The Spiritual

What Does It Mean to Be Heavenly Minded?

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  Colossians 3:1-2

A heavenly minded person is best described as:

a. Drifting Dreamer

b. Judicial Judgmentalist

c. Lousy Loser

d. Radical Realist

Last time we looked at the phrase: “too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.” We decided, at least I did, that Christians are, surprisingly, supposed to be heavenly minded. Today we consider what it means to be heavenly minded.

Drifting Dreamer – If you chose “a” you are probably in the majority and totally wrong. Most folks believe the heavenly minded have their heads in the clouds and just don’t get the realities of life. The problem with this view is that this world is not all there is. In fact, it’s heaven that is of eternal significance and it’s very wise to have one’s mind planted there.

Judicial Judgmentalist – If you chose “b” you are probably a unrepentant sinner. Sorry about that. These folks think the heavenly minded look down on everyone else from above and wrongly find fault with all they see. The problem with this view is that all are indeed “at fault.” We call this sin. The heavenly minded have just found forgiveness in Christ. Admittedly some “heavenly minded” do seem to obsess over the sins of others and, thus, seem judgmental. They are just immature and hopefully through their growth in Christ they will get over this childish stage and learn to lovingly share forgiveness through repentance.

Lousy Loser – Some folks think the heavenly minded are those who can’t make it in this world and thus are placing their bets on success in the next. In part this is based on the heavenly minded having a radically different idea of success. Their rejection of the pride of material acquisition and peer acclamation make them stand apart. Some folks truly are lousy losers, but you can distinguish them from the truly heavenly minded by the way they love one another.

Radical Realist – If you chose “d” you are wise beyond your years and beyond earthly understanding. It is only the heavenly minded who recognize what is truly real and eternal. They see this world as it is, a dim reflection of the glory of Him who created it, a beautiful, but temporary thing. They don’t live in dreams but in hope. They don’t wallow in judgment but actively work for conversion. They lose their lives and thereby gain them. They see clearly and that clarity motivates them to live the kingdom life and to expand that kingdom to those who are earth bound.

Thanks for playing, but understanding heavenly mindedness is much more than a game, it’s what life is all about.



Heavenly Minded

Who said, “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.”?

a. Jesus

b. Paul

c. C. S. Lewis

d. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

a. Jesus – If you picked “a” I’m a bit embarrassed for you. Jesus didn’t say this or anything like it. You might want to pick up a red-letter bible and read the parts in red. I think you will conclude that Jesus wanted his followers to be a lot MORE heavenly minded. Our problem is usually that we are too distracted by the earthly things that surround us.

b. If you said “b” that’s not as bad as “a” but not really good. Paul said things like “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2, ESV). Frankly that’s just the opposite of the familiar saying. Check out those letters Paul wrote. You will see what I mean.

c. C. S. Lewis is a better guess but not much better. He’s a theologian who wrote lots of things, but not this. In fact, he wrote: “A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”  C. S. Lewis “Mere Christianity” The man did have a way with words.

d. If you picked “d” you are correct and are possibly a lawyer. How sad for you. Isn’t it strange that this oft quoted “Christian” saying was penned  by a lawyer? How embarrassing is that?  Holmes was a Supreme Court Justice but no theologian. Holmes brought himself into constant conflict with scholars who believed that legal duties rested upon “natural law,” a moral order of the kind invoked by Christian theologians. He believed instead “that men make their own laws; that these laws do not flow from some mysterious omnipresence in the sky, and that judges are not independent mouthpieces of the infinite….” “The common law is not a brooding omnipresence in the sky….” Rather than a set of abstract, rational, mathematical, or in any way unworldly set of principles. Sounds like our Justice was an atheist. Doesn’t that undermine the saying?

So being “heavenly minded” is a good thing for a follower of Jesus, let’s leave the earthly mindedness to unbelievers. Next time we will consider what that means.

Be blessed.


Dead or Just Dormant

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

This morning I attended a men’s bible study led by Ty Cook, Senior Pastor at Lighthouse Family Church.  Ty spoke on the first three verses of Psalms 1. That got me thinking about plants, particularly trees.

The Great Flood of 2016 left our back yard in shambles. The nasty bayou back up water stayed for a couple of weeks. After it finally receded, most of our yard looked dead. However, fall had also arrived and some of the brown might be attributed to that. It has become an issue to distinguish between the dead and the dormant.

We got some pretty good advice. We had two options. We could wait until spring and see what turns great or we could cut into the limbs of questionable plants and see if there was any “green” present.

We don’t always produce fruit like we should. Even the tree planted by streams of water only produces fruit in season. Sometimes not only are we fruitless, we are brown and withered. Perhaps we are just out of season and  dormant; however, we might be dead. If dormant, we need to continue to feed on the Word and wait for our season. If dead, we need to reconnect and start over. Perhaps we are too quick to judge the Christian trees around us. The branches aren’t always green and fruitful; but the vine is still pumping life.

Thanks to Ty and the brothers for fellowship and refreshment and some thoughts about the difference between dormant and dead.


From Angst to Anger

My dear wormwood: Make sure the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis, 1942

Angst is a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general. Anger is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. Angst is defensive and general. Anger is offensive and specific. Angst sees the problem “out there.” Anger finds the solution inside. Angst inhabits cowardice. Anger motives courage. I don’t think Jesus ever felt angst. I know He was sometimes angry.

I am moving from Angst to Anger and I think it’s a good thing. My angst is based on disgust with politics and disappointment with the church. I have long wondered how a nation couldn’t come up with two candidates better than what we have. I am beginning to realize that we are getting what we want and deserve. There’s a feeling of satisfaction in thinking that we are morally superior to our elected leaders. It’s an excuse for not being better.

It’s like my attitude about the church. It’s easy to see that the church is not compassionate enough, involved enough, or doing enough. It’s harder to recognize that I’m not compassionate, involved or doing anything. Jesus didn’t just weep over Jerusalem, he drove the money changers out of the temple. He didn’t just criticize the leaders of His day. He showed them a better way.

It’s time I stop wallowing in my angst and start acting out my anger.

Election 2016 – For Children

I recently read an article giving advice on how to deal with this election with your children. It’s a great article. Then it dawned on me that most of us are being child like in our treatment of the election.

The candidates are acting like children. I guess we shouldn’t expect to be any better. I am angry about the choice we have for President in November. I’m a Republican and my party rejected men with high moral standards and went with an egotistical, no class reality star. My Democratic friends couldn’t find anyone better than Hillary, who wouldn’t know the truth if it bit her and who believes that a child has no rights and can be murdered until the moment of birth and that I should have to pay for it.  I realize that those are my issues and don’t project then on everyone else. It’s my anger and that’s what it’s based on.

Maybe I need a perspective reset. Maybe we all do.

1. Fear Not.

Most voters aren’t thrilled about their candidate, they are “afraid” of what will happen if the other candidate wins.

I’m okay with having no faith in the government, but the government isn’t really in charge. God is and complete faith in Him. Here is the hard truth: This election is of no eternal significance.  Further, no matter who wins, the world will continue to deteriorate. Have you read the book?

It’s sad that fear is driving this election, especially to Christians, who should know to fear not.

2. Focus on the issues.

Most folks, if they are honest,  can tell you the character failings of both candidates. One of which is not honesty. Fewer can tell what the real issues are. Try to explain to a child why you are voting for a particular candidate without pointing to character faults of the opponent.  You might want to practice before you try that for real. It’s harder than you think.

3. Major in the majors.

What is really important to you? Do you care more about sinners becoming followers of Christ or who will win this election? Be honest. As a measure, compare the time you have spent talking about, worrying about, and watching programs about the election against the time you have spent sharing Jesus. If you are like me, that analysis is sobering.

Maybe it’s time for us all to grow up.


The Political Distraction


This election will be decided in a handful of states and mine is not one of them. Louisiana Christians in particular would be better off spending the time and energy promoting Jesus as the only solution to what ails us and preparing for the awful situation which will prevail in this country when the election is over.

Going to the polls this November will be like going to a Saints game; we should be wearing bags over our heads to avoid being identified. A recent Fox News poll found that 57% of voters say that fear that the other candidate might win is behind their choice. In other words, most voters are voting against someone instead of for someone. It’s not just that we don’t like the opposition. We are actually fearful of what they will do. After the election, we will be more sharply divided than ever. We will have a President that most did not really wanted. More than a third of us will believe the new President isn’t honest or trustworthy. More than half of us will have a negative opinion of our new leader.  Many of us will be in fear of what our government will do next.

What a golden opportunity. Maybe at last Americans will start to see that government isn’t the answer. Like after 9/11, maybe many of us will retreat to our churches and turn to God. Someone needs to be ready to give answers, to explain how Jesus advised us not to fear and to give Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s.

We need to be prayed up and pumped up. Every disaster is an opportunity and no matter who wins, disaster is coming in November.

Objects in Mirror are Closer. . . and Uglier


The sad thing about self-pity is the “self” part.  When we’re down, the cause is usually too much time looking in the mirror. It becomes all about me, my life, my pain, my problems, my situation. The problem with mirrors are that they seem to be accurate, but aren’t. Objects in the mirror are actually closer and uglier than they seem. The point is that we can’t trust the mirror that leads us to self-pity.

In the mirror, the problems are never are distorted. They seem bigger, more insurmountable, unsolvable.

Mirrors tend to focus our attention on details. We lose sight of the big picture. All we can see is the problem. We can’t see all that is good in our lives when gazing through the problem mirror.

Mirrors have narrow focus. If we could just look around a bit we could see that our problems are nothing. We are the man with no shoes, forgetting about the man with no feet. We can’t afford what we want, forgetting about the millions who can’t afford to eat. We are ill in our bodies, forgetting those who are dead in sin.

Instead of looking at mirrors, we need to gaze at God. In that, we can gain a hint of His perspective. We can see our struggles for the tiny irritants they are. We can, through His eyes, see ourselves having unlimited potential in Him.  God isn’t in the rear view mirror; He’s visible up ahead in the much broader windshield view.

In God’s Will and Time

Wouldn’t life be great, abundant even, if we could get in sync with God’s will and His timing? Much of the heresy in the church today arises from false teaching about God’s will and timing. We are told that God wants what’s best for His children. That’s true. He knows what is best; we don’t. What’s worse some believe that we can change His mind about what’s best or when things should happen. Much of our prayer time is spent explaining to God what He needs to do and when He needs to do it. God must smile and shake His head a lot.

Abundant life isn’t a comfortable past and a “secure” future. It is the expectant joy in experiencing the surprising opportunities God presents us with each day. Life is exciting and satisfying not when God provides what we order up each day, but we experience what he supplies every day.

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