Thursday, January 31, 2008
When I heard that I said out loud, "WHAT?" Because these two words do not go together. I had never heard them used together, so I thought....what is he REALLY trying to say? Then it came to me, he's using this phrase "economic justice" to describe socialism. He could never say he will pursue socialism in this country, but cloak the same idea in a confusing package of words, and presto changeo.....we have the same old philosophy in a new word package that offends no one...most people really don't even think about what was said.
This same thing is happening all across our culture...the repackaging of words and ideas. We are wrapping old ideas or even rejected ideas in new clothes and selling them to the public. The rhetoric is amazing, and honestly I admire the guy for coming up with such a subtle way of selling socialism.
But my problem isn't so much with politicians as it is with those of us in the Christian world. We have become very good at doing the same thing. New word combinations to say something everyone would reject if they understood what you meant. It's like chocolate covered asparagus! You might be able to get people to try it, but when all is said and done it's still asparagus!
So listen carefully to what people say. There's a lot of repackaging going on.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Last Sunday I preached through John 15. It's an amazing chapter loaded with final instructions for the disciples. It is a chapter addressing three relationships. In Jesus' teaching in chapter 15 he said,
John 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."
This verse, and others like it, are hard to understand. We do try to abide, get into his word, and we pray....but often our prayers are unanswered. So then we ask, how do we reconcile this verse and others like it with our life?
My daughter had to deal with this recently while talking to her children about prayer. Her second daughter, Alice, said, "but Mommy, it doesn't work. God didn't answer my prayer." (She's only 5.) My daughter asked why she thought that and she said, "because I asked God to make me a mermaid and he didn't do it."
How often have we prayed like that? Prayers that we think are perfectly good and right for us, and yet we didn't see God answer those prayers. If we could just see it from what God wants to do in our lives it would often look like Alice's prayer- a mermaid prayer. God won't answer our prayer, it wouldn't be in his will or even good for us. I wonder how many of our prayers are like Alice's. We are disappointed and confused because God didn't answer, but what God heard was a mermaid prayer.
When your prayer isn't answered realize there may be a good reason- it's not time yet, God's working on it, it isn't in his will, or maybe you were praying a mermaid prayer. When you aren't sure how to pray, pray anyway. God is good, and he will sort it all out for you. He loves us too much to answer mermaid prayers.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
If LDS members deny any of the above, as they occasionally do, they are being dishonest. I lived it as a Mormon myself, so I know what I am talking about. Extensive documentation for the above can be found at http://www.mrm.org/ ."*
I just thought you should know a few things about what those nice young men believe who will come by your home someday.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.
Rev 19:12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.
Rev 19:13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
Rev 19:14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
"A little bit of exercise goes a long way," said Peter Kokkinos, lead author of the study. "Thirty minutes a day, five days a week of brisk walking is likely to reduce the risk of mortality by 50 percent if not more."
Wow! And I thought the risk of mortality was still 100%. Amazing what a little research will do.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
-We have a granddaughter at our house for a sleep over. Waiting for her to get up so we can go have pancakes! It's such an amazing thing to have grandchildren. What an honor.
-I'm preaching next Sunday, continuing the study in John, and will be teaching through John 15. I spoke on part of this chapter several months ago, so I will have to take some time and get a fresh look at the passage for Sunday.
-This year I will be at the church as a pastor for 10 years....amazing. It's been an amazing time in a dozen different ways, both good and bad. One of the great things about this milestone is that at the 10 year mark I'm up to 4 weeks of vacation. I'm not sure how to take that much time off, but will try.
-In a month my wife and I will celebrate our 34th anniversary! I have been thinking about what to do....still working on it, any ideas?
-I had dinner last night with one of our worship leaders, Hal. We had a great time discussing the service for next week. Music is such a hard thing to do, there are so many styles, tastes and preferences. To get a blend that will help people to worship is really difficult. So, to make it even more complicated, what songs would you like to sing this Sunday?
-Well, she's up! So let me leave you as we head for the restaurant for pancakes with granddaughter...have a great day.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
"Our records don't go back that far."
Not really, but when you see the detail you will think that might have been true. It made me aware of how quickly things change, and how quickly we forget. Solomon was right, "one generation comes and goes, the next one doesn't remember what went before."
Here's some information about the day I was born-
Harry S. Truman
Alben W. Barkley (I had never heard of him before this search...shame on me.)
Time for Beany
Truth or Consequences
The Alan Young Show
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Burns and Allen Show
If you are ready for your "reality check" you can find it here: http://dmarie.com/timecap/step1.asp
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Yesterday was a hard day! You can't anticipate days like this, and they are hard to describe afterward....
In the morning we got word of a house fire. Thinking it was one our staff's homes, Brent and I ran out there to make sure they were ok. Fortunately it wasn't their home, but sadly it was the home of a woman who had just lost her husband within the last year, and now she has lost her home as well.
At noon I met with one of our men for lunch. After we got our orders taken he starts with this, "I'm having a hard time with a few thing. First, I am having a hard time understanding how a good God could...." That's how the lunch started, and it got much deeper after that.
After getting back to the church and catching my breath the police department calls to send me out on a home situation. Apparently a 14 year old boy went into the bathroom looking for his dad, and found him dead on the floor. I went to sit with this young man until his mom got home from work. It was a very sad 10 minutes. This was completely unexpected, and the young man and his mother were in shock, as anyone would be.
In a world filled with loss and sadness I often have to come back to what Jesus said for direction,
Mat 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Mat 11:30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Last night we went to the movies with fellow pastor, Brent and "his smokin' hot shutterbug trophy wife" Tracy to see The Great Debaters. It was a great movie, very emotional at points and challenging. What's amazing is that the movie is based on a true story. It's one of those movies that will stay with you for a long time. This is a very well done film. I give it two thumbs up.
The new teaching pastor at our church, Steve, came to my office a week ago to tell me he couldn't see the clock at the back of the church sanctuary, and needed something that was easier to see. Personally, I agree with Steve. We need a better clock, something that can be seen easily, so I went online...did some research, and asked questions. What I finally ordered is this clock with its 7 inch numbers! I was told we should be able to read this clock from 300 feet away. I told Steve, "if you can't see this clock then heaven help us all!" With more than one service on Sunday morning hitting our time marks is important....this should help.
Friday, January 18, 2008
I like the fact that I'm more than the sum of me because of God's work in me. Without him there really isn't much to us...flesh and bones, passions, desires, hopes, dreams....but add the ingredient of God and suddenly a simple life reflects the very God that made it. I'm more than the sum of me because of the God who made me. Because of him working in and through my life I am a reflection of his life....at times it's even magnified through me as I depend on him.
A simple drop of water is clear by itself...not much to it, but let it reflect something more and suddenly a drop of water becomes beautiful beyond imagination. We are a lot like that....not much by ourselves...but let us reflect the very life of God through us and wow!
I like the fact that I'm more than the sum of me because of God's work in me.
Php 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Col 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I just got back from a meeting with the police department for our city. I work with the police department here as a chaplain. Tonight we were discussing process and procedure for dealing with situations where our services will be needed- family notifications of death, talking people out of suicide...how and who, and a number of other situations. It was a very sobering meeting. Sitting there I thought, "This is sure a sad world we live in. It's so broken." Dealing with the results of sin and sorrow is a serious business and often brings dangers of its own. I am so looking forward to seeing how this world will be when sin and its influence is removed. What will it look like? What will surprise us? I have thought about this several times in this blog simply because I have to deal with it so often, so maybe I'm more acutely focused on the world as it is and thinking about the way it was really meant to be. Let me just say I can't wait for "that day"...it will be amazing!
This is a great idea! It's ideas like this that really make a difference for those in developing countries. I hope they are able to develop this and get it into the areas where it's needed.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
A lot of life is very simple, and sometimes rather mundane. There are the simple things that must be done...sleep, eat, work, rest, and breathe.....they are simple because we don't even think of them, but we must do them. Then there is the mundane....the tasks which must be done, but are hard because of the tedious, boring nature of the task. It is often a simple thing, needed, tiring, maybe boring, but important. And yet, while I'm doing those simple needed tiring boring things life happens. One day fades into another and soon we find that we have lived our years and missed the best part of life....simply doing it all with God involved in every moment. I talk to many elderly in my work, and many who are nearing the end of their lives. They think that because they didn't do anything significant their lives were wasted....and yet.....significance isn't measured here and now. It's measured by God, and it looks completely different than you think it does. It's doing the simple mundane things of life in fellowship with God himself. In those simple moments light comes to dark days, life comes to dead hours, eternity invades short lives.....the mundane suddenly becomes something more than you ever dreamed.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Mat 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Monday, January 14, 2008
-SHMULEY BOTEACH , The Jerusalem Post
Psa 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
(Postscript: On of my readers, Mike McM., sent this to me. I thought it would be a great postscript for these photos-
Subject: A Dog's Purpose (from a 6-year-old)
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."
Remember, if a dog were the teacher you would learn things like.......
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Take naps.Stretch before rising.Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY)
Saturday, January 12, 2008
the lion chaser's manifesto
Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshipping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion!
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Warren is 2007 'Sexiest Preacher Alive'
"The Wittenburg Door has released its choice for 2007 Sexiest Preacher Alive, and it's Rick Warren, the 50-something, seeker-friendly love god of evangelicalism."
This may not do much for you, but for an old, overweight, balding pastor this is heartwarming news! This article made my day....there's hope for me!
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Lord, thank you for all you have done for us even when we don't say "thank you." Thank you for your amazing love that changes our lives forever. Thank you for forgiveness...that amazing grace so richly given and so clearly undeserved. Thank you for food today. So many are hungry, and we are not. Thank you for clothes, and a place to stay. Thank you for holding us together every moment. Thank you for thinking about us. We are so blessed. There are not enough pages to write about all that you do for us. So much of it we simply take for granted. Thank you most of all for your son, Jesus Christ, who gave himself to provide for us the life and eternity we could never attain on our own. We are so blessed...thank you.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
This is one of them.
The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer is one of the most important books you will read. I try to read it at least once a year. This little book of 117 pages focuses on the attibutes of God. Tozer does a wonderful job teaching who God is and what he is like. It's an inspiring work.
If you have never read it I encourage you to get a copy and read it at least once a year. You will find that it will change how you view almost everything!
I had taken this post down for lack of response, but was told by one reader, "I'm still thinking about it." So let me repost this photo. As you know if you read this blog, photos are part of the inspiration (see "Ripples" below). So, I want to invite you to write the story or devotional with this photo as your inspiration. I will leave it up this time, response or not, so have fun. I'm looking forward to your ideas.
Psa 37:2 For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb.
Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Psa 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psa 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
Psa 37:6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday.
Psa 37:7 Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Psa 37:8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
Psa 37:9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Saturday, January 05, 2008
A few years ago one of our men, Ron, drove by our church and noticed that someone had run over a skunk right in front of the church driveway. He thought, "someone should do something about that." And off he drove not thinking another thing about it.
The next day, as Ron drove by the church once more, there was the skunk still lying right in front of the church driveway. He told me later that once again he thought, "I wish someone would do something about that skunk," but he knew it wasn't him so off he drove without another thought.
He said that this skunk in the driveway of the church really bothered him, and he was upset that no one had moved it....Sunday was coming and it would really "cause a stink" for those coming to church.
Saturday night he went to bed as usual, but at about 2 AM Sunday morning he was startled awake by a voice that said to him, "YOU move the skunk." He told me later he had always wanted to hear from the Lord, but he never expected this to be the message. But in obedience he got up, dressed, got his shovel and went to the church and moved the skunk at 2 AM Sunday morning.
We all see things in our world that should be done by someone. "Someone should do something about that," we say and off we go to live our lives, but the truth of it is that if you noticed what needs to be done you are the one to do it. A servant doesn't wait for that "someone" to come along, they simply "take care of the skunk." This little story is a true one. Ron tells the story so much better than I do, so on behalf of Ron let me encourage you to be that someone so the Lord doesn't have to wake you up at 2 AM on a Sunday morning.
Friday, January 04, 2008
It doesn't take much to make a ripple in your life or in the life of another. A little touch ripples through you and out into your world and causes other ripples that extend out to touch the lives of those around you.
I'm in the business of helping people deal with the ripples of life. Often the people most affected didn't make the ripples, but now they have been touched by them, affected by them and they have to decide what to do about it. It always amazes me how much damage little ripples make...an unkind word, a mean look, a thoughtless comment......there are hundreds of ripples we could add to this list. They seem so small, so insignificant, what damage could they possibly do? And yet ripples gradually mold us, affect us, change us.
Yesterday I spent about 4 hours talking to people who are struggling with the results of ripples...what an interesting phrase...the results of ripples. Little things that make a big difference in a life.
For one it was the thoughtless actions of a mate over many years that have gradually worn down his love. For another it was a sin of a relative that has affected his whole family in a way that will ripple down several generations.
You may have ripple damage in your life...little ripples that have touched you and affected you so that now they seem like they were waves, harsh crushing waves, meant to hurt. But for the one who started the ripple it was just a small thing, nothing meant, they have already forgotten about it.
To the one who caused it...a ripple, to the one who felt it...a crushing wave that they haven't forgotten to this day. They may still hurt from the sting of your ripple.
Let me offer a simple remedy, some ripple control if you wish, that has directed my life and one I must often remind myself of. It's the solution to ripple damage-
John 13:34 "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another.
John 13:35 This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples--when they see the love you have for each other."
These are amazing words to me. They speak of something I simply cannot do on my own. I must depend on Christ to do it in and through me....to love as he loved. I often find myself praying, "Lord, I can't, will you do it through me?" And he always does. If we could ever see people the way God does it would change our lives forever! Living in his love, and then loving others because of the love we have received would turn all of our ripples into calm waters, lives that easily reflect his image in us to those around us.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Every year, Australia hosts an 875-kilometer endurance race from Sydney to Melbourne - considered to be the world’s longest and toughest ultra-marathon. It’s a long, tough race that takes five days and normally participated in by world-class athletes who train specially for the event. Backed by big names in sports like Nike, these athletes are mostly less than 30 years old men and women equipped with the most expensive sponsored training outfits and shoes.