July 24, 2006
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend,

This weekly column has been going out for over 15 years. It started as a facsimile-distributed piece; back then, it was the Fax of Encouragement. In 1990, faxes were "in." It was an all-night mechanical nightmare to trigger that baby to "send" automatically, to hundreds - then, thousands - of recipients.

Less than 10 years ago, we added an "optional" line of connection. Just after Al Gore invented the internet, we allowed the Fax of Encouragement to be distributed electronically (not that it was an e-mail of encouragement; it was still a "fax," but sent without paper, and without that shrill shrieking phone noise!).

Two years ago, we retired our fax machine for good. It's still in the office space, but it's more museum relic than mission-critical hardware. It works (I think), but we don't work it.

Some people on my "list" have been receiving - and, reading - for all of those years. Do the math: (16 years x 52 weeks = zillions of words, buried in over 800 pages). Whoa...

I exchanged e-mails with one of my longest-term readers last week. He made an interesting observation: every week, I'm talking about something entirely different (like, "Where do you come up with all those things you write about?")... but, by the end of the page, I'm always talking about "the same old thing." ("I read it to see how in the world you're going to get around to what you're really saying!"). He has figured me out...

What's the point ... in Point of View? Now that we distribute this puppy electronically, we've got some amazing "Big Brother" capabilities. My web/tech associate (nameless, unless subpoenaed) can now tell me how many recipients open the Point of View within the first eight hours after we "click to send"... and, he can tell me how long they have it open... and - if I so desired - he could tell me, by web address, who the readers and dumpers are! Why go through the whole exercise? Why spend the time making sure this piece is written, and poised to pursue you? I'm in Africa as we prepare to send this your way: why not take the week off, and give it a rest?

Point of View? That's a clever way of describing what is most commonly called "world view." It refers to the frame of reference from which you view everything - that's, everything - in life. Everyone has one, but... not all world views align with God's. Simply put, there are two world views; one has multiple variations, but they boil down to two. There is a worldly viewpoint, and a biblical viewpoint. Mutually exclusive. Listen to Paul's discussion of world view: "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).

The point? Just this: George Barna's research work has exposed the fact that, among born again, church- attending American Christians, just 9% align with a biblical world view. Nine out of ten people sitting around you on Sunday look at their world, and their life, using a corrupted lens. If you saw the world the way God sees the world, how would your outlook change?

Why do I write? Why should you read? What's in play here? Just this: I want to challenge you to examine - constantly! - your world view. Does it lineup with God's, which we can know, from Scripture? If not, what do you plan to do about it?

Bob Shank

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