Wednesday, June 30, 2010
It's taken me nearly a month to work through N.T. Wright's new book, After you believe. I have taken some time with this work because it is so good. Many of the pages have almost every word underlined in red. It's been a challenging book and very inspirational, but it is not an easy read. If you are looking for something that will challenge your faith I recommend this book. If you want an easy read avoid this one at all cost! I only have a few pages left, but I loved this book!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Happy Father's Day!
For one day a year we celebrate dads. A card. A hug. A phone call. A smile. A thought.
May I take a moment and thank my dad for his wonderful example of hard work, godly living and care for us through many years. I'm glad my dad is still a part of my life. He's struggling with health issues, but makes the best of his life. I got to be with him a month ago for his 84th birthday. It was great to see him.
As a dad and granddad myself, I hope I leave behind a good memory and model in the lives of those I care about in the years ahead. For all a man does being a dad is the most difficult, most important and most rewarding task we have. We are called to show our kids what God is like, how he feels about them. Our impact on our children is bigger than we know.
So, for all you dads...Happy Father's Day! Live your life with the realization that your children learn what God is like by watching you. Live well and have a great day!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
1:20 PM Sunday Jun 13, 2010
For almost 50 years Don Ritchie has used simple kindness to shepherd countless suicidal people away from the edge of The Gap.
SYDNEY - In those bleak moments when the lost souls stood atop the cliff, wondering whether to jump, the sound of the wind and the waves was broken by a soft voice. "Why don't you come and have a cup of tea?" the stranger would ask. And when they turned to him, his smile was often their salvation.
For almost 50 years, Don Ritchie has lived across the street from Australia's most notorious suicide spot, a rocky cliff at the entrance to Sydney Harbour called The Gap. And in that time, the man widely regarded as a guardian angel has shepherded countless people away from the edge.
What some consider grim, Ritchie considers a gift. How wonderful, the former life insurance salesman says, to save so many. How wonderful to sell them life.
"You can't just sit there and watch them," says Ritchie, now 84, perched on his beloved green leather chair, from which he keeps a watchful eye on the cliff outside. "You gotta try and save them. It's pretty simple." - AP (Full story here)
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I know you have heard this already and if you have been listening this is not a surprise. It's been clear that our president has not been honest with his nation. What does that mean for us as Christians? Nothing at all. We still need to trust the Lord. We know God puts leaders in place for his purposes. Our job, as Christians, is to love God, live a life pleasing to him and love our neighbors. Regardless of what happens around us our job does not change. Don't panic, don't worry, trust the God who made heaven and earth.
It's exciting living in the last days, isn't it?
Monday, June 14, 2010
Travelers Insurance has made a wonderful commercial I know you will see. We loved the commercial. It shows a reality we don't know now, but will see someday. For the Christian it speaks of a day....a day very soon when all of creation will be at peace. I know you will enjoy this cute commercial.
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
"There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works." -Stephen Hawking (in an interview with Diane Sawyer)
"Science will win because it works." As Stephen Hawking's computer put voice to his words he attempted a smile. This is a fascinating statement from one of the most brilliant men of our time.
I agree with Stephen's statement...except for the last sentence, "Science will win because it works." On this one point I must disagree. Please indulge me for a moment with some basic thoughts and simple questions....
1. Why is there a battle for truth between religion and science that is only resolved in a winner and a loser? Is this how others view it? A battle? A winner and loser?
2. Is Stephen admitting that the goal of science is to "win?"
3. Is the only test for victory "because it works?" Do the men of science really think this way? If so, that is sad indeed. I thought scientists were thinkers not pragmatists. "Because it works?" Really?
4. Is Stephen really trying to declare that "because it works" is the test for truth and reality for science? Obviously not. It's not the measure of truth. For him it's simply the way to discover who wins. At least that is his hope.
These are simple questions. There are more questions I would like to pursue, but these will get the discussion going. Here are some thoughts I would like to propose for this discussion:
God says the evidence for his existence and power is the cosmos itself. He declares that creation talks about him. In fact, God says he made all of this. If things "work" it's proof that he exists, not that science is right or that science has won.
Science is in a mad dash to "win" (whatever that means to them) in this battle between religion and science. I would counter that there is no battle. The "war" has already been won and been won not by religion, but by God himself. Science is simply now discovering what God had done, what God has made. It's God who has already declared himself the winner over all others. Here's his statement to the scientific world on their quest to win:
1 Why are the nations so angry?
4 But the one who rules in heaven laughs.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
I read passages like this and have trouble taking it all in. We, you and I, are part of what God is doing in our day. His plan began with Jesus, then the apostles, and now....now "he's using you!" Do you realize how big that is? Now he's using you to be part of his grand and amazing plan. For me that is almost overwhelming. How could the God who needs nothing use me? What could I possibly add to his amazing work? And yet, as I read the bible, he is weaving us into his plans and the unfolding of his salvation to the world. It's amazing!
"Now he is using you..." That little phrase reminded me of the 10th chapter of Acts. In this amazing chapter, where God invites the first Gentiles to salvation, we see the work that God goes to so that he can make us part of his work and plans. It's amazing! There is the Holy Spirit moving, angels showing up, visions happening, messages from God to Peter....all so that he can include us in this work. He wants us, you and I, involved in his amazing plan for these last days. We are part of his plans. So, the question for me is simple, "Lord, what are your orders for me?" I want to be part of what you are doing. What do you want me to do?
Monday, June 07, 2010
I've been thinking about this for a while....so let me share my thoughts with you as they have developed so far. Now, if you find fault with the conclusions I have come to I would love your thoughts. This is a project that is still in the works. Ok, ready?
One the great battles of our day has been the battle for truth. It has been a cultural battle that we seem to have lost for the moment. For centuries truth was universally accepted by nearly everyone as being a common possession of mankind and there was agreement about what truth was. Now that has changed. Now truth is personal, emotional, individual. Truth is no longer a universally agreed upon reality in our culture. (Let me insert this one caveat at this point- truth, true truth is unchanged, what I'm speaking about is truth as defined by our culture.)
One of the things that happens as you destroy the foundations of reality, truth being the first, is that other things fall as well. It's like a row of dominoes that begin to fall and the cascade of one falling on the next brings them all down. The demise of truth in our day has a "domino effect." The next domino that has begun to fall is knowledge. Now, you might ask, "how could knowledge fall?" But it has. Now, like truth, knowledge is no longer universal, now it's personal. I can believe something about both truth and knowledge and completely disagree with you, but still defend what I believe is right. We call this world views, but what I am seeing is the subtle erosion of knowledge as a result of the loss of truth. Now in our day, knowledge doesn't need evidence, it's personal.
So, I come to a question I have used often in days past and think I will be using much more in the days ahead, "How do you know that?" It's a question that deals with the heart of the dogmatic statements of our day. For example I have often heard this as a statement of truth, but beyond that it's a statement of knowledge, here's the statement- "There is no God!" This is a statement of belief by the person declaring it, but it's much more. It's a truth statement and a statement of declared knowledge. So I ask, "How do you know that?" How do you know there is no God? Have you traveled to every corner of the cosmos? Have you been to every dimension of time and reality? How do you KNOW there is no God? YOU DON'T! But your belief about truth has made you bold in your statement about knowledge and so the atheist declares "there is no God."
In the fall of truth the next casualty is the demise of knowledge. It demands we ask the honest question of the world, "How do you know that?" You will hear many statements of knowledge based on personal truth. Each one confident in their beliefs. Our task, as Christians, is not to belittle or ridicule those beliefs, their truth or knowledge, but honestly and sincerely ask the hard questions that demand more than personal choice. We should be bold to honestly ask those declaring truths based on unfounded knowledge this simple question, "How do you know that?" Here's an example- I know you have heard this as well. I heard this in a phone counseling call last week. The man on the other end of the phone said, "I believe all roads lead to God." The situation at the moment didn't lend itself to asking my question, but I thought about it immediately. How does he know all roads lead to God? Where did this knowledge come from? I really want to know. Millions are basing eternity on truth and knowledge that have no foundation. One of the kindest things we can do is ask, and ask sincerely, "How do you know that?"
There is one problem with such a great question....it can be asked of us as well! The challenge for the Christian is two-fold- 1. To know the answer to this question for your own faith first and then, 2. to honestly ask and listen regarding the faith of others. This should never be done arrogantly or with pride, but sincerely and in love. With the fall of truth we have seen the demise of knowledge as well. It means we have a great opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ with a world that has lost its way and lost truth and knowledge as well. The book of 1 John is written to address this very issue. In this short five chapter book John declares dozens of times this simple statement, "we know....." and then follows it with information for us to respond to. In the world around us are millions with personal truth, a personal faith in something and bold statements about knowledge and reality. It's a great opportunity for us to develop relationship, to lovingly care about those we meet and ask a simple question.
Just a few things I'm thinking about.....
Last night we had a leadership meeting at church and the guest speaker was Hud McWilliams. I had never met him nor heard him before, but he was a joy to be with. A room full of people sat enthralled for almost two hours as Hud spoke about leadership and making good choices. It was great. If you want to hear Hud or learn more about him here is his web site: http://www.hudmcwilliams.com/
Friday, June 04, 2010
Most of us will admit that being thankful is never automatic. We are always wanting something more, just a little bit more, only that one more thing....and then there is another. To truly be thankful is to intentionally take the time to say to God, "thank you!" for what you have right now and not focus on what you don't have. The eyes set on what is lacking will never be thankful for what is given.
Paul described it this way, "Give thanks in (for) all things (each thing as it comes) for this is God's will for you." His will for us is an intentional heart of thanks expressed to the one who gave us all things to enjoy. It's his open hand that thankful hearts celebrate. That person who can never give thanks for what is given now is the one looking at what is still needed. Don't miss the joy of the things God gives today simply because there is more you need. Be thankful for each thing that God's hand gives and your day will be filled with thanksgiving. It's so easy to miss the joy of God's grace because you are focused on your own definition of when you will be happy and what that will look like. Thanking God is a decision. Give thanks for something today.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
In my reading this morning I came to a very interesting passage in Numbers 9. It describes how the nation of Israel knew where and when to go as they traveled through the wilderness. The passage describes their travel plans...they lived, rested or moved based on God's cloud that covered the tabernacle. If the cloud moved, they moved. If the cloud stayed over the tabernacle...even for a year, they stayed where they were. God was the ultimate GPS for the nation of Israel. They learned to follow God on a daily basis. Here's what I imagine a morning would look like for a family following God through the wilderness-
Dad, "Honey, why don't you put on the coffee, I'll go check on the cloud."
Mom, "Ok, let me know as soon as you can what the plans are for the day, do we stay here or do we pack?"
Dad, "I'll be right back, get that coffee going, I really need it today. We have been moving a lot lately. I'm not sure what God is doing, but it has been a weekly move to a new location. I don't know why...it all looks the same out here."
Wife, "I know. But we must follow where God leads even if we don't know why. I'm sure he has a plan."
Son, "Mom, is God trying to teach us to trust him? Are we following the cloud as a way to learn to obey God or to learn to trust him? I don't think I know the reasons."
Wife, "Son, God is doing several things all at once. Your father and I have talked about this many times. God is working in our lives so that we will obey him, that is one of his desires. But he's also working to develop our trust in him. We have not followed him as we should and have rebelled often. Following the cloud is a simple way to learn obedience and trust. It also forces us, first thing each morning, to check the cloud...to see what God is doing, where he is leading. God is training us to watch for his leading in our lives. Daily, we are learning to trust him, watch for his leading and learning to obey him. It's been hard, we ask "why" often, but God doesn't answer that question, so we follow the cloud."
Dad (returning to the tent), "Well, we don't move today. Is that coffee ready? I'm ready for a nice relaxing morning. What's for breakfast?"
Mom, "How about some manna-cakes with honey?"
And today, in my life, God works one day at a time inviting me to follow him. In that following something else is developed. Something that has created some of the songs we sing in church. In that following two things happen, I learn to obey. As I obey I discover I can trust him....he is, indeed, trustworthy. Just as Israel in the desert had to trust and obey God on a daily basis, so must we. The way God works with his children hasn't changed. He invites us to follow him on a daily basis. In that following we develop two vital aspects of our relationship with God- trust and obedience.