The Value of the Contrary Voice

9 09 2020

I don’t like it when people disagree with me, and I don’t like hearing things that don’t align with my perspective on the world.

I was on twitter this morning, and came across a pastor that was posting things that I didn’t agree with.  Do you know my first thought?  “I should un-follow this guy.  I don’t need this kind of stuff on my Twitter feed.”

Why did I want to mute this guys voice?  Because he was saying things that I didn’t like and felt were misguided.  He didn’t see the world like I see the world.  His perspective didn’t align with my perspective. This always seems to make me uncomfortable.  It makes us all uncomfortable.

You see, we all feel as if our view of the world is the right view.  I have reasons for why I hold to the perspectives I have… and you have reasons why you hold the perspectives that you have.  Here’s the thing.  Our perspectives are probably not exactly the same.  

On any given issue, from my vantage point, my ideas are rational, measured, and well considered.  If I didn’t think I was right, I wouldn’t hold to that perspective.  But here’s the problem.  We all are thinking the exact same thing. 

So the big question is this. Do we have the grace and the humility to hold our personal perspectives with an open hand, considering that, just possibly, another voice might actually help me establish a more “Truth-Driven” perspective?

Years ago I was talking with a fellow pastor who remarked that he refused to listen to any messages from certain Pastors that held to a specific theological ideology because he disagreed with it. Just a few weeks ago I overheard a conversation about a person who de-friended a family member because of their constant posting of political views that they didn’t espouse to. Even I had to stop myself from “unfollowing” a Pastor friend on twitter because of his constant posts that are contrary to my views on the world

This should bother us.  How can we be so dogmatic about our positions, so critical of the contrary voice, if we can’t even listen for a moment to the voice on the other side?  Would a warning such as Paul’s in 2 Timothy 4:3, give us any kind of challenge in this regard? 

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”


If I only watch FoxNews, because their perspective aligns with mine, but I refuse to watch CNN because they are “Fake News”, am I any different than those who only will listen to “what their itching ears want to hear”?

Or if I only watch CNN or MSNBC, because I align with their perspective, and refuse to watch FoxNews because it is a “Right Wing Propaganda machine”, how am I not like these that Paul warns us about?

I am not suggesting that we compromise our beliefs, nor am I suggesting that we allow biblical truth to be eroded or shaped by un-biblical perspectives, but could it be that we’ve allowed ourselves to become like the Pharisees, who became so theologically and ideologically hardened that when the Truth showed up to confront their misguided perspective of God and the Law, that they did everything in their power to “unfollow”, “mute” and even “de-platform” his voice?

As a follower of Jesus, I must also be a follower of the Truth.  Not my perspective on the Truth, not what aligns with political or societal norms, not what is traditional, not what is comfortable, and not what is popular.  To do this, I must be willing to listen to the contrary voice.  

I have a little saying that I often use with my staff.  “You will know if an idea is “Golden” if it can stand up to the heat of scrutiny.”  Just as Gold is refined through fire, so ideas and perspectives are refined through honest, and thorough evaluation.  If your idea can’t stand up to the contrary voice without breaking down into an emotional or irrational response, then your idea, posture or perspective might not be as “Golden” as you think.

I’m working hard to be a guy who doesn’t just “mute” the contrary voice, but to let other perspectives challenge, reveal, and inform my own.  I’ll be honest, this is a struggle, but I am discovering that it is important.  If I want to be a follower of the TRUTH then I can’t just assume I have it.  I have to let my perspectives be tested and proven (Romans 12:2, Philippians 2:12) through the challenge of the Contrary Voice.

It’s not easy, but we need to learn not to be fearful of opinions that are different than ours and allow our perspectives to be challenged by the perspectives of others, because as uncomfortable as it might be… who knows… that contrary voice might be the voice of Jesus.

How To Make Yourself Miserable

10 01 2017

If you are tired of enjoying life, having peace, and being happy, then this blog is for you. In the next few minutes, I’m going to give you the secrets to getting out of the sunshine, and under that perpetual rain cloud. You too, can find true misery in life if you follow these five simple steps!

1. Start Comparing Yourself To Others – Nothing will get you feeling like a “Loser” faster than comparing yourself to others. Dwelling on what everyone else has and does will help you feel as if your life stinks. One of the easiest ways to do this is to spend way more time on Social Media. Through things like Facebook and Instagram, you can see people’s posts celebrating thier perfect home, perfect marriage, and perfect children so that you can realize just how “not perfect” your life is. Who cares if those posts are completely disconnected from the actual reality of that persons life? The more you think and believe that they have a perfect life and you don’t, the more unhappy and miserable you will feel.

2. Stop Being Thankful For Little Things – Grattitude is the enemy of the miserable soul, and so in order to spiral into self-pity and dispair you will need to resist being thankful at all costs. You have got to reject the reality that 99% of the world’s population would give anything to live your life, with it’s abundance and ease. No matter how many blessings exist around you, you have to close your eyes to them or you’ll never find the misery you so desire.

3. Make Everything About Yourself – If you can master the art of making “You” the center of everything, then you can push away virtually every healthy relationship that only tempt you to smile, laugh, relax, and enjoy life. At every opportunity, talk about yourself, your struggles, your misery, and dwell on the thought that everything should be about you and your own personal happiness. Don’t let yourself get distracted by other people’s problems or you might begin to think that their struggles matter as much as yours. Stay selfish. It’s all about you.

4. Don’t Let Anything Be Good Enough – Some might call this being an “Idealist”, others might call it “Perfectionism”, but it really is about not being content with anything. Your marriage is not good enough, your house is not clean enough, your coffee isn’t hot enough, your kids are not good enough, and most importantly, you are not good enough. This helps you embrace the reality that you are a victim, and that everyone should pity you, just like you pity yourself.

5. Give In To Fear – Finally, if you can let your fear run the show, you are well on your way to such a miserable existance that it really will be “the worst”. The fear of not getting everything you want can lead you to try to control even the most uncontrolable things, and the more you try to control, the more anxiety you will feel because you’ll soon discover that you can’t control everything. The great thing about this, is that it cements the thinking that everything is all about you, and when things don’t turn out the way you want, you’ll feel like a failure. It’s a win/win for the tortured soul.

So be discouraged. Be self oriented. Don’t be thankful. Believe the worst. You can do it. Misery is just a few key steps away.

I Want Easy

15 06 2016

Remember the Ab Contour?  You know… the magical device that would electrically stimulate your abs into “Six Pack” condition?  Yep.  I bought one.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I know I’m not alone.  From the many, many knock-off devices that came afterward, I’m guessing that it became absa big-time money maker.  Because of me, someone, somewhere is sitting on luxurious beach in the Caribbean, sipping pina-coladas, and enjoying the sun, all the while thinking… “I actually got people to spend money on that thing.”

How did I get suckered in?  It was the promise of “easy” that got me.   All I would have to do is strap this thing around my abs, and lay back, watch TV, and have this ‘SuperBelt’ do all the work.  It was such an attractive offer, I simply couldn’t refuse…

And it didn’t work.  (As anyone who has seen my abs can attest).

Truth is, we are constantly being bombarded by things that are promising “Bigger, Better, Easier”… and not everything is actually what it claims.  Rarely ever does easier equate to better.

As Parents, there are about a thousand products out there that claim to make parenting a snap… a piece of cake… easy.  Books, videos, aids, blogs…  millions are being made on the promise of easy parenting… and it’s a trap.  A total lie.  Parenting isn’t easy… and if it is… you’re probably doing it wrong.

Don’t get sucked in by some frilly blog, by some stay at home mom, who claims to have figured it all out.  Despite her professional profile picture and the cute, smiling pictures of her kids, she probably isn’t giving you the whole truth.  She probably isn’t telling you about the times she loses control, screams in anger, gives in to whining, threatens to give up, hides from her kids in the bathroom, cries in her closet, has two days of dishes in the sink, and vents all over her friends at the coffeeshop while her kids run laps around the coffeeshop (I’m watching this happen as I write…ugh).  She might get lots of clicks from that post “3 Steps to Happy Kids”, but she is probably preying on desperate parents, wanting an easy answer to their parenting problems.

Look.  If you are a parent, I hate to break it to you.  Parenting is not easy.  It’s not going to be easy and it shouldn’t be easy.  Parenting requires sacrifice, selflessness, discipline, patience, and about 1,000 other things… all of which are hard.  Really hard.

Parenting should constantly thrust you into the arms of God, pressing you to cry out for His help in it all.  In fact, I personally believe this is why God invites us to be parents ourselves.  It’s on this journey that we discover the truth about ourselves, catch a glimpse into the heart of God, and get to experience what real love looks like.  It might be hard, but that’s the very reason it is so rewarding!  Press into it!


CHURCH NOTE:   If you’re a part of our Church


Series Starts July 3!

(Harvest Springs), we are going to be launching an entire series about the traps that parents often get caught up by on our journey.  This series, “The Parent Trap” will start Sunday, July 3rd and run through the month of July.  My prayer is that this series will give you some healthy perspective, some valuable encouragement, and some Biblical guidance to navigate the many traps that are out there are on the Parenting Path.  You won’t want to miss it!




Well Done!

17 05 2015

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  Matthew 25:23

We have come to the end of the 10 Marks of a Disciple series of devotionals, and our hope has been that each one has inspired you to be a more fully devoted follower of Jesus.  This is not the end of the journey of discipleship, but rather, it is just beginning… the beginning of a life long pursuit of a deeper and more vibrant life with Christ.

And when we come to the end of our lives, we pray that this series has, in some way, helped prepare the way for you to step before God with boldness, knowing that you have done what He has asked…

  • that you have made Christ your master and example to follow…
  • that you have cultivated a vibrant and life-giving relationship with God…
  • that you have developed a faith-filled prayer life of communion and communication with God…
  • that you are supporting and being supported in Christ-centered community…
  • that you are building relationships with those who are lost, so that they may be found…
  • that you are growing a heart that radiates generosity…
  • that you are dedicating yourself to the posture and the attitude of a servant in the body and in the community…
  • that you are allowing yourself to think and engage globally…
  • that you are constantly pressing to grow and mature in your faith and knowledge of God…
  • and that you endeavor, with your life, to Disciple others, to help others live out these 10 marks as Disciples of Jesus.

May it be true of all of us!

Do You Love Me

16 05 2015

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.”  John 21:15

Jesus’s life was spent pouring into the disciples, not so that the twelve would just become followers of Christ themselves, but so that ultimately they would continue to expand the Kingdom of God and make other disciples.

After Jesus’ death, the disciples quickly found themselves back on the lake trying to catch fish rather than out doing the work and ministry the Jesus had taught them and called them to do. Not honoring their master’s request and ultimately no longer expressing the genuine love for Christ and He desired fo them and that He desires of us.

It was not enough for Jesus to have Peter say he loved Him … Jesus wanted Peter to do and continue on what Jesus’ mission was. Just and Jesus had loved Peter by spiritually feeding him, now He wanted Peter to go and do the same in the lives of others.  Just like Jesus said to Peter, I believe He is also saying to every one of us :  Do you love me? … then feed my sheep!

by Paul Hansen

Sharing the Gospel

15 05 2015

“Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.”  Acts 3:6

Can you imagine how you would feel if you had not eaten for days, yet your friend, who had enough food for 100 people wouldn’t share any with you?  Would you be able to say that your friend cared about you?  Would you think that your friend was really your friend?

In the passage above, Peter and John didn’t have money, yet they were still willing to share their lives with this man who was in great need.  They didn’t hoard it, or hold it back in fear of being rejected.  They shared freely from the Spiritual Wealth that God had heaped upon their lives.  They knew that what they had been given was of precious worth to this needy man, and they willingly chose to share it freely.

Yet, many believers are hesitant to share the Truth of the Gospel, and their own lives as well, with those who desperately need to have someone invest in them.  The world isn’t just needy for the Gospel,  it is starving for the investment of Godly Lives of men and women who care.  The world needs men and women who have the Truth, are living in the Truth, and then who are willing to share their lives, just as Peter and John.  We don’t need to have everything, but we do need to share what has been freely shared with us!

More Just Like You

14 05 2015

“Be Fruitful and Multiply…”  Genesis 1:28

When God finished with Adam and Eve, He look at them with the same pride that a new father looks at his newborn child.  He said, “Be Fruitful and multiply.”  In other words, “I want more just like you.”

The Great Commission is also a call to be fruitful and multiply, yet it is put in different terms.  “Go, therefore, and make disciples”(Matthew 28:19) is another way of saying that God wants more people just like you.  He desires men and women who are dedicated to being in relationship with Christ, and helping others experience the same.  God has desired this from the beginning, and his desire is the same even now.

Are you intent on being a man or woman who is purposefully fulfilling God’s desire for more, just like you?

Simple Mathmatics

13 05 2015

“And more than ever, believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women…”  Acts 5:14

In impact, discipleship is really quite simple.  While addition is good, multiplication creates rapid exponential growth.  The “addition” approach would be to think in terms of “I can make one disciple” and thus add one more; The “multiplication” approach views discipleship as “I make disciples, then those I disciple make disciples, and those they disciple make disciples” thus creating an exponential increase.

Think of it like this :  If I disciple 3 people that give us 4 disciples (1+3); or if there are 3 of us each discipling 3 people then we are at 9 disciples (3×3).  While that difference may not seem all that significant, when you start creating that number in the hundreds or even thousands, then we see an explosive growth rate… we see what the early church experienced and recorded in the book of Acts when it says things like “3000 were added that day” …  “the Lord added to their number daily those being saved”… “believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women”.

What if today, in our generation, we took discipleship seriously.  What if we actually all personally understood the great commission to “make disciples” as something we all must do … I believe then we could say, just like the early church said, “And more than ever… people were growing as followers of Christ.

by Paul Hansen

Faithful Men

12 05 2015

“And the things you have heard from me, in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  2 Timothy 2:2

When God calls a Disciple to disciple another person, he doesn’t just say to disciple anyone, but rather we are to disciple those who will be faithful with what is being entrusted to them.  A disciple understands that to invest their lives in someone who will not be “faithful” is to squander the valuable possession that has been entrusted to them.  Even Jesus said that we must be careful not to “cast your pearls before swine.” (Matt. 7:6)

Think of it this way.  If the person who discipled Billy Graham had instead spent all of their time trying to get an uninterested man to commit to the life of a disciple, and Billy Graham failed to grow and mature as a result, what would have been the impact on the Kingdom?  If you and I spend all of our time chasing those who are “not faithful”, the ones who are faithful and earnest in their faith will suffer.  It’s not that every person isn’t important, but not every person chooses the path of faithfulness.

Follow Me

11 05 2015

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 11:1

When a Disciple makes a decision to enter into the realm of “Making Disciples”, what they say matters little compared to what they do and how they live.  It is the actions and the life of a disciple that will have the greatest impact on those whom they are investing in.  When Jesus invited His disciples to “Follow” Him, he was inviting them to follow His actions, not just to follow His teaching.

Paul exhorted the Corinthian church to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”  Paul understood that the model for discipleship isn’t Paul, or Peter, or any other man.  The model of a disciple is Jesus, and Paul made it his goal to replicate that model so closely that those whom he was discipling could see it and live it, just as he was.

A disciple must always remember that they will reproduce who they are.  This should cause us to strive with great intensity to be men and women who, like Paul, seek to live like Christ, that those who are watching us can follow our example.

Would you feel comfortable having others follow your spiritual example?