Thursday, December 21, 2006
Over Thanksgiving weekend I had my acting debut, I was asked to guest-star in Brandon's newest video production. It was a project for a video course he is taking in college. He choose to spoof "The Da Vinci Code" with one called "The Baptist Code." I get to play the pastor of a church that is not exactly open to change. The video also features, Brian, Jessica and Brandon's friend Matt. There is lots of silliness and it is all played for laughs but is kind of like the old Joke: How many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Change who said anything about change?" Anyway this inflexibility is not just a condition of those who go to churches that have a particular denominational label on them.
We who are followers of Christ face a seeming dilemma. In some areas we are to be completely inflexible. That which is clearly revealed in the Word of God is to be defended. However we can defend our areas of preference at the same level and in essence make non-absolutes, absolutes. Our opinions or prejudices can become dogma or on the other hand the truth can be compromised for pragmatic ends. So where is the balance? I am impressed with the Apostle Paul. He would allow himself to be stoned or run out of town rather than back down on the truth, while at the same time was more than willing to give up the eating of meat or shave his head in order to complete his ministry. So how does one come to understand where to draw the lines, where to be unmoveable and where to bend? While this answer and its biblical basis is beyond the scope of this essay, I would offer one bit of advice: Take a look at your motivation. The Pharisees the most over inflexible people in world history were wrongly motivated. They did what they did or what they did not do to make themselves look better. They were motivated by human pride rather than glorifying God. When I can set aside my selfish desire to be king of the mountain and focus exclusively on making a big deal out of God, I usually can find the way. Try it, it no doubt will work for you too.
Use this link if you would like to view "The Baptist Code" video.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I love Google Earth, if you haven’t tried it you are missing some real fun and it is free. (http://earth.google.com/). It has satellite and aerial pictures stitched together to make 3-D model of the earth and you can zoom in on any place you like. You can search using names; zip codes etc. and you can overlay road maps and other info. You can also tilt the maps to give you a 3-D look at the terrain below. The series of images above is of the Waggoner Home as seen via Google Earth. Actually from this vantage point all that own is really very unimpressive. Just another non-descript house on a little hill top among so may others. I am quite sure I am the only person who has every hunted for it. It is kind of the reverse of David’s thoughts above. Different perspective (looking down rather than up) but the emotion is still the same. How is it that man being so insignificant in light of all that is, what is the significance of man that God even notices? Why does He bother, why does He care? Why does He extend His care? The real answer is that our significance does not come from us, but from Him. We are His design, His creation, His plan, His purpose, His project, His objects of Love, His bearers of His glory. It really is all about Him.
I have been working on plans for a writing project for 2007, and one of my section titles is: “God is God, God is Great, and You Ain’t Him.” There are times when I need to reconnect with the Google Earth point of view. When I get judgmental of others, I need to remember, He is quite capable of that without my help. When I get bothered that things don’t go my way, I need to remember that His will and ways are perfect. When I get to hogging the glory, I need to remember that all glory belongs to Him. These are just a few of the ways that I tend to act like I am in charge. But I am just a tiny little creature that without Him, would be all but lost in the cosmos. It really is all about Him.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
By the way... have a blessed Christmas.
"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
Monday, November 27, 2006
Take a young man and young woman deeply in love, and embarking on the journey of marriage, add 25+ years of commitment and learning, three pregnancies, three labor and deliveries, countless meals, lessons, play times, work times, conflict management, times of worship, bedtime stories and prayer, thousands of other things and an overwhelming dose of the grace of God and what do you get - three terrific children.
I have arrived at the time when my (former) little ones are now in young adulthood. Maybe this makes me a little reflective and sentimental but I know as only the three in the picture above that I have not been a perfect father. If I knew then what I know now, I would do countless things differently, but who Jessica, Brandon and Brian have become brings so much joy and (sanctified) pride to my heart. They each are unique, which in itself is a miracle, to see how the same pool of genes can produce such different and special people. They each have been blessed with great gifts and talents. They are of all things in my life, along with their mother, the most precious gifts of God that walk this earth. Thanks guys for being my kids. Thank you Lord for your blessing in this man's life.
"As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: (Psalm 127:4-5)
Monday, November 20, 2006
Just outside the conference room at
The verse above proves that this is a wise approach to life for those who are more earth-bound. First, industriousness is a virtue. It is a wise, practical, profitable, honorable, and smart thing to do. Hard and persistent work is highly commended and highly recommended. This is an important reminder when the norm of our culture is to work at play and to play at work. The second lesson from this verse is that one should take advantage of opportunities. Just as a harvest only comes once a year and only lasts for a brief period. We must ever be on the alert to take advantage of the sometimes fleeting opportunities in life. The opportunity for parental influence is shockingly short. The chance to bear a witness to a co-work is short-lived. The chance to choose to do right only occurs once per situation.
I want to gather in summer and don’t want to be asleep during the harvest.
Monday, November 13, 2006
“ And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.” (Luke 22:2-4)
“The Da Vinci Code” – The Kennedy assassination – UFOs -- It seems as if there is a conspiracy theory for every major event, or non-event in history. Such theories are espoused, promoted and debated. In the passage above we have a glimpse of a true conspiracy on three levels. On a personal level, Judas had been a follower of Jesus for several years but behind the scenes he was motivated by personal greed. There are many aspects of his life and heart that defy easy analysis. But this is knowable, he thought he was doing something for himself but he really became entangled in plot of cosmic proportions. The second level of this conspiracy plays out as Judas became part of the scheme of ruling elite who desired to kill Jesus, but even more damning, he also unwittingly become part Satan’s plan to thwart the ministry of Jesus.
This is a good time to remember that one’s personal disobedience can have wider consequences than we intend. An impulsive act can damage relationships. A careless word can smite a heart. A proud look can crush a spirit. We must ever be on guard concerning our private motivation. I doubt that Judas ever intended the results that followed his picking up the money-bag containing 30 coins, but sin has a way of flowing into the wider steam of damage that has flowed through our race since the garden of Eden.
For Today: Ask God to help you take a good look at what motivates you in life.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
That you hear me when I call
Is it true that you are thinking of me
How you love me
I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
he calls me friend
Phillips, Craig and Dean recorded this song on their 2004 CD entitled "Let the Worshippers Arise" and has become a favorite of mine. (If you want to see them sing this song, go here -Friend of God Video) Perhaps because as the song says - it is amazing that the God of the universe would call me friend or perhaps because it is so personal, so first person, that I am gripped every time I hear it. The song is based on John 15:15 but I have been led to it again from another passage. I have spent the last couple of weeks preparing a message for this Sunday morning at Bible Center from Luke 22. As Christ prepared for the Passover that would become the Last supper, He makes this statement in Luke 22:15, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." Passover was a sacred time a time to be together with family or those closest to you. In this case Jesus desired to be with His followers. In the culminating hour of His earthly journey He wanted a time of close and personal fellowship with His followers. Flash forward 1973 years and Jesus still desires close and personal fellowship with His followers. My message Sunday will emphasize that the Lord wants not just our time, our attention or even our loyalty. All of these can be just window dressing on stale routine or empty ritual. What He really wants is our heart. It is His desire. That my motivation, my goals, and ambitions and all that I am or claim to be to be unalterably cemented to Him. He wants it real not rehearsed. He wants to be the epicenter of my life not just the epidermis. He wants my heart. He wants your heart. I want to give Him mine, do you want to give Him yours?
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I admit it, I am a waterfall lover. Last week I got to visit a wonderful location. The picture above is of the High Falls of Cheat in a remote section of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. (take a look at this video clip [Real Media] of the same falls). There is something majestic, mesmerizing and peaceful about them. I also like the roar of the water, I like how the water moves from a tranquil flow to a raging torrent at the lip of the falls. I have stood close to Niagra Falls on the deck of the Maid of the Mist, I have stood at the base of Staubbachfalle in Switzerland with a drop of more than 900 feet, and I have enjoyed many lesser ones. In a word, waterfalls are cool.
I don’t know that there will be any waterfalls in heaven, but there at least will be flowing water. Revelation 22:1-2 indicates that a river of the water of life will flow from God’s throne through the main thoroughfare of the celestial city. The river though real, seems to symbolize the continual flow of blessings, provision and joy from God Himself for the benefit of the redeemed. Let your mind meditate on that a while and you may blow a few circuit breakers in your brain. What a great and wonderful God we serve. To Him be all the praise.
So let my few thoughts on waterfalls – or better yet – go enjoy one yourself—cause you to reflect on God’s goodness.
“There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God.” (Psalm 46:4)
Friday, October 20, 2006
I do know that my emotional disposition is connected to my focus. If I focus on what I don’t have, can’t do, etc. I end up playing in a minor key. If I choose to focus on the ever-present blessings of God and trust in His care and plan then I am a lot more like the ol five-string! Keep on picking!
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
Saturday, October 14, 2006
This is especially true when dealing with others, for all others are imperfect people who are riddled with flaws. When others don't provide the love and affirmation we crave - lower your expectations. They are coping with their own overwhelming issues. If others do not make decisions with which you agree, remember this they should not be expected to. Their logic and values are fouled up so we should not expect consistent wise choices. If we are living with the false hope that we will always receive what we want, when we want it and in the way we want it, we will be in a state of continual stress. Rather, expect less and when a little love and cooperation comes your way be thrilled with the surprise. A few concise statements from the Bible may help with in the expectation game.
Forbear one another Eph. 4:2
Forgive one another Col. 3:13
Love one another 1 Thess. 4:9
Build up one another 1 Thess 5:11
Don't judge one another Rom. 14:13
Have compassion for one another 1 Pet. 3:8
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” (Proverbs 1:8-9)
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
PS. The picture really has nothing to do with this blog posting but I thought it was cool, it was taken April 1, 2006 using my way-cool tabletop telescope and my Dimage Digital Camera, and in case you don't know - this is a picture of the moon, our earth's only natural satellite... If you would like a full-sized copy or like to know how you can get some wonderful computer desktops created by yours truly, drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, September 08, 2006
Before I get too judgmental – I must confess I have invested my time, talent and treasure in many endeavors that may have had some momentary attraction but no lasting return.
I don’t know much but I have learned this over the years of my journey. Only what is done for God’s glory has any lasting meaning or significance. My prayer, my goal is for my life to have less flash, less bang and more of His glory.
… whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I had a few minutes recently to try out some of features of my digital camera. Just outside of our dining room is a thistle seed feeder, suet feeder and a humming bird feeder. I enjoy watching the comings and goings at the bird feeders while I am at mine. This seemed a likely spot to do some photography. One picture (above) was just a quick shot without much thought. As was reviewing my pictures later my mind wandered to the verses above. Even though Brian informs me that this is female purple finch and not a sparrow it still reminded me of the verse above. For those of us who tend toward worry or feelings of being devalued, then this is a comforting reality. God knows about and cares for this little feathery one, and also us who not only carry the creative design of God (how much engineering would it take to design and build something that can flies that only weighs 6 ounces?) but also carry the image of God, and hence the greater value placed on us. These verses also indicate that the omniscience of God (the numbering of the hairs on our heads) is proof positive of His ability to carry out His favorable care for us. He knows and He cares. We should know this as well. To the lovely lady perched in my picture – thanks for the reminder.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
On the spiritual plane there is an exception. Think about this from 1John 3:2: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." Christians are being remade in the image of Christ, and He will get the process right! Next time you are frustrated with other believer or with yourself remember that when we are with Him, we all we be perfect, complete and remade.
1. How does this reality help you have patience with other?
2. How does this reality affect your view of yourself?
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
A tomb. Of all places for a miracle of eternal proportions to take place, a tomb would seem the least likely. But it was a tomb where the humility of Christ ended and the exaltation of Christ began. It was the place where the hope of the disciples died and where it was reborn three days later. It was the place where death met the power of God and death lost. It appeared to be a lasting testimony of the victory of Satan but became the ground of his eternal defeat. The tomb was closed by loving hands, sealed by hateful hands, but opened by angelic hands. It was guarded to keep robbers out of the grave; it was emptied to allow sinners into heaven. When Jesus was in the tomb it separated Him from the living, after Jesus arose, the empty tomb separated Him from every would-be savior the world has ever known.
As you reflect today on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, let your mind pause by the empty tomb and thank God for all it represents to you. Thank Him for the assurance of salvation gained and eternity secured. Spend a few extra moments worshiping your Living Savior!
Saturday, August 05, 2006
“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phil. 4:8
There is an old saying that says, “You are what you eat.” We should be purposeful with our diets. We should also be purposeful with what we allow into our minds. We should not feed on the things of the “flesh,” but rather the things of the “Spirit.” We are encouraged in Scripture to be spiritually minded and avoid the pain of living a life that does not have a Spirit focus.
Perhaps this would be a good opportunity for you to evaluate the quality of your thought life. Here are a few questions that may help: 1. If my every thought were made public, would I be pleased? 2. How often does my relationship to God make it into my thoughts? 3. Does the content of my private thoughts include private prayer to God? 4. How much spiritually-wholesome material do I put into my mind verses how much that may be neutral or harmful? 5. Do my entertainment choices enhance a spiritual mind or detract from it? 6. Is there anything currently in my thought life that I need to confess and forsake? 7. What is one thing I could read, listen to, or watch that would make my thoughts more God-focused?
(a reprint of an old favorite )
A few years ago, we had an underwater emergency at our house. One of my son's goldfish was discovered in extreme physical distress. He was swimming erratically and was continually opening and closing his mouth. Upon closer examination, we arrived at the correct diagnosis. The goldfish had nearly swallowed a piece of gravel. Apparently, this one stone was just the right shape to slide a little too far in, and it was lodged tightly in the fish's throat. If it was not removed, the fish would die.
What is one to do? You can't call 911, and and you can't take a 97-cent goldfish to the veterinarian. We could not, however, just abandon this fish. He was part of the family! He stayed in my son's room. My son saw him off to bed and greeted him every morning. There was too much emotional attachment just to let him die in agony. Once the decision was made to administer first aid, we sprung into action. The kitchen table was cleared, and our family gathered around the patient. Knowing that the Heimlich maneuver (using an abdominal thrust to force air from the lungs upward to clear the air passage) is successful with humans, we tried doing this on the fish. Only after several attempts did it dawn on me that fish don't have lungs! I will spare you the details of some more unsuccessful procedures.
Then we did what we should have done to start with, we prayed (I Thess. 5:17). After interceding for both the fish and the surgeon (my wife), she began trying to extract the embedded gravel with a pair of tweezers while holding the slippery fish in her hands. We all held our breath. At what seemed like the last moment before the goldfish would expire, the gravel came out. The goldfish was plopped back in the bowl of water and a cheer went up.
What may seem to you to be a minor coincidence was a great lesson to all of us on the power of prayer. Now you may be thinking the great spiritual lessons are only taught from the pulpit or in solemn moments. God, however, instructed us to both learn and teach His truth through the normal activities and experiences of life (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
We should strive to use as much of our time as possible to learn of God and to teach His truth to others. We can do this by constantly asking the Lord to teach us through all of our experiences.
The goldfish quickly recovered from his ordeal, but for months afterward, whenever we saw the little goldfish we were reminded of the lessons learned from the God who made him and us. For those in our home, there was no doubt that God exists and He hears and answers prayer.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
What kind of perverse mind would have thought of it; yes the would-be ruler needed to be taught a lesson, but how to do it….let’s see…a king wears a crown….then a quick glance at nearby thorn-bush and the plan was hatched. The king would wear a crown of thorns, what a clever, ironic, cruel and spectacular stunt. Quickly murderous hands wove the branches in the wicked circle and it was rammed into Jesus scalp.
The mind behind the hands never realized that thorns were not always part of creation, they were a direct result of sin…(“Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee;” Gen. 3:18) and that portion of sin’s curse was wounding the single sinless one as he was dying for the sinners that was everyone else. It was not a warped sense of humor that conceived the crown of thorns it was a message delivered, that declared it was grace, love and mercy which drove our Savior to accept the curse of sin so that I could ever go free. What wonder, what a matchless gift.
Question: What fitting tribute can I offer today to express my awareness of the gift of Jesus?