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The American Psychologist, Martin Seligman, reported on an interesting debate between students at the University of Virginia about what it was that gave people the most pleasure.   One student reported that when he watched a fellow student help an old woman shovel snow away from her driveway, it not only made him feel good, it made everyone watching him feel good.   As a result of this discussion, some students decided to do an experiment and monitor how they felt after doing a number of different activities.

The results were not only surprising but for many, they were life-changing.   They reported that the ‘afterglow’ feeling of doing pleasurable things like hanging out with friends, watching a movie, or eating a hot fudge sundae, paled in comparison with the effects of doing an act of kindness.   The students reported that when they chose to use their abilities to do spontaneous acts of kindness, the pleasurable effects from doing it seemed to affect the whole day.   They said they were able to listen better, empathise better, notice things with more clarity and were better ‘tuned in’ to life.   It resulted in total engagement with life and in the loss of self-consciousness.

The Bible says that you and I are formed in God’s image.   This means that we, to some extent, reflect the heart and passions of God.   It is, therefore, little wonder that when we share with God in doing acts of kindness, we are at our happiest.

I wish society would make up its mind.   When the church is surrounding itself with Gothic architecture, outdated music and not engaged in mission, the media attacks it for not being relevant.   However, when it engages in mission and reaches into society, schools and the prisons, it is attacked for being too aggressive and for proselytising.   Left wing, journalists have attacked the church’s programs in prisons because they are too effective at bringing people to faith and in changing their lives.   They’ve also attacked the idea of Christian chaplains being in schools.   If Christianity was safely irrelevant and ineffective, the journalists wouldn’t mind.

Jesus experienced the same frustration.   Nothing he did pleased some people.   He once said, “John the Baptist came neither eating nor drinking, and (this generation) said, ‘He has a demon.’   The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ (Mt 11:18-19)

The Christian author, Selwyn Hughes, wrote that:
Society demands conformity.   If you fall beneath its standards it will punish you.   If you rise above its standards, it will persecute you.   It demands a grey, average morality.   For this reason most people look around before they act.   But in reality they don’t act, they react.   They are echoes, not persons with voices.   You have three choices: you can be self-centred, herd-centred or Christ-centred.[1]

I want to invite you break free of conformity and become Christ-centred – and work with him to do his work.

[1]  Selwyn Huges, Every Day With Jesus, 13th January, 2010

A manufacturer in Las Vagas has created what he claims is the first talking robot sex doll.   When asked why he had done it, he replied, “I built it so people could have a meaningful relationship with it.”

Riiiiiight.   You build a robotic sex doll so you can have a meaningful relationship.   That’s what sex dolls are for, meaningful relationships!   “Darling, I find your circuitry, diodes and silicon chips so meaningful to my life.”

The inventor of the sex robot claims that she listens to you, speaks to you and feels your touch.   The robot, called “Roxxxy,” has a silicone skin, a mechanical heart, and five personality options ranging from “Wild Wendy” to “Mature Martha.”   It retails for between $7,000 and $9,000 American dollars.

Come on guys!   Don’t debase yourselves so that you can only relate to lumps of plastic and metal.   Don’t let your sexual identity be determined by someone wanting you to pay $9,000 American dollars.   For goodness sake, you’re worth more than that.   God dreamed you into being and purposed you to discover real love, not fake love.   He has purposed you to accept his love and to show it to others.

The commercial world wants you to have a meaningful relationship with a silicon chip so they can take $9,000 dollars from you.   God wants you to discover his authentic love – for free.

In recent years Great Britain’s chief export to the U.S. has been a stack of books by atheist authors such as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and literary critic Christopher Hitchens, both of whom claim that faith is irrational in the face of modern science.

This is interesting, given that other prominent British atheists seem to be having second thoughts.   One of these is the philosopher, Antony Flew.   His research led him to conclude that evolutionary theory was not enough to explain the origin of life.   As such, he discovered that his atheism was not logically sustainable.

More recently, the author, A.N. Wilson, (a man who spent years mocking Christianity), returned to Christianity.   He did so, he said, when he discovered that atheists were unable to make sense of the basic experiences of life.   He noted that people who insisted we were just “anthropoid apes” could not account for things as basic as language, love, and music.   They certainly could not explain how Christianity was able to transform lives.

In a similar vein, Matthew Parris, another well-known British atheist, saw the transforming power of the Christian gospel in Malawi, Africa.   He said that his experience of Christianity at work “confounded his ideological beliefs, stubbornly refused to fit his world-view, and embarrassed his belief that there was no God.”

Why do I tell you this?   Because unless you discover the God who came to rescue you back to himself in Jesus, you too may struggle to make much sense of life.

Have you heard the story of how a leech solved an eight-year old criminal case of aggravated robbery in northern Tasmania?   Evidently, that guy got caught because a leech found at the scene of the crime contained his blood.

DNA taken from blood in a leech identified a man who then pleaded guilty to robbing a 71-year-old woman eight years earlier.   The man, Peter Alec Cannon, from Lilydale, stabbed the woman with a stick and robbed her of $550.

This makes me wonder” what evidence will you and I leave behind us after we’ve gone?   What will be written on your tombstone?   It would be desperately sad if it said that all you did was to entertain yourself to death, and that you’d done nothing more than be nice to your family and friends.

To have not realised the purpose and destiny God intended for you would be tragic.   Life does have meaning and your purpose is to find it out before you die.   Finding your purpose will affect what you do and the legacy you leave.   The Apostle Paul once spoke of faithful Christians leaving behind them the beautiful aroma of Christ.   Now that’s a legacy worth leaving.   That’s a legacy that has eternal consequences.

So, why not discover God so you can leave behind evidence of a life that lived its true purpose?

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