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Did you use the correct lenses?

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By Pastor Troy Keaton
EastLake Community Church
Moneta

    Do you see the eclipse this past Monday?  I accidentally did.  I was doing some work on our house and had to make a run to CAPPS Home Building Supply just about the time it was at maximum coverage.  Several of the employees were in the parking sharing glasses to view this “once in a lifetime” cosmic phenomena. They were kind enough to give me a look using the right lenses. 
    In the days leading up to this event one of the things that really stood out to me was the importance of making sure you had the correct lenses.  There were warnings everywhere that you must have certified ISO 123-12-2 rated lenses or else you could severely and permanently damage your eyesight. 
    In the days just before the eclipse Amazon had to recall a bunch due to the fact that they were not certified.    
    As I thought about this I have been reminded of the crazy times in which we are in as a country.  Over the past 2 weeks our country has ripped open wounds of division, racial animosity and hatred and it seems that we are as polarized and divided more everyday.  You can’t watch a sporting event without seeing the political and cultural overtones of our day. 
    What took place at Charlottesville was a disgrace to this country. These are difficult days in America.   It’s very hard not to be forced into choosing sides in times where it seems that no side is speaking truth about all of this.  Talking heads on TV, bloggers and self-declared experts on Facebook force us to a judgment.  Just like the Eclipse of 2017,  how we view what is going on in this world, what set of “lenses” we use to gain perspective is critically important. 
    I think there is a lesson in this for all of us. 
    Whenever we look at the problems in our world with the wrong set of lenses we destroy our ability to accurately see.
So what lenses are you using to look at the world?
    Let me give us a warning about some lenses that if used can prevent us from seeing clearly the events unfolding in our world. 
    POLITICAL LENSES –  Christians must not see the events of our world merely from a political perspective. With political lenses you only see what is good for your favorite party or elected official.  Regardless of the truth or morality we care that our political ambitions and preferences come out looking good. 
    There are also CULTURAL LENSES – Cultural lenses are nothing more than grown up peer pressure.  Cultural lenses dictate we see everything based upon what the culture accepts, idolizes, or despises then make our decisions based upon this. 
    With these lenses we get caught up in believing that if we can take down a monument or change our view of something we can change the way we all live and get along.    Some people worship at the altar of cultural norms others in the sanctuary of political advantage. 
    As Christians we should view these things through a different pair of glasses,  a set of lenses that allow us to look directly at the problem, see if for what it is and respond to it accurately and in a way that brings about change and true healing.  
    As Christians we should see this through a GOSPEL LENS!   As men and women who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ we cannot afford to look through inferior lenses. 
    The Gospel is the supernatural work of God’s grace in our lives through Christ that when received by faith transforms us from the inside out.  It is the Good News that we can be forgiven and delivered from sin and given eternal life.   This should be our view. 
    Racism, hatred and division are Spiritual and Theological issues rooted in the heart of every human being and resolvable ultimately only by the supernatural work of God’s grace in Christ through the Gospel. 
    The remedy is not in another roundtable discussion but in repentance and redemption.
    With a Gospel lens we have a perspective that is rooted in our relationship with Christ and our new found affection for things that he loves and that honor Him.   What is honoring to Christ?  What is holy and pure?  What matters in Heaven and eternity? The Gospel lens is an eternal lens, a righteous lens, a Christ-honoring lens,  not a political or cultural lens….  
    The Gospel lens removes from our hearts the things that create division and animosity.  The Gospel lens allows us to see every person as equal and valuable.  The Gospel lens provides the power for us to live out the life of Christ to this broken world. 
    On these issues the Christian living out the Gospel transcends culture and politics and provides a Christ-like grace that truly heals. 
    Church we must live this out!   We need the church today to be first and foremost Christian.  Seeing the problems of our world through any other set of lenses will get us burned and could damage our ability to see clearly in the future.

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To contact Pastor Troy, email pastorkeaton@gmail.com.