Summary: Do you ever just get tired of the spin? Do you ever get worn out or exhausted by it? Do you ever just wish someone would tell you like it is? Just lay it out there straight. You can handle it. You can deal with it. Don’t sugar coat it. Don’t airbrush it.
Series: Christianity Uncensored
Message #1: Temptation Uncensored
By: Jud Wilhite
Do you ever get tired of the spin? Do you ever feel like everywhere you go and everywhere you look somebody is trying to sell you something? They are trying to spin something one way. You are never getting the full story. Whether it’s media or politics, to them trying to sell you Thompson’s Individual Stringettes, to a brand new vacuum cleaner for $19.99 and you’ll never have to get carpet again in your life. You just feel like there is spin everywhere.
It even starts to get down to the language that we use. John Ortberg has noted how our language has changed a little bit over the last several years. For instance, when a company fires people now they no longer say, “You’re fired.” That would sound way too harsh. They no longer “down size” because that seems negative. Companies are now calling it “right sizing.” We are “right sizing” the whole thing. Guys are no longer “bald,” they are “follicly challenged” or “comb free” as one guy said. It’s no longer “road kill” – it’s “maladaptive compressed life forms,” or in some states in America that will remain unnamed, “road kill” is dinner. It’s no longer “used cars”– now it’s “pre-owned certified vehicles.” Somebody pre-owned it for you. They broke it in for you. It’s not really used. It affects our language.
I was reading last week about Ron Zeigler. He’s the White House Press Secretary during the Vietnam era. In the midst of this whole Vietnam press secretary thing he goes up and interacts with the reporters. He tells a statement that’s proved completely false that night. He comes back up the next day and they ask him about the statement he said, that was obviously a lie. He said, “That statement from yesterday is no longer operative.” I thought that was cool. That’s all you have to say anymore, “That’s no longer operative.” This is the statement for today. Can you imagine rolling that statement out to your spouse? You come home. You said you’d be home at 6:30 and now it’s 7:45. You didn’t call. What happened? Well, honey, those statements yesterday are no longer operative. When your kid says he’s doing great in school and he’s getting great grades and his teachers love him – then report cards come and he’s failing everything. You say, “What are you doing?” “Well mom, dad- those statements were no longer operative today.” We put this little spin on everything.
We see it on film and television as well. Reality TV – the big craze. Yet reality TV isn’t really reality TV. It’s still shot, edited, and spliced up to make a point and to get the basic themes of a story across. You can do an amazing amount with editing. We live in a culture where everything is edited, airbrushed, and cleaned up. You can do a lot with it. We took our video team and they took the feel good movie of the 1990s, Forrest Gump, and they went in to see what they could do if they created a trailer about Forrest Gump without changing any of the actual video footage. We just spliced it together in a different way. Here is what they came up with.
Okay, that’s spooky, isn’t it? That’s what a little background music, editing, and a new voice over can do for you. It’s amazing the kind of things that editing can actually do.
Do you ever just get tired of the spin? Do you ever get worn out or exhausted by it? Do you ever just wish someone would tell you like it is? Just lay it out there straight. You can handle it. You can deal with it. Don’t sugar coat it. Don’t airbrush it. Don’t clean it up. Don’t edit it. Just lay it out there and let me work with it from there. That’s exactly what James does in the Bible. He’s a no bull, no nonsense kind of guy. He’s going to lay it out there. What we are going to do over the next eight weeks is peel away the facade of Christianity. We are going to look at Christianity uncensored. What does it really mean to be a follower of Christ? We are going to learn from the book of James how to do that.
Now James 1 begins with these words: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Now James was an actual physical brother of Jesus Christ. He wasn’t just a follower or a disciple. He was a brother. He wasn’t a part of the original twelve disciples because early on Jesus’ brothers weren’t followers of Jesus as the Messiah. Later at some point in Jesus’ ministry or after He was resurrected, James turned and became a true follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, first Corinthians fifteen tells us that after Jesus was resurrected He appeared to James in person. James becomes this follower, this leader of the early church, in Jerusalem. He’s going to lay it out for us in a real way. He starts his book talking about trials and temptations. That’s unique because most of the New Testament books start out talking with this whole thanksgiving section. I thank God for who you are. I’m so grateful for our friendship. James bypasses all that and says, “Look, life is hard. You are going to face temptations. You are going to face trials. You are going to face hard stuff. Let’s talk about how to deal with it.” He just jumps right in the midst of it.