Pastor’s Corner

Dr. Jim Mann

Sodom and Gomorrah was a toxic place that almost cost Lot and his family their lives. Genesis 13 tells us greed and anger led him to part ways with his uncle, Abram. Lot’s desire was to live with his family in the fruitful Plains of Jordan.

But he was gradually drawn into Sodom and Gomorrah. He made a home there for his family. Eventually, he and his family became connected with the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah by marriage ties. He was in a toxic environment and it almost killed him.

You can’t stay healthy long if you live in a toxic environment.

The Bible talks a lot about atmosphere and environment. In Genesis 1, we see God at work creating. And we notice the first verse, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) It’s not for another 26 verses that God creates humans. “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26) In other words, atmospheres and environments are created first by God before people inhabit them.

Part of our created nature – the image of God we’re created in – is that God has given us the capacity to create, too. We create our own environment and atmosphere every day. When you get home from work, there is an atmosphere waiting for you in your home – it may be peaceful or toxic – but it’s there.

When we respond to a crisis, we’re creating an environment. When we tell a joke or choose our words, we’re creating an environment.

We even create atmospheres by the way we think. That’s why Paul says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

I’m convinced that’s why Jesus always had crowds following him – not only because he was such a great teacher, but because of the wonderful life-giving atmosphere he created wherever he went.

What atmosphere are you creating this week? Is it life-giving? Filled with love and God’s grace? Maybe it’s toxic – stress, worry, doubt, anger, fear? We must be careful that, unlike Lot, we aren’t drawn into toxicity. Think about this and let’s talk on Sunday! I’ll see you at church.

Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit for more information or