Interesting Charity

Came across this charity organization, Hugs for Israel, in the Friends of Israel magazine. It was started to comfort children in Israel who have suffered from terrorist attacks. They do things like provide gift-baskets and water for hospital patients (water is not provided for patients there) as well as buying toys, clothes and other things kids like, to cheer them in their suffering. Nice job.

A Dutiful Mind

A glimpse into my head. Today is a great day of relief for me. It’s garbage day. I don’t know what it was but I struggled this last week with GCA (Garbage Can Anxiety–the fear that your garbage cans will be full with more bags left over that you’ll have to make an extra trip down to the end of the driveway for).

All week I’ve been stressed every time I glanced the kitchen garbage and saw it filling up so quickly. I’ve been doing my best to not create garbage to help the situation. And my efforts paid off as I managed to get all my bags of garbage into the cans with slight squashing effort. Shwew, but the new week begins. . .

We’re Doomed, Just So You Know

It’s official, we’re doomed. Yet another study says that we have now used two-thirds of the earth’s resources. The articled details all the ways we’re killing our dear Mommy Earth. We’re using lots of fresh water up, more land is being tilled, deforestation, fish stocks are down, yadda, yadda, yadda,

Two reactions to this doom and gloom report.

1) No kidding. You mean the longer we live here the more stuff we’re going to use up? No way!

2) Better hurry up and get you some resources before it’s all done. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we’re deforested.

I’ve never been one to worry about humans destroying our planet. The Bible tells us who gets to destroy it–God. If only people were this alarmed over the Book of Revelation. . .

Good Kids

A new study on child wellness says that kids are much more well behaved than their parents were but also much more unhealthy. Teen pregnancy is way down, drug taking is down, teen crime is down but weight is up and the consumption of fat is way up.

I’ll take fat any day!

I have often said, and I’ll say it again, to old people who rip the younger generation that first of all, it’s your dumb fault so be quiet and help the situation and second, I don’t think it’s really that bad. The younger generation is very tired of the baby boom mentality and the just plain dumb life philosophies that have overtaken everything. Lots of kids are coming from broken homes, in failing schools, with watered down religion, if any, and are doing their best to reverse the trends. I think they deserve a pat on the back. Pat a back of a kid today.

Inconsistent Blogging

This here blogger service has been a bit out of sorts lately leading to some inconsistency in my ability to do new posts. It also is testing my ability to put off the old and put on the new. Walking in the Spirit is much easier without computers.

Blind Luck

Anytime I see a fellow legally blind person do something cool I have to give them credit and some attention. The latest is a legally blind 78-year old man who got a hole-in-one. At first he didn’t believe his golfing partners because they always kid him that his ball is in the hole. Ah yes, every blind person gets used to those funny jokes.

But this one actually was! Just goes to show you just how stupid the game of golf is. If a guy who can’t see can do the whole point of the game it must be one stupid game.

Go Play in the Street

I took a walk this morning with my son. He was holding my hand until halfway around the block when he let go and veered into the street. As he was walking down the middle of the road he would glance over occasionally to smile at me.

I was thinking of all the speeders in our neighborhood and the sharp corners making me want to yank him back over. But no one was coming and he was so happy. We all know the middle of the street is the best part of the street.

I also notice that our girls, who are told not to go in the street without us, tend to like to play as close to the street as they can. I used to think this was disobedience until I saw this verse today from Zecheriah 8:5. God is speaking about Jerusalem in the coming Kingdom and He says,

“And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.”

Playing in the street is a child’s desire for perfection placed in them by God. If kids are safe in the street, everyone is safe. However, we aint in the Kingdom yet! But what a day of rejoicing that will be when we can all play in the street. Jacob will love it and so will my son.

Convicting Conviction

A Colorado man was charged with rape and murder and sentenced with the death penalty. Until the courts got involved. The death penalty has now been removed because it was discovered that jurors used the Bible in their decision!

The court decision explained that “at least one juror in this case could have been influenced by these authoritative passages … when he or she may otherwise have voted for a life sentence.”

So anyway, it’s nice to know the courts think we can use the Bible as long as we don’t act on what it says. Here’s one passage they wouldn’t like 1 Corinthians 2:7,8. Rulers of the world always end up going against what God says, so much so that God doesn’t tell us everything. Just don’t remember that if you’re serving on a jury.

Artful Dodge

An artist who was insulted when his sister threw away a bunch of his paintings explaining, “it’s not like they’re ever going to be in the Louvre” has recently infiltrated several prestigious art museums and hung up his pictures!

His latest attempt was in the New York Museum of Modern Art where one of his paintings hung for three days before anyone noticed! He has also struck the Louvre, in London’s Tate Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History.

See what a little determination can get you? You can tell a lot about the artist by the art and the presentation of the art!

Easter Reflection

As we consider our new life in Christ, being raised up with Him, I want to point your mind in the direction of Philippians 3:10, one of the coolest verses for the Christian life. I’ll just quote the first part to you.

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection

Oh to know what that means!

Maddening March

The other night West Virginia beat Texas Tech, a game Wake Forest clearly should have won. Afterwards, rowdy drunken West Virginia “students” set more than 50 fires on their campus.

It was because of this event that I decided not to win the March Madness Bracket contest this year. I felt particularly celebratory this March and knew that if I won I’d have to burn my house down. So, my wife thanks Jed O’Brien and Todd Saunders for beating me so we can still have a house.

Insight into an Act of God

When the Christmas Tsunami impacted our world we heard from various religious types that God was behind the disaster. Well, more information is coming out about the tsunami’s impact that sheds interesting light on our vindictive God.

There were up to four times more women than men killed! Some villages lost 80% of their women. Although we and the Muslims know this is because God really doesn’t like women, the article explains that many men were working further inland or were out fishing or that men were better able to hold on to poles and buildings when the waves hit.

Just waiting for the Muslim leaders to chime in.

The Best Laid Plans

I would like to take this opportunity to level with you, as a pastor. I’m always conflicted about money. Taking money from the church especially. I have always had the dream, the ideal, the notion, of supporting myself so the church doesn’t have to. My problem is that I don’t know much! All my training was to do what I’m doing. However, I have always loved writing.

Over the last ten years or so I have been writing and getting some stuff published. Awana Signal magazine (now defunct), Awana Council Time Lesson books, Regular Baptist Press Sunday School papers, Pulpit Helps, USA Cycling Magazine (now defunct), Big Dogs Endurance Cycling and some other minor things. The lesson I’m learning is that it’s hard to get published in the Christian market because it is so saturated with opinion and unless you’ve been shot or are a millionaire, Christian publishers won’t give you the time of day. I’ve also learned that magazines that publish me soon go defunct.

My dream, the ideal, the notion, has always been there to start my own publishing company then I won’t have to get shot or be a millionaire and I can produce my own stuff. I just read an article about Rick Warren who wrote The Purpose Driven Church and the Purpose Driven Life. In the article it says that Warren has refused his $110,000 salary form his church and repaid the last 20 years of salary they gave him. He also practices reverse tithing, giving 90% of his outside income to his church. Warren may not be the greatest theologian but what he’s doing with the proceeds is kind of neat.

He took my idea.

So anyway, I’m starting small. I have produced three professional looking brochures on baptism for 50 cents a piece. I have plans for many more to come. By starting small I keep expenses down and the production at home. As it grows, who knows. My publishing “company” will be called Anti-Itch Meditation Publishing. Perhaps it will go nowhere, perhaps it will go somewhere, all I know is I have to start somewhere, it’s what I’m here for!

So, there it is. Hope you don’t mind my self-promotion but I wanted to share my ideal.

Steve Jones

Steve Jones is leading the TPC at Sawgrass, which is golfing by the way, something they do where they have grass. Anyway, Steve Jones is a Christian. We went to a camp out in Montana for many years where his wife was a counselor and he led golfing classes for the campers. I never met him but my parents have. He’s a good man and has a good testimony. Go Steve.

PETA Easter

The good folks of PETA had a protest where a guy was crucified with a pig’s head. I’m not making this up, there’s a picture. The idea is to get people to not eat meat over Easter week. OK. Not quite sure how mocking the crucifixion is going to get anyone who observes Easter to do what you want but that’s the mental dexterity of that crowd.

Religious Trappings

After opening my heart and being bluntly honest about my ignorance of Maundy Thursday, allow me to give one article as an example, Exhibit A, if you will, why I ignore religious trappings.

This article details the argument over whether or not wine or juice should be used in communion. Read the article. I say no more. My case is resting.

Maundy Thursday

On the way to Bible study last night I was noticing that church parking lots were filing up. “Huh, wonder what’s going on?” I thought. “Oh yeah, isn’t it Maundy Thursday? Or is that Tuesday?”

Shows what I know. I never really pay attention to religious things. I am quite ignorant of religious tradition. So I figured I could fill myself in on what Maundy Thursday is and since most people who observe Maundy Thursday probably also don’t know what it means, here it is:

Maundy Thursday is remembered as the day of the last supper and the institution of Communion. It comes from the Latin “Dies Mandatum” which means “the day of the new commandment.” Taken from the Latin translation of the New Testament when Jesus said after washing the disciples’ feet, “a new commandment I give unto you.” Some churches do foot washing as Jesus did and communion and mess around with changing colors of decorations and taking stuff off the “altar.”

I thought Bible Study was pretty good.

Pope on a Rope

Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.

Anyway, ever since the pope’s throat surgery awhile back, his health has been in trouble. Apparently now he is “serenely abandoning” himself to the will of God. I guess that means that he’s willing to die without medical intervention? Not sure exactly.

The only Easter event he will take part in is a blessing on Easter Sunday. This is the first time in his tenure that he has missed Holy Week events.

Temporal Prizes/ Templeton Prizes, it’s all the same

The Templeton Prize, given to people who show revolutionary ideas in spiritual reality or something like that, was recently given to a physicist, Charles Townes, becoming the fifth scientists to receive this religious award. How can scientist be given a religious award?

Townes has said in the past that “Religion is aimed at understanding the purpose and meaning of our universe, including our own lives. If the universe has a purpose and meaning, this must be reflected in its structure and functioning, and hence in science.”

Townes also said that differences between science and religion “are largely superficial … the two become almost indistinguishable if we look at the real nature of each.”

Townes also said at one point “Go take out the trash” but that had little to do with his recent award.

Anyway, the article goes on to talk about religion and science and how it wasn’t always at odds and many scientific discoveries have been made by “Christians.” It then concludes that Christians will be losers by dabbling in science. So that’s nice.

IMAX Ax

IMAX theatres are currently showing a film on volcanoes. In several Southern cities IMAX theatres are refusing to show the film. The reason for the blackout is over usage of evolutionary terms that may offend the Christian population down there, you know, in that place where even Howard Dean knows the Bible.

IMAX shares fell 29 cents. Wow, I didn’t know IMAX had shares. Anyway, there is, of course, a hubbub about how Christians censor everything and this will stifle producer creativity etc. The bottom line is that this was a business decision. The owners of the theatres said they didn’t expect many people to come to an overly evolutionized film so why bother? Makes sense to me.

John DeLorean

John DeLorean, producer of the DeLorean sports car, has died at the age of 80. Although very few of his cars were actually ever produced, they made quite a splash. Their biggest splash was in the ‘Back to the Future’ movies. They’re nice cars but awful hard to get out of in crowded parking lots.

Anyway, he’s dead now and apparently, according to him, on his way to heaven. In an interview asking about his drug trial that turned his life around, DeLorean said “The deadliest sin is pride,” he said, proclaiming his faith as a born-again Christian. “I was an arrogant egomaniac. I needed this, as difficult as it was, to get my perspective back.”

So that’s neat. Now we know we’ll have cool cars in heaven.

Break

The last few days the fam and I went down to IL to see the other fam. It was amazing. They had this stuff down there they called “grass.” They even had water, the kind that moved when it was windy too. And these little flitty things that sang when the sun came up. Strange, all very strange. Good to be home where things are normal.

Bible Belters

It’s always amusing to watch politicians dip beneath the Mason-Dixon Line. One would think these guys used biblical references all the time, and then they go back up north and blow it.

The latest is from Howard Dean. I will quote the article talking about his two biblical references:

“In the first he said Jesus’ directive to ”love thy neighbor” didn’t mean one could choose which ones to love. He then remarked that Republicans never brought up the scriptural verse saying it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.”

Guess we can start railing on Dean for using the Bible all the time now like that president guy does.

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper is best known for his rock singing career and his various antics doing that. But recently he has been greatly involved with Christian charity including his own ministry Solid Rock Foundation.

Cooper has used his money and reputation to support various Christian ministries as well as building his own outreach center. Interesting article about an interesting guy who took his interesting music to do more interesting things. Interesting.

Be Not Drunk With Wine Without a License

Mega-churches are becoming a concern for many communities as these large “campuses” suck up land and resources tax free. Many of these churches open businesses that also function under special tax laws as church run businesses.

A church out East just got some attention as they applied for a liquor license to expand the catering services of their banquet facilities. The liquor board saw red flags all over that one and the church has withdrawn its application.

When Paul said to be all things to all people I’m not sure he meant to put bars in our churches. I could be wrong but when the state questions it, one might think the church would think a bit harder about their decision.
Perhaps when Jesus returns He might be a bit busy going to all the churches overturning tables. Let’s keep the focus Body!

Taxable Offense

A church John Kerry visited in last year’s presidential campaign is under investigation. If found that the church was involved in political fund raising, the church could lose its tax exempt position. If that happens none of the donations to the church can be counted as tax deductible.

A statement by the church’s attorney said, “I have faith in our government. I have faith in the IRS as well.”

Hmm, I can think of better things to put one’s faith in!

Nain And You

It’s funny what scripture chooses to tell us and what it emphasizes. There are lots of people in the Bible who are never given names, Noah’s wife for instance. Who are these people and why do they get left out?

It’s also funny how the Church has gravitated to certain people and stories to the neglect of others of equal importance. Read Luke 7:11-17. Does the city of Nain ring a bell to you? Ever heard of that one? Apparently I have because I had things underlined in this passage. But when I just read it, I had no recollection of this event in my brain.

Perhaps the reason we don’t emphasize this miracle is that none of the people have names. We all know Lazarus, but what if he were just called “the brother of that woman with the perfume.” We then wouldn’t remember “the story of Lazarus” we’d have to remember “the story of the brother of that woman with the perfume.” Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

It’s amazing how much of the Bible we miss! Or maybe, it’s amazing how much of the Bible I miss. Maybe you have pictures of Nain hanging in your living room. Well, if so, that’s why the body has many members! Perhaps between all of us we’ll get the gist of God’s Word!

Hmmm,

I was reading Luke 8:19-21 about Jesus’ mom and brothers wanting to speak to Jesus. Which is then followed by Luke 8:22-25 with the calming of the sea. People who wrote the Bible under the inspiration of the Spirit wrote things in a particular order for a particular reason.

I find verse 21 interesting (My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it) in light of Luke 8:24 (Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.)

Hmmm. Is Jesus saying the wind and sea are his family?Why would Luke follow those things up like that? Interesting. Not making any point, just throwing that out there. A random thought.

Happy Thoughts, Happy Thoughts

Here’s some good news to cheer you on this day when our Winter Storm Warning has been cancelled. The temperature in our region for April-June has a 55% chance of being cooler than normal! Oh hooray!

Anytime weather forecasters predict anything, the exact opposite happens. The warm weather is on its way!

Major League Government Intrusion

Well the ever insightful steroid hearing is over. Here’s the conclusion–steroids are bad and people who play baseball shouldn’t take them. OK.

My favorite comment of the hearing was by a congressman who asked if putting signs up in the locker room would prevent steroid use. Yeah. That ought’a do it. I just wonder what political party he was from. I will abstain from making the remainder of my comment due to the sensitive nature of political junkies.

However, this thing was so stupid. A waste of time. I agree with Tony Kornheiser that this whole thing was started by a congressman from West Virginia, a state that was rejected for the relocation of the Montreal Expos. He’s mad at baseball for letting down his constituents.

I have to tip my cap to Sammy Sosa who laid on the accent thick and said very little. Whereas Mark McGwire, who tried to not say things by saying really dumb things, is the lead story of the whole thing. Way to go Sammy. The way to get out of answering questions is not to say things that don’t answer the question but to mumble “I don’t know” in a heavy accent. Works every time.