August 31, 2011
In the Disney animated movie Tangled, Rapunzel was held captive for 18 years. It wasn’t until she escaped the tower that she learned her real parents were the king and queen. I think we’ve all had those times in our life when we didn’t like our parents and wished for the fairytale experience of getting a new mom and dad. Jesus puts a lot of emphasis on God being our Father, but I wonder if we sometimes fail to grasp our role as a child of the King.
August 30, 2011
Recently, while traveling to Australia, a country western singer/songwriter had a bad experience with an airline. Not only was he overcharged on his luggage containing his CD inventory, but the luggage was then lost. His efforts for reimbursement fell on deaf ears until he wrote a song about the experience. When the song became public, the airlines immediately made a reimbursement of $2,500. It’s amazing how quickly we change our tune when we are faced with exposure. “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” (Luke 12:2 NIV)
August 29, 2011
We’ve heard many elected officials give evacuation plans for hurricane Irene. However I think New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took the emergency preparedness playbook plans one step further and overlaid it with Biblical principles, “First go to your family and your friends and save the shelters for those who have no other place to go. Don’t make a shelter your first resort, but make it your last resort.” No doubt many of us fail to practice ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ because we’ve abdicated our responsibility to the government.
August 26, 2011
There are times when I seem to be having one tumultuous situation after another and I find myself asking, ‘What next?’ and then telling the Lord it would be nice to have a one day reprieve where I weren’t bombarding Him with prayer needs. The reality is that it’s during those stressful situations that I depend more fully on the Lord, rather than depending on my own abilities. I think many of us are a lot like Peter walking on the water…we have to be sinking before we cry out, “Lord save me!” (Matt 14:30b NIV)
August 25, 2011
With the new school year upon us some pastors in a neighboring community are sending kids back to school by having a ceremony and blessing their backpacks. One Reverend is quoted as saying that the items a student carries every day are, “items that are symbolic of whatever is going on inside of us. They are important.” I find this whole situation odd. Although I’m sure that the ceremony is well intentioned, blessing inanimate objects just doesn’t connect for me. But aside from that, I really have to wonder if the Spirit isn’t just cringing at the thought that the tools we use are somehow symbolic of whatever is going on inside of us.
August 24, 2011
This year we planted a few different varieties of small round and pear shaped tomatoes. Now I know a ripe red tomato when I see one, but I’m still trying to figure out these little yellow-orange fruit guys. Every couple of days we’re picking and eating a small handful of fruit, but we continue discussing what constitutes ‘ripe’. Should I pick the fruit when it’s yellow or when it’s golden? After I’ve eaten it I wonder if it would have tasted better had I waited another day or so. I think we sometimes have a similar problem in the church. Figuratively speaking, a believer will sometimes be picked for a ministry before he’s spiritually mature. If he’s too green we can no doubt let him ripen on the window sill, but you have to wonder how much better he would have been if we had left him to ripen on the vine.
August 23, 2011
When my kids were young and would get into a spat I’d ask, “What are you arguing about?” I could get an earful from each side as they defended themselves, their actions and lobbied for my support. As we get older we continue to have disagreements, but seldom do we hear anyone ask the question, ‘What are you arguing about?’ I suppose we hold back because we think it’s not our business to get involved or mediate division between adults. On the way to Capernaum the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest. Interestingly Jesus had no qualm about asking, “What were you arguing about on the road?” (Mark 9:33 NIV) The disciples didn’t respond, but kept quiet. It’s intriguing to think that if we were to use Jesus’ tactic, we too might be able to squelch a few of today’s arguing factions.
August 22, 2011
To illustrate repentance for eight year-old David, his dad took a piece of paper that he said represented sin, wadded it up and let it fall to the floor. Walking away he explained that when our sins are forgiven they are nothing more than a piece of discarded trash. Later that evening while getting ready for bed David picked up the wad of paper and asked, “Daddy, do you want me to recycle your sin?”
August 19, 2011
There was a recent news report about a wealthy Arab man who owns a private island. Mr. Hamad memorialized himself by designing a two mile long waterway that spelled out his name in capital letters. The name HAMAD is in such large print that it can clearly be seen from space. Someone needs to tell Mr. Hamad that shouting at God won’t get him noticed.
August 18, 2011
I recently heard a presentation where an organization that is dependent on government funding justified their fee increase by changing their formula for assessing dues. Then I read where the State implemented a new formula for calculating ACT scores and now records are being set for the highest scores Colorado has seen in 10 years. Sadly we in the religious arena are no different. Rather than being obedient to God’s Word, individuals and denominations offer up changes in formula to one another so that we are socially acceptable and can continue in our sin.
August 17, 2011
I have a teacher friend who reminds her students coming in from recess of the need to tone down their volume and use their inside voice. Now I know as mature adults we can’t (or won’t) use that tactic on one another, but I think the idea has merit. All too often what is in our heads comes right out our mouth. Because we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, imagine how much better off we would be if we were reminded to use our Inside Voice.
August 16, 2011
One of our political activists is such a bully that my wishful thinking leads to thoughts of ways to marginalize his attacks. I’m not thinking anything too serious, but laryngitis, job transfer or a doctor imposed quarantine might all offer a reprieve. Lately this particular activist has uncharacteristically missed some local meetings, so a few of us were asking one another, “So where’s Waldo?” Would you believe it…God, with His sense of humor, sent him on a three week vacation.
August 15, 2011
A service man returning from Afghanistan told the media that that their unit’s mission was accomplished. Forming a leading question one reporter then asked the soldier about the men who were lost on the mission and would not be returning. The soldier confidently responded, “Their mission was accomplished.” In the church we often grieve over what seems to be the untimely loss when a faithful servant dies. Maybe our faith would be better served if we too looked at a fellow believer’s passing as being a mission accomplished.
August 12, 2011
Six year-old Lydia was only moderately impressed with her craft project of six paintable refrigerator magnates. Trying to generate some enthusiasm I showed her the prince, princess and the enchanted castle. In a sing-song voice she said, “They’re OK…I’m just not a very good painter. I can’t stay in the lines all the time.” I finally eased her worries by showing her the lopsided ceramic bear (or dog…depending on your imagination) with one short leg that her daddy made when he was a child. Once her spirit of perfectionism was neutralized, she had a great time being creative. I can’t fault Lydia’s initial reaction. Even as an adult, God will sometimes give me an opportunity and I can hear myself unenthusiastically saying, ‘I’m just not very good, I can’t stay in the lines…’
August 11, 2011
My grandkids were having a sleepover so I picked up a couple of craft projects to help keep them entertained. Eight year-old David was beyond ecstatic with putting together three pre-cut wooden race cars. Following the instructions he and his granddad glued, sanded, painted and applied stencils. I knew I’d hit it out of the park with the craft selection when David continued to be excited and even started imagining himself being skilled enough to now start building furniture. Jesus said, “If you…know how to give good gifts to you children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt 7:11 NIV) I can only imagine the pleasure God gets watching us get excited over the gifts He gives us.
August 10, 2011
A letter writer to Dear Abby said, “I don’t want to waste my life watching her [mother] waste hers.” I think many of us who have friends and loved ones captive to addictions can relate to the writer. I’ve certainly experienced times when it seemed like another person’s addiction was draining the life out of me. Carrying that thought into the spiritual realm, I’m now wondering if we don’t have the same sort of feelings when it comes to non-believing loved ones. Are there times when we are so desperate for others to come to the Lord that our life gets consumed by their failure to accept Jesus Christ? It seems possible that some of us might be wasting our life by watching a non-believer waste his life.
August 09, 2011
In the next 60 days petitions will begin circulating to recall our three County Commissioners. I find the more pressing issue of a recall is the proposed candidate replacements. Without candidate competition and a campaign the voter doesn’t have time to fully vet the proposed replacements. So my question would be, could we be worse off with replacements? Reasoning that they wanted to be like other nations, the Israelites asked for a king to rule over them rather than the Prophets. God let them have their kings – the good, bad and the ugly.
August 08, 2011
The average life expectancy for a US citizen is 78 years-old and I think many of us live with that measure in mind. When I heard of a Birthday celebration for Mary Phelps who just turned 111 years-old, I couldn’t help but wonder if she had ever prepared herself to live 33 years beyond her average. In the generations from Adam to Noah the men lived anywhere from 700 to 900 years old. As a general rule people procrastinate, can you imagine how long people might put off accepting Christ if they lived to be 700 years old?
August 05, 2011
Some of those in Congress were elected because of their campaign promises to their Tea Party constituents. I listened to reporter and talk show host Geraldo Rivera bemoaning the fact that he is losing money on his retirement funds and insisting that it’s time for these newly elected officials to forget about those constituents back home and to do what is best for the nation. In the church we too are sometimes encouraged and pressured to do what seems best for the majority. However, I think it’s good to remind ourselves that it’s actually the minority who gains eternal life. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt 7:14 NIV)
August 04, 2011
When my children were young they would occasionally try to boss each other around and I would have to step in and remind them of their position…that neither of them were the parent, nor the adult. I now find myself in an interesting position where a colleague wants to boss me around, which then triggers the childhood reaction that says, ‘You’re not my boss and you can’t tell me what to do’. In time we may get our differences worked out, but I can’t help but secretly wish that God would step in and remind both of us of our positions.
August 03, 2011
Learning to pry my fingers off of my tithe was a defining moment in my Christian maturity. As believers we can help each other turn the other cheek, doing unto others and praying, but when it comes to giving tithes and offerings we don’t ask for help. We hold our pocket book close to our chest, not wanting anyone – friends, family or foe – to know our tithing habits. Jesus cautioned us not to be boastful when giving to the needy, but I have to chuckle when I think of modern day titiers…most of us have little to boast about.
August 02, 2011
A letter writer to Dear Abby was divorcing her husband of 10 years for infidelity. The writer wanted advice on letting other people know the reason for the divorce and that she was not responsible. Abby’s advice was to consider the feelings of the children and take the more dignified high road by saying that it was a mutual decision. I am so glad Abby wasn’t handing out advice to those who wrote the Bible. Somehow I can’t imagine Paul looking the other way in regard to sin in order to take the high road.
August 01, 2011
My local Toastmasters’ Club dissolved because we don’t have enough committed people attending to take leadership positions. Over the last few years the standard justification has been, “My schedule is so busy that I can’t commit to regular attendance, but I’ll come when I can.” There is sometimes a similar attitude in the church. Not only is it used as an excuse, but surprisingly we accept it as a perfectly reasonable explanation. Really, can you see any of us getting away with telling the Lord that were pretty busy, but we’ll drop in when we can?