Pastor Rick Warren: Look to the Needs of Others

Look to the Needs of Others
By Rick Warren

“Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 2:4 The Message).

The starting point for all happiness is the moment you shift the focus away from yourself. If all you think about is yourself, you’re going to be a pretty miserable person. If you truly want to be happy in life, you have to care about the needs of those around you.

Paul cites Timothy as an example of this in Philippians 2:20-21: “There is no one like Timothy for having a real interest in you; everyone else seems to be worrying about his own plans and not those of Jesus Christ” (TLB).
Most people don’t get up in the morning and spend energy thinking about how others are doing. Most people are only concerned with their own problems. And that’s why most people are unhappy with their lives!
If you want to be one of those rare, unselfish people, change your focus. You have to shift your focus away from yourself and toward other people. It’s not something that comes naturally; you have to learn to do it.
On many occasions, I’ve missed the needs of people around me that I love because I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t taking an interest in them. I hadn’t shifted the focus from me toward the others in the room. Because I wasn’t looking out for their needs, I missed chances to help. And that grieves me a lot.
Instead of grieving missed opportunities, be intentional about looking away from yourself and toward the needs of others, where you’ll find happiness in serving God through serving others.
PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick
Talk It Over

What distractions keep you from focusing on the needs of others?
How have you benefited from another person’s interest in helping you with your needs?
What needs have you missed in someone’s life because you were too busy or focused on your own problems? What can you do today to shift your focus toward helping that person?

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Op-Ed: Springfield response to capital bill corruption: A new coat of paint

Illinois drivers paid an extra $100 million in gas taxes this July, according to new state reporting. That’s because Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a doubling of the state’s gas tax to fund an infrastructure package. And the hike took effect July 1.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Illinois News Network.

Sen. Rand Paul: If socialists can’t find a crisis, they’ll create one

Most socialist governments rise up claiming to be the solution to a widespread economic disaster, such as peasants starving while corrupt leaders wage pointless wars. However, today’s socialists have to overcome the longest economic expansion in American history.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Fox News.

Editorial: The real Ukraine scandal is US cash for gas — It involves the Bidens and a growing list of Dems

Joe Biden hit back at allegations over his son, Hunter, saying there was nothing corrupt about the firing of that Ukrainian prosecutor. But that is a total dodge.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Fox News.

Op-Ed: Only in Illinois: Wife of indicted political boss will hold highest judicial post in the state

Illinois Supreme Court Justices chose Anne Burke as their chief on Sept. 10. One could almost hear the gears turning on the Chicago machine, a hobbled but still functioning apparatus now in the sights of federal investigators.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Illinois News Network.

How much would ‘Medicare-for-all’ REALLY cost the middle class? The answer is shocking

During the most recent round of Democratic presidential debates, nearly all the leading candidates reiterated their commitment to transition the U.S. health insurance industry to a “Medicare-for-All,” government-run model. Some promised to do it more quickly than others, but in the end, the result would be the same: the federal government would control health care within a decade.

Here’s a link to the post at Fox News.

On socialism, Democrats’ only debate is how quickly they want to get there

Round two of the debates is the books and Democrats are firmly committed to doubling or tripling the size of government. From health care to education and beyond, Democrats’ plans mean that, for them, socialism is a matter of when, not if.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Fox News.

Max Lucado: El Paso, Dayton and more – How are we to respond to this dark season of bloodshed?

More bad news. Killings in El Paso. Shootings in Ohio. All this on the heels of a violent weekend last week. All of this violence adding up to too many mass shootings in just 216 days. Is our society coming unraveled? How are we to respond to this dark season of bloodshed?

Here’s a link to the editorial at Fox News.

‘The red line of the unthinkable …’

Image by Miki Yoshihito / Used with permission under Creative Commons licensing

“The red line of the unthinkable has been moved again.”

Those 10 poignant words by a psychologist discussing the massacre of 26 people – 20 of them six and seven-year-old children – at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, sums up the world that we live in nowadays.

This event coupled with a never-ending 24-hour news loop on cable television prompts the same reaction that we have become accustomed to when there is yet another mass killing – revulsion, anger, fear, dread and the inevitable finger-pointing about why.

The bodies of the victims had not been identified on Friday before suggestions on how to prevent another mass shooting started. Talking heads on television, people on message boards and social media and of course politicians always looking to further their cause and re-election all had a variety of answers on how to make life in the 21st Century safe.

And of course passing tougher and more stringent gun control measures is as always at the top of the list. Others want to have an armed security guard at every school and every business in America while some believe that arming school officials, teachers and employees is the answer. Others say add prayer back to our schools and into our daily life and these horrific mass killings will stop.

While all these issues merit discussion I believe attempting to find an answer to what is happening in our country lies much deeper.

Let me explain.

Several years ago I wrote a series of columns about what I called the subtle erosion of America. Certainly, this point of view will be looked at by some as simplistic because I’m from a generation that grew up before Columbine, West Paducah, Pearl and now Newtown. The list of places where a mass shooting can take place has now grown to include any business, any church, any mall, any movie theater and any town, big or small. Close your eyes, point your finger to a location on a map … and that could be the next location for mass murder.

The way this erosion works is a simple two-step process. You see, what once shocked us and made us gasp and recoil in horror now barely merits a raised eyebrow. What once was considered perverse and bizarre is now considered the norm and oftentimes even celebrated. And what once was looked at as outlandish, unheard of and over-the-top is now considered to merely be routine. And this has happened because a silent majority has failed to speak up and voice their opinion and take action when necessary.

The second step in this erosion takes place when every person that does have the courage to offer a differing view is quickly shouted down and labeled as judgmental, moralistic and bigoted … and, of course let’s not forget the pet word of those leading this erosion – intolerant. Not wanting to meet the wrath of this group, who by the way, might be the most intolerant and judgmental crowd that exists, most people do as they’re told and shut up.

And that’s allowed the erosion to take place, one small step at a time. The direct result of this erosion is that we are now a country where God has been booted from the courthouse, the schoolhouse and virtually every other aspect of life. After all, we’ve been told, we must be tolerant and not offend anybody.

Now, here we are in 2012 looking for reasons why a 20-year-old man who has no conscious or value of life could open fire at close range on a group of innocent babies. While all the arguments being tossed out might be symptoms of what is taking place the disease that is causing young men to kill at will I believe, is a cultural issue.

Consider this.

During this erosion we have allowed a culture where a generation of young people have embraced songs that talk about killing, rape and shooting police officers and its celebrated as freedom of expression.

We have allowed a culture of violent video games where people are massacred and slaughtered and these are then gobbled up by parents for their childrens’ entertainment and as a babysitter. Again, freedom of expression.

We have allowed a culture where children think reality television is real, where teen pregnancy is glamorized, where a ‘gangsta’ lifestyle is a goal for some and where 90-plus percent of what is on television is trash and not fit for any eyes, let alone the eyes of troubled young people.

We live in a culture where small children are routinely given anti-depressants and psychotropic drugs even though the effects of those drugs are many times violent, irrational and unpredictable behavior. We live in a culture where mental illness is still talked about in hushed tones and in many instances completely overlooked. Out of sight … out of mind, right? Well, out of sight that is until a mentally ill person opens fire in a first grade classroom, a church or a busy retail shopping center. Again … any town, any place.

In short, what shattered the tranquil setting of the small New England town of Newtown is a cultural issue caused by the erosion of America and no amount of gun control legislation or armed security guards can protect any of us from a deranged shooter hell-bent on killing. Shootings in malls, movie theaters, crowded street corners and even churches is proof of that. Ironically, the morning after the shooting I read a story in the Chicago Tribune with the headline: 10 people including four teens shot overnight on South Side.’ And Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the nation.

As a footnote, let me add that I think the prayer in school issue certainly adds irony to what has taken place in Newtown. In my life I have watched as God was literally booted out of the schoolhouse by a small minority of people – part of the erosion of America group. And again this erosion has taken place because the majority stood back and allowed it to happen. And perhaps the Christian community is the most at fault because they have sat on their collective hands and ‘shut up’ as they were told.

But, isn’t it ironic that nearly every comment and every plea from everybody involved in the Newtown massacre has asked that the victims of this horrific and senseless act be remembered in prayers. I also found it interesting that when the crazed gunman was in the building that teachers and children turned to God and prayer to protect them and in the days since the killings there have been countless prayer vigils. There used to be a saying that stated ‘there are no atheists in foxholes.’ I guess the 21st Century version of that is that ‘there are no atheists in schools and its OK to pray in the classroom when a deranged gunman is hunting for somebody to shoot.’

Gun control, armed guards, armed school administrators, prayer in schools and beefed up security are all items that merit attention but only after the cultural issue — the root of this problem — is addressed. Because, if this is life in the 21st Century there is no place of safety — let me emphasize that again– there is NO PLACE OF SAFETY — that exists and God help us all.

If we continue on the path we are on, as horrific as it is to imagine, that ‘red line of the unthinkable’ will move again one day – because the erosion will continue.

Clarence Page: Alas, poor Mad magazine, pulled under by its own humor wave

What? Mad magazine will disappear from newsstands after August? Well, as Dorothy Parker is said to have said after hearing of President Calvin Coolidge’s death, “How can they tell?”

Here’s a link to the column at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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