Monthly Archives: February 2014

Monday Motivator – February 24

I heard a former student of mine, who works as a nurse say years ago that, “If the womb had windows, there would be no abortions.” While I would like to believe that, I am not sure. Yet with ultra-sound technology, parents can now actually peer into a “window” months before their baby is born and see a clear image of their developing child.

Cortney Obrien reported on February 21, 2014 that New York City is a nightmare for unborn babies. A report from the New York Department of Health revealed that in 2012, more African-American babies were terminated (31,328), than born live (24,758).

Since I was born before Roe v. Wade, I am aware that every child born since 1973 could have been eliminated or exterminated in his or her mother’s womb with the blessing of American culture.

I was in high school on January 22, 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand. I believe it was a horrible decision to those who believe every life is sacred and precious. There is no one to whom life is more precious than God. He stated his value on life when He took on our ultimate enemy – death – and defeated it. He sent His one and only Son Jesus, who died and rose again, victorious over death. No question that God is pro-life.

But God is also pro-choice. I do not mean in the ongoing political sense of the debate about abortion. I mean in the reality that He has given each of us the free will to make choices about our lives.

Choices are part of life. We choose what to wear, classes to attend (or not) to fulfill graduation requirements, people to spend time with, and how to steward our time, talents, and finances. Some choices are not that big of a deal, while others have more significant consequences. Some we don’t think too much about, while we agonize over others for days or weeks at times. The effects of choices can be far-reaching.

God offers us eternal life and desires that we would choose to accept His gift and live under His rule. The Scriptures declare that living in His Kingdom is designed for human flourishing, so why settle for second best? God won’t force us to live in committed relationship with Him, but He will allow us to choose to accept or reject His offer.

Read Joshua 24.

Joshua reminded the Israelites of the great things God had done for them. They had to make a choice once again – to worship the gods of the Amorites or to worship and serve Jehovah, the one and only true God. Joshua challenged them, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (24:15)

Is God pro-choice? Yes. Is God pro-life? Yes. Jesus said He came to bring life (John 10:10). He has given us freedom to choose life to the max on earth now and eternal life in heaven after. Our other choice is eternal separation from Him. Serve globally. Choose to know Christ, love Christ, serve Christ, and build His Kingdom of life.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2014 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – February 17

I remember a conversation I had with an atheist named Bill at M.I.T., who said the primary reason he did not think it was plausible to believe in any sort of god, especially the One True God I espoused and represented, was because of the problem of evil.

His basic argument was there could not be a God in existence due to the overwhelming amount of evil in human history, past and present. But anyone who says there’s evil in the world has to wrestle, I said, with where the ability to make moral judgments comes from.

If you argue and believe we live in a world with no God, there cannot be a, “way things should be.” If everything that we experience and that actually exists is merely the result of meaningless chance, chaos, and evolution, then it stands there can be no good or evil, right or wrong…only the reality of life, hurt, discomfort, disappointment, struggle, and ultimately, death. Life would be an endless tease of real but temporary happiness, breath, and our vaporous lives end.

If you pause to think about, the great irony of mankind’s existence is not that there is evil, but based on the creativity and innovation of our species, that there are actually incredible acts of goodness that take place the world over every day. Why do we not see more horrible, senseless violence, and joyless life? Why doesn’t society collapse into violent mayhem, out-of-control competition for power, and constant upheaval, with men and women turning into predatory animals like the vampires, werewolves, and the walking dead in popular culture today?

Why don’t people scratch and claw for every advantage and destroy their families and neighbors? Why do some sacrifice and live nobly? If evil is so prevalent, why don’t people who are tormented (or are described by some in the media as victimized), just choose death instead of a very miserable life? Why is there incredible charity, generosity, kindness, and goodness?

Read Luke 6:27-38.

The truth is that death, pain, and evil  are real, and should compel every one of us to believe that something is really wrong with the world and everyone one of us in it. In the depth of our souls we know something wars within. It gnaws at our sense of identity, security, destiny, and calling. But something also rebels against the evil in all of us. Professing atheists like Bill have to understand that they cannot have such a moral view of the “way things should be,” unless they are willing to concede that there is a God. Otherwise, what is there to define evil against?

I remember one of the guys who challenged me to consider Christ as a college student. He quoted John 7:17 and told me that,  “If I don’t believe in the good Christian college student standing in front of me (meaning him), how would I ever believe in a good God he can’t see?”

That is one argument (and/or reason) for Christians to live Christ-honoring lives. It gives atheists in particular, and skeptics and seekers, a healthy doubt about their beliefs and worldview.  Consider how your acts of love, acceptance, forgiveness, goodness, and self-sacrifice can be part of your “witnessing” efforts on campus as you share the good news about God.

Walk wisely. Are you living in such a way that the atheists of your area of influence might begin to “doubt their disbelief?” Like my mom said, don’t just be good. Be good for something.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2014 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – February 10

David Kinnaman co-authored UNchristian with Gabe Lyons in 2007, which presented groundbreaking research from the Barna Group on what a new generation of young people outside the church ages 16-29 really thinks about Christianity. Kinnaman then wrote You Lost Me in 2011, which presented further research on why young Christians are leaving Church…and rethinking faith. I recommend both books to parents, clergy, teachers, coaches and anyone interested in connecting with the next generation.

I read about a trend that high school and college students are in some cases wiser than their parents. In some youth groups, many kids go to church without their parents. They decided not to wait for their parents to model faith filled lives, so they spend their Sunday mornings engaging God through Scripture and liturgy while their parents sleep in, relax, and read the morning paper.

These young people are determined to live life well and find real answers to their questions and concerns. They hunger for the strength and love of God to face issues of complexity and discover solutions, even as they enjoy the friendship and prayer support of other Christians in school.

One college student told me he used to go to church with his mom but the pastor had a low view of Scripture and rarely preached the teachings of Jesus that required anything of those in the seats. Then a friend invited him to a church that presented the teachings of Scripture in a way that honored a holy God, called them to be ardent followers and practitioners of “the faith handed down,” and to make a difference in their community. The young man and his mom go Sunday mornings, some Sunday nights, and joined a small group. He said, “I am learning so much of what Jesus actually taught, how His Spirit empowers us, and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. I use what I learn in church in just about every part of my life, and every decision I make. Staying away from drugs, drinking, video games without stop, not cheating on tests, how to love my roommates and forgive them. Wow. It’s pretty cool to be in church.”

Social commentators, news anchors, and cultural elites across the country are dumfounded at times about this generation, wondering what needs to be done to “fix” today’s youth culture. Many millennials already know the answer and their spiritual pursuits of Jesus and “real” Christianity are resulting in love, hope, acceptance, forgiveness, meaning, and fruitfulness.

Read 2 Timothy 2:15-26.

Think of friends you have in college. Perhaps many of them were raised in a home that practiced holy habits like reading Scripture, prayer, going to church, healthy stewardship, and sharing the good news about Jesus. But many of your friends may not have such a heritage. Do not be timid about offering them the help and advantages you have found in your faith in God. Invite them to come to Chi Alpha activities on your campus, or your small group Bible study, or church on Sunday. Offer to introduce them to other men and women of your faith-filled community who are secure enough to withstand the “pull to party to forget” mentality so prevalent on campus. Suggest they check out some of the stuff you and your friends do “party to remember” where the peer pressure isn’t as dangerous or destructive.

Live communally. Like a thermostat, go ahead and make a positive difference by setting the pace for healthy life on your campus. Attending church and Chi Alpha is as wise as it is smart.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2014 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – February 3

The movie “Catch Me If You Can,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is based on the life of Frank Abagnale, one of the greatest con men ever. The movie shows several of the schemes he pulled off, and how an FBI agent (played by Tom Hanks) ultimately caught and brought him to justice.

As a young man, Frank passed himself off as an airline pilot, doctor, and lawyer. He swindled banks out of millions of dollars with clever forgeries. He was young, good looking, charming, courageous, and risk-averse, and he tried many ways to get rich and avoid the law.

He fooled a lot of people before he was caught, and many were hurt by his actions. As the movie portrays, after serving time in prison, the FBI asked Frank to put his unique skill set and knowledge to work for good. He agreed and accepted an opportunity to help law enforcement leaders and financial institutions detect phony bills and forgeries.

Read Isaiah 14:12-15.

Scripture describes another imposter with a record of deception and who goes by several names: Satan, Lucifer, the devil, and the evil one, for starters. The apostle Paul says Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Jesus said in John 8:44 that “the devil was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Scripture presents a narrative that Satan (a created being) was deluded about his own importance from the beginning. In Isaiah 14, we learn of his aspirations: “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God…I will make myself like the Most High” (v 13-14). God judged Satan’s tricks, lies, and actions and he was cast down from heaven (v 12).

This fallen creature has worked hard to imprison many people and systems under his deceptive influence. Those that refuse to hear about the Most High God and His wonderful character are blinded in part due to the devil’s efforts (2 Corinthians 4:4). But Satan is not content with having just part of the human race under his lordship. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy everything God has made and that includes every human being. He plots and tempts Christians to live lives that are impossible to tell apart from unbelievers. He works to shake the faith of followers of Christ in their Lord and Savior. He attacks believers and entices them to sin.

Just like he did with Adam and Eve, Satan rolls out his all-time famous lie (and tired con) that Almighty God cannot be trusted. The enemy of your soul purposes to create doubt in your mind about who God is and suggest His character is not trustworthy. Thankfully, Jesus defeated Satan at the cross and can help you withstand his deceptions (see Ephesians 6:10-18).

Scripture teaches this con artist will not always have the opportunity he now has. He will not elude God’s justice much longer, but one day will be apprehended by God and cast into final judgment (Revelation 20:2,7, 10). Think theologically. Learn and be aware of the devil’s schemes. Do not make the mistake of pretending the real evil one is not around. Fear not. Jesus said in John 8:12 that He came to bring light, and in John 10:10 He came to bring life. Use the clarity of Scripture to reveal the truth of God’s character in contrast to the illusion of the devil’s.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2014 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized