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”all I want are the facts”

On several occasions, I have talked about how quickly information is distributed today. I know we’ll often see or hear this general theme from others through articles, social media, or a blog such as this one. What that tells me is that is something that is more common than I might have thought, and in some cases more serious than anyone might suspect.

When I make this comment the information I am thinking specifically about is how factual is the information. Growing up there was a TV show starring Jack Webb as ‘Sgt Joe Friday’, a character who typically used the phrase “All we want are the facts, ma’am” (and sometimes “All we know are the facts ma’am”) when questioning women in the course of police investigations. I find myself today thinking the same thing Sgt Friday was saying, ”all I want are the facts”. Facts mean everything because without them what is said or written is nothing more than words. Maybe an opinion but certainly not truth.

We may not like what we are hearing, but is it factual. I read something the other day. It was information that had not met the understanding I had accepted. In reading and digesting, it occurred to me that both cannot be right. Either one is false or there is truth in both. That then leads to the question of what the real truth is on the subject. As is commonly said today that it “doesn’t fit the narrative“. A narrative does not and in some occasions will not be factual. Thus, the narrative will cause a distraction which can lead to actions and conclusions that should be avoided. I am someone who wants the facts whether I like them or not really is not important to me. Why? Because it is truth that matters. It matters to me and hope it matters to you.

You are probably thinking this is a piece on the political climate today. It could be, but it is not. The reason for that is in every part of life this can occur. In families, organizations, businesses, and unfortunately in churches. When it occurs in one of the other areas of life, we are often bothered but not amazed. See, we kind of expect this type of thing in life. However, when it happens in a church we should be both bothered, amazed, and correcting the problem.

So what do we do? Proverbs 4:25 says to-Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Our focus is to be on the Lord and the way we do that is to be in His Word and following the leadership of His Holy Spirit. I read recently that we are becoming too shallow. This is true in every area of life but it is also happening or should I say has been happening in churches. We are not, as Christians, investing time and energy to determine if what is being said or written is true. I believe, as Christians, we are not spending the time and investing in the resources we have from God to accomplish what He desires for us. This is especially true in churches today.

I see it and I hear it as I work and talk with pastors and church leaders. Time and effort must be exercised in our churches to get the right information to people in the church. If we are left to our own devices, we will be distracted and accept what will probably be that false narrative. You might say, there he goes again, is this getting political? I assure you it is not but the idea fits and can effectively be used to explain our current state of affairs in churches.

As we are now in a new year, there is also a new administration (bear with me). Things are possibly going to happen that will affect churches just like yours. The challenge before you will be to look for the facts, not just the headline. This may be the most important time for your church and what you do now will affect the future.

Only God knows how much time is left on the clock (you might remember that recent blog), and He is also the one who knows what you should do. He also knows what you may want to do so be careful to follow Him and not your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us to-

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

If I knew what your church or their church would be facing in the days ahead, I would tell you but I don't. God knows and He has the answers. Paul closes Ephesians 3 in verses 20-21 with these words-

20 Now to Him who is able to do so much more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,

21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

It is not a matter of if, but rather when will be that thing you hear, read, or see happening in your church that begs the question, is this true? Remember, that it is incumbent on you to seek the truth. Ask the Lord for clarity, do the research, and ask questions. Don't just take the headline and run with it. Do the hard work to understand and know the truth. The distraction will be tempting but don't buy the lie.

A thought to ponder,

Elbert Nasworthy

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