Friday, July 31, 2009

A site you should visit


A friend of mine, Larry Burns, has just started blogging. I encourage you to stop by his site and read his thoughts. This is a blog you should add to your list. Here's his site- THE REMEDY. And, Larry, thanks for the time this morning. I really enjoy our visits.

"Dragging idols" revisited


This morning I'm reading Acts 7. It's the testimony of Stephen as he stands trial for his faith. In his testimony he recites the history of Israel and part of it reminded me of a post I wrote almost two years ago. Here are Stephen's words and a few comments and then a reprint of the post I wrote in 2007. Sometimes we need to be reminded...
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Act 7:41 "At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands.
Act 7:42 "But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, 'IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL?
Act 7:43 'YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA, THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP.'
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Although Israel was removed from Egypt, Egypt had not been removed from Israel. They took Egypt with them! God had to do a lot to pry their hands off of their idols. What does he have to do to get us to let go of ours? As a Christian I have been taken out of the world by the saving work of Christ, but has the world been taken out of me? Often I realize it hasn't. Often I find myself an idol worshipper. Here's what I wrote about this in 2007-
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"In part of my reading this morning I'm in Ezekiel. I came to chapter 20:7-8 and read these words, "I said to them, 'Cast away, each of you, the detestable things of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.' But they rebelled against Me and were not willing to listen to Me; they did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt."
It made me stop for a moment....I never read that in Exodus, but here in Ezekiel God is telling us they drug their idols through the desert for 40 years and would not let them go. After all they saw God do, how he provided for them, how he cared for them, they still drug along those worthless idols for 40 years.
I wondered....what idols am I dragging around? What am I holding onto after all I have seen God do? What "false gods" will I not let go of? Is there anything that I will not "cast away" because God thinks it's detestable? And, why don't I view it as detestable too? These are just some thoughts running through my mind. I know I do it....I know I'm "dragging idols." What are they? And am I willing to cast them away like worthless trash? How do I get God's view on all of this?
Lord, show me what idols I'm dragging around. Help me to see them as you do. Help me to cast them away...don't let me be a rebel too......."
...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The sky is falling!


I am getting dozens of e-mails daily from Christian people who are in a Chicken Little panic over the direction and fate of our country. I am honestly surprised and amazed at the panic I read in these notes. It's as if God were no longer in control and unless we do something NOW our lives and our country will come to a horrible end.
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Let me reassure you that the sky is NOT falling. Things are not out of control. There is a God in the heavens and he is in control. And, let me make this bold statement- if we spent as much time in prayer as we are spending to send e-mails to everyone we know we would do far more good and make a much bigger impact! Sadly, Christians believe that their biggest impact is achieved by signing petitions, sending e-mails, calling their senators, but the truth is that our biggest impact is achieved on our knees in prayer to the sovereign God of the universe.
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God writes much about this. I could post a dozen verses that would deal with this topic, but here are two that I depend on as I watch the world around me. And, before you read them, let me reassure you that the sky is not falling, the God of the universe is fully in control and working for our good and his glory.
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2 Chronicles 7:14 and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
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Psalm 29:10 The LORD sat as King at the flood; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An amazing man


I just started reading the book of Job. It's a very interesting book. I'm fascinated by this man, Job. He stands out in the book as a man different in his time. Here are the opening words to the book,
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Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.
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This is an amazing guy! The opening commentary about him tells us about his life. He had, somewhere in his life, made some choices about his walk with God. His choices had become part of who he was....blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. I am impressed by a life that reflects these choices and this relationship with God.
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Then we come to an encounter in heaven when Satan shows up before the throne. The words of God caught my attention. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I had not "seen" this before,
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Job 1:8 The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."
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Did you see it? Here are the words that caught my attention- "there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." How did this man become this man? What happened in his life that he gets this commentary- there is no one like him on the earth? Those very words amaze me! Of all the people on the planet at that time this is the only man who is blameless, upright and fears God? A man who turns away from evil...he's the only one? WOW! I have no idea how many there were on the earth at this time, but even if it's only a few million how did this one man come to this place in his life to get this commentary from God? And, sadly, how come he's the only one? What a poor commentary on the human race (and an interesting insight into his friends who are on their way to visit him).
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As I think about Job my thoughts race to the present. I know, because of Christ and his sacrifice on the cross, my sins are forgiven, but the heart of Job goes much further than forgiven and cleansed. He made a choice, he did something in his life that made him unique in his time, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil. That very commentary catches my mind and passions. I want to be like that. I want that heart of Job that stands out in his generation and brings him up in discussions in heaven. I'm not there now, but I'm challenged by these very words of commentary on a solitary and amazing man.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Life changes


And then.....it's funny how life changes. It's never static. We are creatures who love and hate the changes of life all at the same time. It creates real problems for us as life passes....we face changes we can't control, but must deal with. That reality is most evident to our culture today as the economy changes, people lose their jobs, marriages implode and everything is shaken. We have a new "and then" in our lives. Joye's mom just moved down to live with us. It's a very difficult life change for her. Like so many coming to the last decades of life she is thinking through the loss of her independence and choices. It's hard. We begin our adult lives with great plans and hopes "and then" something happens, a change comes, a job ends, a relationship is over, and our lives change. There's always an "and then" waiting for us around the next corner. For those who think they have their lives settled and finances in order there will be an "and then" that will change their plans. Nothing is sure here. Everything in our lives is constantly changing. The only sure thing is our relationship with God and our hope ahead. In this live "and then" is our constant companion. Let me encourage you with a slight rewrite of James words from his book:
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James 1:2-5 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when "and then" moments come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it.
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Monday's cartoon



Sunday, July 26, 2009

Finishing another year

At the end of the month I will have finished three years writing this blog. That's a total of 1,389 posts so far. It's been fun at times, inspiring at other times and often frustrating. You have been most kind to read and respond to my thoughts and add your own.

Thank you all for following my ramblings. In recent days I have been very busy and my content has been light, but I hope to have some time to write in the days ahead. Thank you for your encouragement and friendship as we walk with God together.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Life without TV


Well, it's day two without television. Strange. Without thinking I've reached for the remote several times only to stop myself when I remember that it's dead. But to be honest, the silence is really nice. All I can hear is the clock on the mantle ticking and the jets overhead. It's quiet. But I'm not used to it. Like everyone else in our culture I'm used to noise as a 24 hour companion.
I remember my first exposure to television when my parents got their first set. It was black and white. Rabbit ear antenna on top. Fuzzy picture, but there on the screen was a football game. It was magical. We watched Gunsmoke every week. My dad loved and still loves westerns. I've been an addict for these last 55 years and can't imagine how anyone lived before television, but honestly...it really nice not having it on. I could grow to like this.....

Certainty

A friend of mine is a missionary in Europe. We met for lunch last week while he's home on furlough and had a great time talking about God's work, our ministries and what's going on in the world. It was really interesting to hear him talk about faith in Europe today. He said, "It's no longer "ok" to be certain about what you believe. That is the new politically incorrect thing- certainty." I have been thinking about this for a week now and so tonight I looked up the word. Here's what it means:

...Certainty-the mental state of being without doubt.
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This is political correctness taken to it's logical end. You can believe whatever you wish, and that's fine with those around you, but you dare not be certain of what you believe. To be convinced that your belief is correct is no longer acceptable in Europe.

This makes sense in a postmodern world. The last thing to be destroyed is the certainty of faith. Once your faith is undermined, then your certainty of that faith would be an insult to the culture that says all views are correct, no one religion has a claim to absolute truth. I can see the first signs of this in our country. It will take a while for us to feel the pressure on our certainty, but if history repeats itself then we will soon feel the ridicule of culture for the certainty we cherish. But even if my friend is right I will not abandon my faith or my certainty to a culture that has neither..

Hebrews 11:1- Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Impossible solutions


I took this photo while we were in Africa recently. It's an amazing shot because no one has ever caught a giraffe up a tree before. Just kidding, it's not a real photo....but it illustrates how silly we are at times. For a giraffe the solution to danger is a high view of the landscape and good legs to run. They would not and cannot climb trees. But, as funny as it might look, we humans do something that looks just as silly- we try to figure things out about our lives, the world and our very existence without trusting in or acknowledging God. It's as impossible and improbable as a giraffe up a tree. We were designed to be in relationship and dependence upon God and we are not functioning properly unless we are. Without God our solutions look funny, like a giraffe up a tree, but with God the solutions are natural and dependent on him. Man living without God comes up with impossible solutions, but with God all things are possible.

Man's plans and God's results



I'm in the middle of the book of Esther and each time I read this book I am fascinated by how God is working to bring about his results in spite of man's plans. Specifically I'm talking about Haman (boooooo...ask a Jewish friend about this). He is the Prime Minister of the kingdom and is able to do what he wishes....even to the apparent demise of the Jewish people in this kingdom. BUT GOD.....I always love it when those two words show up in the bible (these two words aren't in the text of Esther, but you can see them clearly on every page of the story)...BUT GOD...and then watch as he works, in spite of man's plans, to bring about his results and his glory. I already know the end of the story, but at the point I'm reading it seems that all is lost for the Jewish nation. It's a great story to remind me of how God can literally move heaven and earth to bring about his results even in the darkest of days.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just thinking


Our TV died tonight. Yes, it's gone...funeral tomorrow. I guess I'm just cheap, but we still have one of those old picture tube models. It just couldn't take it anymore and tonight it wouldn't even turn on....I guess that it finally had enough. I've looked at all the "new fangled" flat screen models and they are sure nice. The picture on those screens is amazing. Ours was still the old, low resolution, lines across the screen model. In fact, we've heard about this HD stuff, but thought we would wait until they perfected it.....so tonight I'm thinking about what to do. I have a repair man coming out to look at the old girl, but I'm sure he will tell us it's over. I'm not too bothered by this really. To be honest, there isn't much on TV anymore anyway. I'm not old enough yet to have the weather channel as my favorite, but I do like to watch current events, news, history, and information programs. I know, like most people, we watch too much TV, but maybe this is a chance to make some changes. It sure in quiet in the house tonight......

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Settling for less


I find that I do this often...I don't do it on purpose, but I do it none the less...I, once more, have found myself settling for less than I know God wants for me. It's like a "V8 moment" when I realize what I have done. I could have had joy instead of happiness. I could have had time with God instead of a time of worry. I could have had peace instead of an anxious heart. I could have had..... I have done this so often, with such a regularity, that I know I will do it again, but I'm always disappointed with myself when I realize I have done it once more. God wants so much more for me than I enjoy. So, once more, this morning I find myself repenting. Not for any sin. That's not what repentance is always about. Repentance means to turn and go in a completely different direction. So, once more I get my spiritual map out and change my directions, repent, and get back on the path I want to follow. It's a path that starts with a relationship with God and from that relationship comes all the rest. It's so simple I easily seek other things and lose out on God's best. So, once more....a new direction....a refocus and a humble walk back to my relationship with God. There will be much behind me that I have focused on that will call out to me....needing my attention. It will be hard to ignore all those things and simply walk with God, but I must. The rest will work out.
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Mat 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

God's work among us

I got to meet with two different pastor friends today and an old friend who has moved to east Texas. Each of these visits was great. Each of the pastors has problems and issues they are working through. Their problems and situations are different, so are their denominations, but they are both seeking to follow God as they lead their churches. My old friend is part of one of these ministries. He's an elder in his church, teaches Sunday school and is a valuable leader. Each of these men is so different, but each of them is serving God in amazing ways. As I was coming home today I thought about my visits with these 3 men. It made me think about the book of Esther. I know, they aren't connected at all, except for this...Esther and my friends are all trying to follow God and serve him. Sometimes we don't see God working, but he is. Sometimes we ask what his plan is for us, but that unfolds in His time, not ours. Each of us lives out life in the middle of moments that leave us unable to see God's big picture, but he's painting it. He's working. In each life it looks different. In each ministry his plan is specific, yes it will all be for his glory, but he uses all kinds of men and women to accomplish his work. It's such a blessing to see God working in the lives around me. I can't wait to see what he does in each of these lives because they are each an example of God's work among us.

Monday's cartoon


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Billy Mclaughlin

I'm still amazed at what I heard and enjoyed tonight at church. Here is some of Billy's work. I think he was even better tonight.

Quote of the day


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Darwin

A new movie is coming out on the life of Charles Darwin. This is a brief trailer for the movie. It's amazing the impact on culture and the world this one man has had. It's amazing how his thoughts, only theories really, have changed the way our whole culture believes. It's amazing to me that so few realize the leap of faith they must make to believe in evolution. So now, here we are, with two clear systems of faith- one believing there is a God who made everything, and the other believing it all just happened with the help of the god of chance. For me, in case you wondered, I have made my leap of faith and believe a sovereign God made everything, and I even take it further, I believe he made it just as he said he did...in 6 days. Crazy, you may say, but may I say that to believe all of this amazing universe simply happened by accident is an even greater leap of faith than the one I make. So, here I stand, in conflict with the science of the day believing in a God who made everything. It's a step of faith I gladly make because he has proven himself to exist and he has proven his word to be faithful.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Everything I need to know...


One of our ladies brought me a framed picture with this photo and list. I liked it, thought you might too.
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Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Noah's Ark
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One- Don't miss the boat.
Two- Remember that we are all in the same boat.
Three- Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
Four- Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
Five- Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
Six- Build your future on high ground.
Seven- For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
Eight- Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
Nine- When you're stressed, float a while.
Ten- Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
Eleven- No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Happy Anniversary!


Some things should never happen, but they do. Spongebob SquarePants has been on television for 10 years! Being a grandfather I have watched EVERY episode of Spongebob OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!
Just writing about it is making me nervous. Mr. Crabs, Patrick, Plankton, and Squidward have become part of our lives. It's the price we pay to be parents and grandparents- stinky diapers and Spongebob!
In fact, on our recent trip to Iowa, I listened to the Spongebob movie at least 4 times!
So, my point? There are some things in life that make others happy and us miserable. It's true. My grandchildren can sit for hours watching Spongebob and as I sit with them I feel my brain turning to mush. But I watch it because they love it, I love them and I love being with them. It's one of the sacrifices of life. It's something we do because we love those around us. Love bears all things according to Paul in 1 Corinthians. I never imagined that would include Spongebob SquarePants!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Observation for the day

I'm reading in Leviticus right now and it suddenly struck me....

God is not now, nor has he ever been, politically correct.

And for that I'm eternally grateful!

A question from the bleachers

Here's a good question for discussion from the bleachers. Let me throw it out for your thoughts. I have a lot to say on this topic, but will wait for your thoughts. Here's my friend's question-

Mike,

As a Christian that loves to argue the fine and unimportant issues of Christian life I came to a question that I have no good answer for. On the question of 'faith versus works' I am strongly on the faith side. The real issue then becomes "how much understanding of the true God makes my faith valid?". I am not looking for a one-on-one explanation of this question, but I am putting it out as a question for your blog, or possibly a sermon topic. God tells us that we can never fully understand Him while we are still in the flesh, so is the knowledge of God through His work in creation, with faith that He will provide for my eternal needs enough?

Always questioning and never fully knowledgeable Mike McM

Ok, readers, have at it and have fun....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A funny moment...


Last night, as we were coming home from dinner with friends, Joye and I both broke out laughing at the same time when, in front of us, we saw a pickup truck with a dog in back. The dog turned to look at us and to our surprise the dog was wearing bright green goggles. It's funny when moments like this happen. Unexpected moments. It's great to have moments to laugh. Life gets far too serious at times, so a dog with bright green goggles was just what we needed at the moment and it was completely unexpected. I'm glad to have funny moments to celebrate.

Top 10 reasons


There is something very interesting about the top 10 reasons young adults drop out of church....the reasons haven't changed much since I was in my 20's. Some may disagree with me, but I don't see a lot of difference from the reasons I heard nearly 40 years ago. So I wonder...is it ultimately just a heart issue? I know there are things about the church that we must change and work on, but even if we had the music just right. Even if the pastor was the best teacher, best guy in the world. Even if all things were perfect I don't think these reasons would change that much. I wonder...is it ultimately a heart issue?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday's cartoon


Quote of the day


“The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past …
Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

-Harry A. Ironside, from the sermon: What Is The Gospel?

Home


What a great word "home" is. It speaks of a place to rest, to be yourself, to come back to. We are finally home. The drive back was an ordeal. Nearly 15 hours in all, but we finally made it back home.....to a hot house that needs some air conditioner work, but we are home. It's great. The time with my parents to celebrate their 60th anniversary was wonderful. I'm so glad we went. It won't happen in many generations after theirs, but to be married 60 years is an amazing thing to me. We really enjoyed our time in Iowa and the short visit with family. But there's nothing like home. So, time for a little rest, an air conditioner guy to visit and then back to work. Here's a photo of the "mob" of great-grand children as we celebrated with my parents.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

God's plan


Imagine being part of God's plan and the unveiling of his son to the world. Imagine that until your part is revealed you think your life and situation is a curse from God. How different things look when God shows up to tell us what he's up to. How different things look when you know what God's plan is. Here's a story about a man who lived most of his life thinking he was cursed by God only to discover he was part of God's amazing plan to reveal his son.
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Here's part of his story-
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John 9:1-3 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him."
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I'm sure this man heard the discussion between Jesus and his disciples. I'm sure it's a discussion he had heard many times. To be born blind was considered a curse from God because of sin. Since he was born this way there was the question of who sinned- he, before he was born or his parents. This kind of thing was seen as a curse, a punishment. He lived his life with the belief that he was being punished by God, but had no idea why. Then he hears these word- "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him." What a revelation! It wasn't sin, it was God's plan! He's part of God's plan. Suddenly his view of his life and purpose completely changes. Suddenly hope begins to grow. And shortly he will see for the first time. He's part of God's plan to reveal the Messiah to the world. Now the question- Would you say "yes" to this plan if given the choice? Would you say, "Yes, Lord, give me blindness for 40 years so you can reveal your son to the world and be glorified by it."
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Do you realize you are part of God's amazing plan for the world. Your problems, your life, your situation are all things that God can and will use to bring him glory. He has a plan. He plans to be glorified in the world. Will you say "yes" to your part in his amazing plan? You may not know today what God is doing, it may be years before it's all made clear....before you really see what he's doing, but while the darkness exists will you trust him? Will you put your 'yes' on the table and allow him to work in your life?
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This man's story is an amazing one. It's in the 9th chapter of John. If you have time read his entire story. He does say yes to God's plan for him and is wonderfully saved. Some day you will see him in heaven. Make sure you sit down with him and talk to him about his life and his part in God's plan. I think you will find he was thrilled to be blind for those years so Jesus could be revealed to the world as Messiah. Will you put your 'yes' on the table for God to work out his amazing plan in your life?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thoughts from the gospel of John


I'm reading through the gospel of John and came to the end of chapter 7 and beginning of chapter 8 and I find these two contrasting verses-

7:53 Everyone went to his home.

Then, beginning chapter 8 is this contrast-

8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

This contrast is so obvious I am always caught by it as I read through these verses. Clearly, the Jewish leaders go home to a warm bed and roof over their heads, but what a contrast....Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. The implication is clear. He slept on the mount, possibly in the garden, without a bed, without a roof.

The reason this catches my attention is the dramatic contrast of these two verses. The very creator of the universe, the Lord of heaven and earth is sleeping in a garden while his opponents are home asleep in bed, warm and dry. I cannot escape the amazing contrast of these two verses and the people involved. I cannot escape how much Jesus gave up to come and save us. I cannot imagine how humble Jesus was to do all of this, to sleep in a garden, to lay aside his throne to become a human being and ultimately die to save us. It's an amazing contrast.

Personally, I'm most grateful that Jesus humbled himself in this way. It's such an amazing example to me. To humble himself and serve me in this way leaves me grateful and challenged to follow his example as a servant.

Just a few thoughts from two short verses.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Time passes so quickly


I couldn't believe it. As we drove by the city square of the town I grew up in music was coming from the gazebo in the center of the square. It's Thursday night, summer music in the park night. What a flashback! I was in this same gazebo playing music on Thursday nights more than 40 years ago. We stopped, sat on a park bench, and listened to music. 40 years passses so quickly. What an experience.

Balancing truth and arrogance


I saw this cartoon a few days ago and immediately understood the message. It's far too easy to find truth and then, without even realizing it, become arrogant about the truth we have found. This is a problem in any arena, but I've seen it far too often in Christian circles. I pray that I will be able to humbly share the truth of what I have found in God's word without an attitude of arrogance. It's a natural trap for the faith and one we must intentionally avoid.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

While I've been gone...

It's the end of a long day of driving and I'm exhausted! This morning, at 3:30am, Joye and I hoped in the van, picked up the kids at 4am and headed for Iowa. 800 miles later, with more stops for bathrooms than I can count, we are finally here. Traveling with four small children will make a long trip into a series of short trips with numerous visits to all the best restrooms along the way.

Why are we here you ask? My parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this week and we came up to be with them for this wonderful celebration. My dad is 83 and mom is 78. We didn't want to miss this time with them and so we are here. We saw my parents for a bit tonight and then to the motel for some rest. I'm really excited to be here with them and I consider myself very blessed to have my parents still living and married to each other after all these years. I know this is most rare these days.

While I've been gone I also noticed I have missed a number of good discussions on a previous post. Thanks, Brandon, for doing all my work for me. I appreciate you, brother. Thanks for your sweet spirit and for doing such a wonderful job defending the faith.

Ok, exhaustion has set in. Some rest tonight, a flat tire to fix in the morning and then off to the celebration with my wonderful parents.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

What is Christian Apologetics? Defending "THE" Faith - BibleOrTraditions

Here's a great introduction to apologetics. I really like the way Dr. Morey introduces the topic.

What questions about the Christian faith have you heard or had to answer recently?

Monday, July 06, 2009

You won't believe this....


The marketing of Christianity has finally reached its peak (or should I say its valley). Now you can purchase a PERSONALIZED bible. Here's an example of what it looks like-



John 5:24
Mike has passed from death to life in Christ. Most assuredly I tell you, if Mike hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, Mike has eternal life, and doesn't come into judgment, but he has passed out of death into life.

Rom. 3:24
Mike has been justified through grace. Mike is justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Rom. 5:1
Mike has been justified, completely forgiven, made righteous, and has peace. Being therefore justified by faith, Mike has peace with God through his Lord, Jesus Christ.

I'm not sure who thought of this idea, but it takes marketing Christianity to a whole new level. The problem for me is that God's word is not all about me, it's all about HIM.
For someone to put my name in the text like this is just plain wrong! I am amazed that someone would think this is a good idea and market it, but they have.....just thought you would want to know.

Thanks, Dave


Our anniversary was a few months ago, but we waited until our recent mission trip to get a photo taken for our 35th anniversary. Our friend, Dave, took this photo of Joye and I while we were in Kenya. It's hard to believe we have been married for 35 years, but it's been great to spend my years with such a wonderful friend and partner. So, thanks Dave for taking such a great photo of an old guy and his pretty wife.

Monday's cartoon


I wonder....how often do miracles happen in our lives and we don't even notice, we don't even stop to see how amazing God's work is in our lives. I wonder...how many miracles God has done in my life that I have completely missed. I know there will be a day when our eyes will be opened to see all that God has done. I think we will be amazed.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The race begins...


It's the 4th of July for us in the US, but in Monaco this morning the Tour de France begins. It's my favorite sporting event. I look forward to July and the beginning of the tour. For the next three weeks 180 amazing athletes will bicycle across France to try to win an impossible race. And, for a little more excitement, Lance Armstrong is back to race this year. It should be an interesting race!

Have a great 4th!


Today we celebrate the birth of our country. What an amazing place this is! What a great freedom we have to worship God and follow him as we wish. That may change in the days ahead, but what a wonderful heritage we have. I'm grateful to God that he placed us in this time, in this place and saved us as well to be part of his amazing plan for the ages. So, as you relax and celebrate this best of American holidays do take a moment and thank God for the freedoms we enjoy and often take for granted.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Spice and life


I'm so glad that God did not make life boring! I'm so glad he made problems for us to deal with, challenges to overcome, struggles to wrestle with, issues to face. I'm glad he made life rich with flavor.
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Can you imagine life without spices in it? Eggs without salt? Ice tea without sugar? Indian food without curry? Mexican food without HOT? Imagine food without onion. Garlic. Cinnamon. Pepper. Sage and a hundred other spices and flavors that add so much to our lives. How boring it would be to live without salt. How sad to eat Mexican food without HOT. Indian food just wouldn't be the same without curry. Spice in our lives is taken for granted, but let me change the spice a little and then ask these same questions.
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How boring would life be without needs to seek satisfaction, questions to ask God, problems to resolve, challenges to work on together, things in our lives that demand we trust God. Imagine how boring life would be if we had no spice, no problems or issues to deal with. Imagine if there was no need to pray, to ask for God's help. Imagine if we had all we needed and everything went well....where's the opportunity to trust God...to see him work in our lives? Where's the challenge to overcome? Where's the spice to flavor our lives? All of these things- needs, problems, challenges, health issues, questions, financial crisis, struggles and a hundred other things are spices that flavor our lives and drive us to God for his help, his care and his provision. They flavor us.
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So, when the trials of life become part of your days welcome then as fine spices to flavor and season you. Invite them in as friends who give you opportunity to trust God and make you depend on him more. Take the trials and challenges of your life and allow them to season who you are and make you even more dependent on God who provides us with all things richly. Welcome the spices of life and say boldly, "How wonderful, another opportunity to trust God and see him work in my life!" A well seasoned life is not an easy one, but it's never boring. And when it's all done you will be wonderfully flavored and rich with the spices of God's work flowing through your veins.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Water in dry places


I find myself a little dry once more. Inspiration is elusive, thoughts are scattered, and the body is tired. I find that, once more, I'm reading the bible and not getting much from my time in the word. This is something I experience in my walk with God at different times. It's quite common. I feel that I'm in a desolate place wishing for water, spiritual water. I know this is a common thing. I know this will only last for a short time, so I continue to read God's word, pray and walk with God. Whether I am really experiencing a dry time or simply tired I know I need to keep going. This is no place to stop. And so, as I have done many times before, I press on, I continue to walk with God, read his word and pray. Keep going, don't stop here....rain will come soon, refreshment is near. God will not leave me thirsty for long.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Every man


Since our trip to Africa I've been thinking often of one person. He was a homeless man who "lived" on a spot of dirt near our hotel. His spot of dirt was beside the dump where he foraged each morning.

Each morning, on our way to meetings, I would look out toward the field and see this picture....this homeless man sitting on his spot of dirt after a long night sleeping in that same spot.

I've thought about him often because he is burned into my mind as an image of the hopelessness of the human race without God.....living in rags, claiming a spot of dirt to rest on, eating garbage, with no hope and no future, but only more of the same mind-numbing routine.

We do dress nicer, our spot of dirt is a little more comfortable, we do eat better, but this man is, in my mind, the poster child for the human race.....holding onto rags, living for nothing, looking forward to the same thing day after day, without hope.

Using this man as a picture of us in the west, with our clean clothes, nice homes and good food may be repulsed by some, but if you think about it for a moment the only difference is circumstance. Everything else is the same. Without God the only difference is the packaging and the place. Without God the only future is despair and depression. Without God there is no purpose or plan. So, let me introduce you to "every man". He lives in Kilifi, Kenya, but he may be your neighbor next door as well. Without God there's no reason to do anything more than just exist.