June 30, 2010
The City asks that those who serve on Council to obtain a certain level of emergency preparedness. In connection with NIMS (National Incident Management System), I just completed three FEMA independent course studies. Each class was over three hours long and caused me great brain drain. However, I can now boast that I’m equipped in crisis management, whether it is local, tribal, state or federal. I can handle any catastrophe or disaster - up to and including Armageddon. I figured it wouldn’t do any good to tell them that I’m a pre-tribber and won’t be available at Armageddon.
June 29, 2010
Somewhere along the line the word belief seems to have become accepted as a substitute for opinion. Do you believe in angels? I believe you should feed a cold and starve a fever. I came across an interesting conversation on a web site: A man asked his sister, “Do you believe in global warming?” She replied, “Noooo. I believe in God. Science does not require me to believe in anything.”
June 28, 2010
We often talk about raising children and sometimes joke that because they are our children we never get them completely raised. I recently heard someone take a different slant on the issue by saying, “You’ve raised a man.” When you stop and think about it, our goal is not to raise children, but to raise men and women. We can look back and document physical and mental progress from childhood to adulthood, but it’s much more difficult for us to measure spiritual growth. I suppose one milestone is when we put spiritually-childish ways behind us. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Cor 13:11 NIV)
June 25, 2010
Author James B. Stewart describes a scene after a natural disaster by saying, “The only possible human reaction seemed to be a similarly calm and peaceful submission to forces beyond our control.” I think that’s how the majority of us feel when we finally accept and acknowledge that a situation is totally out of our control. However, I can’t always make the same application in spiritual matters. There are always those motivational Scriptures running around in my head that keep me on the edge of having some element of control. ‘Pray and keep on praying…whatever you ask in My name…’ It’s a little hard to have calm and peaceful submission when you know you can move mountains.
June 24, 2010
Occasionally I have to talk to the media and the harder I try to choose my words the more I feel like I’m babbling. I learned quickly that when speaking to a reporter you have to be specific, ‘This is on the record; this is off the record’. You do become a person of fewer words when there is a possibility that what you say may wind up on tomorrow’s front page. As believers we often do something similar with one another by saying, ‘please don’t repeat this’. How bright is that? Even if the confidence is kept, God has heard every word we spoke…and it is on the record!
June 23, 2010
I’ve been involved in some organizations where the Past President stays on the board for the coming year to add continuity to the group. It’s a nice gesture and in a sense it also helps the outgoing leader adjust to his new role of having less authority and official respect. In the arena of elected officials it’s somewhat shocking and yet humorous, at how quickly people are shuttled into and out of office. The phone starts ringing the day you’re sworn into office and abruptly stops the day your term is over. Paul reminds us about our temporary positions in life, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3 NIV)
June 22, 2010
It’s interesting that we seem to have a different standard for growing the church in the US than we have for growing it in a foreign country. On the mission field we want to plant as many churches as possible, but when it comes to the American church our business and marketing juices kick in. We think in terms of expanding churches rather than planting them. Certainly God’s kingdom can grow in either case, but I sometimes wonder if by building big churches we’ve somehow missed the big picture.
June 21, 2010
I have a family member with a very long memory when it comes to slights, grudges and vendettas. I can’t imagine how much time and effort it takes to mentally file away all those perceived injustices, let alone the ability to retrieve them at every opportunity. Recently I came across an associate who has a similar personality, but a different filing system. She records infractions by others in a little black book - person, date, time and place. I suppose that’s one way to compensate for having a short term memory. Love… “It is not rude, it is not self–seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Cor 13:5 NIV)
June 18, 2010
My son is allergic to shellfish, my grandson to peanuts and my daughter to wheat. Add to that, at any one time two or more in the family are always dieting…and none of us choose to be on the same diet. It’s a cook’s nightmare because it seems impossible to meet everyone’s needs. I think God had the right idea to put manna on the menu during the 40 years in the wilderness.
June 17, 2010
Amongst believers I’ve heard criticism that when someone is in need we should do more than simply offer to pray for them. I’m sure the intent is meant to say that actions speak louder than words; however I think we need to be cautious with that train of thought. Prayer is powerful, but if we imply to one another that it is just a token gesture, then we devalue its worth. Jesus chose prayer over action with Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32 NIV)
June 16, 2010
For many grocery shoppers the harvest season loses its impact because most foods are always available. I recently learned that in Afghanistan the end of the harvest season is simply the beginning of the fighting season. For these folks once the work of the harvest is completed they pick up their weapons and return to the battle field. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…” (Ecc 3:1 NIV)
June 15, 2010
The best way to stop a discussion on immigration is for someone to toss in the ‘racial profiling’ remark. Something similar happens in the church. When we talk about one another’s spiritual characteristics invariably someone will toss in a cautionary ‘thou shalt not judge’ and thus ends discussion. The truth is that the Bible offers spiritual profiles on believers, as well as unbelievers. “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.” (Matt 24:24 NIV)
June 14, 2010
I’m still on the prayer chain of XYZ Church and I appreciate being able to remain connected to them in a prayerful way. When a recent email request came through, my eyes were drawn to the list of addressees and I discovered that more than half of those on the list were no longer affiliated with that church. While a few had moved out of town, others had moved to various local congregations in the community. I love the fact that even though we no longer physically worship together, we can still be brought together by a call to worship in prayer.
June 11, 2010
When my kids were eligible to drive I taught them my version of defensive driving, ‘Always expect the other guy to do something stupid.’ Recently as I was preparing to turn right on a red light, I had to pull out a little into the crosswalk to see around the cars waiting for the green light. From out of nowhere a man in an electric scooter whizzed past my bumper and up onto the sidewalk. It was a close enough call that I immediately began thanking God for my guardian angel. It dawned on me that conceivably there were actually two guardian angels…one for me and one for my wheelchair bound friend. “When did we see you…” Matt 25:37-38
June 10, 2010
I just discovered a couple of unopened emails that dated back to March. Both messages were partly scrambled and the ‘sent from’ names were not the names of the sender. Obviously Bresnan and/or Outlook had a glitch. I emailed the senders, explaining and apologizing for the three month delay in responding. I can imagine the possibility that when I die I’m going to discover that my heavenly email account has more than a few unopened messages from the Holy Spirit.
June 09, 2010
Last week I had some really stressful meetings and I kept replaying them in my head during Sunday morning worship. My thoughts wandered away during the singing, were unfocused through communion and were distracted by side trips during the sermon. I have to give the Spirit credit for trying to get my attention…more than once He called me Martha. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” (Luke 10:41 NIV)
June 08, 2010
My Sunday School class is doing a video series about the exodus of the Israelites. Our trek had us wandering around in the dessert for 40 years and we’re just now entering the Promised Land. Scripture is pretty plain that the dessert experience was a time of testing for the Hebrews, however the narrator went a step further and had us consider how the Israelites were strengthened because of the experience. I’m always relieved to have survived a personal dessert trial, but I had not thought about the strength I’ve picked up along the way.
June 07, 2010
I had a pew partner, a lifelong believer, who is suffering from dementia. As the communion emblems were passed he took the bread and ate it and then took the cup. Similar to sipping tea, he sipped the grape juice by putting it to his lips and then moving it away. Each time he moved it away he looked at the juice that remained. Somehow he just couldn’t manage to either tilt his head back or tip his wrist so that he could fully drink the juice. Patiently and quietly his wife tried to get him to just return the cup to the tray and pass it on, however he was focused on finishing the juice. Often the emblems are quickly passed from person to person with no thought that every drop of the Lord’s blood is precious…His cup was indeed emptied for us.
June 04, 2010
Since I want to be a better writer, I take every opportunity to learn more about the craft. However I now have to get educated in areas for which I have no natural interest. For instance my Airport Advisory Board has me learning about enplanements and fuel loads. My NIMS class, through FEMA, is trying to prepare me for disasters. And the Economic Development folks are teaching me how to package and sell our community to prospective businesses. I often must lean on the understanding of others until I’m comfortably educated and feel confident in being able to converse and make correct decisions. It sounds remarkably similar to, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
June 03, 2010
A comedian gets me to laugh or a teacher causes me to learn, but I’ve never understood what I’m supposed to get from a presenter that oozes sweetness. What I find remarkable is that the only place I’ve encountered such affliction is within the church setting. Whether it is a television evangelist or a retreat speaker, it’s as though they think dramatizing their words will produce an emotional response. For many of us the results are just the opposite. When a speaker forces a sigh or a sob that fail to come from the heart, it is merely sugar coated hypocrisy.
June 02, 2010
My husband is the middle child of three brothers very close in age. During their teens and pre-teens, the youngest brother Jim got mad at the other two and decided to run away from home. Bill said, “Ray and I just parroted back what we’d always heard Dad say…‘let me help you pack’.” Sure enough Jim ran away and walked over 15 miles before a family friend (State Patrolman) found him and brought him home. Obviously in this case egging Jim on by offering to help him pack was no help at all. However, in the believer’s world there is merit in being able to know and repeat back what the Father says. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4 ESV)
June 01, 2010
I just had arthroscopic surgery done on a knee. I’ve discovered that by favoring the knee that was operated on, I’m developing aches and pains other parts of my body. My back is strained, the left hip is rebelling from carrying more weight and the right foot is weary of having to be the first foot forward. Paul compares the church body to the human body. I can attest, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…” (1 Cor 12:26a NIV)