March 30, 2012
For my weekly church newsletter I debated about swapping two interviews around. One is a great story that has a warm fuzzy feel to it where the interviewee reminisced about Easter as a child. The other is captivating story of a physically and mentally abused woman who struggled raising two boys and wrestled with God over issues she didn’t understand. I decided to publish the stories in the order of the interview, which meant that the feel good story will run this week, a week prior to Easter. The overcoming abuse story will be published for Easter Sunday. As I proof read the Easter Sunday edition I was blown away by God’s perfect timing and messaging. The interviewee’s favorite passage of Scripture is the perfect Easter story rolled up into one tiny verse, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…” (John 11:25 NIV)
March 29, 2012
A local newspaper reported that a woman survived a gunshot wound to the head and has apparently resumed her transient life style, while the shooter on the other hand is answering questions about some past brushes with the law. The real story however, is that the woman wore a red Mohawk hair style and the shooter, from 90 feet away, mistook her for a bird. I can understand the shooters confusion. We have all fired off shots at others who are acting out of character and then we’re shocked to learn they are a fellow believer. Of course, if people can’t tell whether or not we are a Christian, maybe we deserve to be shot at.
March 28, 2012
The marquee at a local home decorating business reads, ‘Blind Repair’. Actually, I think the sentiments would be more fitting if they were displayed on the church marquee. Reading from the scroll of Isaiah the prophet Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed…” (Luke 4:18 NIV)
March 27, 2012
I am in Toastmasters and one of my observations is that speakers and presenters almost always begin their talk justifying to the audience why they are speaking and explaining their job. ‘I’m here because I’m the evaluator’ or ‘this is my Ice Breaker speech’. They then tell us how they arrived at where they are, ‘this thought came to me in the middle of the night’, or ‘I spent a week in trying to think what I wanted to say’. We who speak in the church have the same habit. For instance speakers will say, ‘Today I am giving the Communion meditation’ – actually the audience already knows that you are doing the meditation because you are listed in the bulletin. Presenters will then continue on and tell us when, where, how and why they arrived at their particular text for this particular meditation. I wonder if we do something similar when we present the Gospel to others. I think it’s possible that we spend more time telling people how we arrived at the Gospel, than we do in actually sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
March 26, 2012
My friend Sharon was recently diagnosed with severe, inoperable heart problems and she has only a short time to live. “Ninety-five percent of my heart is blocked.” She smiled, “So I’m running on only five percent fuel.” As Christians we should never be afraid to die, but Sharon’s attitude is remarkable. “I can hardly wait to see the Lord and sit on His lap. It’s marvelous, it’s wonderful. The Lord has given me a plan and I have time to get my affairs in order.” I laughed with Sharon when she told me that even knowing she had six months to live didn’t stop her from suggesting a timetable to the Lord. “When I have chest pains I tell Him, ‘I’m ready, this would be a good time for me to go!’”
March 23, 2012
I am attending classes on Emergency Preparedness and we had a chance to visit the Emergency Operations Center, but only six of us took advantage of the opportunity. Some people in the class said they didn’t get a notice. At our last meeting the attendance was down and one classmate told the facilitator, “I had it on my calendar so I knew about the class, but you didn’t send out a reminder, so some people may have forgotten.” The facilitator replied, “At the last meeting we all agreed on the time and the place for this meeting. Everyone has a calendar and it’s not my job to send out a reminder.” He then added, “In an emergency no one will be sending you a reminder.” Can’t you just see people standing before the Lord on Judgment Day saying, ‘But You didn’t send us out a reminder’?
March 22, 2012
As I get older there are a few places on my hands and arms that are now showing up as scars. I don’t always remember how I got those wounds, but I can vaguely remember as a child picking at the rough scab and pulling it off before the wound was healed. When I was young in faith I’m fairly certain that I did something similar in my spiritual walk. No doubt some of my spiritual scars are of my own making because I kept pulling off the scabs before I was healed.
March 21, 2012
I’ve noticed that when I have a housekeeper coming in I’ll do some tidying up before she gets here. Or when I have a dentist appointment, I’ll spend extra time brushing and flossing before the appointment. I also try some dieting before it’s time for my annual physical because I know I’ll have to get on the dreaded scale. It’s no wonder that the Lord has kept the Second Coming a secret. “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matt 24:44 NIV)
March 20, 2012
Our upcoming election is a non-partisan race and some candidates come from opposite political parties. A few days ago I learned that one candidate declares a party affiliation just long enough to participate in the party caucus then he switches to become an Independent. I’m not sure how his party feels about people who are on again-off again, but the Lord certainly has an opinion on those of faith who have Laodiceian tendencies. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:15-16 NIV)
March 19, 2012
At the fitness center I can see people of all shapes, sizes and ages working out and I admire their efforts. However, if anyone were to see these folks on the street or in their work place, they would have no idea how much time, energy and sweat has been expended in order to keep fit. I’m wondering if something similar can be said of the Body of Christ. Very few people see our perfect body because for many of us, the only time we exercise our faith is when we are in the church setting.
March 16, 2012
As a playwright, George Bernard Shaw included humor in his craft. Personally I am not a fan of Shaw’s, but I find his quote interesting, "My way of joking is to tell the truth. It is the funniest joke in the world." In my world truth is serious business and I just can’t wrap my head around it as being humorous or a joke. No doubt there was humor in Jesus’ life, but he prefaced much of his teaching and remarks with, “I tell you the truth…” Somehow I don’t think anyone in His audience was laughing at the time.
March 15, 2012
A middle aged woman, accompanied by her quiet and unassuming boyfriend, would occasionally attend our worship services and then she would ask for financial assistance. Eventually our leadership stipulated that the church would give her a hand-up, not a hand-out, but only if she attended regularly and become a part of the fellowship…and for a time she did. The woman has now moved on, but every Sunday the boyfriend slips quietly into a seat and joins us for worship. We use our human wisdom to identify those in need, but Jesus has His target audience and it’s not always who we think it would be. “When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” (Luke 19:5 NIV)
March 14, 2012
Yesterday the activity on the Christian Ear was off the chart. Actually at first I thought it was a glitch with the counter, but no, someone is going through old blogs. More than likely my campaign opposition is sorting through old posts hoping to find something disparaging that I may have said. I really do have to laugh, because if someone is looking for dirt then they have to read through six years of Scripture and Christian thoughts. We know the Word of God does not return void. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double–edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb 4:12 NIV)
March 13, 2012
I’ve just read an interesting little book, Your Mind Matters, by John Stott, who observes that when a person comes to the Lord we tend to think, ‘thank God he was converted’ rather thinking, ‘thank God he was persuaded’. Stott notes that persuading is an intellectual exercise, “To persuade is to marshal arguments in order to prevail on people to change their mind about something.” Most of us don’t feel equipped to persuade a sinner to accept Jesus as his Savior…and that’s exactly Stott’s point.
March 12, 2012
I’ve often heard it said that a funeral service should be for the living, rather than for the dead. At a recent funeral the casket with the body was present, but there wasn’t a lot that was actually said about the deceased. The service really was more about the pastor, the family in video slides and the messages through prerecorded songs. For me there seemed to be a void because so little was said about the deceased. But then I remembered the words of the angel at the tomb, “He is not here, he has risen, just as he said.” (Matt 28:6 NIV) Certainly my dearly departed had already departed and it really was about the family that was left behind.
March 09, 2012
Each week for over two years I’ve interviewed a member of the congregation and then written a mini-bio about them to share with the congregation. It’s been a great tool for helping us get better acquainted with one another. However, I’m now struggling to find folks to interview. Some people are very private and don’t want to share their lives, while others want more time to collect their thoughts and will say, “Not now, call me back in a couple of months.” I don’t want to pressure people to share, but I hate to see anyone pass up an opportunity to tell others about how God has worked in their life. “Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” (Psalm 66:16 NIV)
March 08, 2012
It seems we believers often look for ways to divide ourselves and then show our independence. I certainly mean no disrespect to this congregation, but I cracked up when I read their name, the Third Christian Reformed Church. I can only imagine the history and lineage for this body of believers. The name alone entices me to want to know more about their genealogy and if we might somehow be related.
March 07, 2012
A frustration I have with my computer is that I don’t always know where I am. Am I in the library, in a folder or in a sub-folder? Every once in a while a family member will have to lead me out of the maze, but that still doesn’t register with me as to how I got to where I was in the first place and more importantly, how to get out on my own. I recently sent up yet another distress call to Bill saying, ‘where am I?’ and he finally had the answer I was looking for. “Just look up on the tool bar at the top of the screen and it will show you where you’ve been and where you are now.” As believers we sometimes fail to realize where we are in our Christian maturity – for better or for worse. I would love to have a spiritual tool bar that showed me where I’ve been and where I am now. “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Heb 5:13-14 NIV)
March 06, 2012
To me, giving someone the benefit of the doubt has meant saying, “I’ll trust you because I want to be fair and not jump to conclusions”. I recently did a double take when I read the definition on the internet as, "I can't prove you're wrong (or lying), but I suspect that you are, so because of this doubt I'll accept what you say." Wow….I find it interesting that we seem to give one another a pass on what we say or do just because we don’t want to take the time to prove whether or not their statements are true.
March 05, 2012
There are situations in life where I resolve to put something in God’s hands, but then I can’t let it go and I keep trying to help Him out. I fall into this trap is because I can, for good or bad, actually impact the outcome of a situation by my actions. However, there are other times when I have absolutely no power, such as when a loved one has terminal cancer. I can let go then because I know I am limited and God is unlimited. I’m thinking I need to recategorize what problems I give to the Lord. In order to completely turn something over to Him, maybe I should classify it as “terminal”.
March 02, 2012
A few months ago I heard a presentation from Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, a water court judge. He noted that conserving water on the western slope really doesn’t help Colorado, but rather benefits communities downstream, like San Diego. The aquifer, a water-bearing layer of rock, sand or gravel that absorbs water, needs to be replenished, but in our efforts to save water by lining irrigation ditches, we are actually keeping the water from going into the local aquifer. On a spiritual level Jesus has a similar thought, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:24 NIV)
March 01, 2012
I purchased 50 campaign yard signs for the upcoming election and then I had to come up with friends who would let me display the signs in their yard. I’m pleased to report that I do in fact have 50 friends. I put the signs out on Saturday, but during the night on Monday one of the signs mysteriously disappeared. I’m now seeing shades of the Parable of the Weeds. “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.” (Matt 13:24-25 NIV)