Jump Start # 2016
2 Peter 1:21 “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
Something interesting happened over the weekend. It brought to the forefront something that has been on my mind for a while but I never really gave it much thought. It’s a bit of a story but there are connections and bridges.
On Friday night, it was cold, snowy night so I watched two music documentaries. One about the group Chicago and one about the group The Eagles. I wouldn’t recommend those as decent watching. Language was raw and rough. Saturday evening it was off to the orchestra. The feature piece was a violin concerto by Tchaikovsky. It was really good. Saturday night I went to bed thinking about a teen devo I needed to lead on Sunday night. I didn’t have a clue. Everything I thought about was too heavy. I went to sleep thinking I’d get to the church building early and go through some files and sermons that I have done at youth lectures. Surely, I’d find something in there.
Here’s the interesting thought. In the documentary about Chicago, Robert Lamb, one of the main forces and writers behind Chicago, talked about one of their biggest hits. “It just came to me,” he said. The next show, about the Eagles. One of their biggest hits, the lead singer said, “It just came to me in the night.” Then, at the orchestra, I’m reading the program about the violin concerto, and Tchaikovsky claimed, ‘It just came to me.” I have heard Paul McCartney same multiple times in interviews that his big song, “Yesterday,” the most recorded song of all time, just came to him in a dream. In fact, he ask the rest of the Beatles if they had ever heard that song before. He was certain it was some other tune. They changed the title, but it became a huge hit.
And, now, me. I woke up Sunday morning we a great idea for the teen study. Forget digging through those old files. I’d show them a video of Steven Covey putting large rocks in a jar, followed by little rocks. It’s a lesson about priorities, organization and doing the important things first. We did that, and it was a great lesson for the young people. That idea just came to me in the night.
Now, what’s behind all of this, “It just came to me in the night?” Many of my Jump Starts have been that way. I’d go to bed without a clue or an idea about what the next mornings Jump Start would be. I’d wake up with an idea and the thoughts would just flow. It just came to me. Inspiration? Heaven sent? Many would go there. Many would go so far as to say that “It’s divine.” So, I’ve had this “it just came to me” thinking on my mind. How does that work and what’s behind it?
From the two rock documentaries, the period in which both Chicago and the Eagles wrote those huge hits were also times of extreme drug use and lots of fornication. The volume of drugs that were being consumed would have killed most of us. It’s hard to imagine Heaven helping rebellious and sinful lifestyles without at least pointing them toward Christ. In the case of my Jump Starts, if they were truly Heaven sent, inspired, then I wouldn’t go back through them and find wrong words, missing commas, tense inconsistencies. Obviously, Heaven didn’t help the grammar.
How do you explain the idea for the teen devo? Years ago, I actually taught a teen class and had them put rocks and sand and so forth in buckets as an illustration. That was tucked away somewhere in the files of my mind.
Our verse today, talking about true inspiration from Heaven, the writing of the Bible, tells us that it was made without an act of human will. Man’s desire, editing, discussing, rewriting, changing, improving, all the things that go into writing a song, a story, a Jump Start, a Bible class, wasn’t done with the Bible. It came out complete. It came out a finished project. It came out perfect. It was and is God’s words. God’s word always connects to the rest of His story. It always leads to Him.
Paul told the Galatians that the Gospel he preached was not according to man. He said that he did not receive it from man nor was taught it from a man but it came by revelation of God. To the Ephesians he said, the revelation was made known to him. It was a mystery, but now it was reveled.
There is a big difference in ideas coming to us, even in the night and what God did through the prophets and apostles. Many popular religious writers today do not understand nor make that distinction. They leave the impression that God is leading them to write things and is leading them to certain passages, just as He did the apostles. Yet, the way they worship is not in the Biblical plan. You’d think if God was truly leading them to passages, He would lead these influential writers to walk more closely and accurately with His given word. Inspired, maybe, but not in the Biblical fashion. Song writers who live, eat and sleep music, including classical composers, have minds that are always searching and working around music. It isn’t surprising that a song comes to them. It never comes to me, because that is not my world. But everyday for the past seven years, I have written Jump Starts. I’m always looking, thinking and my mind is in that world. It isn’t surprising that I wake up with an idea. My teen devo, I went to bed thinking and searching for an idea. It’s not surprising that one came to me. Did God help me? That I don’t know. Was it inspiration? Not like what happened to the apostles.
The human mind is a complex thing. Why do we dream what we dream? Why do some have such noble ideas and thoughts, while others can have such evil and dark thoughts? Much is what we feed ourselves mentally. Much is our social environment, who we hang around with. What are we filling our days with? All of those things influence our thinking.
Many of my fellow preachers have told me, “I could never write Jump Starts like you do.” Actually, they could and most would a better job. It doesn’t just come. But doing this day after day after day, one gets into a routine and more so, they get their mind in a routine of thinking.
So, when we come to passages such as Phil 4:8 that tells us to let our minds dwell upon what is true, honorable, lovely, pure and right, that will influence, lead and shape my thoughts. When we find verses like, Col 3:2, “Set your mind on things above,” again, that’s a choice. But that choice is going to color the way you see things. That will influence your attitude. That will influence your language. That will influence your other choices. Our minds can be trained. Our minds can be set on a certain course. Left to run free, our minds will think about whatever crosses our path. Some may be dark and evil thoughts. Dreams may be ugly and frightful. But, like the reins of a horse, you control that mind and purposely take it to godly and righteous places, and then you will find your whole life taking on a different look.
I’ve had people flat out ask me, “Why do I think this way?” My answer is, “I don’t know. Why do you think that way?” Some think the worst. Some lean toward the negative. Some are the half empty, rather than half filled thinkers. Fill your mind with wholesome things. Meditate upon the word of God. Think about Heaven. Think about how you can help others. Think. Don’t let your mind be behind the wheel of your life, you control your mind. In doing so, good thoughts will come to you. Good ideas will come to you. Using your mind in a godly way, influencing your mind with godly things, your mind takes a turn toward Heaven.
It just came to me out of the blue…maybe. But I’d expect that mind was leaning that way in some way. The take away from all of this is quite simple. Fill, feed and lead your mind in the right way and you’ll have good thoughts and a good life. Let your mind go where it wants, allow it to be filled with filth and junk, and you’ll struggle with negative, disturbing and even sinful thoughts.
Who is behind the wheel?