Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The other day I was sitting up high in my tree stand, watching the fall color explosion more than looking for deer, and I had a metaphorical vision about life. We all know and are familiar with comparing the seasons of the year to the seasons of life, but have you ever just thought about a leaf. A single leaf, clinging to a branch like all the other leaves, and yet unique in ways that the naked eye can't easily detect. All of them start out the same. Shiny, green, and strong. Some don't make it through the storms of life before they get ripped loose and fall back to the earth. The comparisons are endless and any metaphor will fall apart if you try to make TOO MUCH of it, but I was truly touched by one particular thought. Isn't it interesting that so many leaves reach their peak of beauty at the end of their life. Just before being disconnected, they are bright yellows, gorgeous reds, and vibrant orange, and they give joy to the world around them. Then they're gone. Back to the place that gave them life in the first place.
I want to be like that, don't you? I want aging to be my peaking not my dying. I want to bring joy to the world around me, and then return to the One who gave it all to me.
That gives all new meaning to the old joke, "Make like a tree and leave" doesn't it?
Friday, October 26, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Myth America Contest: Myth Image
I used Forrest Gump as a good example of someone who was not driven by image. And his famous "box of chocolates" line is a perfect illustration of something that is good, but can be bad if we eat too much. Image, like chocolate, is not bad until we get it out of balance. Most of life's problems come from our in ability to control our drives, desires, and limitations. Food, drink, drugs, sex, and most everything we enjoy in life are God-given, but we can't seem to keep them when and where God intended. Our image is something to care about, but we must grow up, mature, deepen our values, and at some point, care more about the image of Christ than we do our own.
1. The Problem of Acceptance (Wanting to be liked)
A. "Love one another" means it's good to be liked by others - but not required!
B. Loving yourself must never depend on being liked by others. That's how peer pressure gets it's power in our lives. (Look at what it caused Herod and Pilate to do.)
C. One of my all time favorite quotes, "You wouldn't care so much about what others thought about you if you knew how little they did it." Are we paranoid or egotistical in thinking people are looking at us so much?
D. Faith is seeking to please God first! Heb.11:6; Matt.6:33
2. The Problem of Conforming (Changing to be liked)
A. Fit in but don't sell out! We all observe others and adjust ourselves to be liked and accepted, but don't let that control you. Be who God made you to be. Celebrate your uniqueness! Have convictions, values, and self worth! People respect that and you admire those who have them. Joseph's brothers are good examples of people who didn't like uniqueness.
B. We are all changing! Getting older is changing, so why do older people resent change so much? Maybe we're changing into something other than Jesus.
C. Romans 12:2 challenges us. Are you conforming or transforming? It's all about choosing Jesus over the world! As a church, do we expect transformation or conforming? Become like US or like Jesus?
3. The Problem of Self Absorption (Obsessed with self, and wanting everyone else to be obsessed with you too!)
A. How important is "Image Management" to you? All do it some, but some do it all! How did you decide what to wear today? The only thing I have? This is what's clean and modest? This is what's comfortable? This is what's acceptable and expected? This makes me look good?
B. Obsession with self is ego, pride, and pleasure NOW! Work, family, marriage, and church are all about you? Phil.3:15-21 some early Christians had the same problem.
C. Image is idolatry! The worship of self! (Actually, imbalanced image!) Romans 1:24-25 worship of creature rather than Creator!
D. Image is idolatry for the church too - if it's more important to look good to the world than to God! Are we more interested in acceptance and conforming to what the world says we should be and look like? Are we guilty of self absorption? What really is church growth?
It's time to BE REAL and forget our image! We need to be real about looking like Jesus. Sounds like a good reason for an Image Makeover to me!
Monday, October 22, 2007
One of the hardest things about being "in season" is reminding yourself to keep practicing. We don't have the privacy around our house I'd like to have in order to practice without making the neighbors nervous. This is our neighbors house, about 15 feet away from ours, but it gives me a little hidden lane to take a few quick shots at times of the day when no one is around. I'm shooting towards the pond behind our house - not the kids who play back there occasionally.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
* Do you focus on what you can't do anymore or on what God has empowered you to do now?
* Have you retired or been reassigned?
* Are you productive or pouting (feeling sorry for yourself because you're getting old)?
* We will never be younger than we are right now!
* The only exception is spiritual living, because the more you mature the healthier you become! How's that for a great thing to think about ? To God, we are always His children.
1. The Myth of Youth is the myth of external beauty!
A. To be young or look young is beautiful? That kind of thinking is shallow, selfish, and sin seeking not God seeking?
B. What do we really want? Attention, admirers, people jealous, or lusting over us?
C. We need to redefine beauty to match God's definition of beauty! 1 Sam.16:7; 1 Peter 3:1-4
2. The Myth of Youth is the myth of "better days." Everything was better when we were younger!
A. We suffer from selective memory. There were wonderful times, but not all of it!
B. Remember insecurities? Fears? Ignorance? Twisted priorities? Weakness? Lack of self control? Just to name a few.
C. There is nothing better than NOW! (Eccl.9:7-10)
3. The Myth of Youth is the myth of long life! The younger you are, or think you are, the farther away death must be! Wrong!
A. The older you get, the harder it is to ignore death, but it's a step away from everyone.
B. We must remember that we don't deserve anything! Every day is a blessing and a gift that many others didn't get to have.
C. If you are still fearful of death, what have you been doing all these years as a Christian? Not preparing! Not growing in your walk with God? (Eccl.12:13-14)
4. The Myth of Youth is the myth of significance! You only count if you're young!
A. Only to those who are selfish or full of self pity! Poor me!
B. If thankfulness grows w/ age, who should be the most thankful people on earth?
C. Praise God for every wrinkle and gray hair! They proclaim to all how wonder God has been to us to let us live long enough to have them! They are our badge of blessing! Our promotion stripes! Our crown that most people never got to wear!
D. Older Christians are significant, not because they are alive, but because of what they have to offer. Thankfulness! Years of walking with God! Loving relationships! Learning to give not receive! Learning that God is right! Where else will the young learn these things - from other young people?
Conclusion: Ask Moses which part of his 120 years was the most important? How long did it take to get him ready to be used by God! So, how many burning bushes do you deserve?
Monday, October 15, 2007
A friend at church sent us this picture. The caption was "What to wear when your wife wants you to do the chores."
I've been tripled tagged so I guess I better do something about it. For those who tagged me, I wasn't ignoring you, but according to the rules I'm supposed to tag eight more people and I don't know eight more blogs that haven't already been tagged. I didn't want to be the one to break the chain and cause catastrophic events, prove to be unloving, unpatriotic, unfaithful, or be cursed for the next seven years. So, here are my eight unusual things about me (I can't say unknown, because they've probably all been sermon illustrations at some time in the past.)
1. I am paranoid about spelling. Praise God for spell-check. I'm mostly paranoid that everyone else in my family are all incredible spellers and don't have to think twice about any word. I avoid names and places especially because I'm afraid of misspealling thim!
2. Of all my Rootisms and thought provoking wise saying, the hardest one for me to remember to say to myself - several times a day - is "It really doesn't matter." It's my biggest defense against, as Elizabeth says, being annal retentive! (Did I spell that right?)
3. While we did use Bible names for our children, the toughest part was coming up with their middle names. All three names came from relatives.
4. I am totally comfortable with my age and thankful for every day God has given me, but the biggest thing I miss about the "old days" is being able to sing well. I'm talking way back before botox-shots time.
5. After a battery of psychological tests for Harding's mission internship program in 1972, the counsellor said I was "Very honest. Very stable. Very extrovert." And that was all he said.
6. My mother is still one of the most intelligent women I've ever known in my life.
7. If I were starting over again, I wouldn't be a full time minister. I'd be in vocational ministry of some form. I love ministry and preaching and can't imagine doing anything else, but I'd truly love to be self supporting some how.
8. When I was a kid in school, I thought my middle name Rand was so corny that I told people it was Randy. Later I liked having my mothers maiden name as my middle name.
So there they are. Just the first eight things I thought about on a Monday morning when I skipped going hunting because of potential rain that turned out to be late and wouldn't have arrived until after my hunting time. Oops, is that number nine?
Friday, October 12, 2007
A friend of ours sent us this picture today. I'm confident the Ford will fly - aren't you?
This morning I snuck off and went hunting. I couldn't wait! It has been so warm that it wasn't worth even trying and a third of October is already gone! So when this cool front came through this week, I finished up everything on Thursday so I could get away for a few hours this morning. And it was cold not cool. The bank sign down in Sullivan said 35 degrees when I passed it at 6 AM. I wasn't wearing enough and ended up shivering for the first couple hours. But hey, such is hunting. I had a little six point buck feed under my stand for about ten minutes, totally oblivious to the predator just above him in spitting range. It was fun watching him. He was so young and so stupid, as most one and a half year old's are, but he won't stay that way for long. I couldn't help but wonder how many times in my fifty-six years I've been as close to my death as that deer was today - and, like him, been totally oblivious of it? It probably completely dwarfs the number of "close calls" that I'm aware of. Did God intervene? Was I just lucky? It really doesn't matter. I praise Him and thank Him for every day He has given me. I know in my heart that He protected me during many of my "young and so stupid" days. I believe He wanted me to share what He's taught me to others. Things that took time, a lot of questions and struggles, and a lot of experiences. Part of being older and wiser is seeing life's predators, and they have the best camo, weaponry, and tactics there is - and they work for the best predator of all - Satan. Remember, Peter called him a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. So dear brethren, keep an eye on those trees!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
1. The Myth of Compatibility = if we are so alike we will be so close! Compatibility doesn't always build closeness. Sometimes it fosters competitiveness, comparing, and it's boring. We weren't made to be alike, but to like how we are made different. It's not about shared interests, it's about shared values. Love is not chemistry, it's a choice. 1 Cor.13:4-8 are choices, just as loving God is a choice.
2. The Myth of Conformity = "I want someone who will become what I want them to be." I call this the "They'll Change Syndrome". NO relationship will work where people think about controlling, molding, or training their mate. Relationship building is about giving not taking - or making! Eph.5:21-25 describes it as submitting and being like Christ, but this is about what we must be not what we must force "them" to be.
3. The Myth of Continuity = the fantasy of "the eternal honeymoon". The problem free marriage never existed and most young people are totally unprepared for the reality of working through relationship problems. After all - they have chemistry! BUT, do they have commitment? It's working through the problems that deepens a relationship and the love. That's why the Bible talks in terms of effort, work, and seeking - even in spiritual relationships. It's what we decide it will be - look a 1 Thess.5:12-18 and apply it to marriage!
Would you say that our "Chemistry" with God is strong? He made us in His image! If it was about chemistry, we'd ALL be as close as angels to God! It's about choices and commitments and love that grows through trials and tough times. That's why "love covers a multitude of sins," - not because of a chemical formula, but a committed faith.
This coming Sunday I'll be taking a look a Myth Youth. The subtitle is "Get the Wrinkles out!" (If you are one of those who download the lessons from the web page, be aware that our recorder crashed last week. They're making recording from the video tape and that will make each lesson be at least a week late. I'm hoping we get the new recorder in this week.)
Monday, October 08, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
This may not seem like much of a picture, but it's the view I looked at yesterday from my tree stand on the first day of my first IL bow season hunt. You can actually see part of my shadow in the fork of the tree's shadow. There are several well-worn deer trails coming out of those woods as well as some obvious trails under the stand of trees I'm in. It's at the top of a hill about 250 yards from a neighbor's corn and bean fields. It's got a beautiful view in all directions - when you look around all the leaves that are still there.
This is the view behind my stand, looking down the hill. My bow and arrow are hanging on a bow hanger just to the right of the picture. That's actually a valley that drops off to the left going down to a pond and the crop fields. Danny (my hunting buddy) Younger was in a stand up the draw to the right of this picture. He saw several does, and from all the snorting I heard, a couple of them at least smelled him. Unfortunately, the wind changed on us and blew down the hill as the deer came out. I saw some of the deer that came by Danny, and three more on the distant hill in the next picture.