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What's In Your Wallet?

I love a good ad. Whether it is in print, on television or the radio, a good ad is and can be priceless. We are surrounded by them and to be honest, we have, for that very reason, grown immune to them. Let's be honest about it, most of us, tune them out. If we read a magazine, we gloss over them. If we are watching TV, we use that time to check our phones - grab a snack - go potty. If we are driving, do we really take our eyes off the road to stare at the billboards? If we are the passenger, do we gaze lovingly and with awe and wonder at them? Even when we are listening to the radio, is our mind focused on the message the ads are delivering? Can you list the radio ads you have heard? The same is true for newspapers and social media.

Those who are producing the ads know this as well. The key to successful advertising lies in repetition and what I call "ah hah." Hearing something, seeing something or reading something over and over and over coupled with an "ah hah" leads to remembering. It will stick with you. You will associate what you learned with it. In the case of advertising, it can be funny, good and even bad, but if those two things come together, it will accomplish its mission; its purpose. Think about it:

  • Stong enough for a man but made for a woman

  • 15 minutes can save you 15 percent or more on car insurance

  • America runs on {this place}

  • Like a good neighbor, {who} is there

  • Taste the rainbow

  • Live in your world. Play in ours

  • Eat fresh

  • Can you hear me now?

  • You're in good hands

  • It keeps going and going and going

  • Just Do It

  • Have a {this} and a smile

  • What's in Your Wallet?

Could you name them all?

  • Secret

  • Geico

  • Dunkin (Dunkin Donuts)

  • State Farm

  • Skittles

  • Playstation

  • Subway

  • Verizon

  • Allstate

  • Energizer

  • Nike

  • Coke

  • Capital One

There is always the jingle; the song used; the actors; the narrative. Images used or created even logos that come to be identified with products or services get embedded in your subconscious. All of those "things" believe it or not are stored in the computer we have sitting inside our skull. We process it. It is data being analyzed, compartmentalized, stored and eventually recalled both intentionally and unintentionally when triggered by other "data" points. (Ever catch yourself randomly humming a jingle or quoting the slogan and wonder why? Your brain recalled a subconscious "trigger.")

Remember that during Lent, one of the things we are focused on is being intentional with God. We are removing barriers that exist between us and Him and sometimes those barriers may not be known consciously to us. As we are cultivating our relationship and removing barriers. We are looking inward. Let me rephrase a few things:

  • Stong enough for a man but made for a woman:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" Galatians 3:28.

  • 15 minutes can save you 15 percent or more on car insurance:

"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?" Luke 14:28

  • America runs on {this place}:

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD." Psalms 33:12a

  • Like a good neighbor, {who} is there:

For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" Hebrews 13:5b

  • Taste the rainbow:

"As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the

appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the

likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a

voice speaking." Ezekiel 1:28

  • Live in your world. Play in ours

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your

mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and

acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2

  • Eat fresh

"Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go

hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35

  • Can you hear me now?

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27

  • You're in good hands

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so

that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in his Son Jesus

Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." 1 John 5:20

  • It keeps going and going and going

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may

receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

  • Just Do It

"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring."

Proverbs 27:1

  • Have a {this} and a smile

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor

things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any

other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in

Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

  • What's in Your Wallet?

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

I do not believe one of the slogans listed above are rooted in scripture by design. No. Their purpose was to be pithy and catchy. They were designed to capture your attention and stick with you and become 'TOMA' (top of mind awareness.) We have become so used to them we do not give them a second, third or even fourth thought yet we have no problem incorporating them into conversations, writings, memes and more.

I am quite guilty of indulging in watching tv and movies. I get quite irritated when the internet goes out and I can't at least have the tv on for background noise. Don't get me wrong, I love to read. I will read novels and I don't mind admitting I love to read just about anything as long as it is written well. I truly believe our minds can hold an absorbent about of information and we need to feed it a steady stream of information. This information needs to be varied.

While I read many books and watch many shows and listen to many things, I make sure I live in one. I intentionally ensure I seek out truth. I may hear what others claim to be truth even from experts but I seek it for myself. I do not blindly believe or accept all I see, hear or read. One thing I have learned, through years of teaching, the unconscious programming of this world is deep in many. In seeking God and cultivating the gifts He gave me, I learned one part of going out to make disciples of men sometimes meant meeting people where they are and leading them where they need to be. In order to do that, I needed to understand where they were. Sometimes, they were in their own mind. I needed to learn to speak the language of the world. I needed to understand it and how it could relate to God's word. How does it apply?

In my journey I quickly learned I could not do this without first and foremost having a close relationship with Him. Afterall, I can do nothing without Him. It is He who I can glean discernment, wisdom, revelation, words and more. He guides my footsteps and most definitely for me, my thoughts and words. What am I supposed to get out of this? What am I supposed to learn? Really? THIS is the lesson here? When I quit trying to be the smart one, the know-it-all and surrendered to His will, I was amazed by what was enlightened in me. I then learned I needed to learn the Bible. I think I now have an extensive collection of translations of every type of Bibles there are. I am not talking digital, I am talking physical Bibles. When I am truly studying something, I pull them all out and lay them out all over the place and I dive in. Sure, I use the computer but there is something you get when you are surrounded by over 20 physical Bibles lying almost emersed physically in the pages. Think of it as like becoming one with the books; physically walking in the pages; through history; exploring; talking out loud. It is like being in a room where it all comes alive. If you have never done it, you should, at least once and feel it for yourself. I also learned I needed to pray. I am talking about the kind of prayer where you listen as much as you talk. I learned you have to be tuned in to the voice of the Holy Spirit. He talks and commands and guides and teaches. He does not always scream and we need to be poised to listen. Finally, I learned I needed to put it in action. What good was all of it if I did nothing with it? Here is the thing, I had to learn I didn't need to beat people over the head with it. I didn't need to go hold people down and force it on them. I needed to do the work and be prepared. When the time was right, I was ready.

I believe everything can, in one way or another, be a segway - an opening - an opportunity - to share the gospel. The ironic thing is not once have I ever thought myself to be an evangelist. I never thought myself to be one who ministered to the masses. I'd never go and knock on doors. Yet, I have no problem taking a quote, an ad slogan, a movie plot, a book, a thought or something along those lines and innocently relating back to scripture, a teaching of Christ and eventually to an invitation to know Him. To me, it is as natural as breathing. I don't think twice about it. I innately know how to plant the seeds and "feel" when the time is right to help my brothers and sisters come to Christ. No, I am not an evangelist. No, I won't go knocking on doors. I will just talk to people. I will meet them where they are. The Holy Spirit is with me and together we, it is not me, lead them where they need to be.

I guess my question for you today is, to use a popular phrase, "What's in your wallet?" Is it filled with earthly, temporary "things" focused on you and your needs, wants and desires? Is it empty? Do you keep changing your wallet because you can't keep it filled with anything? Did you stop carrying a wallet because you were lazy? It hurt your back? You didn't know what to put in it? Was your wallet stolen? lost? Is everything in your wallet someone else's and not yours? When was the last time you cleaned your wallet? Do you give your wallet any attention or do you just cram things in there? You know what your wallet is.

If you take a moment you realize: God makes no junk and we all have value. (Galatians 3:28) Before we jump into anything, we should take time to evaluate the investment. Luke 14:28 God blesses that which He is a part of. Psalms 33:12a He promised (and He does not break His promises) never to leave us. Hebrews 13:5b The signs of God's promises and glory are all around us if we take the time to notice and see them for what they are. Ezekiel 1:28 While we live this life here, we are to be reminded we are living for the next and this, this is all temporary. Romans 12:2 Food for the mind and soul is as important as food for the body. As you get that from Jesus. John 6:35 Jesus hears us and we can hear Him. John 10:27 As believers we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt the truth: God is who He is, Christ died for us, we are saved through Him and in Him we live. 1 John 5:20 When we need Him, He is there. Hebrews 4:16 We are not promised tomorrow; get it right with God today. Proverbs 27:1 Nothing can separate us from God no matter what we face. Romans 8:38-39 What we value most, what we believe in, we invest in and carry. Romans 8:38-39

If your "wallet" needs attention, will you take a moment and do that today? In the bluntest of terms, if you don't know Jesus or couldn't discern what a "wallet" was, isn't it time? Tomorrow is not promised. It isn't how good you are or the works you do. It is not what you read or watch or think. It is your heart. There is one and only one way. That way is Jesus Christ.

Join us next week as we continue our Lenten journey. Be sure to share with a friend!

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