The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Some of you may have seen the movie Shawshank Redemption with Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. This was a movie about men that were doing time in prison. Several of these men were in prison for many years. After so many years a man would become “institutionalized” which meant he would be so acquainted and familiar with the prison that he would have a difficult time adjusting to living in the real world.

When your day consists of someone telling you when to: get up, eat, exercise and when to go to bed, you slowly become incapable to think for yourself. When someone was released from prison, they would wonder aimlessly about not knowing what to do. Some would commit suicide and others would commit another crime (sometimes intentionally) to be sent back.

In a distorted sort of way, they were in their “Comfort Zone.” A place so familiar, it was difficult and sometimes impossible to leave, even if “freedom” awaited them on the other side.

My pastor made a comment the other day about how we have become institutionalized in our churches. We’ve lost the ability to think and do for ourselves and have become the proverbial pew sitters. We have allowed others to do our thinking for us and forgot we have the ability to think for ourselves.

I’m not inferring that we cannot learn from others, but today we find ourselves not making a move until we are given direction by man; never exercising our freedom to make a choice that moves us out of the familiar “Comfort Zone.” On the rare occasion that we are able to “uninsitutionalize” ourselves, then we often move from one comfort zone to another. For example, we say we want to move out of the traditional church; and then move from one tradition to another. Ever since some particular churches have discovered the New Way most churches have followed suit in the new tradition. I may catch some flack over this statement, but as I said, this is the way I feel.

The foremost authority is God’s Word, the Bible. This is what we truly need to be following. We need to follow what the Word says and not interpret it to fit our lifestyle. Sin is still sin and if we indulge in sin then we will find ourselves back in prison. We will not be inmates, but guest and not fitting in either place.

As it says in Romans 6:1,2 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” The new age Christian sometimes believes since we are under grace it means we can do whatever we want to do. Can we sin now that we’re under grace? Paul says No! This is far from what this means and if we sin we will find ourselves right back in the prison of guilt and shame. We may even try to convince others that a certain sin is ok and if we convince enough maybe we won’t feel guilty.

Many times we want to go back to the prison because this is where we have always felt comfortable and accepted. Just like the Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt, we forget how horrible and miserable that place was for us.

I personally have had to break out of old beliefs and the many ways I have been institutionalized. I’ve had to learn to think for myself and let God teach me the real truth. God’s word doesn’t contradict itself! I’ve found all kinds of contradictions when I followed after certain men. I know what I think doesn’t really matter unless it is line with what God says.

Let this challenge you “study and show yourself approved.” As said in 2 Timothy 2:15, NIV Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

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