Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories

In a recent conversation with friends we were talking about ghosts. One friend admitted his skepticism toward ghost sightings. Two others shared stories to try to convince him otherwise. It appeared the skepticism was not toward a spiritual reality, or even the potential for us to experience it, it was the validity of human account.

Understandable. Seems everyone has a ghost story to tell. Either a personal experience, or a family member, or your fourth grade teacher’s husband’s uncle’s co-worker’s best friend’s ex-girlfriend. We embrace these stories. We love to sit around and tell these stories. During this time of the year the horror movies emerge and the crowds will flock to theaters for a good scare. Perhaps we love a good scare so much that the conjuring of ghosts and spirits are harvested from our own imaginations.

This does not surprise me. I see the same thing in our churches and in Christianity as a whole. The theme of hope is foundational to the Christian gospel, as is the grace through faith that our hope rests in. Hope is something we all need whether we realize it or not. Issues arise when the hope distracts us from the source of hope. When we crave hope enough, we can create experiences that may not be there. Personal encounters with God that are derived of the mind. We want it so bad, we fabricate it, sometimes unknowingly.

Like ghost encounters, it’s impossible to place judgment on anyone’s personal experiences. Who are we to say that Person A is making it up, or Person B just had and episode of mild psychosis. Emotional charges, both positive and negative, can elicit such powerful desires that we have the potential to create experiences in which we feel them. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Unless…with the inability to indubitably determine what is true and what is false, we just turn people away from any form of belief. Skepticism grows as they are left wondering, “Did they REALLY experience that?” Despite the ambiguity of true experiences, it has been proven that some many have falsified personal claims. Cynicism is expected with an unfortunate history of a counterfeit God.

We encounter people that pray off of these strong desires for supernatural experiences. Whether it is a promise of a ghost encounter or a surge of the Holy Spirit into your life, con artists are out their manufacturing experiences to take your money.

The unfortunate reality is that many will be left without the truth because of the apprehension toward those who misrepresent with warped realities. Like with ghosts we have a culture that identifies as “spiritual” and some that acknowledge their is a higher being, but never really get to know much more. There is so much more to learn about the God of all Creation. The Lord of Salvation that laid His life down for us. The Holy Ghost that speaks to us today. We don’t know what to really believe, so we will leave it as emotionally charged stories. A subject that’s fun to talk about, but saved for special occasions. With respect for others it’s good for them to believe, it’s just not for me. All the while we miss out on a fantastic truth that Jesus in His grace is calling you to know Him more. The good news of Jesus Christ is no ghost story.  -jason

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Why?

Why?

When I was in high school I was not a good student, at all. I remember once my dad offering to get me a used car if I got honor roll. This was not an offer one would expect from my father. Seems he knew me better than I knew myself.

Two weeks into the semester I started to question my efforts. “Well…I don’t really need a car. I can just catch a ride with my friends!” Why was I working toward honor roll? For a car. The car was my “why”, it wasn’t very strong for me.

My academic efforts are laughable compared to the students I work with now. Their schedules, their class load, the extra curricular activities, it’s pretty extraordinary what these kids do. As amazing as they are, they still get overwhelmed. Many students have filtered into my office in tears and distress over the work they are putting in. I don’t blame them, it’s a lot! When they come in I have been asking them what their “why” is. “Why did you choose this school?” “Why are you working so hard?” Often they are unsure. I get vague answers like, “Get a good education”, “Go to a good college”, all good things, but not very specific and not very convincing. When I talk with them through it, some seem to have a revelation or reassurance of why they are doing what they are doing. They have a renewed sense of purpose in work they are pouring themselves into.

Even as adults we can just plow through life, caught in the routine and absent of the sense of why we wake up every morning and do what we do. It’s also possible that our “why” has changed. The world around us can be convincing like that. Why are you working 80 hours a week? Why are you living in debt? Why are you so busy with activities? Why do you live where you live? Why do you do what you do?

I’m convinced that when we understand why we do what we do, truly why, it drives us through the hard times. When we remember why we set our goals and why our lives are headed in the direction they are, there’s meaning and purpose.

Whether you need to figure out the “why” or remember the “why”, take some time and think about it. Stop wandering aimlessly or allowing other people to determine your direction. Establish your “why”. -jason