Things I’m pretty sure are true

Things I’m pretty sure are true November 17, 2011

Many are the authors who have assembled lists of various undeniable truths and irrefutable laws. I’m less sure about these ones, but here’s my list of things — some discovered through ample trial and much error — that I’m pretty certain are true:

If your Christianity doesn’t leave a mark, you’re doing it wrong.

Even the Body of Christ has an armpit or two.

If you don’t discipline yourself, others will.

If you don’t learn from history, you’re like most people.

To affirm one thing is to negate many others.

To speak at all is to speak falsely.

To do at all is to do wrongly.

Doubting someone’s sincerity doesn’t make them insincere.

Ill will toward others hurts you more than them — but it hurts them too.

Life is more than money, and lots of people who say really want your money.

The truth of something is not proved by its apparent success.

There is a difference between right and wise.

There’s nothing like the scarcity of fame to make people grasping and ungrateful.

Throwing a fit involves the same risk as throwing a party: What if no one comes?

Nobody is damned until they are.

Sloppy writing indicates sloppy thinking — or at least liquor.

Events cannot be undone, but most of them can be redeemed.

There’s no such thing as an exact comparison, especially among people and events. So don’t fool yourself.

Data can make you both confident and foolish.

A person can go pretty far in life with funny stories. But usually not far enough.

Every talent has its time.

People are complicated, especially yourself.

Texans make better country musicians than presidents.

This last one is perhaps more arguable than the others, but I submit two items of evidence: Guy Clark and LBJ.

This is a running list. As I think of new ones, I’ll add to the above. And I might delete or modify the existing ones as well. What if, for instance, Guy Clark became president? That might change a few things.

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  • What a great list, Joel!

    Two “truths” that come to mind for me are:

    90% of what we worry about never comes, even remotely, true.

    In life, nothing is wasted.

    I’m going to start my own running list. Thanks!

    • I might take issue with “Events cannot be undone, but most of them can be redeemed.” I would say, ” … they can only be redeemed.” I can’t think of any that couldn’t. What a comforting thought.

      • I like your phrasing too. I was thinking perhaps more of the exceptions. Some rifts are irreparable. Some wounds still smart years after their healed.

        • But isn’t that the point? What part of those wounds can be redeemed? Are there really exceptions?

          • Perhaps I’m being too particular in my generality 🙂 I’m thinking of hell and the fact that people, from my understanding, will undoubtedly choose to persist in enmity with God. Not everything, in that sense, will be redeemed. The hardest of hard cases is, of course, Satan. His enmity and that of his angels is permanent. Only a few fathers ever hinted otherwise, and their reservations were never accepted by the church. So that very particular set of seeming exceptions is why I said that “most” events can be redeemed.

  • I particularly like “Nobody is damned until they are.” Kind of gets right to the point. Love your list.

    • Thanks, man. And what if Guy Clark became president? Homegrown tomatoes in every pot!

  • Phil Munsey

    Sent from my iPad

    Dear Joe J. Miller,

    If you and Joel Osteen went to lunch, you would most likely leave friends.
    You’ve given way too much credit & credence to a handful of remarks that do not reflect his heart. I’m pretty sure neither of you are the monsters you’re both becoming in the eyes of your critics. Truce? Truth? Both?
    I’ve had the unique experience of walking along side Joel on the incredible journey he’s been launched into–not by his desire or design. I could drop statistics and honorable names to validate Joel’s fruit and fervor. I’m thinking that would only stir the fires of this burning and wasteful heated conversation.

    Joel’s, simple-as in relatable, innocent-though not naive, style is both his strength and weakness. He’s loved because he stays with a concise, positive but firmly biblical based truth. He’s hated because he resists the nudge to judge those whom he’s committed to reach. Certainly his message for those “whom Christ died” does not engage in all the teachings, all the time, in all settings, of all of the scriptures. But Joel knows his lane, stays in and runs it well. Joel does it with a strong conviction from God to whom he knows he’ll stand before on that Day. The “whole council” of truth being taught must be looked at through Joel’s combined ministry, which includes pastoring the 55 year old well established Lakewood Church, (the nations largest congregation, for whatever it’s worth) that’s solid and tested in time and fruit. 
    What 20 million–sincere and smart–monthly TV viewers see in Joel’s 27 minute weekly program, or countless interviews edited into sound bites and “gotcha” responses, and his books, are but a snapshot of who and what Joel and Lakewood Church represent.
    But I ramble…
    Let’s consider the bigger, or should I say small-big picture. The Christian community has become “dung” in our failed attempt to influence culture—and we either don’t know it, don’t know why, or worse, don’t care. The contempt of our culture toward Christ and His Church, is our fault because it’s our salt–or lack of it! 
    We remain clueless, careless and care less.
    What’s the problem?
    Doctrine unity–or division? Is the message we teach too light? Too strong? Too slick? Too sloppy? Too…?
    Yet, instead of humility and brutal honesty in our failures–we draw swords. The needs of the lost are held hostage by creeds–OUR creeds! We best pray to God that His mercy is wider than our judgement. For Christ sakes! 
    Of the two billion “Christians” worldwide, half which question the other half of their validity, another 5 billion people remain untaught or untouched by ANY message reflecting even a remote reflection of “your” or “our” or “The” Christ. 
    We are puny, pathetic and pitiful. We are wee!
    Only a God rich in grace would tolerate such mockery of mercy. 
    Cross-check:
    See the Savior on the cross. See Him dying for a world He so loves. Feel His pain. Sense the agony as He suffers, a suffering He’s bore since before the foundations of the world. Stand back and behold Him. There now. Weep. Sorrow. Wipe the dripping blood from His wounded side off the swords of slander. 
    Hear the silent cries of 5 billion people–“for whom Christ died!” 
    Shouldn’t we rejoice that Christ is preached at all–even in pretense, strife or vain-glory?
    Have we enough compassion for the lost to eclipse our beaming bias? Would we be offended if our own unsaved families, friends and community, be among the one million public decisions for Christ the “insufferable Joel” has influenced over the past 10 years? How about that neighbor we’ve not bothered to share our faith with on any level, not even a “Hallmark Christ” level? 
    And then again, there’s those 5 billion neglected souls…
    Shouldn’t all this be enough to cause us to altar ego, and show some humility and grace toward each other.
    The sufferable Christ–how long must He suffer still?
    Shall we proceed in this foolish game?
    But I ramble…
    Lunch?
    Phil Munsey

  • Joel, I just started reading your blog, but I wanted to say that what I’ve read in the past 2 weeks has been such a blessing to me. You have caused me to think deeper than I have for a long time and I appreciate the stretching of my notions. Bless you!
    Oh, and I LOVE the list! I think I will work on one of my own. I live a life full of redeemed circumstances and love how you put that particular one! Thank you!

  • Joel, I just started reading your blog, but I wanted to say that what I’ve read in the past 2 weeks has been such a blessing to me. You have caused me to think deeper than I have for a long time and I appreciate the stretching of my notions. Bless you!
    Oh, and I LOVE the list! I think I will work on one of my own. I live a life full of redeemed circumstances and love how you put that particular one! Thank you!