As I travel to exotic and historic sites, I’m constantly observing “selfie models” taking pictures of themselves, wanting to be seen and to become “influencers” online. The Bible calls it our “flesh.” but we call it “selfie” in today’s language. It’s a visual reminder of how much social media has affected the culture and how it feeds our insatiable egos.
The bottom line is that we are all afflicted with self-centeredness.
None of us are exempt. It’s part of living in our fallen world because of sin’s entrance. Paul tells us that our “flesh” is often in conflict with our spirit, which wants to break free from selfishness but continues to see it rear its ugly head (Romans 7:15). As we mature as believers in Jesus, we become more aware of how our egos get in the way of becoming all that He wants for us, and how our self-centeredness separates us from knowing Him more deeply. Confronting our ego issues can be excruciatingly painful, so we deny our selfishness or make excuses for it. Overcoming self-centeredness requires facing ourselves honestly, choosing to change how we think, and sometimes changing whom we associate with. But if we want to know God deeply, which is His greatest desire for us, it’s a must. This is why the many self-appraising personality tests, including the Enneagram, have become so popular. In many ways, though they seem enlightening and beneficial, they can be dangerous and self-elevating.
Our “flesh” hates change. (more…)
In July 2022, Influence Lab co-founders Phil and Kathleen Cooke were invited to Rome, Italy, to speak at a much-anticipated global conference for church and marketplace leaders.
The conference, privately hosted in a different city each year, keeps the name and invitation-only membership anonymous—a layer of protection set in place for good reason. Throughout the meetings, Phil and Kathleen were particularly moved by the unity between attending Russian and Ukrainian pastors, discussing ways to bring relief to their people amid the ongoing conflict
“Christians are working together to solve these problems,” Kathleen commented. “And we saw that even in the suffering, there is such joy.”
Other remarkable moments of the conference included reports from fellow members sharing their missions’ work as they rescue children from war-torn nations, build homes in the Middle East, and strategize to overcome food shortages.
“Being a part of this global organization of pastors, ministers, non-profits, and marketplace business leaders was inspiring,” Kathleen said.
They weren’t home for long when Phil was the featured speaker for an online event hosted by Christian Media & Arts Australia. The organization of Christian communication and media professionals across that country asked Phil to speak on his new book “Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking.”
He’s also been on a speaking tour with Christian media conferences in Memphis and Atlanta this past week, discussing his new book and how creativity can transform our effectiveness with the gospel.
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