Aug 302016
 

If you have ever read the Bible through from cover to cover, you will find there are parts that are boring.  If you disagree with me, you either have not read the whole Bible, or you are dishonest with yourself.  Parts of it are boring.  You know it.

The parts in particular that I am thinking of today are the long lists of names.  A list of “begats” going all the way back from Jesus to Adam.  Are you kidding me?  What about the lists in Nehemiah of all the people that worked on rebuilding the city.  Lists of carpentars, stone masons, priests, musicians . . .  the list goes on and on.  Maybe somebody at some point wanted to know all this stsuff, but why is it in God’s Holy Word?  Why is it so important that we have to read it?  Why couldn’t it just be in some ancient filing cabinet at the Bethlehem county court house?

I’ll tell you why.  Because most of us will never be an Abraham, Moses, Peter or Paul.  Most of us will just be like one of the names on that list. The carpenters and plumbers, computer programers, stay-at-home moms, check-out clerks, bus drivers and cooks.  We are the people who do our normal jobs every day for the glory of God.  God wants us to know that we’re an important part of His story.  And every one of us is an important name on His list.

 Posted by at 7:18 am
Mar 302016
 

I saw a sign yesterday that was advertising for a divorce lawyer. It promised a quick and easy divorce with a headline promising to help “Undo I do.” At first I noticed the clever phrase, then I considered if it was even possible for a divorce to be quick and easy. I think not. And the more I thought about it, I realized it’s not even possible to undo “I do.”

You can’t undo a promise. You can’t unsay it. You can pretend it never happened or you can say you didn’t mean it, but you can’t unpromise it. Once you make a promise, there are only two real possibilities. You can either keep it, or break it.

Strange as it may seem, that’s still one more option than God has.

Dec 282015
 

I saw a funny headline the other day. It said: Pope Makes Mother Teresa A Saint. Now I mean no disrespect to the Pope, but I think he can no more make a person a saint than I can make a dog a cat. Either a person is a saint or they are not. Only God makes saints. The most we can do is recognise and declare what God has already done through the coming of Jesus Christ our Lord.

God is in the business of making saints, and it involves much more than two miracles and a declaration from the Pope. In fact, it required a perfect plan. A perfect sacrifice. God with us. A baby in a manager. Mother Teresa may very well have been a Saint, but if so, it’s not because of what she did. It’s because of what Jesus did.

 Posted by at 8:18 pm
May 082015
 

As the grey in my beard takes control of my brain, I am beginning to think like old people.  You know, that generation with the reputation for abhorring change.  I’m beginning to understand the aversion.  It’s because they are often on the wrong side of the deal.  When you are young, change means getting a stronger body, getting smarter, more freedom, new opportunities, newer stuff . . .   But when you get old, then the changes start happening in reverse.  Your body changes for the worse.  Change means losing muscle and gaining wrinkles.  Your mind starts taking little holidays without you. The kids whom you taught to drive now demand you give up your license and your keys. The ocean of opportunities that surrounded you as a young person is a drying mud puddle.  No wonder old people look on change with suspicion.  It often treats them very badly.  I’m still refusing to admit I’m old, and I try to embrace change whenever I can but even little changes sometimes make ME wince.

A new version of a version?

A new version of a version?

My Bible keeps getting updated.  Not the printed one.  The one on my phone.  It’s like every few days the program wants to “auto-update” and at least once a month or so, it tells me my downloaded version of the Bible needs to be updated.  For some reason, that bothers me.  Am I crazy?  I mean, why do they keep having to update it?  Is God sending out revisions somewhere and I’m missing the news?  With all the changes going on in the world, it would be nice to know there is something that is not changeable, not negotiable, and solidly entrenched in truth.  A foundation that’s solid and immovable.  If not the Bible, then what?

A club has bylaws.  An organization has a charter.  A republic has a constitution.  What does a life have if not The Word of God? Everything else may change, but don’t change that on me.  You may pretend its truth changes to fit your lifestyle if it makes you feel better about the way you are living or what you have decided to believe is true.  You may embrace what culture, the media, and your friends tell you.  But if you do, you will be clutching something that is constantly moving, constantly shifting, constantly changing.  That’s no way to steady a life.

As I see it, there are two basic types of people.  Those who determine to conform their life to The Word of God, and those who determine to conform the word of God to their life.  One way helps you stand.  The other is sure to let you fall.

“For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
   – Malachi 3:6

May 042015
 

My challenge for the day is to go a whole day without grumbling or arguing.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world . . .

Philippians 2:14-15 NET

Feb 132015
 

Lately, I have been thinking about intimacy.  I can’t say whether or not everyone longs for it, but I believe at least most people do.

When we hear of intimacy we often think of sex. That can be a part of it, but it is not its essence.  Real intimacy is that private bond two share when nobody else is around.  Nobody else is involved. Just me and one other.  The closeness of which nobody else can be a part.  One is alone, three’s a crowd, but two can be intimate.

Sometimes I long for intimacy. I want intimacy from true love. Love can provide intimacy to another because it loves. And love can provide intimacy to another because it wants to be loved. The best intimacy is both. I don’t think true intimacy can exist long without both parties providing both.

I don’t want my wife just to give intimacy to me because she loves me. I want her to desire intimacy from me because she loves me.

God does both. Imagine that.

Jun 212014
 
I opened this watch with this wrench!

I opened this watch with this wrench!

I never knew one could open the back of a watch with a big old crescent wrench until, out of necessity, I tried it.  It made me wonder how many other discoveries I miss because I avoid the point of need.  The saying is true that necessity is the mother of invention.  The point of need, combined with an ear and heart attentive to the voice of imagination, ingenuity, and inspiration, is the place where unimagined possibilities appear.

May 272014
 

There have been times in my life when I felt God called me to do something so I stepped out and tried it and failed.  I used to think that meant I must have missed it.  Perhaps I did not hear his voice.  Maybe He did not direct me as I thought.  Maybe I didn’t understand.  Or maybe I just didn’t execute the plan as well as I should have.  These might be the most likely explanations.  But they are not the only ones.

Lately I have been thinking that connecting the events that way may involve some errors.  Mainly, it assumes I know what the outcome ought to be for every endeavor to which God calls me.  I don’t.  What looks like an earthly failure may be a Heavenly victory. Maybe there can be a difference in what God calls me to do, and what He calls me to accomplish. 

So often, I think I know what God has called me to accomplish because I infer it from what He has called me to do.  I make assumptions.  We all do.  God calls us to do something and we suddenly think we know what He is up to and how He wants it to turn out.  If I feel Him leading me to talk with someone about something, I assume they will be receptive.  If He calls me to teach a class, I assume He wants the class to succeed and grow.  What about those who feel called to start a church?  If attendance doesnt continue to grow, does that mean they missed God’s direction?   Maybe God wants PEOPLE to grow, and not church attendance.  What if a struggling group is exactly what it takes to make that happen?  What if God wants to teach me something through a rejected conversation or a failed campaign?  Might He direct me to still talk to the person or start the campaign?

I think the key is to do my best to follow God’s direction and leave the outcome to Him.  That also means that I can not assume I missed the direction just because I don’t arrive where I thought I would.

So then, if I can’t judge the genuiness of the directive by the outcome of the obedience, how then do I learn to assess the authenticity of my communication with God?  Well, I don’t know, but it’s what got me thinking about all this in the first place.  I guess that’s a subject for another time.

 Posted by at 1:41 pm