No One Buys Gift Cards from a Store Going Out of Business

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I went to a store going out of business in my area last week and thought I would share my experience for humor and an important lesson I learned. First, when I pulled up, there were two signs on the side of the building. One said “Going Out of Business Sale – Everything Must Go!” and the other one said “Now Hiring!”. After chuckling and doing a double take, I thought I should take a picture and send it in to one of the late night talk shows so that others could get a laugh out of it. It was so weird to see those signs hanging next to one another knowing that only one of them were true. When I walked into the store, it looked like ants disassembling a Sunday picnic with people walking all over the store assessing the best deals and making their purchases. Plus, in the entire time I have lived in my area, that store has never had that many people in it to my memory.

As I walked up to pay for the discounted treasures I found, the check out aisle had a completely FULL kiosk of gift cards for the store. Again, I chuckled and then was instantly struck with a truth that applied to that store and to life; no one buys a gift card for a company going out of business. Our world puts an incredible focus on the temporary things causing people to strive to get things that, when they die, will not matter anyway. I remember taking my youth kids from church to a graveyard and asking them how many garages they saw by tombstones. The answer was obvious as I shared that there are no garages in graveyards. There are no U-Haul trucks in a funeral procession full of possessions to leave with the deceased person at their gravesite.

There is an incredible responsibility on all true followers of Christ to share with others about the relationship that they have with Jesus and help people shift the focus off of “gift cards that won’t have any value” when the “store” of life closes. Even greater, is if you call yourself a follower of Christ and have a passion to acquire things in this world that is out of balance with your pursuit of Christ, then you need to reevaluate your relationship with Jesus and what HIS value is in your life. I am only saying this because God has done some “housecleaning” in me including an evaluation of my focuses and things that I value.

Today, you have an incredible opportunity to show people around you the power of a focus that is on eternal things and not just the temporal. Just remember that not everyone you come in contact with will understand this principle and needs to not here your WORDS about what you believe with well crafted social media posts but see your ACTIONS that have a magnetic power to draw people to Christ through you.

My Prediction for Virtual Reality…An Even DEEPER Sense of Emptiness

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There was a huge push around Virtual Reality at NAB this year and lots of questions about what the future holds for the technology and its implications in media. It seems like the general consensus is that it will be used in some way to enhance the current viewing audience’s experience with traditional media and not only be a one off experience as it is now. There is no clear path to how those two will work together but people sure are trying hard to make it work. I think more technology is not always a bad thing and can really help people in life on so many levels, but I have something else to consider with VR’s use and our culture.

I believe that the use and implementation of VR in media could possibly lead to an even GREATER sense of emptiness and separation in people’s lives. They will begin to possibly crave the technology more and more to the point of it become their main “fix” for feeling like they are experiencing something that is not actually there. There will be promises of “you don’t need to actually be there to experience ______________________.” Even if people are not willing to admit it, we are a connected people who need interaction with each other and “virtual” reality will never fill that void.

How many times does the devil lie to people and make promises of doing things that will bring happiness and contentment in life only to have it end up being an illusion? The devil will ALWAYS encourage us to be discontent with what we have, who we are or what we do. Discontentment only leads to emptiness because it is focused on what is NOT there instead of what IS there in your life.

This is not only a trap concerning things like cars, houses, technology, etc. It is also a trap in skills, talents and abilities, even in a spiritual sense. We can look at someone else and say, “Man, I wish I could pray like that person. They always know exactly what to say with such meaning. I cant barely put three words together to form a sentence.” The problem with that thinking is that God looks at your HEART and not just the words you share in a prayer. Also, statements like that could possibly have another uncovered hurt associated with it that goes much deeper than just comparing prayers.

The point is that God wants us to be satisfied in who we are and whom he created us to be BUT not just be satisfied in the development of our relationship with him. He wants us to be hungry to know him in a deeper way each day of our lives. Don’t settle for discontentment in who you are and what you have and contentment with knowing God “enough.” Let those things be the opposite today! It is EXACTLY what the devil DOES NOT want for you, so it must be a good thing.