Friday, May 30, 2008

Choice, influence and God's word

Today I came to Psalm 1 in my reading. It's been my good friend for more than 40 years. I have read books on this Psalm, listened to sermons, and studied the passage.
The first 6 words of verse 1 are profound. David begins the whole book of Psalms with these words, "How blessed is the man who..." From these words he describes the power of choice, influence and God's word. All of these affect us and make us into who we are. In other words if I hang out with monkeys long enough I will start to act like one. (Don't even mention looking like one...I avoided that thought on purpose!) But don't forget his beginning. It's actually the end result of choice, influence and God's word. The author starts with the result and describes in brilliant colors the power of these 3 things to change our lives. Choice is important. I make the decision- where will I spend my time, but after I've made my choice other things happen that I have no choice over. Then we move into influence. Influence and peer pressure are big in our lives. They have more power than we realize. And finally David talks about the work of God's word in a life. The language and picture of a tree by streams is beautifully clear to the readers who knew what this looked like. In that same way the results of a life invested in God's word looks like that flourishing tree drawing on those streams of water in the arid desert.
It's a powerful Psalm. It still inspires me each time I read it. Take a slow walk through these 6 magnificent verses. The instruction of these verses is life changing!
Psa 1:1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
Psa 1:3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psa 1:4 The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Psa 1:5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Psa 1:6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Now for something really amazing...

.I've seen a number of amazing videos of squirrels and their ability to navigate almost any hindrance in their quest for food, but this photo really caught my eye. Wow, these guys are amazing. I know I couldn't do this. I can't even stand on a bar stool without falling! So today I humbly admire this amazing creation of God as he relaxes to enjoy lunch. More power to him!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Birthday

I'm blessed. Today is my dad's 82nd birthday. He's been an amazing man in my life and I love him dearly. When you think of the great men of time and history it won't be those of fame and success, but those who have lived faithful lives loving the Lord, their wives and children. Thanks, dad, for being one the great ones. I love you.
(now you see where I got my great hair style!)

Wind chasers

We are, by nature, a race of wind chasers.
This morning I was having coffee with a friend of mine and we were discussing the times we are in and what we see ahead. It was a great visit for me, but one thought emerged for me from our time together- we, as a race, are wind chasers. We let the winds of culture determine our direction and destination. It's really hard to go against the wind of the culture and those around us, but those who want to follow the Lord must set their course against the winds. The direction of the winds of our culture don't take us where God wants us to go, so we must fly against the winds we see driving the culture around us and go in another direction.
It's hard. The winds are strong. It's easier to just sit back and enjoy the go with the wind, but it's not where God wants us. To follow God means to have the wind in your face most of the time. It's hard. But the goal is worth the effort. You see, the winds are fickle. They change often, first this way then that way. If you allow yourself to be a wind chaser soon you will lose all sense of direction.
The truth is that the winds that drive our culture have no destination in mind, only the thrill of the ride. God is interested in the destination, not simply the ride. All that the world seeks and values is contrary to what God values. He's not enamored by wind chasers. He is watching for those who lean into the wind and go another direction, those who are looking to the destination, not simply wind chasers enjoying the ride.
Jer 9:23 Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;
Jer 9:24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Living in his shadow

I've been thinking lately about the fact that living in the end of days is not so great after all. I always wanted to be part of the generation that was raptured, and I still think that is a real possibility, but I never considered that part of the end of days is the increasing of the birth pangs- the trials of the world as it prepares for Christ's return.
All that I see in the world around me can make me fearful if I don't stay in HIS shadow. This verse came to mind this morning as I was thinking about this,
Psa 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Shadows are great on hot days. The temperature and blaze of the sun is diminished by the shade. To be in God's shadow means several things, 1. He's near, 2. He's protecting me from the full glare of the "sun" (whatever it might be in my life), and 3. It's a comfortable and cool place to his shadow. What a thought. While those in the full glare of the sun feel all of its wrath it's greatly diminished for me. I'm still aware of it's potential, but the heat of the sun is much less as long as I stay in the shadow. So today, let me invite you to join me in HIS shadow. It's really nice here, and it is great to know that he is near.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Often I will post a sign with a short story to go with it. Sometimes the sign stands alone. Here's a sign that captured my imagination. If you ever find yourself lost remember this sign-

Friday, May 23, 2008

Living water

I've been thinking about something that happened while my parents were visiting this last week. It was an insight that I really believe the Lord gave me in the moment. During their stay my dad's blood pressure went very low- 90 over 40. That's not exactly the numbers, but close. In case you don't know that's not good. We decided, upon his doctor's advice, to take dad to the emergency room at hospital. Once they got him in a room they hooked up a saline I.V. and within an hour he was feeling much better. As I watched all of this happen in real time it suddenly struck me- dad is dehydrated! Now the strange thing was that the doctor didn't say a thing about this. They simply released him. On the way home I told dad, "You need to drink more water. Your problem is that you are dehydrated and your body isn't able to function as it was designed."
The next day we started the day with a bottle of water and then another mid-day. The change was dramatic! He is feeling much better, and this little insight I think I got from the Lord has made a huge difference. Now you know, if you have read my blog for very long at all, I will find a spiritual application for the things that happen in my life, but for this one it's easy- just as water is needed for our bodies to work as designed our spirits need God's word to give us what we need to function as designed. It's so easy for us to get busy and miss time in the word of God, but if you do, from my observations, you will find that your spiritual blood pressure will drop and you will quickly realize that you are dried out, spiritually dehydrated. Just as our bodies need water our spirits need God's word. It's what makes us work as we were designed.
One of the first things I ask someone as we work through life issues and talk about the Christian life is this, "Are you spending time in the word of God each day?" Sadly I must tell you that more than 80% of the time the answer is "no". How can we work as designed if we aren't getting what we need to function? How can we hydrate our spirits if we don't take in God's word as a way of life? Just as water is a must for our bodies to work, God's word is vital for our spirits to thrive. If you don't drink from it daily you will find your life very dry indeed!
John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
John 7:38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" -Jesus

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pursuing the God who is

This is the picture many have of the Muslim faith- radical, violent, angry, intolerant. But the truth is that most Muslims I have met are just normal people who have grown up in the Muslim faith and have not really investigated their beliefs.
Last night I met with a Muslim man to discuss faith. His wife is a Christian and attends our church. I must tell you that this has been a difficult life choice for both of them. He has now become very passionate in his faith and wanted to meet to convert me. For me it was a very frustrating visit because I could tell he was preparing for his next argument as I talked, and frankly most of his information came from Muslim sources. He had not researched objective sources to see if his beliefs are true. He had made up his mind. I'm praying for him.
The one thing I told him, and made sure that he heard me, was that there can only be one true God. If you are worshipping a god different from me then one or both of us are wrong. There is only one true faith. The Bible and Quran are both dogmatic about that.
So here are my thoughts on this day after my dinner with a Muslim friend- I believe the most important adventure anyone can pursue is to pursue the God who is. There is only one. He's easy to find, and has given much proof of his existence. He is not hiding, he's in plain site. Now I will tell you that my visit last night honestly grieved me. He had his "gun" loaded with the best Muslim defense he could find and brought me papers to read. I will read them, in fact I have read much of the Quran in my own studies, but what I find is simply more evidence that the God who the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible is NOT Allah. A quest for truth with the final answer already decided is no quest at all. It's simply an accumulation of information to support your view. That's where my dinner companion is today- a seeker of the answers he wants. I hope my friend finds the God who is....right now he's not looking......

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


It's amazing what we will carry with us through life. John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" spoke to this very thing in the life of the main character of his story. Things have not changed over the years. We are still people who insist on carrying burdens and carrying them for years- the wounds of childhood, the words of a friend, the abuse of an adult, the sins of another that have affected us, the hurts of someone we loved...the list goes on for pages because the burdens accumulate in our lives.....and we carry them with us. Some of them we carry for years. I met with a person today who has been carrying a burden for decades and it's affected every part of their life. The burden this person carries was thrown on them by someone else, and yet it affects them today. This sin stained world isn't the way it was designed. It wasn't meant to be this way. God designed this world and called all that he made good, but then sin changed it all. Now we find men and women all around us bent under the weight of burdens that crush their lives. I long for the day when all of this will be as God designed it, but for now there is a's a simple one I have mentioned before, but in light of my visits today I want to mention it once more. It's an offer from the burden lifter to relieve us of our loads. The cost of the transaction is free, but the benefits are life changing. Here's the invitation for those of you carrying loads you were never meant to bear:
Mat 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Mat 11:30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." -Jesus

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Turns in the road

I'm sorry I have left you without posting for a bit. It has been most busy here. I have been in hospital the last few days caring for others.
They have each had an unexpected turn in the road and life issues arise. Yesterday it was a real health problem for my dad who will be 82 in a few days and today it's for a young man who was badly hurt in a car wreck.
These major turns in the road are unexpected, but force us to look at the brevity of life. As the bible says, "we are but a vapor" and are gone when the sun rises. Dealing with life and death issues has been part of my life for more than 37 years now. My first pastorate brought me to a church where I buried 9 of my parishioners in the first year. Those left behind assured me it wasn't because of my sermons. For me death is always right in front of me. I'm keenly aware of its nearness, but I'm also vividly aware of the presence of God at these times. He seems to linger at the turns of life to comfort and encourage us. He's always right there to offer his peace, his comfort, his presence. And sometimes the most important thing I bring to a difficult turn in a person's life is simply my presence....just being there.....listening, caring, praying, loving.
Some of the best advice I got in these many years came from a dear saint who had a very difficult life. I asked her how she dealt with all that she had to endure, where did she go in scripture for help, and she told me, "I always go to Psalms. It's my daily friend and constant companion. That's where I find comfort when the road turns." After many years of walking with the Lord I concur. For me the words of David are a daily help in a difficult world. Here is just one of the amazing psalms that encourages me,

Psalm 100- A Psalm for Thanksgiving. Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


My parents are here visiting this weekend. It's such a great blessing to have them here. My dad will be 82 in a week or so, but is still doing great. Mom is still 20 years old in spirit and fun to be around. They came to see the great grand kids. (They say they came to see us, but we know better.) It's also a birthday weekend around here- our daughter, Lindsay turned 31 yesterday. She's our baby! Time flies by so quickly. It seems that only a few days ago I was 31 and now my daughter is that age. But for today I'm going to simply enjoy family. I hope you have some time to enjoy your family. I would encourage you to spend time with them will all change very quickly and you could miss it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Life in a box

Tonight we have been talking about a discovery we made when we moved into our home. In the attic was a solitary box, taped shut and waiting for us. It was unusual because it was the only box in the attic loft area. We were curious and carried the prize down from the attic to investigate. In it was an entire life....a drivers license, a nurses card, a hat, some papers, a few ceramic dolls and a number of other little memories from a life that had obviously ended.
We did some research and discovered that the man who sold us the house had lost his wife to cancer while living here. This was all that was left of her life that he had left behind....a forgotten life, a forgotten memory. We tried to track down her family to give the contents of the box to them, but couldn't find anyone.
It was sad that all that was left from a life was packed into a small box and left behind in an attic...forgotten to everyone. It makes me realize that life is like this accumulation of a few trinkets, a few pieces of paper, some memories...all to be left behind and forgotten. I'm glad that life is not this easily forgotten. God will not forget. The lives long since forgotten are known and remembered by him. He is the God who even knows our hair count. He won't forget the most forgotten life. My life will never end as a box of memories forgotten in an attic somewhere. Because I belong to God, because my life is valuable to him, because the things I do are not forgotten by him all of my life will be remembered by God and celebrated at the judgment seat of Christ.
No life should end as a collection of memories left behind in an attic as if it meant nothing, was worth nothing. Every life is priceless to the God who made us. Every part of our lives is remembered by the God who loves us.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I just got a call from a dear friend who is grieving over sin in his life. I have known him for more than 20 years, but he still battles his own host of "demons". Most of the time he is doing the word, praying, upbeat, encouraged....but once in a while he falls and then his question is why even bother? He doesn't feel he's growing at all because this sin still trips him up. I feel so bad for him as I hear the remorse in his voice over sinning once again. But I know too that this remorse and sorrow over sin is a really good sign. We prayed together. I will need to check on him again tomorrow, but I know he's growing because of how he views this fall. He's grieved, sorrowing, could he do this again? But it's that very brokenness that tells me he will be ok. I can't wait for the day when this fallen world and the sin that trips us up will finally be dealt with. I can't wait for the day when the battle will be over. Come Lord Jesus, come. I long for the day when we will be like you. I long for the day when sin, sorrow and death will be swallowed up in life....when you will wipe away every tear....especially the tears of remorse my friend cried today.

Photo dictionary:Change you can believe in

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Some weeks are like that

Suddenly I'm so busy I almost forgot that I have a blog to write. It's funny how easily life turns around. This week I'm preparing a message, meeting with missionaries who are in town, speaking at a funeral, trying to get my planning done for the next year and a dozen other things....and I'm just not getting it done. If I can just hide from the angry bull of a busy life long enough maybe I will survive all of this. This is also my first week trying to walk without any help. It's been quite painful, but I'm sure it will get better over time. Please be patient with me, and I will get back to a regular posting schedule as soon as possible.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Celebrating the day!

I just got back from the orthopedist and he set me free! He told me that I'm doing great, and can throw the crutch away, lose the walking boot and start walking in a pair of soft tennis shoes. I'm really excited! I feel liberated! So today I'm celebrating recovery. It's a great day. My recovery has been much quicker than I even imagined, and I'm thrilled for that. So, won't you celebrate with me? And, to put an end to this topic I will not mention my foot again....on to more exciting topics. But let me say thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and encouraged me through this trial. Thank you, and thank the Lord for his wonderful care.

Monday's cartoon

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

If you have ever had a mom today is the day to remember her.

If you had a good mom you are most blessed. If you had a bad mom you now know how not to repeat her mistakes.

Whatever your situation...thank the Lord you had a mom. You wouldn't be here without one.

If you are lucky enough to still have her living....CALL HER!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Reflections on the year so far....

It's been an interesting year so far, and it's not even half over yet!
My attention and time have been captured by a crushed heel that has brought pain, surgery, frustration and a growing endurance with difficult things. It's been a year when everything is twice as hard and takes twice as long.
It's amazing how all of our attention is taken when a limb is broken, but it is true that everything in us is completely focused on the broken member. It's been a great testing time, but more than that it's been a great learning time.
As I'm writing about this I want to mention all the amazing people who have rallied around me to help me do what I cannot. I'm especially blessed to have an amazing wife who has cared for me and helped me through these days. But I also want to mention the amazing friends who have mowed our lawn, climbed on the roof to fix a vent, brought us meals, made a quilt for me, prayed for us, and sent us cards and letters. The list of those who have cared for us is pages long. It's more than I can list here, but I hope you know that I couldn't have gone through this time well without them.
Here is what I have learned through these months:
- There are no accidents for a child of God.
- You don't have to know why, you wouldn't understand even if you did know.
- How you go through a trial is important.
- There is a lot of scripture on this topic. I didn't know the bible had addressed this so often.
- People watch how you handle a trial, especially if you are a Christian. They are watching to see if your faith is real or not.
- Pain brings depression. It made me very understanding of others who go through the same things. When I compare my few months to those who are disabled for the rest of their lives I'm embarrassed when I complain at all.
- I understand Job's frustrations better than I did before this.
- Patience is an extra blessing from any trial. I wonder how much more I have now?
- I'm less patient with healthy people who whine.
- I am quite aware that God was involved in all of this- finding the right surgeon, getting the right care, etc.
There is much more, but these are just a few thoughts on a Saturday afternoon.
I look forward to seeing what God does in my life in the days ahead...even with a broken foot....

Current world population

The population of the world, at this exact moment, is:


If you are keeping track of these things and didn't know where to find the current population of the world you can find it here. Just to help you see how quickly it's changing count to 10 then refresh the page. The number will change and increase rather quickly.

That's a lot of people to be praying for...a lot of people coming into the world each moment who need the Lord. What a great time to be see what God is doing in these last days. I'm so glad God put me here in this time and place so I can witness all he's doing as we near his return.

Don't forget- people are the currency of eternity.

Saturday's cartoon

A crutch is a great thing to have when you need it. For three months now I have needed a crutch to simply get around. It's a great thing when you need it. My foot is getting better by the day, and there will come a day when I won't need a crutch any longer, but as a human being, fallen as I am, I will always need the Lord and my walk with him to simply live through the day. I cannot walk without him. A crutch is a great thing to have when you need it and I am glad to have one, but my relationship with the Lord is not a crutch, it's the only way I can walk with God. If your foot is broken a crutch is a great help. If you want to have a great walk through life then a relationship with God makes all the difference! It's never a bad thing when you need it.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Previously on LOST

But the real question is WHY? Why is this show still on? I'm really amazed that we, as a viewing audience, are so enthralled over a show about nothing. There, I've said it...I feel much better now.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Dad died saving his little girl

BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporter/, Chicago Sun-Times

"With an out-of-control car bearing down, Joseph Richardson grabbed his 4-year-old daughter and held her up out of harm's way. It was his last act -- and one that apparently saved his daughter's life. Joseph Richardson, 39, was walking with his daughter Kaniyah (right) when a car jumped the curb at 95th Street and Wentworth Avenue. Angelo Thomas, 32, has been charged in the fatality and injury. Richardson, a father of three, was killed Monday evening by the car, driven by a man who police say was drunk. The car pinned Richardson and his daughter Kaniyah against a wrought iron fence at 95th Street and Wentworth, police said. Kaniyah survived and was listed in critical but stable condition Tuesday evening at Comer Children's Hospital, where a spokeswoman said she was doing well. "He held the baby up to keep the car from destroying the baby, but it totally destroyed him," said Richardson's father, the Rev. L.V. Richardson. Richardson was walking his daughter to a McDonald's for burgers at 6:40 p.m. Monday when a 1990 Chevy Cavalier jumped a curb and careened towards them, police said, citing witness accounts. He grabbed his daughter just before the car slammed the two into the fence, police said. Richardson was pronounced dead shortly after the crash..."

Sacrifice is an amazing thing. What will we do for those we love? What will we give? This father gave his life for the child he loved. I'm sure he didn't even think about it, he didn't have to. Love doesn't have to think, it just acts. This story of a father's love is a shadow of another story that describes the love that "held us up" and saved us from death.....

Rom 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Rom 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


A good friend of mine is a pilot for American Airlines. He always knew what he wanted to do and he has been a pilot for more than 2 decades.

A few weeks ago he went through his recurrent training. It's an ordeal that all commercial pilots go through every 9 months. The training includes classroom training and a few hours in the simulator. This time, during his simulator flight, the trainer set him up with an engine failure. His task was to get the plane safely "on the ground" with one engine. He said he did well, and passed for another 9 months.

Then it happened. The very next week, on a flight from the west coast, he lost an engine. He told me later that in all his years this has never happened before (good report for American Airlines.) He said he thought about his simulator training and was glad he had already gone through this the week before in practice. He was busy for the next hour. He had to divert to another airport, deal with flying on only one engine, communicate with the passengers who heard all the banging and were quite aware that the engine had stopped. He was busy, but told me it was easy because he had already done it in practice. Obviously, because I'm telling you the story, he got home safely, but he didn't take this "coincidence" lightly.

Coincidence? I don't believe there is such a thing. I know it's easy to spiritualize things that happen in our lives, but there are times when you can clearly see that God has been working. I'm glad my friend was ready for this emergency and I'm sure the 120+ passengers on the plane were glad as well.

So, what do we do with a story like this? For me it's a great application of a verse from Paul, "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." For my friend his great need (which he didn't know about yet) was to be prepared for this dilemma in flight and God met that need a week before he knew he would use it. Provision isn't always about money. Often it's about a story like this that we would call coincidence, but God would call his great provision.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Now for something fun

Funny subtitles

The eruption of the Chaiten volcano caught local authorities by surprise, as experts say it has been dormant for at least 450 years. --BBC News

Here's one for the "funny subtitle" category. This was a news item about a volcano in Chile posted on the BBC website. I wondered when I read this- who wouldn't be surprised when a volcano had been dormant for over 450 years?

Monday's cartoon

I saw this cartoon and had to make it the cartoon of the day. It's one of my weaknesses- yellow highlighting my bible! I am teased about it regularly. The habit started decades ago in college and I still highlight my bibles today. In fact it's hard to read the bible without a yellow highlighter in my hand. I guess I should change colors, but yellow is still my favorite. In fact I avoid studying the bible on my laptop because it's hard to get the yellow highlighter off the screen.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Quote of the day

Good men use the world to enjoy God, whereas bad men use God to enjoy the world.


From macro to micro

Yesterday I talked about the creation of the universe and how amazing it is as we discover more and more of what God has made.

Today let me go the other direction- from macro to micro. Here is a photo of one of God's small creations. When I saw the photo I was as amazed by this small creature as I am by the amazing universe.

God is so creative. How does he think of such creatures? This little beastie looks like he has antlers, and he seems rather proud of them by his pose. To be honest I have no idea what it's called, I was just amazed by another of God's amazing creations and thought you would enjoy it as well. (I know, I know...I'm using "amazing" far too much, but what other word describes what God has done?)

The "brights"

Here's a new definition, in case you didn't know about this, so that you won't be "in the dark." I do want to add a few comments at the end of the article (did you expect any less?)

bright (noun)-

A bright is a person whose worldview is naturalistic, that is, free of supernatural or mystical elements.* The term was coined by Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert, a pair of brights from Sacramento, California, who thought it would be sensible to adopt a common name for atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, materialists, rationalists, secular humanists, and skeptics.* All these disparate groups share in common a naturalistic worldview. According to Futrell and Geisert:
The simple noun bright gathers under the same umbrella a great diversity of persons who have a naturalistic worldview. Under this broad umbrella these people, as brights, can gain social and political power in a society infused with supernaturalism.*
They also assert: "We cannot designate other people brights. Bright is a self-identifying term." The term is intended to be a pragmatic civic identity term rather than a philosophical belief term.
They invite anyone who wishes to be counted as a bright to let them know. As of February 2006, people from 138 different nations have identified themselves as brights.
The term "bright" was chosen, according to Futrell and Geisert, for its positive emotive associations, which they hope will counteract all the negative terms that society-at-large uses to describe those who have no supernatural elements in their belief system. (Some of the terms that have been used at various times in various places to convey disapproval are: atheist, heretic, infidel, non-believer, unbeliever, disbeliever, pagan, blasphemer, nonconformist, dissenter, apostate, defector, and fallen-away (Catholic, Jew, etc.).
Daniel Dennett has suggested that the opposite of a bright might be called a super, someone who holds a worldview that is characterized by supernatural or mystical elements.

-The Skeptics Dictionary

I must admit that I'm humored by this new definition. What is really fascinating to me is that naturalists, who are totally in the dark about God, life and truth, would choose this word to define themselves. God has already given a name to this worldview. You can find it in Psalm 14:1.

It's as if language has been turned upside down! Another author, a self proclaimed "bright", was concerned that those who are not bright would consider this to be arrogant. You think? How else could this definition be taken? Arrogant? Yes, without question.

The implication clearly communicated by this redefining of terms is that anyone who is not a naturalist is also not to be considered bright. Let's see, what else would you call them- dull, dark, dim, dumb? The claim implied by this definition is clear...we have truth, we have light, we can see clearly and if your worldview is different, if you believe is God, then you are one of the "dims."

Redefining terms does not change truth. Rant, rage, makes no difference in reality. Raise your fist to heaven if you wish, here's God's response:

Psa 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?
Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
Psa 2:3 "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!"
Psa 2:4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.
Psa 2:5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying,
Psa 2:6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain."
Psa 2:7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
Psa 2:8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
Psa 2:9 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'"
Psa 2:10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Psa 2:11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.
Psa 2:12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Friday, May 02, 2008

speechbox - 'Spinster' by Jude Simpson

Here's Jude's newest video. Enjoy.

The more we know....

It seems that as we discover more of the universe it becomes clearer to me that we have a most awesome God. He has made galaxies that we have yet to see just to show us how amazing he is. Here is part of an article from the NASA web page talking about this new discovery:

"On August 25, 2003, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope blasted into the same dark skies it now better understands. In just two years, the observatory's infrared eyes have uncovered a hidden universe teeming with warm stellar embryos, chaotic planet-forming disks, and majestic galaxies, including the delightfully odd galaxy called NGC 4725 shown here. (I'm sure that's not what God has named it. -Mike) This peculiar galaxy is thought to have only one spiral arm. Most spiral galaxies have two or more arms. Astronomers refer to NGC 4725 as a ringed barred spiral galaxy because a prominent ring of stars encircles a bar of stars at its center (the bar is seen here as a horizontal ridge with faint red features). In this false-color Spitzer picture, the galaxy's arm is highlighted in red, while its center and outlying halo are blue. Red represents warm dust clouds illuminated by newborn stars, while blue indicates older, cooler stellar populations. The red spokes seen projecting outward from the arm are clumps of stellar matter that may have been pushed together by instable magnetic fields. NGC 4725 is located 41 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices."

And for me here is the amazing part of this....God describes the creation of the stars, the galaxies and the universe in this way in the book of Genesis. Read it carefully, it's really quite amazing:

Gen 1:14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
Gen 1:15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.
Gen 1:16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.

Did you notice that last phrase? Only 5 words that speak of a universe we are only now beginning to discover. 5 words that describe billions of galaxies we have yet to see. A universe so vast we are only beginning to measure it. Now I must admit that if you are going to worship any God don't you want to worship the one who creates all of this almost as an afterthought? 5 words to describe a universe so vast, amazing and beautiful that we have yet to see even a small part of it. What an awesome God! That's the God I worship.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Today - Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day

Today is a day of remembrance. A day when the Jewish nation remembers those who were killed in the holocaust. Here's one of their stories:

"The last Jews of Buchenwald were lined up at the gate of the camp on April 10, 1945 - I among them. We were to be marched off to our final destination. In the skies above, American bombers searched for targets. The nearby V-II rocket plants, which had produced missiles that killed so many in Britain, had already been destroyed, taking the lives of our comrades enslaved as laborers there.
There remained one last target - for the SS guards still standing atop the watchtowers and along the electrified barbed-wire fences: the surviving Jews of Buchenwald.
That night we were kept in the central square, from which those who came before us had been taken to their bitter end. Many collapsed and died that night. Those who could stand on their feet, as well as those who were lying on the frozen ground still breathing, no longer believed in miracles.
But about an hour before noon, the unbelievable happened. A gray-green jeep smashed through the gate and stopped in the center of the square.
Suddenly we saw the Messiah before our eyes. Three American soldiers - I remember one was African American - stood there in olive-green uniforms we had never seen before. We burst into applause; they stared at us, the doomed who had escaped the gallows by seconds, those of us whose luck and strength had held out. We could celebrate a "second birthday."
AS I REFLECT on our liberation all these years later, I think about the terms "Holocaust" and "genocide." Yes, there is bloodshed all over the world; it has existed since Cain murdered Abel. People, nations, tribes kill each other because of the unharnessed ambitions of rulers, because of unbridled instincts, border disputes and religious fanaticism.
All these crimes have their names, but the terms "Holocaust" and "genocide," in the sense of the industrial-scale and systematic destruction of an entire people, are specific, unfortunately, to us, the Jews. " -The Jerusalem Post
In my own study of history I always thought this period of time was one of the darkest. It's a clear reminder of what we are capable of doing to one another. It's a clear reminder of why we needed a savior. While you are going through your day today pray for the nation of Israel. Regardless of what wicked men have done to them they are still God's chosen people. Pray for the peace of Israel.