Thursday, January 31, 2008
Do I hear an AMEN?
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Don't you just hate it when you see a picture of something that makes you feel guilty. Maybe it's a starving child in Africa, and you've just complained about your steak not being cooked just the way you like it, or maybe it's flood victims receiving handout clothes because they lost all their clothes - and you've got a closet full of "I've got nothing to wear." Well, that's how I felt about this picture a friend sent us of the smallest house in Toronto. It's actually cute and nicely appointed inside, but I've been grieving over how to get my basement finished since I started it almost a year ago. I've been trying to figure out an inexpensive way to get a licensed and bonded electrician to sign my permit without having to pay much for it - and it hasn't worked. We have one coming to finally do the electrical this Friday, but it aint gonna be cheap. It will however, give us more additional square footage than that little house in Toronto has and the TWO of us really need MORE elbow room in this nice big house of ours. I know, I'm really doing it for the visitors we have over- mostly room for the grand kids to play in, and it's a good way to increase the value of our house, but still- I have to remind myself that it's not that big a deal. I have a house in heaven not made with hands - I assume that means w/o an electrician too - and probably with no need for a basement. So, I'm still doing it, I've just decided that it's not worth getting uptight about. I've never even had a basement before, so I know I can live without it. I've also never lived in a house as small as that one in Toronto. How big does this "earthly tent" really need to be?
Saturday, January 26, 2008
1. I don't have to mow the grass.
2. We get to use the fireplace.
3. Sweatshirts become a primary clothing item.
4. You need MORE calories to fight off the cold - at least that's my story.
5. Hot Chili, hot soup, and hot chocolate.
7. Snow warnings. Getting excited about snow requires a lot less shoveling.
8. Extra blankets on the bed!
9. With the holidays behind us, there is a nice long stretch for the church family to just be together and focus on "one another" with few distractions that compete for every one's time and attention - not counting the occasional snow or ice storm that keeps everyone at home on Sunday.
10. Each day is one day closer to Spring Turkey Season.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
They're back! This could be a picture from last year's ice hockey games on our back pond, but it's this year - 2008. And it's cold! I'm really not trying to have an ongoing saga of the "Pond-Out-Back", but it is one of the main reasons we bought this house. We'll never have another house build behind us - unless it's a houseboat. Actually, this picture just makes me think of change. That dirty word so many who claim to be being changed into the image of Christ hate. The pond out back changes nearly every day, depending on the weather, the critters that live there and visit, and the people who are attracted to it to "frow woks," watch the turtles, fish, or just enjoy the peaceful setting. It made me think about the inevitability of change. We can ignore it and pretend that it's not happening - but it never stops. Sometimes it just happens so slowly that you wake up one day and say, "Wow, when did that happen?" How come Joe looks so old all of a sudden? When did we stop singing those old songs at church? Why is my beard white? Why do I say "Remember when" so much?
I like to think that I love change. I do! I get excited about it - most of the time. But am I as excited about change when it's not so comfortable? When it's not what I want? Am I a selective lover of change? Why do I find myself liking the predictable more than I used to? That's scary. Like the song says, "Seasons change and so do I." So why fight it? Especially when I want to Be Real about being as much like Jesus as I possibly can be! Boy, is that ever a prescription for change! But I embrace it - long for it - and get a little giddy just thinking about what that's going to be like. Let me tell ya - that's a change in thinking that didn't happen overnight. So - yeah, bring on the next season, whatever it needs to be.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
He was South Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan and the photographer just happened to walk around the corner and snap this picture the second he fired one shot into the Viet Cong officers head, dropping him instantly. Of course, like most controversial photographs, there was more to the story than the picture could tell. The VC officer had just killed at least eight people. Just a few years later, the good general was running a pizza restaurant in Northern Virginia and holding my daughter. Isn't history an interesting thing?
Thursday, January 17, 2008
First, after a brief discussion today with some fellow ministers about our unity with our Christian Church brethren, I kept having one thought go through my radical brain. "I will be so glad when we stop defining ourselves by our man-made Protestant mass mentality, and start defining ourselves by how much we desire to be like Jesus." There - I said it. And here's another thought to chew on. I need to start seeing my brethren as any honest seeker of Jesus. If that's not part of Hebrews 11:6, our view of faith will always be enslaved to legalism.
Secondly, one of my sub-points in my lesson last Sunday, upon reflection and prayer, has come back to haunt me as another one of those incredibly powerful moments of clarity that I can only call a "God-moment". In discussing the need for us to BE REAL and be willing to go to a cross and sacrifice ourselves like Jesus did - because the goal it to be like Him - I stated "It's all about the will not the work!" The revelation was simply that this sums up what the church has been doing wrong for centuries. The institution promotes work, uses work to define faithfulness, and measures itself by that same work. It hasn't been very effective and is rapidly becoming even less effective. We must affect the will! Is there a desire to be like Jesus? If classes, sermons, small groups, ministries, and whatever else we do isn't bringing people into a deeper relationship with Jesus - which increases the desire to be like Him - then we're still trying to grease the machine.
Thirdly, why do I want to see Green Bay win it all? I think I just really want to see Brett win. I like his style.
Is that random enough for ya?
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Then I wondered, "What does God consider dumb?" Probably not what we think. He's not always interested in efficiency or effectiveness, and He certainly isn't interesting in impressing anyone with His intelligence. That's a given! We're too self-centered - He's not! We're too interested in achievements and image management! He's not! But as I looked at His sunset - I remembered. "The fool has said in his heart there is no God." Now that's being dumb!