The Dangers Of Living Inside An Echo Chamber

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23

The first thing we need to do is define what an echo chamber is. Wikipedia defines an echo chamber like this:

“An echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system. By visiting an echo chamber, people are able to seek out information which reinforces their existing views. This may increase political and social polarization and extremism. Another emerging term for this echoing and homogenizing effect on the internet within social communities is cultural tribalism.”

An echo chamber is what happens to a person when they only listen to people who already think the way they do. People stuck in an echo chamber rarely hear an argument from a different perspective (politics, religion, etc.) But this problem is much more insidious than most people are aware of. Did you know that Facebook is keenly aware of the kind of news and information that you like and they begin to highlight these stories and minimize anything that you might disagree with? Watch this brief video to see what I am talking about.

So the echo chamber exists. But is this echo chamber really all that bad for us? If so, how? Let me give you THREE EXAMPLES of how the echo chamber is hurting you (and others):

  • You never learn from anyone that sees the world from a different perspective. Hopefully we have not become so arrogant to believe that we no longer need to learn new things or new ideas. We need to remain humble enough to admit that we simply don’t know it all.
  • You begin to see people that you disagree with as your enemy. Ed Stetzer writes this, “Christians are too good at blurting out what we believe and yelling and people who don’t like it. We’re often too quick to jump to social media to punish our keyboard with our anger and scream at any disagreeing person in our path. Our social media world has this way of making those who disagree with us look like complete idiots.” If you doubt it just think of some of the terms that get frequently thrown around (libtard, conservitard, snowflake, deplorable, and the list just goes on and on). Scripture is clear that those who are on the other side of the political aisle are not our enemy. Paul writes this in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
  • You damage your witness before a watching world. Let’s turn to the apostle Paul one more time. In Romans 12:14 we read this, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Imagine how different social media would feel if everyone obeyed this command? Too often instead of the world seeing the love of Christ in us they get the feeling that the Christian’s primary emotion is anger.

Social Media Echo Chamber

So what can we do about this? I certainly don’t think this is the complete solution, but it sure is an interesting idea. Knife Media is a news outlet that is trying hard to give just the basic facts when it comes to the news. They are trying to stay away from spinning a story in way that reflects their biases. Let me tell what I think will happen if you were to start reading your news from an outlet like Knife Media. You would find it either boring or disappointing. The reason this is true is that many times we are just looking to have our preconceived views about what is going on in the world validated by someone else. Is it possible that we have been so impacted by the echo chamber that we actually want to hear the spin?

Another suggestion is that we detox ourselves for a period of time from the news. (TV, iPhones, laptops, newspapers, social media, etc.) One writer stopped watching the news for a period of time and then recorded how it made her feel. Here are just a few of the changes that she experienced:

  • Had a greater sense of calm and peace
  • Felt closer to God
  • Less anger
  • Slept better

“Apparently studies have shown that the ratio of bad news to good news is about 17:1, which means that 95% of news is negative.” -Lisa Mainwaring

Perhaps the best idea is that we open ourselves up to people who think differently than we do. Listen more than we talk (or type). Try to see things from the another person’s perspective. This does not mean that we compromise the truth or that we become intellectually soft. No, it means that we humbly admit that we don’t have all the answers and we still want to learn and grow.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about how we can deal with the echo chamber that is closing in on us.


This is crazy. You can go HERE and see your ad profile on Facebook. It will reveal to you how Facebook tailors ads based on their understanding of who you are. It will also show you if Facebook thinks you are liberal or conservative (or somewhere in-between) when it comes to politics. Facebook makes these types of determinations based on what you click on and what you ‘like.’ Fascinating and a bit frightening. Big brother is watching.

Above pic taken from feedingonchristdotcom

A Poem For Easter

If you had been here my brother would not have died.
If you’d tried.
Were you otherwise occupied? Hands tied?

Or did you hide? Maybe biding your time? For what?
A deeper challenge, a grander entrance, a brighter glory, a better story?

“The nick of time” is a good story.
That would do.
11th hour, you’d come through.
Midnight you were due.
Now it’s half past two.
Where were you?

If you had been here he would not have died.
You were meant to ride on your white horse, enter the fray, the dragon slay, save the day.
Did you hear us pray?
Did you want it this way?

If you had been here to stop him dying…
Why are you crying?
You’re meant to be death-defying,
now you’re sighing at the tomb, decrying mortal ruin.
Why in God’s name are you queueing for the same?

You’re commander in chief, we demanded relief, but you landed beneath all our sorrows and grief.
Now it’s you on your knees empty-handed, bequeathing us none of our pleas.
Is this what you chose? To bring only tears? We’ve got plenty of those!

Why are you here?
You say: “To draw near.”

Then you sink like a stone past the brink of the chasm we desperately fear.
In darkness enfolded, our terrors you shouldered, while pierced by the nails and the spear.

You have been here.
You’ve stooped far below all depths that we know, engulfed in our weeping and woe.
Submerged in the grave, then risen to save, upending assumptions we’d made.

If you had been here,
the way that we’d prayed,
we’d only succeed in death delayed.
We’d only evade the reaper for now,
But soon we would bow,
Soon we’d be ploughed in the ground, with no-one to plead.

through you, death’s a gardener and we are the seed.
And this is the path Resurrection decreed.

If you will be here,
drawing near, that will do.
For now to know you in your grace we can face what is true.
“As in Adam the world dies, so in Christ all WILL arise.”

When you appear – and my brother too –
When you wipe away tears,
when darkness clears,
when mourning has cheered
and joy swallows fear.

here’s how we’ll cope,
this our true hope:
You will be here.

LENT: Prepare the Way of the Lord (Week 6)

Week 6-Dying With Christ

  • This is the sixth Sunday in the season of Lent. This week we are highlighting the truth that we are all called to die with Christ. Our scripture meditation this week is from a very familiar passage in Galatians 6. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” The Lenten season is a sobering reminder that we are called to die with Jesus Christ. The moment we embraced Jesus Christ by faith we died spiritually with Christ. The Bible is clear that the law and our good works are not capable of making us righteous. We need the powerful, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, to forgive us of our sins and to give us new life. But the call to die with Christ is also a way of life for the Christian. We are called every day to give up our selfish desires, addictions, bitterness, anger, materialism, prejudice, worry and lust so that the glory of Jesus Christ is more evident in us.

Scripture Meditation

Questions for reflection

  • What is God saying to you through this passage? What will your response be to what God is saying to you?
  • Spend time meditating on what it means to die with Christ on a daily basis.
  • What are some areas of your life that still need to die? Habits or ways of living that need to be repented of?
  • Spend time praising God for the amazing fact that he loved you so much that he sent his Son to die for you.

The featured picture is the “Crucifixion Painting” by Philippe De Champaigne

The song is “Death in His Grave” by John Mark McMillan (A great song as we slowly begin to turn our attention to Easter Sunday!)

LENT: Prepare the Way of the Lord (Week 4)

Week 4-God’s Word

  • We have reached week 4 of the Lenten season. I hope and pray that by now you are growing in your love for Jesus Christ as you have been contemplating the amazing truths of the gospel. Frequently during the Lenten season we think about what we can give up (food, bad habits, unforgiveness, anger, etc.) While there will be times that we want to fast from something for Lent, most importantly what we want to be doing is feasting on God’s Word. Our Scripture meditation for this week is all about Jesus Christ being led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by Satan. During this temptation we find how even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was dependent on Scripture to be able to withstand temptation and to experience spiritual victory. Spend time this week reading and meditating on Matthew 4:1-11. Ask God to give you a renewed desire to know him better by becoming a better student of his Word.


Scripture Meditation

Questions for Reflection

  • Here are the the two most important questions you can ask after reading God’s Word: What is God saying to you through this passage? What will your response be to what God is saying?
  • How did Jesus respond to the temptations of Satan? (verses 4, 7, 10) If Jesus was so dependent on Scripture what does that mean for you and me?
  • After fasting for 40 days there is no doubt that Jesus was in a weakened state. Satan saw this as an opportunity to attack Jesus and try to get him to give into a temptation. When are you at your weakest against temptations? How can you use Scripture to help you in those moments of weakness?
  • Do you have a regular plan for reading Scripture? You can find some solid Scripture reading plans HERE.

“Lent is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault-finding or finger-pointing but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things he now has in store.” -N.T. Wright 

The featured picture is “The Temptation in the Wilderness” by Briton Rivière

The second picture is “The Temptation of Jesus” by Gustave Dore

Song is “Dear Wormwood” by The Oh Hellos

LENT: Prepare the Way of the Lord (WEEK 3)

lent6Week 3-Serving

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Jesus’ entire life was characterized by serving others. In Matthew 20:28 we read this, “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The purpose of Lent is to immerse our hearts and minds in the truths of the gospel, worship Jesus Christ, and to ask God for the strength to walk in the ways of Jesus. If we are going to immerse our hearts and minds in the gospel we will have to spend most of our time thinking about the cross. The servant’s heart and sacrificial attitude of Jesus is most clearly on display on the cross. The wages we earned for our sin was death (Romans 6:23). Jesus graciously served us by dying on the cross, in our place, taking our sins upon himself, so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life. We worship Jesus because of his great love for us demonstrated on the cross. But it does not stop there. Because of this great love poured out on our behalf we now should desire to go and serve others. This week spend time mediating on Mark 8:31-38. In this passage we find that Peter has a strong aversion to the idea of serving others. Jesus goes on to tell Peter (and you and I) “For whoever would save his life, will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

Scripture Meditation
Mark 8:31-38

Questions for Reflection
• Here are the the two most important questions you can ask after reading God’s Word: What is God saying to you through this passage? What will your response be to what God is saying?
• Why did Jesus say that the “Son of Man must suffer many things”?
• In what ways was Peter setting his mind on the things of man, not on the things of God? How are we tempted to do the same thing today?
• Jesus says that if we are going to follow him we will deny ourselves and take up our cross. What are some ways that you need to deny yourself this week so that you can truly follow in the path of Christ?
• Moms and dads, ask your kids how they can be serving others (home, neighborhood, school).

Picture is ‘Christ in Gethsemane’, Vasily Perov (1878). Song is “Jerusalem” by CityAlight.

LENT: Prepare the Way of the Lord (Week 2)

Week 2-Idols and Repentance

Titian Christ Cross 1565Lent is primarily about focusing our hearts and minds on the glorious truths of the gospel. One of the things that keeps us from feasting on the gospel any time of the year is idolatry. (“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” -1 Corinthians 10:14). An idol is anything that we desire or treasure more than God. The tremendous challenge when it comes to talking about idolatry is that we can easily see when someone else has an issue with idolatry but it is really hard to recognize it in our own life. If we want more of Jesus we are going to have to repent of the things in our life that have become a god to us. Here are some diagnostic questions from David Powlison that will help us to see more clearly the idols that exist in our life.

  • What do I worry about most?
  • What do I use to comfort myself when things go bad or get difficult?
  • What do I do to cope? What are my release valves? What do I do to feel better?
  • What preoccupies me? What do I daydream about?
  • What makes me feel the most self-worth? Of what am I the proudest? For what do I want to be known?
  • What do I lead with in conversations?
  • Early on what do I want to make sure that people know about me?
  • What prayer, unanswered, would make me seriously think about turning away from God?
  • What do I really want and expect out of life? What would really make me happy?
  • What is my hope for the future?
  • What do you blog, tweet or post the most about on social networks?

As you answer these questions you can begin to see things, or people, that have become too important to you. The best way to deal with our idols is by turning to God’s Word. The passage of Scripture that I am recommending for you to meditate on is Psalm 51. Psalm 51 shows us how David responded after he had given into the lust of his heart and committed adultery with Bathsheba. Don’t just read the passage of Scripture. Slow down. Meditate on the words. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of areas of your life that you need to surrender. Ask God to give you the strength to, not merely confess your sin, but to truly hate it and repent of it.

Scripture Meditation:
• Psalm 51

Questions for Reflection
• What is God saying to you through this passage? What will your response be to what God is saying?
• Slowly read over the diagnostic questions. What do they reveal about what you value and treasure most in life?
• Parents, how can you communicate to your kids the dangers of idolatry? Have social media and Iphones become too important to them (sports, boyfriends, girlfriends, success, image)?
• In Psalm 51 David finally comes clean and truly repents of his sin. Is there someone you need to talk to about your battle with sin? Someone that can hold you accountable and help you find spiritual victory?

Picture is ‘Christ Carrying the Cross’ by Titian, 1556. Song is a cover of ‘Clear the Stage’ done by Jimmy Needham.

Six Signs That We May Be On Our Way To Becoming An Accidental Pharisee

“Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.” -Francis Schaeffer

Larry Osborne is an EFCA Pastor in California. He has written a number of books but the one that I want to briefly mention is “Accidental Pharisees.” In Accidental Pharisees Larry mentions that there are six warning signs that we are becoming Pharisees (legalistic) in how we live, think and treat others. No doubt legalism is something the Apostle Paul fought hard against in the New Testament. We find this in Colossians 2:16-23…

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

So what might it look like to live and act like a Pharisee in the year 2018? How would you know if you were losing sight of grace and becoming too legalistic? The following “six signs” should answer these questions. If you want to read the entire article you can go HERE.

First and foremost is a deepening sense of frustration and disdain for those at the back of the line. Instead of a Jesus-like compassion for those who can’t keep up, we view them with cynicism and a cocky arrogance.

The second warning sign is a spirit of exclusivity. When thinning the herd becomes more important than expanding the kingdom; or raising the bar becomes more important than helping people climb over it, something has gone terribly wrong.

A third indicator is the addition of extra-biblical rules and expectations. Few of us would see ourselves as legalists. We think we’ve moved on from old school legalism because we no longer judge people by what’s in their refrigerator. But the spirit of legalism still runs strong. We now judge people by what’s in their driveway and how big their house is.

A fourth symptom is a pattern of idolizing the past. Whether it’s the New Testament church or the scholars of old, we tend to give them a free pass for their failures. But the present day Bride of Christ and the current crop of leaders that Jesus has put in place are assailed for their blind spots, failures, and feet of clay. Like the Pharisees of old, we rip on the living prophets and then build monuments to them once they die.

A fifth sign that something has gone wrong is a quest for clone-like uniformity. Jesus had room for Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector. Yet sometimes, the more biblically grounded we become, the less room we have for anyone who hasn’t yet learned all that we’ve learned. The result is a circle of fellowship that’s tighter than Jesus’s circle of acceptance.

The sixth and final indicator that we’re becoming an Accidental Pharisee is something called “gift-projection.” It’s the toxic belief that my calling is everyone else’s calling. It disfigures the body of Christ by insisting that ears become eyes and hands become feet. It looks like passion for the mission. But in reality, it’s chocolate covered arrogance.

As Francis Schaeffer pointed out, “Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.”  If we are truly immersing our hearts and minds in the gospel  we are going to known as people of humility, grace, and compassion.

Which one of the SIX WARNING SIGNS do you see in yourself?

Which kingdom are you living for?

I am joyfully preaching through the book of Philippians. There are a number of different themes in this amazing epistle such as joy in Christ, suffering, humility, unity, etc.

Philippians FB Banner

I must confess I was surprised when I really looked into Philippians 1:27, “Only let your manner of LIFE be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that your are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”

No doubt what Paul is saying is that the gospel needs to be at the very center of our lives. Everything we do needs to reflect the beauty, grace and power of the gospel. What was surprising to me was when I began looking into the Greek word “life” in this verse.

Here is what Christ Centered Exposition Commentary wrote about this word:

The phrase “your life” doesn’t capture the idea of citizenship imbedded in the verb politeuesthai (the verb is built on the noun polis-city). He essentially says, “Live as citizens in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” The same idea is conveyed later in Philippians 3:20, where Paul reminds the church that they’re citizens of heaven. Paul uses this political word only here in Philippians. He probably uses it because of the Philippians’ pride over their Roman citizenship.”

Philippi was a Roman colony and the temptation would have been great to live more like a Roman citizen then a follower of Jesus Christ. As I prepared my sermon for this past Sunday I was asking God how I could apply to this truth to our everyday life. What came to mind is the recent controversy regarding the American flag and the NFL players. Many people were very upset over the fact that players were kneeling during the National Anthem. I get it. I am a patriot at heart and love my country. But it got me thinking. Maybe this “flag controversy” reveals something about our heart. Perhaps it reveals something about where our true allegiances lie. Here is the question I asked on Sunday. What has brought you greater emotional distress over the past few months, the way that the American flag has been treated or the fact that we have so many people in the city of Watertown that do not yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ?

I believe the way in which we honestly answer this question will begin to reveal to us if we are living more as American citizens or as citizens in the kingdom of God. To live a life worthy of the gospel means that in all that we do that Jesus Christ is always seen to be our greatest and most precious treasure. Is this true in my life? In yours?

Ruth 3: Divine Romance

Ruth 1 HERE and Ruth 2 HERE

This Sunday I will continue my sermon series in the book of Ruth. Here is what I have discovered so far in Ruth 3.


Naomi and Ruth have returned to Bethlehem nearly destitute and with little hope. Family members have died, their money is gone, and the expectations for a good life have been shattered into pieces.

Naomi and Ruth discover that there is a relative in Bethlehem by the name of Boaz. Boaz is the kinsman-redeemer which means that he has the responsibility as the nearest kin to rescue Naomi and get her out of debt. Of course Naomi would love for Boaz to step up as her kinsman-redeemer, but Naomi is also concerned about the well being of Ruth. Naomi wants to see Ruth get married so that she is loved and taken care of.  Naomi hatches an ingenious, albeit risky, plan.  She tells Ruth to get dressed up and put on some perfume. Ruth is then told to go to the threshing floor around midnight, lay down at the feet of a sleeping Boaz, and wait for him to wake up. What could possibly go wrong with a plan like this? Right. Everything!

Even at this point in the story you can see glimpses of the gospel shining through. Ruth is a complete and total outsider. Not only is she an outsider, but she is from the hated land of Moab. Moab was a city that was started by Lot having an incestuous relationship with his daughter. Did that thought just make you gag? Jews did not look favorably upon the people of Moab. So we wonder, will Ruth be accepted and loved by this successful Jewish business man?

Boaz wakes up, and as you can imagine, seems startled. It’s not every day you wake up with a young woman wrapped around your feet. Will Boaz be furious? Will he make a scene and embarrass Ruth? Will he take advantage of her vulnerability for his own selfish purposes?

Boaz reveals what a godly man he truly is. Boaz praises Ruth, tells her that he will be happy to marry her, and takes on the responsibility of becoming Naomi’s kinsman-redeemer. There is an important clue in Ruth 3:10 as to what is motivating both Boaz and Ruth.

And he said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last KINDNESS greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.

The word kindness is one of many ways that the Hebrew word HESED can be translated. As I have mentioned in some of my earlier posts, HESED is a loyal love. It is not based on fleeting romantic feelings. This is a love that lasts through good and bad times.

Ruth and Boaz are not merely following their emotions. They are making decisions based on HESED love for one another. They both understand that HESED love requires sacrifice, putting the other person first, and making a commitment that lasts forever.


“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. -Ephesians 5:31-32

The love story between Ruth and Boaz is powerful. But we need to know that it is pointing us towards a much greater love story. It points us towards a divine romance. How does it do this?

Boaz is a foreshadowing of the One true Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, who would come to earth and buy back his people from their debt of sin. Jesus would sacrifice his life on the cross and die for the sins of his people. The compassion and grace of Jesus is something that we, like Ruth, did not deserve. We were all outsiders. We were in bondage to the debt of our sins. Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer, stepped in when we did not deserve it and rescued us.

As a preacher, I wonder what to make of this story. How do I apply it to everyday life?

First of all, one of the things this story should do is give us a greater appreciation of the love that Jesus, our Bridegroom, has for us. We did not deserve to be brought into this covenant relationship with him. We brought nothing into this relationship but our sin and shame, yet Jesus still loved us enough to die for us on a cross.

“You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” -Jonathan Edwards

Secondly, it is a wonderful privilege and responsibility to know that our marriages are to reflect the beauty and grace of the gospel. The weight of this truth forces us to rethink what marriage is all about in the first place. Ruth and Boaz point the way once again. They were making decisions about their relationship based on the rock solid foundation of HESED love. They were not basing a lifetime on how buzzed their feelings made them. I will confess that I wrestle with this because I’m fairly certain that I have made romance an idol in my life. I want the feelings in my marriage to be like they were when we were dating. The problem with this is that after living for all of these years I have not found one living soul who claims that marriage is non-stop romance. I want that, I really do. Thus, the struggle. With the ebb and flow of feelings in marriage, I need to be reminded that HESED love is what will make my marriage stand the test of time.

Modern people make the painfulness of marriage even greater than it has to be, because they crush it under the weight of their almost comically impossible expectations. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ernest Becker believed that modern culture has produced a desire for what he called “apocalyptic romance.” At one time we expected marriage and family to provide love, support, and security. But for meaning in life, hope for the future, moral compass, and self-identity we looked to God and the afterlife. Today, however, our culture has taught us to believe that no one can be sure of those things, not even whether they exist. Therefore, Becker argued, something has to fill the gap, and often that something is romantic love. We look to sex and romance to give us what we use to get from faith in God. -The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller

Finally, I believe this story gives us tremendous hope for the future. Many times the New Testament talks about how we, the church, are the bride for Christ. We read this in Revelation 19:6-8:

6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure

Can you see and feel the hope? We, the church, are Jesus’ bride and one day we will get to be with him in heaven. The white garments that we will wear remind us that all of our sins have been washed clean by the blood of the the Lamb. Our Savior, our Bridegroom, loved us so much that he was willing to die for us.

I am looking forward to sharing more gospel truth with you next week as I study the fourth chapter of Ruth!

Ruth 2: A Better Man

Part 1 of Ruth started HERE.

Eddie Vedder wrote the incredibly sad song “Better Man” in 1984 about an abusive relationship his mother was in with his step-father. The song communicates the idea that Vedder’s mom is in despair because she does not think that a better man is out there.

She lies and says she’s in love with him, can’t find a better man…
She dreams in color, she dreams in red, can’t find a better man…
Can’t find a better man
Can’t find a better man

Fast forward to the year 2017. We seem to be in crisis mode when it comes to what godly manhood looks like. Politicians, celebrities, and pastors are in the news for all the wrong reasons. Abuse. Sexual misconduct. You wonder, is there a better man out there?

This Sunday I will be preaching from Ruth 2. As I was studying this particular passage it struck me how timely it was for what is going on in our culture today. If there is one thing we desperately need it is some men who we can look to as godly role models.  In Ruth 2 we are introduced to a man by the name of Boaz. There are a number of characteristics that stood out to me regarding Boaz. Allow me to share a few with you.

  • Godly men live out their faith in the workplace
    • Boaz did not buy into the lie that we need to keep our faith and our work separate. Boaz was open (not pushy) about his faith with his employees. In Ruth 2:4 here is how Boaz greets his staff, And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.”  Boaz is the kind of boss any one would want to have BECAUSE his faith had such an impact on how he treated people in the workplace. What difference is our faith making in the workplace?
  • Godly men show compassion to those who are poor, marginalized and thought to be unimportant by society
    • Boaz ends up showing tremendous grace and kindness to Ruth. She is in his fields trying to scrape together enough grain to feed herself and Naomi. I’m thinking that many successful men in Boaz’s day would not have given Ruth a second thought. Woman. Gentile. From the hated land of Moab. Boaz goes out of his way to show grace, HESED love, and compassion to this woman. He provides her with an abundance of food and gives her hope when she needs it the most. Do we notice those who are hurting or struggling right around us in everyday life?
  • Godly men make women feel safe
    • Boaz commands his young men to stay away from Ruth so that she is not sexually or physically abused by them. Ruth is incredibly vulnerable working out in the fields by herself and Boaz steps in and protects her. But Boaz’s compassion does not stop there. In verse 8 Boaz refers to Ruth as his “daughter”.  Boaz’s motives are pure and Ruth is blown away by the fact that she is in the presence of a very powerful man and he is treating her like a family member.
    • I must confess this makes me think about how safe women must have felt with Jesus. Jesus did not run away from female friendships. Instead, some of his closest friends and disciples were women. Jesus never used his position of influence or power selfishly. Jesus was always looking to serve, bless and show compassion. Do we make woman feel safe in our presence?
  • Godly men use their money, time and resources to be a blessing to others
    • Boaz was very generous with all that he had so that he could be a blessing to others. Not only was Boaz generous but he encouraged his employees to be generous as well. In verse 15 we read this, When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her.” Boaz knew that life was not just about making as much money as possible. Boaz had his eyes open for people that God was strategically bringing into his life so that he could show them HESED love. Are we using our money, resources and talents for the good of others?

Of course, this story is not primarily about Ruth or Boaz. Boaz is merely a dim reflection of the better Man that was to come about 1000 years later. Boaz was a godly man but he too was a sinner. Boaz was the GOEL (kinsman-redeemer) for Ruth. But Jesus would be the ultimate GOEL (Kinsman-Redeemer) for all humanity. I want to be a better man. I want to be less like me and more like Boaz. I have to remember that it is not enough just to say that I need to be more like Boaz. Moral exhortations to be better won’t change my sinful heart. Every single day I need to die to self so that the life of Jesus Christ is set ablaze in me.