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As a kid, I remember a very popular game. Simon Says. Usually played at school or parties, several of us would do whatever "Simon" told us to do, as long as it was preceded by the phrase: "Simon Says".

It seems to me that we have become a society of "Simon Says" players, living life by the whims and desires of others. Just look at the commercials, TV programs and music icons that continuously tell us what to do, how to dress, what to drive...and even what to look like. Bordering on the dangerous, some men and women even go to the extreme and tell us to do treacherous things all together.

The biggest danger in this lifestyle is that we (the followers) do not question the commands. We allow them to become a "normal" part of life in every detail. Such is the 21st century in America. We have become a nation of conformists, a nation of men and women who have become so lazy, we allow complete strangers to think for us. I remember the days when everyone read books frequently. Not just as a school project, but as a way of life. Now a days, very few people read books. We get our knowledge from TV shows, books on audio, the Internet. Some of which is good, and necessary. However, in the important things in life, why do we allow others to make decisions for us and to tell us what to do? Do we not have a God-given brain? Can we not process information for ourselves? Do we really need the media and mainstream America to tell us how to live our lives. What is good and what is bad?

I used to have 1982 Volkswagen Golf. It was cute car and I liked the engineering. I am not a mechanic, so when the car broke down, I would take it to an expert. Not just a mechanic, but also a foreign car specialist. You see this car was a Wolf berg edition made in Germany and I new that a mechanic could probably fix it and the key word here is "probably". But I was certain that the experience and know-how of the foreign car specialist would definitely find the problem and fix it forever. Boy was I wrong! Yes, the specialist was better at fixing my car, and more expensive too. But the best mechanic on this car turned out to be me. heard me; I actually became better at diagnosing the problem and getting it fixed than the mechanic or the specialist. How did I do it? Well I purchased the official Volkswagen Golf 1982 Wolf berg edition car manual. The men and women who designed the vehicle and put it together in Germany wrote this manual. I read it from cover to cover. Every time the car had a symptom, I would go to the troubleshooting section of the manual and read. Eventually I became so familiar with my vehicle that I could listen to the engine and know exactly what it needed. I would take it to the mechanic (the cheaper one) and just for fun I would see what he told me. "It needs a new transmission" or "The power steering gears have stripped, we must replace it". Then I would continue to tell the mechanic my diagnosis of the problem. Usually something like "I think the battery you installed yesterday is not grounded, that is why the car jerks and shakes when accelerated" Problem fixed.

In our spiritual life, God has given us the "official manual". We need to read it from cover to cover and go to the troubleshooting guide when we have problems.

(From a sermon by Eduardo Quintana, "Simon Says": Christian, 10/20/2009)

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