moving closer to the new building to participate in the growing community of Shady Grove. God has plans and purposes beyond our ability to track. Highway 161 is being extended from Hwy 183 (Airport Freeway) to Interstate 20. That means freeway access running through the heart of Grand Prairie. It means a freeway exit will be located beside the new Shady Grove building. It means new commerce will emerge to surround some of the freeways entrances and exits.

There is something prophetic about the building of this highway. Something about building a new path for life to flow through this old and pathetic city. South Grand Prairie has been thriving, but the rest of the city has been left to rot for decades. But change is coming. Change is happening. City planners are excited. City officials are invigorated by the promise of growth, renovation, and rebirth. Given twenty or thirty years, Grand Prairie could be a nearly unrecognizable place to live and do business. That is only considering the physical changes on the horizon.

What about spiritual changes? What is happening in this town? The leaders of dozens of churches in the city are crying out to the Lord to bring a revival and a display of His glory to this area. They are praying and interceding for the unsaved, for those who do not know Jesus. Divine strategies and actions are in place that neither you nor I recognize. You can be certain, however, that God has marked Grand Prairie. It is the center of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, after all. We’ll track the changes and keep you informed.