G-Poppers … August 10th, 2018

The young woman seemed quite certain that because she had an ancient ancestor who was a queen in Africa, that somehow that energy, authority and ability had been transfused into her through DNA.

She had no basis for this conviction–just, shall we say, a hope.

But the difficulty with such thinking is that if blessings can be passed along through genetic code, then so can cursings–and G-Pop does not believe we’re all prepared to go back to a time when we insisted that certain people, families and whole cultures were condemned and alienated by the heavens.

G-Pop has noticed that even some of his own children are being swayed by the commercials for ancestry identification, somehow thinking that finding someone who lived centuries ago, who is linked by family, might grant credibility to them in this present hour.

There are only two things that affect us, and two things alone–and it is not our DNA. For after all, people overcome and work with their genes all the time.

We are actually guided by two forces:

1. What have I learned?

2. What do I fear?

And often when one is able to track down one’s fears, a path can be traced to something which was learned and is found to be errant–and can therefore be discarded, allowing for a new enlightening idea.

When a study is made on what we have learned, we can often see when and where our fears crept in, and we can highlight those things that might trigger anxiety and timidity.

All of G-Pop’s children want to be independent–until something goes wrong. Then they want to explain why their fears kept them from success, as they attempt to conjure the spirits of the past that might energize them through their “double helix.”

It is foolish–a sign of a generation that has lost sight of the joy of taking responsibility for one’s own life.

G-Pop does care what his ancestors did. They’re not here.

G-Pop looks at the world they left, ridiculous notions they tolerated, and warns his soul to function off the impetus of his own talents and faith.

G-Pop offers this piece of advice:

God gave you a life.

It is yours.

Do something with it.

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Meant Well… September 2, 2012

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The Bible.  Some people think it’s just a book. Others call it holy. It’s divided into two sections–Old Testament and New Testament.

You see, I understand that. Really, it’s not that different from me. After all, I’m always divided into two sections: Meant well. Doing better.

I don’t know why we fail to notice that the Bible makes it clear that God is learning. We seem to be obsessed with the notion of perfection instead of enjoying perfecting. I think it’s because we secretly hope we reach a point where we’re always right and never have to make corrections, so we project that image onto God.

It certainly is not what He advertised about Himself. For after all, He created man; then he was sorry He did, so He killed them off with a flood. Then He was sorry He did that. He went along with the Jewish people when they wanted a King and then everybody was sorry about that. So God sent them prophets to tell them about a better way. Some of these messengers got heard; most of them got killed.

So just to establish clearly that God was in a learning mode, He started a New Testament. He decided to become human, and when He did, He came to learn. He used the name “Jesus” and we’re told that He learned obedience through the things He suffered and He grew in wisdom and in stature.

Yes, there is an Old Testament–that’s where God meant well. And there’s a New Testament. That’s where we’re doing better.

We did it with our country, too, you know. We got together and came up with a constitution–a magnificent document. It establishes that we meant well. But immediately we realized that this particular conglomeration of words didn’t cover all the needs of a society dedicated to liberty. So we started adding amendments, trying to do better.

I remember when I was thirty years old, I took a job at a teeny, tiny Bible college, as a professor. They were trying to expand the vision of their little learning center and increase enrollment. In the first four months, I wrote and produced a play, did several fund-raisers and started a five-minute daily radio broadcast of a continuing drama series. Sure enough, it got a lot of attention and the number of students increased. But I failed to notice that I was losing the support, confidence and affection of the president of this little college. But because I was very young, I assumed it was his problem and that he was just an old fuddy-duddy. Even though I began a good work there, I was unable to finish it because this disgruntled leader asked me to leave. You see, I meant well. But from that point on, I started doing better by understanding that the wheels of progress really aren’t supposed to roll across human flesh.

There is always a step necessary to take us from what we have done to what we need to do. It’s called learning. And if Jesus had to do it, who do we think we are? Why do we think our ministers should have the right answers the first time around? Why do we think our politicians should delve into problems they’ve never experienced before and perfect solutions on the first attempt?

I think life is pretty simple–and I’m so grateful that God uses Himself as an example to show us how it works:

  • Meant well.
  • Learn.
  • Doing better.

There’s your secret, folks. It really demands only three understandings:

1. Start with your heart as pure as you can, to make sure you’re at least pointing in the right direction.

2. Be prepared for a certain amount of success and an adequate amount of failure.

3. Pursue the success and abandon the failure.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But when pride, insecurity, frustration or stubbornness come into the mix, the whole thing gets screwed up. Let’s be honest–who would we be today if God decided to stick with the Ten Commandments and we were all judged solely on how well we jump through those hoops? God was kind enough to adjust His message for the human beings who were meant to benefit by it.

The Bible is not about human beings finding God; the Bible is about God finding human beings. The constitution is not about making the people adjust to the government, but rather, finding a government suited for the people. And my job at that Bible college was not about finding a way to show off my abilities, but using my abilities to show off the college.

If God needed an Old and a New Testament to get it just right, what makes me think that my first crack at anything is going to end up getting the job done? So I work on my heart. Make sure I mean well. Then I go into it keeping my eyes open, ready for signs of what works and what doesn’t. Then I learn. I take what I learn and I go out and do better.

If we actually applied that in corporations, politics and religion, mankind would inch its way forward instead of gradually slip-sliding away. We know it’s true. Otherwise we wouldn’t put “New and Improved” on a box of cereal to communicate the product is still being worked on. We wouldn’t hoist a sign in the window of a diner that says, “Under New Management” unless we wanted to communicate that change is in the air. And God would not have an Old and New Testament unless He was trying to tell us that learning is what pushes us forward and self-righteousness and pride are what destroy us.

I meant well. Honestly, in almost every circumstance of my life, I had no axe to grind and wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. But unfortunately, I did. So I had to learn. And fron that learning, I always came up with ways of doing it better.

So as I go off this morning to be with the fine folks of South Lyon, Michigan, I want to tell them that they’re coming together to praise a God who always meant well. But He did learn, and He came up with a way of doing it better.

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