Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Just An Ordinary Chip? Look Again

Star of Bethlehem?
How do you like my Star of Bethlehem potato chip? Pretty cool, huh? Maybe I’ll post the pic on Twitter, and it’ll go viral. People will flock from all over the country—or maybe the world—to get a glimpse of the Star.

Not likely?

Last spring, thousands of people strolled through New Orleans’ Ursuline Academy chapel to view a shadow many claimed resembled Jesus.

A grilled cheese sandwich bearing the image of the Virgin Mary sold on eBay for $28,000 in 2004.

Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet I’ve seen this idol behavior, not only in the world but, steadily creeping into our churches and daily Christian lives.

It’s much easier to seek an object to boost us spiritually than to seek after the Spirit of God. After all, a potato chip, a shadow, and a grilled cheese are tangible. Seeking God takes an investment of time and soul—and an act of faith.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

The ironic thing is—God's not hard to see or feel. He’s all around us in the natural world. If we’d just turn off our TVs, iPods, smartphones, and all the other man-made distractions, we might hear Him speak to us. If we quit looking for the “golden calf” (Exodus 32:1-4) and focus on God's spirit instead, we would experience His supernatural presence.

It’s easy to make the assumption that only shallow believers would make pilgrimages to see religious “things.” But how many people go to church each Sunday or send their kids to youth group in an expectation of being entertained by “things?” After all, we can’t attract teens unless we do what the world does, right?

I listen to contemporary Christian music, and I enjoy most of it. But when contemporary Christian songs and concerts are indistinguishable from what’s on a secular radio station or stage, we have a problem. When rock bands are brought into the church to entertain, and we can’t distinguish their message from the world, we have a problem.

Lord, help us when the day comes that the world’s message spills into our Christian literature. And it’s trying. One of our conference leaders at The Cove last weekend shared a story of critiquing manuscripts at another Christian conference recently. She said the opening paragraph of the manuscript contained the F-bomb. Once she recovered from her shock, she asked the author to define his target audience. Children. Then she inquired about his occupation. He’s a middle school teacher. His reasoning was that children talk like this. This is the 21st century. Christian literature has to get with the times, right?


Lord help us all, if we don’t get back to doing His business the right way—His way.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

When there’s nothing distinguishable between the church and the world, Christianity is in real trouble. We have to offer more than and different from the world of silly idols masquerading as a potato chip with the Star of Bethlehem, or a grilled cheese with the image of the Virgin Mary, or church programs mired in secular junk. People are hurting. Children are hurting.

The world is what they need rescue from.

Idols offer temporary pleasure and satisfaction. The church is about the eternal. Christians are the church. Our lives should reflect hope, peace, spiritual wholeness, and salvation through Jesus Christ.

When the world looks at you, does it see a reflection in the mirror, or does it see Jesus looking back?

For a more in-depth discussion about the consequences of idols in the church, click here to visit my other blog, Count The Costs.

If you have a prayer need, I’d love to hear from you. Either leave a comment below or e-mail me confidential requests. Would you take a moment to check the prayer list at the top of the blog, as well as information on Sgt. Jesse McCart, an American soldier injured in Afghanistan last year, and then lift these folks up in prayer? Thanks.  

New request this week:
A childhood friend of mine, Beth, who was also part of my church family has just been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I'd appreciate prayers for her as she begins treatment.

Laura J

© Laura Hodges Poole


  1. laura i am shocked to hear about beth. is it beth phillips? i am so very sorry to hear this. it also scares me to think a friend my age has that type of cancer. please let her know she will be in my pryers

    1. It's not Beth Phillips. This Beth is a friend I went to church with in Gainesville. She is younger than us, though. Thanks for your prayers.

  2. "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires,...to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth..." 2 Timothy 4:3,4. The enemy knows his time is short. We need to stay with what we KNOW to be true--God's Word, and His standards. Good post, Laura.