A Narcissist is a person with an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. Narcissists are selfish and have a sense of entitlement. They lack empathy, seek attention, and are self-centered.
Examples of Narcissists should be limited to very young babies... But today they are also found in politicians, Hollywood celebrities, and entitled pro athletes. They live a self-adoration existence prone to share their 'gold nuggets of wisdom' with us 'common folk'. How else could we carry on?
But Sadly... narcissism also can be found in today's Church. Too many preach/tweak God's Word for the itching ears of those who prioritize entertainment over seeking God.
Church Narcissism can be found in messages like... 1. God loves you just the way you are. 2. You are enough, 3. the prosperity gospel, and 4. become a better you. Prosperity and comfort take precedence over loving God with all your heart, and others as yourself. God's two greatest commandments Matthew 6:5-15
But Also... I observe church narcissism that is fueled by our insecurities. Our busy anxious minds can obsess over hurt feelings as our eyes are fixed on ourselves. These are self-preservation fears that can drive us inward as much as any of the above ego-motivated narcissism.
note: Of course, Christian Narcissism is an oxymoron of Biblical proportions. Narcissism is self-serving while True Christianity serves God and others.
In a recent Bible study with friends, we read The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer .. and in this short book, Tozer prescribes the cure for Narcissism.
Together let's pursue His Truth and serve with His church in this world as the Body of Christ. We are one body with many parts (denominations, giftedness, talents) all designed (narcissism free) for the Glory of God.
Jeff (one body, many aches) Larson
The Art of Forgiveness
I do not claim to have a great memory and have the gift of confusing and/or forgetting names often... embarrassingly often.
But I do remember my past mistakes/blunders/boo-boos and/or 'sins'. These memories are clear and hard for me sometimes to let go.
This 'Jeff Larson blooper reel' when played can spur on all sorts of regrets often accompanied by those uncomfortable feelings of shame and failure... BUT.. this is NOT what God intends.
for as far as the East is from the West so are our sins removed. Ps 103:12 from us once I ask forgiveness. This is good news for a regret-laden fellow like me.
We all do need to ask forgiveness and be truly sorry ... and not say sorry through clenched teeth, but once that is done.. forgiveness is full and complete.
The Bible teaches us we are forgiven and God remembers our sins no more.
He will again have compassion on us... you will cast our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19
Note: This of course does not imply God is forgetful, but simply that our sins are forgiven and they should no longer be a weight on our hearts or minds.
Again. If we confess our sins, God forgives us and remembers them no more.
The point is they are GONE so let your mind find peace in this great truth. Forgiven by God is perfect, and complete.
But... let's not forget the other critical part of forgiveness. Nestled right in the middle of The Lord's Prayer. We must FORGIVE OTHERS!
Just listen to Jesus teaching his disciples to pray
9 “This, then, is how you should pray“ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
This critical piece of forgiving others has been on my heart lately. God's Spirit has opened my eyes to some of my faulty forgiveness logic.
I have always been forgiving of those who were sorry they wronged me, BUT ...
NOT SO MUCH when it came to those I deemed unrepentant.
This 1/2 complete spirit of forgiveness has held me at times in my life. But now I seek to prayerfully do better.
My prayer today for you is that God bless you with the assurance of His love. He forgives and forgets your every transgression, and He answers your prayers like the perfect Heavenly Father He is. And... I pray you live out a spirit of forgiveness towards others as Jesus taught us.
And... then God can and will restore, and bless your lives in ways beyond our dreams.
ps Isaiah 40:28-31, and Psalms 23 share messages of hope that is in God alone. In all things TO GOD BE THE GLORY.
My 2023 Resolutions
I watched a sermon recently by Tele-evangelist Buzz Light Year. It was an uplifting message where the sky is the limit. His exact words were TO INFINITY & BEYOND and though he did not reference scripture I was challenged to not hold back in either my pursuit or zest for life.
<insert puzzled expression here>
Now that I think about it I was actually watching the movie Toy Story with the grandkids, but it was still a powerful message of family, and friendship all while accepting my place in this expansive Universe.
<insert 2nd puzzled expression here>
So anyways, here is my belated list of resolutions.
2023 New Year Resolutions
234. Play nice on social media (cut down on snarky comments
235. Lose 3 more pounds to bring my total weight loss to 50 lbs. since July
437. Say something nice about the Minnesota Vikings (ARGH!)
and so on, and so forth.
I wish each of you a (belated) Happy New Year blessed and used by God in ways beyond your dreams. May you pursue and love him with all your heart and serve and care for others in need all to the Glory of God.
Happy New Year Blessings!
Doing the Beginagains again
A while back our pastor gave a sermon on getting to know God by reading our Bibles regularly and systematically. During this very good sermon, our pastor joked that the most read books of the Bible are Genesis and Matthew because our inspired intentions in January to read through our Bibles fade once we are through Genesis and Matthew. (Leviticus has killed many a Bible study )... then the next year we are back in Genesis and Matthew. I call this bible study plan... The BEGINAGAINS.
I must be honest and say I have followed the BEGINAGAIN plan many times and not until 2003 did I completely read my Bible from cover to cover AND I CARTOONED THRU IT TOO! Please note, neither Billy Graham nor the Pope could say they cartooned through the Bible. Then in 2018 lightning struck again as I read through my Bible from Genesis through Revelations. And... I believe every year since 2018 I have read through my Bible. YEAH ME!
Now here I am starting out 2023 in the BEGINAGAINS using an audio Bible to get past those tedious Dos and Don'ts highlighted in Leviticus.
For many, reading through the Bible from beginning to end is not appealing, and I understand that. My wife is one of those good folks. I was also instructed in a men's group that simply reading the Bible through is not a proper Bible study. I DISAGREE... for me reading through my Bible in order gives me a context and flow of stories and cultures that I may otherwise miss. This is NOT the only right way to read my Bible but it is a way that works for me.
No matter if you use this tried and true(?) BEGINAGAINS Bible study, or topical study, or another method the important message is to be in God's word. DAILY!
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Oh, we all will have questions and will not understand many stories and teachings in God's Word, but this does not mean they are not true.
To name a few we have the Creation Story, Noah and his Ark floating on a universal flood, parting of the Red Sea, Elijah riding a chariot of Fire, Jonah in the belly of the Whale, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, the feeding of 5,000 on fish and chips leftovers, the raising of the dead, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the end time prophecies.
All these subjects and many more challenge our reasoning while we scratch our collective heads, and even question what we believe. But I have found honest questions are different than doubting God or His Word, and reading my Bible gives me answers to where I build my faith and love in God.
SO WHERE SHOULD I PLACE MY FAITH?
Of course in the end we are each challenged regarding where we will place our faith. Will it be science alone, a progressive secular worldview, Christianity, or another of the world's religions? I choose to place my faith in the God of my Bible and this is where I place my hope.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
May God bless each of you in your spiritual journey, and I pray that we all prioritize reading (and obeying) God's word while being wise in where we place our faith and hope.
New Year's Blessings
Jeff (BEGINAGAIN) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson
Back Pew - Draw Close to God
116 pages of cartoons of 'Clean Humor & God's Truth'
CRITICS ARE SAYING..
Laughter is just a CLICK away