Tag Archives: jesus centered life

Idolatry & Scientology

I’m in the midst of finishing up a lesson on 1 Corinthians 10. A good portion of this chapter is dedicated to warning the Corinthians about the pitfalls of idolatry – something I’ve been studying quite a bit lately.

Two questions:

1) What is your definition of an idol?
2) What, if any, are some common idols prevalent in United States culture today?


Rex Butts has been discussing idols on his blog recently – check out those discussions here and here.


I presented a lesson a couple of weeks ago that deals with concepts helpful in understanding what idolatry looks like today. The sermon audio, PowerPoint presentation, and a brief summary are posted here: What does it mean to have a Christ-centered identity?


Speaking of idolatry, did you hear the latest news on The Church of Scientology?

If you aren’t familiar with Scientology, it’s a religion started by a man named L. Ron Hubbard.

Hubbard was quoted as saying things like this: 

“Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion.” (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 1978)

And guess what Hubbard did? He started his own religion, and made millions and millions of dollars! In fact, paying money to the higher-ups in Scientology is actually a requirement to be considered a Scientologists! Scientology is pay-to-play only.

And check this out:

“The only way you can control people is to lie to them. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them.” (Lecture: “Off the Time Track” (June 1952) as quoted in Journal of Scientology issue 18-G, reprinted in Technical Volumes of Dianetics & Scientology Vol. 1, p. 418)

Need I say more?

For more quotable quotes from Hubbard, go here.

On to this morning’s news from CNN’s SciTech Blog:

The collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia has banned the Church of Scientology from editing the site. The Register reports Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee, or ArbCom, voted 10 to 0 in favor of the ban, which takes effect immediately.

Wikipedia’s innovative free-encyclopedia draws upon the knowledge of millions of users to create and edit articles on every conceivable topic. Edits appear immediately and do not undergo any formal peer-review process.

Wikipedia officially prohibits use of the encyclopedia to advance personal agendas – such as advocacy or propaganda and philosophical, ideological or religious dispute – but the open format makes enforcing such policies difficult.

According to Wikipedia administrators speaking to The Register:

Multiple editors have been “openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities.”

To read the full story: Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology


Have you seen the Scientology video worshipping Tom Cruise on YouTube?

This video being on the net is not authorized by The Church of Scientology.

An anti-scientology group known as Anonymous continues to post it online so that the general public may be aware of what Scientology is all about (you may also be interested in Anonymous’ formal declaration of war).

Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Scientology mini dictionary (needed to decode Tom’s rhetoric):

*KSW (short for Keeping Scientology Working): A policy written by Hubbard in the 1960’s that requires all Scientologists to follow his words and his rules exactly.

*Orgs: Orgs is an abbreviation for ‘organizations’ and describes all churches of Scientology throughout the world.

*David Miscavige: He is the current leader of Scientology. He’s the equivalent of the Pope to the Catholics.

*Out-ethics: Any behavior that violates any of Hubbard’s rules of conduct.

*Put ethics on someone else: Making others conform to Hubbard’s rules of behavior.

*Criminon: Scientology front group that tries to recruit through the prisons.

* SP: Suppressive Person. Anyone that doesn’t like Scientology and/or criticizes Scientology.

*PTS/SP: Another Hubbard term to define behavior that goes against Scientology rules.

*LRH technology or ‘tech’: All the Scientology policies, rules, mandates, procedures.


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What does it mean to have a Christ-centered identity?

Who am I?

A small question with profound implications.

Did you know sociologists have discovered that how a person chooses to answer that question will define how they think and behave in almost every situation in their lives?

It’s a scientifically proven fact, and as a result, your answer to the question “Who am I?” is a very, very important one.

I personally believe that, for you and everyone else, the answer to the question “Who am I?” should be firmly rooted in who Jesus Christ was and is. If it’s not, then there’s a problem.

Today I walked the Lake Merced Church through a lesson on living a Jesus-centered life that I’ve been mulling over for a while, and would love for you to listen to it too.

Lesson based on Philippians 3.

Here are a couple of diagrams I made (included in the PowerPoint) to illustrate the difference between a self-centered life and a Jesus-centered life as I see it.

It’s important to point out that this all STARTS with someone choosing who they’re going to be at their core – what their identity is:



This first slide is a picture of a typical person’s life. You can substitute other things for the word ‘self’ – career, pleasure, lust, consuming want of a romantic relationship, fame, money, etc., but all of those ultimately lead back to the same thing – self centeredness.

Some people may not be completely self-centered. Their life may be centered around something else – it may not even necessarily be a bad thing (like family or kids), but if Jesus isn’t involved then there’s a problem.

As you can see from the diagram, choosing (and ultimately your core-idenitity is your choice) to have a self-centered identity affects every aspect of a person’s life, from their worldview, to their priorities, to their way of life, and all of these things feed into one another.



The second slide is a picture of someone who’s chosen to center their life around Jesus – a picture of a disciple.

As you can see, with their identity rooted in Christ, every aspect is affected.

The apostle Paul is a great example of a guy whose life was depicted by slide #1 until he had his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road – after that happened, he experienced a total identity shift (what we call a conversion or being born again), and he moved to slide #2!

I go into this in more detail in the lesson. If that sounds interesting to you, give it a listen.

If you like listening to preaching and would like to hear more, visit the sermons page of this blog (yes, I know it’s badly in need of an update – I’ll do it when I do it!).

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