Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ignore Bad Reports

Picture this for a moment.  You have been at your job for the last five years.  The pay is acceptable, but you feel that there is a better job for you out there.  You take an inventory of your bills, and it looks like a change right now would not be wise.  Despite how it looks, something in you is moving you to go back to school and to change careers.  After careful consideration, you believe if you were to get a part-time job and attend night school, you just might be able to make it.  You decided to run your thoughts by some of your family and friends.  This is ok.  The bible says there is safety in the multitude of counselors, (Pr 11:14) and you did just that.  However every person you run it by pretty much tell you the same thing.  They say it is risky.  They say you are leaving certainty for the uncertain.   Some say you will be struggling since you will be making less.  You begin to reconsider your position.  Then a couple of friends who you called, but they were unreachable, returned your call.  You decided to share with them what you were thinking about, and how you decided to change your mind.  But these friends say no.  They say that it is a good idea what you were thinking prior.  Yes, you may struggle, but that struggle will be temporary.   At the end of that struggle is reward.  They motivated you to stick to your plan.  A couple of years later, you have a degree, and you make more for doing less.
            Sometimes people you know just give bad advice.  You have some who will receive visual confirmation based on what they hear, and you have those who alter what they have heard based on what they have seen.  Take a moment and think about that.  There is a story that is similar in nature recorded in the bible.  Moses was given a charge to send spies to scope out the Promised Land.  Twelve in all were sent.  These spies were in the land for 40 days prior to returning to report their findings.  Ten of the spies did say the land was flowing with milk and honey but they also spoke about the inhabitants.  They spoke about the inhabitants’ numbers and strength so much that it stirred up fear.  Only two of the spies spoke about the land, and how it is theirs for the taken.  The two, Joseph and Caleb did not allow the irrelevant sight to alter what God had said.  The land is called the “Promised” Land because the Lord said it would be theirs.  They need not worry about who is there, their size, or their numbers.  If God be with you, who be against you?  The land was beautiful, and that is all they saw.   
            You see, fear causes you to see things that are not there.  Joseph and Caleb did not worry about the obstacle, but looked at how it will be after the obstacle was removed.  We also, have to not focus on our inability, but on God’s ability to allow us to overcome whatever the issue is.  There are times where we need to only hear the good reports and disregard the bad ones.  In the illustration I gave you earlier, some of the friends were looking at the now.  They were not looking at the potential.  They were not seeing the big picture.  They stood still in fear, instead of stepping out on faith and these are the ones who will speak defeat all the time, and should not be considered.  You want people around you who can stir you up.  People who can see beyond what is in front of them.  People who can confirm the exact vision that was given to you.  People who give good reports.  Amen!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Teach Not Entertain

I was talking with one of my brothers in Christ, and we sort of was reminiscing on our previous church, how it was and how it is now.  Since we have left, the leaders of that church have never found a steady pastor.  In other words, they had a different pastor each Sunday.  Apparently, they have finally found a pastor who they decided to keep, and it was shared with this brother on how good he is.  He can do this and that, and he had the church this way and that way.  Then my brother in Christ said, “Amen, what was the message about?”  Crickets were the only sound that could be heard.
            This reminded me of a statistical data I read regarding churches, mainly mega ones.  There were stats regarding to location, ethnicity, programs they provide, outreach efforts, you know things that every church has.  What drew my attention were two criteria that drew people to the church according to this data.  One was the Pastor.  That is not so bad, however this is what it said.  The pastor’s musical talent is the energy source around which the parishioners revolve.  He can become the visible symbol and potent  brand name for the church." The other was about worship.  It states “About half the surveyed attendees say something related to the worship style drew them to the church.  Many perceive the worship as "high quality, inviting, and user-friendly” My goodness, the church has now become a theatre to visit and be entertained.
            Many of you can relate to what I am saying.  You see it on T.V, you hear it on the radio, you probably seen it in your community or have visited a church that falls into this category.  Pastors running around jumping all over the place like they have lost their minds.  The only thing left is to hold up both hands and display the “I love you” symbol with their fingers and dive into the parishioners.  Oh yeah, they will catch them.  Then when all the hoopla is over, what was learned?  The bible says “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.  For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" (Rom 10:12-15)  That is the problem.  We have preachers that preach everything except the word of God.  We go into the house of worship and it is like a corporation.  Then when the man of God speaks, he must be careful.  He must be careful not to offend this one or that one.  His messages should be happy ones.  Give me a break!  Does not the bible say “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness ?” (2 Ti 3:16)  Amen!!!  People need to be pointed at.  People need to be corrected.  People need to be instructed.  It is not about having a smile all the time.  It is not about feeling good all the time.  You sometime need a verbal beaten.  How else will we know what mess we are in?  As long as the pastor can entertain, people are happy.  Wow!
            The bible says “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”  (Matt 9:35-37)  Yes, there are many lost souls out there, and very few preachers to assist in bringing them the truth.  Now these few have to compete with the entertainers.  I went witnessing a while back with my friend who is a pastor.  We went into the ghettos of Sanford, FL.  We were in shock and saddened by what we encountered.  There were almost a church on each corner, and when you look at the community, it does not reflect it.  We approached a bunch of young men that looked at us as though they were going to pop off.  They were smoking weed at the time also.  We boldly went to them, and I said “I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Hallelujah, the name turned these tough young men, into frightened children.  They never had seen that before.  They did not know how to react.  The church has never visited the community they are located in.  Every word we shared with them made their heads hung lower and lower.  We went out there so much to where people were running away from us.  I joked with the pastor one time, and said “you want to see them dudes scatter, watch this” Hey fellas!  God bless you, can I intrude on your time and share the gospel with you?”  And scatter they did.  Lord have mercy.  What is being taught in these churches?  I bet you if I tapped dance and put on a skit, they will be more attentive.  We need not only pray for the lost souls, but also pray for the men and women who were sent.  Pray that they do not stray away from what Jesus charged.  He said make disciples of all nations.  Anyone who is called to the ministry has now taken on that charge, and a disciple is a student.  They are to teach the people , not entertain.  Amen!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Love Conquers All

What is love?  Ponder on that for a moment.    We hear it all the time.  We say it all the time.  It has become a word that is just as common as let’s say……………food, or store, or maybe “like”.  I may not be making sense right now, but work with me here.  There are words that we use everyday that we really do not pay attention to.  It just flows off of our lips without really considering the significance.  I mean, looking into the word and the meaning, and then using it appropriately.  So again, what is love?  Ok tell me if you agree with the following; love is:
      • a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
• a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
• sexual passion or desire.
• a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
• used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like
• an intensely amorous incident; amour.
• a personification of sexual affection
• affectionate concern for the well-being of others
• strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything
• the object or thing so liked
• the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
Do you agree with the above?  So it is safe to say, that love is an intense feeling of passion or compassion that one expresses for a person, animal or thing.  If this is the case, then where was love during the Rwanda massacre?  Where was love during the holocaust?  Ok, let’s forget the history lesson.  Where is love when we hear about crimes against women and children?  Where is love in our politics?  Is there love between Israel and Palestine?  If I was to go to a KKK meeting, will I be greeted in love?  If a Caucasian decided to sit in on a Black Panther gathering, will they feel the love?  Race might make you uncomfortable.  My apologies.  Where is love when you walk pass that homeless person in front of the store?  Where is love when you hear someone going through something, but do not ask them if there is anything you can do because they may tell you yes?  Men, where is the love when you fantasize about the young attractive woman at the job in comparison to your wife who has love handles, leg dimples, and saggy areas due to her giving birth to your beautiful children? 
     Love describes that passionate feeling that one has for a person, animal or thing, right?  Then we say it more than we express it.  The bible states “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (1 Jn 4:7)  I want to appeal to your logic for a moment.  If we believe this verse, then where is God in our actions?  If a man tells a woman that he loves her for the sole purpose to get in her pants, God was not in that.  With all the crime that is committed on a daily basis, God is not in that.  When the housing bubble burst, and all of those people lost their homes, the mortgage and real estate brokers did not show love because they had advance knowledge that these people were putting their hats farther than they can reach.  No love there.  That family member who you have not spoken to for years, I believe love is missing.  When you look at the condition of the world, or better yet, the conditions of our poor communities, and are not moved, yep, you got it, love is missing.  Remember I wanted to appeal to your logic.  So if we believe that verse and do the opposite, then logically we do not have love, and therefore it is the devil we know.  Uh oh, did I touch a nerve?  Good!!!
      Love does conquer all, if we allow ourselves to love.  For sometime, I had so much hate in me.  I wanted to inflict pain on anyone who crossed my path and would not have lost sleep either.  It is that feeling why we have the crime, the greed, the numbness, the selfishness, and the hate that are eagerly displayed in the media.  We do not consider the importance of love nor the positive effects it can have.  The bible states “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13:4-7)  If we are not exercising these, then what are we doing?  If we do it sometimes, then what are we doing when we are not?  “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 Jn 4:8)  Again, remember your logical hat?   If we believe these verses, does majority of the world show love?  I know this lesson seems to be more of me asking questions, but sometimes asking ourselves these questions, can cause us to be convicted and consider a new direction in our life.  I pray that the direction is to know God, so that you can truly know how to love.   Amen!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

His Grace Is Sufficient

I received a text the other day from a friend of mine requesting that I pray for her.  Because that is a broad request I gave her a call and asked her how she was doing, and what is going on and why she needed prayer.  She begins to share things that were happening in her home, which was a legitimate concern, but then she began to ramble.  Because I did not want to lose focus I began to ask some questions, and after ascertaining what the root of the issue was, I concluded that it wasn’t really an issue.  However because it was an issue to her I was preparing to pray with her and for her over the phone.  Then she began to rant about her job and the people at her job, what another good friend of ours did not do, and this phone conversation turned one sided.  She was ranting, and I was pretty much listening.  After a while I had to cut her off and respectfully and carefully explain that her concerns are unhealthily misplaced.
Just like this friend, many people complain about things, that if they were to just take a pause and really thing about it, things are not so bad.  You have those who complain about living in a one bedroom apartment, while there are families fighting for possessions in shelters.  You have those who complain about their husbands not being a bit more assertive, while others are being beaten senseless for not saying excuse me when belching in front of their husbands.  You have those who complain about their job, while there are those who are looking for the next job fair.  Some complain about not being able to pamper themselves.  Take a trip to Haiti and switch places with those who lost their homes.  Complaint after complaint after complaint.
The Apostle Paul had a complaint, and he received his answer as quickly as the complaint.  The bible states “For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.  And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2Cor 12:6-9)
 Paul’s complaint was pride.  There were men who considered themselves super apostles and were boasting about their accomplishments to where the people were in awe.  Paul was fighting back the desire to show them, that they have nothing to boast about, and if anyone is worthy to boast it would be him.  This desire was eating at him so badly that he knew it was the devil, and prayed to God to help him perish the thought.  He called it “a thorn in his flesh.”  It was not enough to destroy him, but it was an irritation.  It was eating at him, to where God said, “My grace is sufficient.”  Paul was worried about an insignificant issue to the point where it nearly caused him to not see the big picture.  God was saying be glad that you are going through it, because My works will be seen after you overcome it.  The bible states “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (Ja 1:2-4)  In other words what won’t kill you will make you stronger.  Ride it out.
We may have a thorn in our flesh, that is symbolic to an irritation, but God’s grace is what keeps us from not falling victim to it.  So instead of complaining about living in a one bedroom apartment, show gratitude and say thank you God for your grace, because I could be homeless.  Instead of complaining about your spouse not being more assertive, say thank God for even having a spouse where the divorce rate is at an all time high.  Instead of complaining about what bothers you at your job, thank God that what you do to bother someone else does not cost you your job.  We have become a people who whine about this and that, and not step out of our spoiled bodies and realize the blessings on our lives simply because of God’s grace.  Give God thanks and suck up whatever you are going through, because somebody is out there praying to God that they had what you had, and if you are not careful God will give it to those who are more appreciative.  Amen!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don’t Be Abandoned

I was daydreaming the other day as I was preparing my day for the work ahead.  I was thinking about my life back when I was running the streets and comparing it to now.  I then attempted to look into the future to see myself as a pastor of a church, passionately preaching the word of God to my parishioners.  Then my mind shot backwards again.  I was kind of upset, because I liked what I was seeing when I was looking into my desired future.  However, I could not get out of my vision of my past.  I was in the fourth grade, and I was the class clown.  I remember my teacher, Mrs. Fink telling me how I needed to shape up and stop making a fool of myself.  I remember it as though it was yesterday.  I remember specifically thinking, “whatever Mrs. Fink, the class laugh at what I do.  I am popular.  You are the fool for thinking incorrectly.”  Yes, Sean the class clown.  What was so interesting is that she never told my mother.
I continued to be the class clown, and she continued to warn me of my behavior.  It was the same from her, and it was the same from me.  She announced a field trip that would be coming up in a few weeks.  I was excited to go.  I was thinking about how I can make the class laugh when we were on the trip.  One day I angered Mrs. Fink.  I began to make the sounds of flatulence when her back was turned.  The class was in stitches.  She turned around and did not yell at me, but yelled at the class.  She said “some of you will not be going on this trip.”  Everybody’s attitude changed.  I could not get anybody to laugh at me.   Not one.  It got to the point where no one would even talk to me.  I made an error and touched one kid to get his attention, and he yelled at me.  Mrs. Fink separated me with haste.  I was at a table all by myself.  The class rooms were bigger back then.  I was in a classroom with 20-30 kids, but I felt alone.  Then the trip came, and I was the only one who did not go.  I sat in another class the whole day just feeling miserable.  I was abandoned and it was all my doing.
Mrs.  Fink did not fail me.  I failed myself.  She warned me over and over again, and I chose not to take heed.  She then allowed me to remain in my foolishness because she knew how she was going to punish me.  God warns us in a similar manner.  The bible states “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.  Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” 
There are those who sit back and wonder just like I did.  They wonder on things like the beauty of the sun, moon, and stars.  They watch nature’s behavior.  They see the destruction of natural disasters.  They see doctors work on the body, and see the complexities and say how this is so.  All of these things point to a higher power.  Then they hear of people gathering to learn about this higher power, but because some of the things intrude on their life, they willfully reject them.  They carry on with their lives and may even go far as mocking that higher power, even though when in private they are in awe.  They do not even know they are giving audience to the enemy. Due to their continued willful ignorance God abandoned them to act out their own lusts and corruptions.  The end result is they will die in their iniquity and their home will be in Hades.  They are without excuse. 
I learned a harsh lesson at such a young age.  Abandonment is not a good feeling.  Although I did not act up again in that class or any other class, I still had to be warned over the years.  By the grace of God, I got it right before God abandoned me and left me to my iniquities.  This should give us pause and reconsider how we proceed from this day forward.  Amen!

Monday, January 17, 2011

One Who Came Before

I studied Martial Arts for a total of 15 years.  There were breaks here and there, but the total amount of years put together is 15 years.  I’ve studied Tae Kwon Do, as my primary discipline, Shotokan Karate, Hapkido, as well as other disciplines.  When I use to compete, I was asked how I am so good.  Majority of the tournaments were held by Karate dojos so I would respond in a term that they would understand.  I would say, “by listening and doing what my sensei says.”  The word “sensei” means one who lived or came before.  When we use sensei, we automatically think it means master of Martial Arts.  Sensei can be a doctor, a professor, a scientist; it can be used in any profession.  It does reference teaching, and it is given the title when it speaks of someone who has experience.  My Martial Arts Instructor is a Grand Master by the amount of years he has studied, trained and taught.  He is much older than me, which means he came before me.  Because of this fact, it would be wise to listen, because he has experienced things I have not.
Is this message about Martial Arts?  No it is not.   However it is about one man who came before me and I wonder if he was alive today, how would he address the men and woman who are in the same ministry.  The man I am referring to is Dr. Martin Luther King.  “In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.  Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation.”  This was an excerpt that I took from a listed biography.  He was always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race.  Am I about to make this a race thing?  No, but I want to point out the difference between one of the spiritual black leaders of old and compare them to some of the spiritual black leaders now.
I will not go too much into statistics.  I have all ethnic backgrounds who view my blog, who can comment in disagreement if I am saying anything that is in error.  African-Americans are either at the highest or lowest of many important demographics that pertains to our society and it is always in a negative way.  Choose one.  Crime?  They are the highest in the nation.  Graduation rates?  They are the lowest.  Teen pregnancy?  High.  HIV infection?  High.  Home ownership?  Low.  I can go on and on.   The spiritual black leaders who have a voice that can reach many, have financial means, and access to media outlets, what are they doing about it?  Where are their efforts?  What are Eddie Long, Creflo Dollar, Juanita Bynum, and others who may not be as known, but have huge congregations in some of our black communities doing about this?  “Well Minister Notice, you can’t really hold them responsible for the wrong personal decision that people have made.” (in my goofy voice) I beg to differ.  When you become a part of God’s Holy Ministry, you have told God, that I am willing to help those who can’t help themselves.  I am willing to be an advocate for the poor.  I am willing to help change the way people think, so that they do not do the will of the enemy, but the will of God.  So when the only reports are you being investigated because of your financial decisions, or you are being investigated because of inappropriate behaviors, or you are being called out because who you are associated with, then it is because your actions are supporting what is on your heart!!!!!!!!! This will of course result in a disconnect with the people they are preaching too.
The bible says  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (Ja 2:17-18)  What works have these spiritual leaders displayed that indicates they have faith in God?  You have those who majority of their sermons is about being rich.  You have those who will make you cringe based on the company they keep.  You have those whose behavior make you shake your head in shame because you cannot believe this was from a spiritual leader.  James explained that through his work, you will see God.  That is the premise of that verse.  Through his work you will see God.  He does not have to “say” he has faith, but his works will prove it.  Jesus said “by their fruits you will know them” (Matt 7:16), meaning their actions.  If I am in error, please let me know!  Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O LORD, And teach out of Your law,” (Ps 94:12)
Let’s take away the verses.  Let’s say for some reason these men and women did not know these verses.  They had a sensei.  They had an example of one who came before them.  Dr. King was known for standing up for those who could not.  He was known for doing the work to make sure that blacks in this country have the same rights as our white brothers and sisters.  What would he be saying now at the condition of the black race in this country?  What would his response be to the spiritual leaders of these communities?  I shared messages about bad pastors, and bad churches.  I used scriptures.  If you do not want to read your bibles, then Google Dr. King and see how the one who came before them did it.  Amen!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Gullible Christian

Does this title offend you as the reader?  Not as much as it offends me to see people in the church defend the things that are contrary to God by way of the pastor.  Yesterday I spoke about Church hurt and the damages that results from it.  I spoke about poor leadership and the negative behavior from church members.  It is this inner circle that has driven many from the church with their cultic mentalities.  It is why the church today is a joke.  Whenever I hit the streets to witness to the lost, I ask a question.  I ask what comes to mind when I say the word “church?”  I get hypocrites, fraud, thieves, cons, and so forth.  This is what the church has become.  It is no longer a place for refuge, healing, and teaching.  It is a place many stay away from.  So when I titled this message with the use of “gullible” in it, I am referring to these people, who sit under a pastor, who does no wrong in their eyes. 
Gullible is defined as easily deceived or cheated.  I visited churches, where the pastor is young, handsome, and ready for this…. he can sing.  Oh boy, if a pastor can sing, he is half-way there.  Majority of the church today is made up of women, so a man singing to them every Sunday is a treat.  If he sweetens them with his voice, then the words that leave his lips would not really have to have substance.  All he has to do now, is make facial expressions to emphasize importance and hum out the words, and they are like putty.  What about the ones who seem to have taken acting lessons?  I have visited churches where the pastor can cry for every other verse that is read.  Oh a man who is in touch with his emotions……hmm, hmm, hmmm.  That of course would be the thoughts from these gullible Christians.  What about the ones who scream as though they are about to pop they vocal cords?  I was member of a Church where every Sunday, this man was screaming as he was in a pep rally.  And every Sunday, you have the same crowd to the left being the cheer leaders.  One Sunday I decided to amuse myself and ask them what was the title of his message.  Of course they did not know.  They enjoyed the entertainment!  They enjoyed the hooping and hollering!  They enjoyed the drama that was displayed!  However when it came to the word of God, THEY LEARNED NOTHING!  Those were the things that moved them because it played to their emotions.  It satisfied flesh.  It felt good to them.  A spirit was indeed fed, but it wasn’t the Holy Spirit.  And God forbid you bring a proven accusation against the pastor.  You may end up being lynched.
The bible states “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,   to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,  to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.   For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” (2 Pet 1:5-9)  Peter expresses that faith has to be increased.  It has to be built on.  His purpose was to excite and engage us to advance in grace and holiness.  However there is a contrary.  If one lacks these things, meaning if it is not the emphasis to live in the exercise of the list mentioned, he/she will be spiritually blind.  Blinded by their passions and lusts, and sensual affections, and sees not the great end and design of Christianity.  So if one is spiritually blind then they have great sight in secular things.  The pastor will be “the man of God” regardless if his actions speak to the contrary.  His negative actions will be justifiable even though the word of God speak to the contrary.  Their lives would not have changed, or receive no deliverance, yet they repeat the same cliché, they are waiting on God, not realizing that God is waiting on them to come up out of darkness and into His light.  Oh yes, they are gullible.  It can be your friend, family, or it may just even be you.  Wake up!