Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The road ahead


One of the things that floats to the surface in almost any discussion about life choices is the desire to know God's will and way. It's a question we all have...how do I know God's will and way for my life? For my career? For my marriage? Which way should I go?
I just finished reading the book of Ruth and thought about these questions as I read the story of Ruth and Naomi. I imagine, from reading Naomi's words, that she thought she had failed...that her life was over and ruined. BUT GOD.....those words show up often in the Bible. I didn't see them in the text of Ruth, but those two words scream at me as I read the short four chapters of this book. But God was working, God was directing, God was leading in the life of Ruth, Naomi, Boaz and others. When I feel that my life has gone wrong, I've lost my way, I will never be of use to God I remember these wonderful words... BUT GOD.
In the midst of my journey I often think about the road ahead...about being used by God...about doing the right things, going the right ways. Stories like Naomi's encourage me. In the middle of giving up she discovers that God has a wonderful plan that brings her good and him glory. Even when we think we have taken a wrong turn he turns it all out for good. BUT GOD....how wonderful to know he's working in the middle of our messy lives.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quote of the day

A friend posted this on Facebook this morning. It's such a great quote I had to share it with you (with her permission of course),

"Driving home from church discussing heaven...

Me: 'Do you want to know what heaven looks like?'

Granddaughter: 'Please don't kill me.'"

This sweet little girl expresses what we all feel.....heaven will be great someday, just not yet.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Lion is on the move....


My old friend and teacher, William Burnside, sent me a wonderful e-mail this morning. It's much too long to share here, but his opening thoughts highlight a wonderful reality of our days as he writes,
...
"I read two more chapters today to Isabelle and Ethan from The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis so of course I'm thinking about Narnia and Aslan and that "the Lion is on the move. . ." Well, Christ really is "on the move"--always working and in His own way. Jesus said so, you know: "my Father works and so do I." And so does the Holy Spirit who "convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come." And what is He doing? He is "calling out a people for His Name" and "gathering in His sheep into His fold."
...
His words made me think of the book of Revelation. Most read it as a book of prophecy, but I see it as the great evangelistic book of the Bible. In this last great book of the Bible God is wrapping up history with a series of last calls to humanity to come to faith in Christ. God is, after all, the great evangelist on a quest for the hearts and souls of the men and women he created. He wants everyone to be saved! (2 Peter 3:9) So, as we near the end of time, the end of human history, God is accelerating the pace, increasing the pressure, turning up the volume to draw every man and woman who will respond to faith in Christ as savior. He's seeking after the man he has made. The Lion of Judah is indeed on the move. He will soon return, but in these final seconds of time it's wonderful to see the hearts and lives of Christians who are looking for the Lion and preparing for that day. Every book I read, every message I hear is reflecting the heart of the Holy Spirit through his saints...the message is becoming louder...the Lion is on the move....He's coming soon....are you ready?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The slide to despair



It happens quickly.

It happens easily.

At least it does with me.

Discouragement....

Disappointment....

Dejection....

Despondency...

Depression and then despair.

It's a quick slide from the first thoughts of discouragement to the pit of despair. It happens so quickly that it's often a surprise to find we have come to utter despair and hopelessness. David battled this just as many of us do. He wrote about it in Psalm 40.


1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
...
David described it well. The slide to despair feels like a slide on mud or wet clay. You can't get your footing. Then suddenly you are in the pit of despair. Hopeless. Helpless. Alone....or so it seems. Although nothing may have changed in the real world you feel that your world has crumbled into ashes. It's a difficult place to be. It's a difficult place to get out of. Unless the Lord helps us we would most likely remain in the pit of despair. Some never get out. But God does help. He does give us the hand we need, the help we need. He does change our song from a dirge to a praise. He does lift us up. If you're like me these slides to despair happen without warning....for no reason at all...and then you have to deal with the clouds of doom that fog your thoughts. The Psalms were David's journals as he dealt with his own frequent descents into despair. Here are his directions for those of us in the pit today-
...
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
3 O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
...
If you find yourself in the pit of despair look to the Lord. He will lift you out of the hopelessness. When it seems there's no way out he will come to your rescue. The slide to despair is an easy one. The climb out is God's work as we trust him. As one who frequently visits the pit I'm glad for a wonderful God who gives me hope and help when I need it most.
(Thank you, James, for your help this morning.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Living for the right things

The following article is an interview with Pastor Rick Warren. It's been reprinted by others, but I thought his comments were profound and worth one more venue. Here are his thoughts-

...
People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond, In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body - but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillion of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act, the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense. Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life: The goal is to grow in character, In Christ-likeness. This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you got to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for. You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, "which is my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others. We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her. It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people... You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instanfly very wealthy. It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before.I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for you to own ego or for you to live a life of ease. So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.
Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan - to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.
Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)? When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better...God didn't put me on earth just to fulfil a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.
...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good morning


Welcome to a new week. School starts in our part of the world this week. I hope you have a wonderful week. Smile a lot, say "hello" to everyone you see, enjoy life, celebrate people, eat your meals with glee, pet an animal, be curious about something, read a book, do something you haven't done before. Today is the beginning of a new adventure. Celebrate every moment.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Becoming narrow


Life is amazing. Each day is a new adventure. Each experience impacts us and molds or directs us. I'm rereading a C.S. Lewis book that I love, The Great Divorce, and as I read it I'm struck with how narrow we become over the course of our lives. It doesn't matter what you believe or don't believe. We become narrow because of the paths we choose. We narrow our choice of friends to those who make us comfortable. We narrow our beliefs. We narrow the ideas we will accept. We narrow to the point that a change in course is very difficult. I see it with the elderly all the time. They are either really sweet or horribly grumpy. There is no middle ground. Somewhere in their pasts they began to make choices that narrowed them and now they are so rigid in who they are, either good or bad, that change is impossible. That's why I mentioned C.S. Lewis' book a moment ago. It's a wonderful fiction about a bus ride from hell to heaven and the interaction between those on a day trip to heaven and the residents of heaven they encounter. As I read C.S. Lewis' amazing words and wit it strikes me....they have become so narrow in every area of their lives that they cannot change! They have chosen their course, decided who they are, become rigid in their thinking and can't change! I see this in the religious, the atheist and the wicked. Each of us make choices that narrow us to the point we can't, won't and wouldn't change...even when we hear the truth. As one who is becoming narrow myself I am aware of how hard it is to once more consider new thoughts and directions. I think that's why the debate between atheist and Christian is often just for entertainment value. Neither will win the day or change the other...they both have become so narrow they can't change....but what a show it provides for us. So, where does this all bring me? Key to these thoughts is the truth that choices matter. Each choice, each belief is narrowing us down into who we will be till the day we die. It's vital that those little choices, those little decisions be the right ones because they are carving our eternity for us. Becoming narrow is a reality for each of us. Choose well. Choices are hard to repent of once you get down the road a few miles. Jesus described it this way, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and road is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it."
...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Redemption stories

There are so many wonderful redemption stories that reflect what God has done for us. Here is another one that shows the heart of the father for his child-

Father saves three-year-old from bear in German zoo

A father has saved his three-year-old daughter from an Asian black bear after the girl climbed into the animal's enclosure in a German zoo, police say.
Both father and child were injured after the girl climbed over a fence in a private zoo in Luenebach, western Germany.
The bear hit the girl on the forehead before her father was able to snatch her away, police said.
The 34-year-old Dutch man was also attacked and his leg injured.
The girl had climbed the 1m (3ft) high fence while her parents were not watching and fell into a moat in the enclosure, a police spokeswoman said.
Her father then climbed after her.
Other visitors called an ambulance and the girl was flown to hospital by helicopter. Her father was also hospitalised.....
...
Here's the big question- If a father is willing to risk his all to rescue his daughter wouldn't God do the same for the children he loves? The answer is a resounding "YES!" Even if the redemption is rejected by the child God has provided it for us. Even if we choose the claws of the bear rather than the hands of father, the father has provided redemption and salvation for us. It's sad that so many prefer death rather than redemption. There is no good outcome with the bear, but wonderful love with the father. Why do we so foolishly choose death rather than life?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thinking like a Bedouin




There is a "tribe" of people who live, and live well, in the deserts of the middle east. They live in places no one else would want to live. They live day to day. They have learned to be content with little. Their lives are nomadic and meager. They don't have deep roots, but lives in tents roaming the desert.
I wish I thought more like a Bedouin. I wish I was more content with little rather than complaining about lack. I wish I enjoyed solitude more. I wish I could be happy with mobility instead of wanting to "put down deep roots." I wish I thought more like a Bedouin.
The reason I'm working on this is that we are in fact Bedouins in this world. We are on a journey to our final home and should be thinking like, living like this is simply a tent existence for a moment of time, but we want so badly to have money in the bank, have the house paid for, good jobs, STABILITY! In other words we have no desire to be Bedouins in our thinking or in our living. So we hold onto the stuff of this world, the things of now, the security of money and miss the great joys of depending on God to meet our needs day by day. I'm still working on this. I think it's an important mindset for me. I want to loosen my grip on this world and trust the Lord for today.....because I'm just passing through.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fingerprints of God


I don't know about you, but we are fans of the CSI series. It's great fun to see how these "Sherlock Holmes" of our day figure out "who done it." Finding clues, fingerprints and evidence draws them to a conclusion...the conclusion points them to who committed the crime. You would think evidence would always do that...draw you to conclusions about who did it. The universe is like that. It has fingerprints all over the place that say, "God made this!" and yet the scientific community continues to claim this can't be so. I wonder if they need a little help from CSI...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back from Paris...


I just got back from a great weekend in Paris....Paris, Texas to be specific. A good friend asked me to help him the Sunday after their pastor of 30 years had resigned from the church. So, yesterday I spoke to their church family, morning and evening, to help them with what to do "after the earthquake." They have a wonderful church family and were all looking for hope and encouragement. God used me to give them just what they needed (at least that's what they told me). It was a great blessing to them and to me as well. I always wonder, as I speak to people I don't know, what God is doing in their lives. I wonder what my ministry to them accomplished for eternity. It's such an honor to be used by God. I look forward to the Bema when we will see what he did with our availability.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Radical


Who will God use? How does he work? How has the "American dream" corrupted the message of the gospel? That's the message of a new book titled "Radical." I'm halfway through it now and loving it! David is pastor of a large successful church, but writes about the horrible curse we have brought on the church as we look for the best speaker as a pastor, the hip new worship leaders and the amazing building. As I read this book I am amazed at how easily we have become cultural Christians and not biblical Christians. It happens so easily. The church in America has become a consumer driven machine to get the crowds, the money and the acclaim. As I read David's book I'm once more drawn to simply teaching God's word without all the gizmos and gadgets and watching God work in a faith community. It's far too early for a book review on this work but I am really enjoying "Radical."

Saturday's cartoon


Friday, August 13, 2010

You write the caption...

Well, it's time for some fun. I find it's easy to take myself too seriously, so here's something fun. Here are the simple rules- Below is a photo. Your job? Write a title for the photo OR a short story about the photo. Have fun!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quote of the day


"In whatever kind of a “race” life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist." -Christopher Hitchens, atheist (in an article talking about his battle with cancer from Vanity Fair)


"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" -Paul the apostle (2 Timothy 4:7)


In our culture we commonly use the language of "the race" to describe our lives. It's a good analogy. There is a start, there is a course and there is a finish line when the winners and losers are decided. Each life is part of this race (is that why we call it the human race?) and at the end the prizes are given. The discussion for us is this- does this life we live ultimately have purpose, reason and rewards? The bible says "YES!" The rest of mankind responds, "I hope so." Personally, I'm much more comfortable knowing what the race entails, where the course goes and what the prizes will be when this race is over. It gives me a purpose that Mr. Hitchens is sadly missing. So, as a Christian on the course running for the finish...trying to finish well...I offer these words for those of you running this race with me-


(1Co 9:24) Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.


(Heb 12:1) Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why is there something?


I'm rereading Norm Geisler's book, I don't have enough faith to be an atheist, with one of our young men. It's a great book to sharpen your thinking and deal with the big issues of science and faith. In the chapter I just finished Norm asks the question that I find my atheist friends hate, "If there is no God, why is there something instead of nothing?" It's a great question. It's a question that goes to the heart of the discussion of how we got here.
Most scientist will admit that the universe "has the appearance" of being made by an intelligent designer, but they refuse to acknowledge God. It amazes me that they will demonstrate outrageous faith to believe the impossible just so they don't have to believe in a God they will be accountable to. Their faith in chance, the god of science, is greater than the faith it would take to believe what God says about creation in the bible and yet they refuse. More and more I'm convinced that there are no intellectual atheists...only emotional atheists. As one of the leading atheists of the last generation said, "I refuse to believe in a God I have to be accountable to." Funny, isn't it, what great leaps of faith we go to in our attempts to avoid God....but he's still there.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Reflections on God's work


It's been nearly four years....four years since I wrote these words:

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The adventure begins

htp://www.talesfromthebranches.com/


"Brandon, Jenny and their son, Deacon are on their way to Guatemala in about 36 hours. It has been an amazing adventure to watch God prepare them to be missionaries. They are heading to another country to serve God. I am proud to call them my friends, and honored to serve God with them. But more than that I'm humbled by their faith.

I have put their web page address above. I invite you to pray for them, support them, and keep in touch with them.

I can't wait to see what God does in and through their lives.

What adventure is God preparing you for?"

Since I wrote these words Brandon and Jenny have had two more children, become fluent in Spanish, changed missions, discipled pastors and helped churches in their part of Guatemala and at this moment are hosting a short-term mission trip from our church. Our team has gone to Guatemala to help in an orphanage there. Brandon and Jenny are hosting, leading and discipling the team we sent to help them. It's amazing to watch God work.

Baggage





"Life is largely a matter of luggage." -Frank Boreham, The Luggage of life

I'm always amazed at how much we are willing to carry with us that is completely unnecessary. We are masters at gathering baggage.

The burden of the load slows our journey, distracts our minds and confuses our relationships.

John Bunyan wrote about baggage in his work Pilgrim's Progress.
...
George Carlin talked about it in a comedy routine.

No matter who we are we find a way to carry our lives around with us. Often it's emotional baggage we have accumulated over the years. Unforgiveness. Anger. Hurts. Old memories of wrongs done. Pain. And the list could continue for pages. But have you noticed that it's always the negatives that become baggage? It's all the hurts of life that weigh us down. The pain that handicaps us.

The good that God intended has no weight at all. Joy is light as a feather. Happiness lifts us up rather than weighing us down. Peace carries its own load and helps us along the way. Kindness refreshes the weary traveler. Love makes the impossible possible once more. Mercy energizes. Grace empowers. The things God wants us to put in our backpacks help us on the way and have no weight to load us down. It's only when we carry the results of sin that the weight and struggles begin.

That's the invitation Jesus extended. "Come unto me...." It's found in Matthew 11-12 if you want to read it. His invitation is to make the journey without all the baggage of the world in tow. When will we realize that this journey was meant to be a wonderful adventure with God instead of a grueling journey to be endured? When will we get rid of all that weighs us down and pick up the things that make the journey a joy?

I wonder sometimes about our fascination with baggage. It's as if we have to hold onto something. I even see it in death. We are so reluctant to let go of this life. We want to hold onto all the junk we have accumulated, but find in the end that it's just that....junk. I wonder if we will ever realize we have become a race of junk collectors....glad to carry the burdens of our trash instead of enjoying the blessings God provides.

Great signs


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Quote of the day

Transforming Sermons: "Many religions begin by telling men and women what they should do; Christianity begins with what God has done. The shorthand word for this is ‘gospel’, referring not to a set of good instructions or a piece of good advice, but to the good news of what God himself has achieved – for me, for us, for the world – in Christ."

- Anthony Billington

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Alone


...
One of the grim realities of life is that we are alone. In the middle of a busy city with others all around we are alone.
...
This "aloneness" is one of the results of the fall, but is mostly ignored by writers. We simply don't talk about it. Man, designed to be in constant relationship with God who made him is now thrust into the world empty, alone, isolated. Even with thousands around us we all have sensed this truth...we are alone.
...
In God's amazing plan of redemption his intentions were to deal with more than one problem in the cross. Clearly the Christian world knows about his resolution of the sin issue. Without a doubt we all know about God's redemption accomplished by Christ, the forgiveness of sin, the restored relationship, the promise of eternity, but what we don't talk about is the resolution of man's isolation problem.
...
Part of God's plan in redemption was to bring us back into a relationship with him. We use those words so easily, but don't realize what they mean. One of our major problems caused by sin is our isolation. We are alone! God's plans included the restoration of how he designed us to be. His plans included the repair of this breach. Here is what Jesus says about this plan,
...
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.' 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, 'But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?' 23 Jesus replied, 'If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."
...
"We will come to him and make our home with him." Did you see that? In God's amazing plan of salvation he also plans to resolve our aloneness. He resolves it by coming to us and living with us. Suddenly, we are no longer alone. In a moment of time the great ache of the heart is resolved. Human beings, designed to be in constant fellowship with God, through Christ, are restored to that relationship. God with us, living in us, our hope of glory. This truth is profound and immensely important. If we miss this we miss all that God has done. No longer alone....what an amazing and wonderful part of God's redemptive work.

Saturday's cartoon


Friday, August 06, 2010

On the way...

Our team heading for Guatemala left from DFW airport this afternoon. It's a great team of people and I know they will have a wonderful time. Many of them have never been on a mission trip before. I can wait to hear their stories when they return. Do pray for them. That's one way we can be part of this work in another country.
(Thanks, Brent, for your photo from your new Iphone 4. Sadly, my droid X couldn't take a good photo no matter how hard I tried. I guess I need to read the manual.)

Thoughts


I've noticed that the blogs I write are thoughts that have developed over time. It may take a week or sometimes a month for a thought to mature into something I can put on paper. It's as if this thing is growing, developing in my little brain and finally finds it's life on the page.
...
I find my own growth in faith is that way as well. Just as a seed is planted in soil, but takes time to begin to grow, my faith is a thing in process. It takes time for those little seeds of the word to begin to sprout into something others can see. Often it's a long time before a verse of scripture begins to evidence itself in my life lived out. The key for me it to continue to throw seeds on my rocky heart in hopes that, over time, some of them will grow. And they do! Amazingly to me God takes his word and makes it grow in my life. Some of it becomes evident in my life. Over time a harvest begins to bear other fruit. I'm always amazed to see what God does with his word.
...
My job? Continue to plant the seeds of his word in my heart. The growth and when it grows is God's work. My part is to simply throw the seed into this heart of mine and watch as God does the miracle of growth. It takes time, but any good thing does. It takes time, but the results are worth the wait!

Heading for Guatemala!


We have a team from our church leaving today for a 10 day mission trip to Guatemala. I would ask that you pray for them and check their trip site often for updates.
...
...
I can't wait to hear about what God does with this great group of people. Trips like this are always life changing. It will be exciting to see what he does with our team heading for Guatemala.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

"A bunch of everlasting..."


As I read different books I discover other great men and women I have never heard of before. Here, sadly for me, is one of them. His name is Frank Boreham. I'm sure that, like me, you ask, "who is he?" He is considered by many to be "the greatest essayist ever." It surprised me that I had never heard of him, so I ordered two of his books. They came in the mail today! I can't wait to get into his work and read what I have been missing. The two books I purchased are "A bunch of everlasting" and "The luggage of life." I'll tell you more as I read his books.....

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Superman saves family from forclosure




The Huffington Post, August 3, 2010


"It sounds like the stuff of superhero stories: a family on the brink of foreclosure saved their home when they found a rare copy of Superman's debut comic, Action Comics #1, in their basement.

ABC reports that the family, who wished to remain anonymous, were packing up for foreclosure on their home in the South -- where they have lived since the 1950's -- when they came across a stash of "old magazines" and "old comic books", according to Asylum. They contacted Stephen Fishler, co-owner of New York's ComicConnect, to see what they could pawn.

Fishler told Asylum, "They came across what appears to be an Action #1." Dubious at first, given that 99.9% of such calls were bogus, he realized it was the real deal when the couple texted him a photo.

Fishler took the copy to Comic-con last week for a valuation. It received a "Very Good" status with 5/10 points, ABC News reports. It is expected to fetch at least $250,000 through an auction on ComicConnect's website on August 27th."
...
Stories like this make us smile. In the nick of time...at the last moment...miraculously their home is saved. But the solution to their problem was in the basement all along. They simply didn't know it. As they packed for eviction, when their lives seemed over, their redemption (which had been hiding in the basement for decades) is suddenly discovered. This is the story of the gospel. In our hour of need the redemption that will save us is discovered...and we find that it's been available all along....waiting for us to give up on saving ourselves. Then, when all seems lost, God reveals the salvation we need. It's a great story. A story of redemption.
...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The ultimate goal

I've been working on these ideas for several weeks now. I start to write and then must stop for a bit. This topic is so big I'm struggling to put my ideas into words that are enough. Obviously I am not adequate for this task of describing the ultimate goal, but I feel the need to try. Here are my thoughts so far:

...

As I read 1 John 2 this evening I came to a very short, simple verse, but it made me pause. It's the promise of the Christian faith. Here's this short verse for us to discuss,
...

1 John 2:25 And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
...

When you distill all that we want and hope for it comes down to a hope for the future. What is ahead? What will eternity be like? What awaits me after death? How do I know what is ahead? Provision for eternity was part of what Jesus came to accomplish, but beyond that he came to tell us about the life he was providing...the ultimate goal.

...

The promise God is offering? Eternal life.

...

The implication? Not everyone has this life automatically. It's available, but not automatic.

...

So, what is this eternal life awaiting those who trust him? What does it look like? For that we need Jesus' words,
...

John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
...

The promise? Eternal life.

...

What is that life? Knowing God.
...

These thoughts are echoed in an e-mail I got from an old friend a few days ago. In his letter he wrote,
...

"He created us by His grace that we "might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." He calls that "life eternal." That's the purpose of life--to have perfect fellowship with God and to know Him."

...

The ultimate goal of life is to know God. This is the quest of every human heart. We all KNOW that we want to know God, but many avoid this tug of the heart because they want their own way. And yet, the ultimate quest, the ultimate goal of life is to know God. We all want it even if we don't admit it.

...

This has been God's quest for man since he made us. God WANTS us to know him. He made us to know him. Why? Knowing him is the ultimate goal....the greatest goal....the most important thing. We can't even imagine what that will be like, but it's God's goal for us. Any attempts we make now to know him fits perfectly with his desires for us...the ultimate goal....knowing him.
...

As I finish these thoughts I still feel I have left so much out....I wish I had enough words for these thoughts. Knowing God...to finally know the one who made me...to know him will be the ultimate goal. What a wonderful way to begin eternity.

...

Monday, August 02, 2010

Monday's cartoon

...And sadly, that's what many Christians do....offer "grace free words for a hurting world."
...
Jesus only gave us two things to do- 1. Love God, and 2. Love each other. If we could remember and live out these two simple, but life changing commands we could yet change the world around us.
...

Tamara Lowe at Christ Fellowship

Sunday, August 01, 2010

"I quit"


Anne Rice, the author, declared her faith in Christ a few years ago. Some of you may have read her recent statement. If not, here it is:
...
"For those who care," she wrote, "and I understand if you don't: Today I quit being a Christian. I'm out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity. It's simply impossible for me to 'belong' to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else."
...
Her words should strike at the heart of every Christian. She speaks to how easily we have become cultural Christians and not biblical Christians. Obviously she does not speak of all Christians, but it's sad that such a declaration ever need be made. Some are angered at her words, but should be challenged by them instead. Your thoughts?