Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Who Makes It A Merry Christmas?

It’s Christmas. What does that mean anymore?
Adam and Eve messed up. At the fall of Man our world became corrupted, we became corrupted. Not a pretty sight. And God was the only One Who could do anything to remedy the situation. And He did.
He promised and sent a Savior to redeem fallen man. Christmas marks the beginning of that redemptive process, when our Redeemer was born in Bethlehem.
The path from cradle to cross to resurrection is all part of a whole, is the entirety of the redemptive work of Christ which freed us from sin and restores us to right fellowship with God.
No wonder the shepherds thrilled at the news of His birth! Humble shepherds given the honor of being witness of the birth of Christ. The angel didn’t go to the religious leaders of the day; indeed, their days of prominence were coming to an end.
What does Christmas mean? If you are a Christian, it’s a reminder that your Redeemer lives.
If you are not a Christian, it means whatever you want it to mean.
What do I want for Christmas? Heaven full. Peace on Earth, with our King of Peace ruling from His city, Jerusalem. No more tears, no more war, no more fruitless human striving. God Glorified. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Washed Hog Still Oinks

Hillary Clinton-United Methodist
John Edwards-United Methodist
Rudy Giuliani-Roman Catholic
Mike Huckabee-Southern Baptist
Dennis Kucinich-Roman Catholic
Barack Obama-United Church Of Christ
Ron Paul-Baptist
Mitt Romney-Mormon
Fred Thompson-Church Of Christ

Oh my. What a balanced field. I garner ted armstrong’d all of these church affiliations from Wikipedia, so if some are suspect, suspect the Wiki.
Clinton is first alphabetically, if not in the hearts of all United Methodists everywhere. If she were to succeed to the Presidency and choose Edwards as her Dan Quayle…I mean vice president (oops!)…their families could go to church together. Except Bill Clinton is another brother Baptist of mine, along with Huck and Paul. (Ron, not Saint.) The point being, Hil Clinton and John and Elizabeth could ride together, as they go to the same church.
I know that there has been a big ‘foux-fraux’over whether or not “Evangelicals” (as Time and Newsweek like to refer to us) would be willing to vote for a (hushed tones) Mormon.
Since I am the last Evangelical in America to be push-polled by USA Today, here is my two one hundredths of a dollar: Yes.
I have no problem voting for the man I believe to be best qualified for the Presidency.
And so far, for me, that man is Mitt Romney.
Yes, he’s a Mormon. If he wanted to join my church, that would be a deal-breaker. We don’t accept Mormons as brothers in Christ. But he has my vote, because he has shown himself to be an able administrator, whether looking at his Governorship or the 2002 Olympics or his time with (according to the Wiki-you really can learn a lot at Wikipedia) Bain &Company.
Whomever you choose to support for President, I encourage you to exercise your citizenship by joining in the political process. It can only be improved by your taking part and working to improve it.
I know-I’ve joked before about imploring God NOT to give us the President we deserve (as we deserve Hell, though are graciously granted Heaven). But there’s truth in that. Ask God, pray that we will have strong leaders, and that this country may succeed and prosper in our endeavors. As the bumper sticker says, “America bless God”. And may God Bless America.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Shepherds and Angels!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2.8 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. Luke 2. 15 – 18 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2.20 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. Luke 2.9

In the meanest of situations and with the lowest of observers, our Savior was born! But heaven could not be silent at the marvelous coming of our Messiah, and the glory of angelic hosts appearing then must have been an incredibly awe inspiring sight to those shepherds. Here is the Good News! He accepts us as we are and where we are, and if we come to Him in humility we can receive His gift of new life. There is no one too low. There is no circumstance too dismal.



Monday, December 17, 2007

In Tempo

Oh, the gift of time! What a precious commodity! I wish I could share it with you all. This morning I stood still and slowly poured my Diet Coke over ice. Let me tell you that until just two weeks ago I would have poured a little soda, run away while it de-fizzed, come back and poured some more, run out and done something else, and come back and finished pouring, all the while trying to avoid an exasperating exercise of grabbing paper towels to wipe foam off the kitchen counter repeatedly. Today I held the can and watched as the soda gloriously spread over the ice, foaming ever so slowly from the steady and measured stream of liquid pleasure. Yes, I have a Diet Coke addiction, but that’s not the point. The point is – time. Time to do things right. Time to enjoy the moment. Time to share with friends and family. How I wish I could send some your way.

This morning I will be going to my church to clean the bathrooms. Does that seem like a step down from working in a law office? Not really. I could make a joke, but it’s probably not necessary. I’m going to start reading a book by K.P Yohannan, the founder of Gospel for Asia. It’s a short little book called “The Lord’s Work Done In the Lord’s Way.” I can actually take the time to sit and read a book this morning before I leave to clean bathrooms! The book is described as a lesson in knowing “the freedom and simplicity of serving your first love.” This is my heart’s desire – to return to the simple love for Jesus I had when I started this journey.

I know I can’t persuade you all to quit your jobs like I did. I mean, someone has to pay the bills. But God has blessed me with more time than I have had in so many years, and I pray that I will use it to His glory. Some of us are going to need additional time in order to meet our Creator and get on the right road. Some of us need it to store up treasure. My Christmas wish for you – may God bless you with more time somewhere along this road toward eternity we’re all journeying on together.

God bless you and Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

I Have Found My Word Of The Week

Holding or based on the view that human endeavor is futile.
One who holds the view that human endeavor is futile.

What a lovely word. I was reading a book where one character is considered guilty of futilitarianism. And that character, a bird, is killed and eaten by the end of the chapter.
But what a word! I am a futilitarian. I consider human endeavor to be futile, when said human endeavor contradicts God, goes against what He has decreed.
Do you want to save the planet? Who’s planet would you be attempting to save?
Would you being peace to the world? Without acknowledging the King of Peace? Futile.
My faith is considered futile by most of the world. I know that God is in charge, that He ordains what will happen, and that He will do with this world as He wishes.
This leads some to consider my trusting God a ‘mental illness’, a dreamers fancy. Which makes me laugh.
Faith in God is anything but futile.
Faith in Man? A dreamers fancy, a mental illness.

Psalm 20
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1 The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;
2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;
3 Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice;
4 Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.
5 We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.
6 Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.
9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So Shine

2 The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
3 You shall multiply the nation,
You shall increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Your presence
As with the gladness of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders,
The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.
5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult,
And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:2-7

The light shining on those who walk in darkness is the light of the Gospel, of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace; this is the only righteous Governance the world will ever know.
We Christians are the nation being multiplied, who are glad in His presence, rejoicing over the Blessings God has given us. We are adopted into God’s family, brought in by His Mercy and Compassion.
Our attempts to shine often flicker and fail, but He who lighted us will not let our candle go out.
May God richly Bless you today.

Friday, December 07, 2007

"I So Promise."

Five or six years old, I remember being baptized.
Some of the usual components were in place: parents and god-parents, church and pastor.
But I think it was at night. I know for certain that there was no one there, except for two families, ours and one other. We were all close friends; my parents are god-parents to their kids, the other set are god-parents to us.
Four or five of us were baptized in the space of a few minutes, and that was it.
Here’s my point about baptism. As part of the service the parents swear to raise the children as Christians; in the event that the parents pass on, the god-parents promise to take up that burden.
But if both the parents and their back-up are not Christians themselves, the kids are not taught about Christ.
How is a child to hear the Gospel if the parents don’t want to hear it? At best they get sent to church, at worst they never hear of God’s love at all.
Omaha Nebraska. Robert Hawkings. 19 year old suicidal troubled man shoots up a mall, killing eight people, wounding more before taking his own life. He was probably baptized as I was, parents and god-parents and insincere pledges to God.
People get twisted up inside, some more than others, and guilt is what does most of the twisting.
Guilt about having failed, guilt about law breaking-as “All have sinned, and fall short of the Glory of God”
We are all guilty. And guilt is like battery acid on the soul.
We all have to deal with our guilt; mine was hung on a tree, meaning that when I accepted Christ, all of my sins, my guilt, was washed away.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
Romans 8:1-2.
If Robert Hawkings had heard and accepted that good news, he and many others would be alive today.
But I can’t really say that-nothing changes the past. No one knows the number of his days. I have compassion for those in Omaha who have lost loved ones, have suffered because of the sad young man who didn’t know what to do with his guilt. He was a failure; in part his parents failed him first. And if he was baptized, and had god-parents, they failed, too.
Psalm 37 is one of my favorites, not for it’s description of the fate of the wicked, but how it describes the Love which God has for us. Take time to read it today. And may God richly Bless you.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Santa Skis

See here for a fun little Santa game:

_Santa Snowboard_

Have fun and don't waste too much time better spent elsewhere!


Sunday, December 02, 2007

You Say You Want a Revolution

I am now semi-retired and looking for things to do. I’m thinking of starting a revolution like the hippies did in the 60’s--a countercultural revolution.

Is there any good thing that can be said about popular culture today? The media shows an endless parade of sad and confused young men and women trying to fit into cultural norms by turning to uncommitted sexual relationships in lieu of marriage, drugs, sensuality, pornography, mindless entertainment, and more. Honor and respect among the members of a family are almost never recommended by cultural “experts.” Those values have been replaced by “tolerance” and letting our children make their own decisions of right and wrong at impossibly young stages of their lives. Our children now need to be taught in schools that r-e-s-p-e-c-t is something you do, not the name of a song. And, of course, it’s too late by then. There is certainly something very wrong today in families in comparison to the prior 200 years of our country. It wasn’t ever cultural heaven in the United States--there will always be issues of bigotry, for example, and the poor will always be with us--but it was certainly a little closer to it in terms of how the culture promoted healthy and Godly values with regards to the family. There was a father who ruled and provided, a mother who loved and nurtured, and children who obeyed and were teachable. We have come so far from this perfect model set up by God. Other than the church, which is in so many ways being attacked as well (and that’s another article), I believe the family was the last bastion of hope for goodness in our country, and that wall has been breached and our children are falling headfirst into the morass of moral relativism and the tendrils of a society callously unaware that it has reached the bottom.

I know the answer, doubtless. You can read it here. But there are so few with eyes to see and ears to hear the truth. This country has turned the corner to selfishness, perversion, and Godlessness unlike it has ever known. I think it’s going to require a revolution and I’m ready. Join me? It starts with prayer. Pray every day for our country to return to God. I’m not suggesting a theocracy; I am simply praying for the hearts of all Americans to repent and turn toward God. What is impossible for man is not impossible for God! It may take something quite disastrous to wake America up, but God is good and God is sovereign.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten. Because if we do the first part and when God answers, His marvelous work of renewal can begin in this country and my countercultural revolution idea will become moot.

Here is good news to start the season of light and the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isa 9.2

That is us, Lord. We are living in the land of the shadow of death.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isa 9.6&7