Monday, September 29, 2008

Lifestyle changes

Anonymous said...

I was perplexed a couple of weeks ago when it was announced that Ray Boltz, Christian singer and songwriter and father of 3, had divorced his wife of 33 years and had "taken up" the homosexual lifestyle. As a pastor, how would you deal with that situation if he were your "brother in Christ"?


The first question to address is whether Mr. Boltz sees his lifestyle as sin or not. If he does, he should be admonished to turn from it, and back to God. If he does not, I would need to show him in God's Word where the homosexual lifestyle (and the divorce) are shown to be sinful. Then, admonish him as a believer to turn from it. I would continue in prayer for him, but this is not a situation where there is a lot to meet and discuss. It's right or wrong. That being said, woe to the churches in America that have allowed people to come and be members without teaching them God's righteousness. We compromise so much that we are no different from anyone else. A more detailed discussion follows:


If I were his pastor, I would be required to lovingly confront him in his sin. The first thing would have been that when he divorced his wife last year, I would have to have removed him from a leadership role within the church. It's not that divorced people cannot lead under any circumstances, but that someone who decides to fracture his marriage is choosing to step away from following God's Word. This individual is in effect saying 'I will live my life my way and God has no say in the matter.' We all struggle with pride, and all of us fight this daily. However, for someone who has taken a public leadership role to then follow with a public disregard for God's standards requires a step away from leadership. The further announcement, in this specific case, that Mr. Boltz has chosen to live a homosexual lifestyle completely removes him from leadership in the church. This is how his leadership roles would be handled. Now that he has publicly expressed his break with God and His standards, public repentance would be necessary to consider a restoration to lead.

As a private individual, Mr. Boltz's divorce is cause for the church to encourage he and his wife to reconcile. For a marriage between believers, restoration should always be the goal. Sometimes this will require strong efforts from the church to help the individuals to live in a right relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. No church should try to send an abused wife back into that dangerous situation, but also no church should allow a man within the church to be an abuser. There are men in the congregation, and they have a duty to confront this. Our unwillingness in churches to interfere in people's personal lives has stopped us from holding each other accountable to God's standards. For a man to abuse his wife, whether verbally or physically, is ungodly and if he claims to be a believer by being a church member, the church has a responsibility to challenge his actions. But I digress. The Boltz family needed the love and care of the church, and to be challenged and strengthened to hold their marriage together. If one party was unwilling to do this, then so be it. This is sin is forgiven by the Blood of Jesus just like any other.

However, to go on to publicly live a lifestyle contrary to God's Word is unacceptable. The church cannot accept it, no matter the sin. Just as was stated above about spousal abuse, so also with homosexuality, drunkenness or any other pattern of sin in the life of a believer. The church, led by the pastor, should confront the individual with the need to repent and publicly acknowledge the pattern of sin (the level of public acknowlegement should match or exceed the publicity of thier sin. In the specific Ray Boltz case, I would ask that he release a nationwide press release that he had turned from homosexuality and that he utilize his fame to spread that word. Had it only been between he and his wife in their divorce, it would only need to go that far.) If a church member continues to openly (by openly, I mean with people's general knowledge. Just because someone only commits adultery out-of-town, if it's known here, it must be addressed) refuse to follow God's commands, then the church must take the step of suspending that individual's church membership and exclude them from anything but church attendance. If no repentance is evidence after this time of suspension, then the church will have no choice but to permanently remove that individual from membership until they publicly repent. This is not a ban on attendance unless the person uses their presence at the church to cause division. Then the church leadership may ask the person not to return to meetings of the fellowship.

What about the Lord's Supper? Depending on your personal understanding of the Lord's Supper, you will have different feelings about this person joining with the church during that time. I, for one, would make it very clear that taking the Lord's Supper while living in blatant rebellion to God is not only insulting, but hazardous to your health. I would allow one opportunity for the person to sit among the congregation and not take part, but the next service of the Lord's Supper I would ask the individual privately not to take part. If a private conversation does not induce right behavior, then public confrontation would follow, asking the individual to leave from the pulpit.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another politics post

I went ahead and copied some more of Mike Huckabee's thoughts on some issues. I agree mostly with what he says, these are some things we need to think about. This election needs to be about issues and solutions, not about anyone's children or church, not about gender or race.

Lipstick on a Pig

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 11:38pm
by Mike Huckabee

Last night, while on Hannity & Colmes I cut Barack Obama some slack on his reference to "lipstick on a pig." Now I personally don't think he was referring to Gov. Palin, but if he was he should apologize immediately.

Almost twenty four hours into this new controversy and the accusations are continuing to fly from both campaigns. That's too bad.

Let's shift back to the issues. Barack Obama released an education proposal yesterday that has plenty of faults. Lets talk about it instead. Republicans have been arguing correctly for choice in our schools and adding accountability. Lets spend our time and energy focusing on what we stand for. There is plenty to talk about.

Where is the discussion on the continuing rise of healthcare costs in the nation? These costs are crippling families and combined with the high cost of gasoline, making it almost impossible for working class families to save, with many pushed further into debt as they struggle just to get by.

Republicans should be trumpeting our openness to drill, conserve and use alternative sources of energy.

Republicans should promote our focus on preventative care to help cut health care costs in the long term. We need to advocate policies that will encourage the private sector to seek innovative ways to bring down costs and improve the free market for health care services. We have to change a system that happily pays $30,000 for a diabetic to have his foot amputated, but won't pay for the shoes that would save his foot.

Republicans know we can make health care more affordable by reforming medical liability; adopting electronic record keeping; making health insurance more portable from one job to another; expanding health savings accounts to everyone, not just those with high deductibles; and making health insurance tax deductible for individuals and families as it now is for businesses. Low income families would get tax credits instead of deductions. We don't need all the government controls that would inevitably come with universal health care.

A return to the issues is what the American people expect and it is a mistake to think that our Republican ideas somehow can't compete with the Democrats. And frankly, if anyone tells you otherwise, that dog won't hunt.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

From Mike Huckabee

Alright, so I occasionally want to post some political issues here.  I'm certain that, while he did go to the right college (GO OBU!) and is a Baptist preacher, Gov. Huckabee and I don't agree on everything, but I do like his take on the bailout idea before Congress.  That $700 billion is our money.  The fact that the American people haven't been sending it to investment banks is because we don't trust the investment banks.  Congress only got it from us under threat of imprisonment.  Nowhere in this do the parties involved get the right to bailout bad business decisions.

And I agree that the executives of these companies (as well as their rubber-stamp boards of directors) need to go and be held responsible.  Let's start with the millions of bonuses they've received over the past few years while pushing our economy to the brink.  Then let's have them get a job, pending, of course, the jobs won't be outsourced.

I think that the one place of responsibility we need to remember is our own.  How many of us have blindly invested what little we have or ignored voting opportunities for our small parts in these companies?  How many times have we gloated over our returns, when it was risky business or outsourcing that generated those returns?  We will be held responsible by losing a lot of our investment (I have UPS stock that I bought at employee discount.  It's now worth less on open market than when bought with the discount). 

Doug
Bailing on Our Principles
Today at 12:14pm
by Governor Mike Huckabee

Frankly, I’m disappointed and disgusted with my own Republican party as I watch them attempt to strong-arm a bailout of some of America’s biggest corporations by asking the taxpayers to suck up the staggering results of the hubris, greed, and arrogance of those who sought to make a quick buck by throwing the dice. They lost, but want the rest of us to cover their bets so they won’t be effected in their lavish lifestyles as they figure out how to spend their tens of millions and in some cases, hundreds of millions in bonuses and compensation which was their reward for not only sinking their companies, but basically doing the same to the entire American economy.

It’s especially disconcerting to see the very people who pilloried me during the Presidential campaign for being a “populist” and not “understanding Wall Street” to now line up like thirsty dogs at the Washington, D. C. water dish, otherwise known as Congress, and plead for help. I thought these guys were the smartest people in America! I thought that taxpayers like you and I were similar to the people at the U. N. who have no translator speaking into their headset - that we just needed to trust those that I called the power bunch in the “Wall Street to Washington axis of power.”

The idea of a government bailout in which we’d entrust $700 billion to one man without Congressional oversight or accountability is absurd. My party or not, that is insanity and I believe unconstitutional.

Will there be far-reaching consequences without some intervention? Probably, but we honestly don’t know since we’ve really never seen this level of greed and stupidity all rolled into one massive move. But may I suggest that letting “Uncle Sugar” step in and bail out the billionaires who made the mess will be far worse and will start a long line of companies and individuals who will demand the same of the government---which last time I checked means that they will be demanding it out of YOU and ME. This is not money that Congress is risking from THEIR pockets or future, but ours. Many if not most of us have already experienced lost value on our homes, retirement accounts, and pensions. Now they’d like for us to assume some further risks so they won’t have to.

What happened to the “free market” idea? Is that only our view when we WIN and when we LOSE, we ask the government to come in and take away the pain?

If you are a small business owner, is this the way it works at your place? When you have a bad month, a bad year, or face having to close, can you go up to Congress and get them to write YOU a fat check to take away your risk?

Some of what contributed to this disaster is too much government in the form of Sarbanes/Oxley. Some is due to the tax structure that created the hunger for companies to “game” the system. Some is the common sense that was ignored like loaning money to people who can’t pay it back.

Wall Street has become Las Vegas east, but at least in Vegas, people KNOW they are gambling and they don’t expect the government to cover their losses at the tables. In Wall Street, they do. And the American taxpayer burdens the responsibility.

If Congress wants to do something, here are some suggestions:

1. Eliminate ALL capital gains taxes and taxes on savings and dividends right now. Free up the capital and encourage investment. This is the kind of economic stimulus the Fair Tax would bring and if Congress is going to lose money, let them lose it with lower taxes, not with public dollar bailouts of private market mistakes.

2. Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley. It has failed. It was supposed to prevent this. It didn’t. Kill it.

3. Demand that the executives who steered their ships into the ground be forced to pay back the losses of their companies. Of course, they can’t, so let them work and give back to the government and they can live like the people they put on the streets or kept there. It makes no sense to put them in jail—that’s just more they will cost you and me. I’d rather them go out and earn money—just not get to keep so much of it this time. I’m not talking about limiting CEO salaries---just those of the people who now are up in Washington begging for help because they ruined their companies.

Attempts by Democrats and Republicans to blame each other is nonsense. They are both guilty and ought to own up and admit it. They all lived off big campaign contributions and the swill of the lobbyists who strong armed them into permission to steal. Enough of blame. Fix it!
This would be a start. If we don’t hold these guys responsible, we are all finished.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Does it matter?

Several things in the past weeks have put a concern in my heart over how we as believers handle truth. It seems that we are getting to a point where we accept the idea that truth doesn't really matter. We'll say, for example, that the Bible is completely God's Word, and totally true. Then we'll start picking parts that we aren't as sure of, and say they aren't quite as good of truth as other parts.

It's one thing to see the lost world try and pick and choose. You see it in actions by certain groups that want to elevate, for example, 'God is love' above the rest of Scripture and say that if 'God is love' is true, then we have to accept anything under the label of 'love.' But you can't do that. God is love, but He is also a jealous God, a righteous God, a holy God, and an exclusive, unique God. There is none like Him, and to discount His righteousness to emphasize His love is trying to change Him.

There are other areas, where Scripture speaks of science or history that we'll attempt to discount, because other sources of information try and convince us God's wrong. But as we do that, we allow earthly means to define God. Probably not wise.

As far as objections based on what people say, even people we have previously regarded as great Christian leaders, we would do well to remember this Scripture: "4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar." Romans 3:4 (NASB) God's truth remains the same, no matter what any person chooses to say or believe.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Service and Time

This is not to try and endorse or defame our current President.  I will be glad to share with you my opinion.  For those of you who don't like him, I want you to consider, if he is a bad president or terrible human being, but still takes time, how much more should you?



Commentary - The Value of Service
The Value of Service
The Value of Service
Lt. Col. Mark Murphy, 354th Maintenance Group deputy commander.


Commentary by Lt. Col. Mark Murphy
354th Maintenance Group deputy commander

8/15/2008 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- I learned a big lesson on service Aug. 4, 2008, when Eielson had the rare honor of hosting President Bush on a refueling stop as he traveled to Asia.

It was an event Eielson will never forget -- a hangar full of Airmen and Soldiers getting to see the Commander in Chief up close, and perhaps even shaking his hand. An incredible amount of effort goes into presidential travel because of all of the logistics, security, protocol, etc ... so it was remarkable to see Air Force One land at Eielson on time at precisely 4:30 p.m.--however, when he left less than two hours later, the President was 15 minutes behind schedule.

That's a big slip for something so tightly choreographed, but very few people know why it happened. Here's why.

On Dec. 10, 2006, our son, Shawn, was a paratrooper deployed on the outskirts of Baghdad. He was supposed to spend the night in camp, but when a fellow soldier became ill Shawn volunteered to take his place on a nighttime patrol--in the convoy's most exposed position as turret gunner in the lead Humvee. He was killed instantly with two other soldiers when an IED ripped through their vehicle.

I was thinking about that as my family and I sat in the audience listening to the President's speech, looking at the turret on the up-armored Humvee the explosive ordnance disposal flight had put at the edge of the stage as a static display.

When the speech was over and the President was working the crowd line, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see a White House staff member. She asked me and my wife to come with her, because the President wanted to meet us.

Stunned, we grabbed our two sons that were with us and followed her back into a conference room. It was a shock to go from a crowded, noisy hangar, past all of those security people, to find ourselves suddenly alone in a quiet room.

The only thing we could hear was a cell phone vibrating, and noticed that it was coming from the jacket Senator Stevens left on a chair. We didn't answer.

A short time later, the Secret Service opened the door and President Bush walked in. I thought we might get to shake his hand as he went through. But instead, he walked up to my wife with his arms wide, pulled her in for a hug and a kiss, and said, "I wish I could heal the hole in your heart." He then grabbed me for a hug, as well as each of our sons. Then he turned and said, "Everybody out."

A few seconds later, the four of us were completely alone behind closed doors with the President of the United States and not a Secret Service agent in sight.

He said, "Come on, let's sit down and talk." He pulled up a chair at the side of the room, and we sat down next to him. He looked a little tired from his trip, and he noticed that his shoes were scuffed up from leaning over concrete barriers to shake hands and pose for photos. He slumped down the chair, completely relaxed, smiled, and suddenly was no longer the President - he was just a guy with a job, sitting around talking with us like a family member at a barbeque.

For the next 15 or 20 minutes, he talked with us about our son, Iraq, his family, faith, convictions, and shared his feelings about nearing the end of his presidency. He asked each of our teenaged sons what they wanted to do in life and counseled them to set goals, stick to their convictions, and not worry about being the "cool" guy.

He said that he'd taken a lot of heat during his tenure and was under a lot of pressure to do what's politically expedient, but was proud to say that he never sold his soul. Sometimes he laughed, and at others he teared up. He said that what he'll miss most after leaving office will be his role as Commander in Chief.

One of the somber moments was when he thanked us for the opportunity to meet, because he feels a heavy responsibility knowing that our son died because of a decision he made. He was incredibly humble, full of warmth, and completely without pretense. We were seeing the man his family sees.

We couldn't believe how long he was talking to us, but he seemed to be in no hurry whatsoever. In the end, he thanked us again for the visit and for the opportunity to get off his feet for a few minutes. He then said, "Let's get some pictures." The doors flew open, Secret Service and the White House photographer came in, and suddenly he was the President again. We posed for individual pictures as he gave each of us one of his coins, and then he posed for family pictures. A few more thank yous, a few more hugs, and he was gone.

The remarkable thing about the whole event was that he didn't have to see us at all. If he wanted to do more, he could've just given a quick handshake and said, "Thanks for your sacrifice." But he didn't - he put everything and everyone in his life on hold to meet privately with the family of a Private First Class who gave his life in the service of his country.

What an incredible lesson on service. If the President of the United States is willing to drop everything on his plate to visit with a family, surely the rest of us can do it. No one is above serving another person, and no one is so lofty that he or she can't treat others with dignity and respect.

We often think of service in terms of sacrificing ourselves for someone in a position above us, but how often do we remember that serving someone below us can be much more important? If you're in a leadership capacity, take a good look at how you're treating your people, and remember that your role involves serving the people you rely on every day.

My knee hurts

I was just sitting here at my desk, looking at the piles of stuff in various locations. Yes, so far, I'm still organized by 'piles.' There's the 'stuff that I know I need but don't know where to put' pile, the 'stuff that I know where to put' pile, the 'stuff to be gotten rid of'' pile, and the 'stuff that needs to be given to someone else' pile. Oh, and the 'stuff that I know where it goes but can't put it there because there's a pile of stuff in the way' pile. The upside is that I have 3 very neat file drawers in my desk....hmmm, maybe I should do something with that?

Anyway, since I have the freedom to do it, and since the weather was nice, I walked to the office today. It was good, I had a great prayer time as I went. I listened to a good sermon as I went home for lunch, had a great praise time as I went back. All this, and still got across 425 without getting splatted. But as I sit here, I'm noticing a little pain in the knee. now, I don't have an excuse for the knee hurting. It's not a football injury (didn't play organized, and only got a concussion from dis-organized). It's not a band injury, that was the wrist. It's not even a Boy Scout or rappelling injury. It's just that my knee doesn't like for me to exercise. Especially when I need to drop at least 20 pounds. The problem is that I need to walk and drop those pounds. The pain is trying to keep me from doing what I need to do so I won't have the pain.

Spiritually, I think we do the same thing. It's hard to get up and focus our days on the Lord. It's hard to tithe. It's hard to plan our weekend around being at church on Sunday. The list goes on. But all of these things get easier with habit. Or, at least, they get ingrained into our stubbornness, even if they aren't easier. My knee will probably hurt tomorrow, but I will walk again. And again, and again, as long as the weather holds. You see, the benefit outweighs the pain.

We need to make the habits that it takes for us to live out our faith. You see, it's not about making us look good for this life, it's about making us fit for an eternity with Christ. How will we worship Him in heaven if we can't make it a habit here? How will we rest in His total provision there if we haven't learned to trust Him here? These things are the little habits of Christ-likeness that we need to cultivate now, so that they will produce a harvest in eternity.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Again from Dr. Turner

There's a reason he is the primary voice of Arkansas Baptists. He's got good things to say! We need to be careful, and allow the Word of God to speak freely, rather than take all of our knowledge and try to massage the text to fit it! Just because we don't like it doesn't mean it's not true.

Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Faulty Translations…
Posted on Friday, September 12, 2008
< go back

The King James Version of the Bible was severely criticized during its first century for catering to King James’ superstitions, being theologically unsound, and being too political. In the 1950’s the Revised Standard Version was criticized for referring to the “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 as a “young girl”. A recent translation has been rejected for being “gender neutral” and rightly so.



But common and current usage also translates the Bible. When our practice “shapes” our interpretation of Scripture we are guilty of producing a biblical text for our own usage. Lately I have observed some practical re-writes of several verses.



Ephesians 5: 25 “… just as Christ loved my home group and gave Himself up for it.”



Leviticus 11:45 “For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be politically conservative for I am politically conservative.”



Joshua 1:8 “This power point shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to reproduce it for your own sermons, for then you will make your way to a larger church and then you will have success.”



Cross reference this verse to 1 Corinthians 1:21… “For God was well pleased through the power point to save those who believe.”



Malachi 3: 10 “Bring all you can afford into the storehouse, so that your sermons may be more acceptable to a wider group and so you will not be held accountable for not tithing yourself.”



Mark 21: 3 & 4 “And He said, Truly I say to you this poor widow put in more than all of them; even though you can not spend percentages.”



Colossians 1:28 “And we proclaim Him, admonishing every people group and teaching every people group with all wisdom that we may present every people group complete in Christ.”



Leviticus 19:33 “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall lobby politicians to have him deported.”



Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and choruses and choruses and choruses and choruses and choruses and choruses and making melody with your heart to the Lord”



If these don’t look strange to you, maybe you have re-written the Scripture.



turnere.JPGEmil Turner serves as executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons and two grandsons. Turner enjoys fishing and hunting in his spare time.

Blank posts

Computers are dumb. They only do what they are programmed to do. So, when you accidentally click 'publish' on a blank post, you get a blank post. It's like the computer wastoo foolish to know I made a mistake!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Politics again

I'm becoming a little more politically vocal, but to try and balance the responsibilities of pastoring with sharing political frustrations, I'll keep most of it on the blog. I've added a gadget that will show you the rising national debt. This is how much the US Government is in the red, and doesn't count how badly the average American is drowning. It's a problem!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

From Emil Turner

| Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Points for Christian Workers
Posted on Friday, September 5, 2008
< go back

About 100 years ago George W. Noble published a little book entitled Book of Points for Christians and Personal Workers. In a section about “Don’ts for the Inquiry Room”, Noble gives some advice for people who witness to lost people. The advice is targeted for revival “after meetings” which were popular at that time, but some of it is timeless…



Work from the command to “go to every creature” rather than waiting on impressions about witnessing.



Don’t talk too loud.



Don’t eat onions. “This may seem an unimportant matter but it is really important”.



Don’t talk down.



Don’t argue. “God sent you to declare the Word, not to prove it.”



Don’t quote the Scripture. “Open your Bible and let inquirers read for themselves.”



Don’t keep seekers on their knees too long. “Sometimes a sinner’s knees are more tender than his heart. When I knelt as a seeker, the first three minutes I thought of my sins; the next five, of my knees.”

Near the end of this helpful little book, the author collected testimonies of anonymous Christian workers. One of them said, “Thirty-two years ago a valued friend of mine, was hopeless and helpless and lost—undone and on his way to end his life, when Jesus came to him and saved him.” It was the testimony of this friend that touched his heart and led him to Christ.


turnere.JPGEmil Turner serves as executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons and two grandsons. Turner enjoys fishing and hunting in his spare time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Education

If speech is free, why is it going to cost me a lot of money to go to school for it?

That's my attention getting line for this post...one of my goals in life is to, someday, finish both a Master's and Ph.D. in Communications, and teach college students. Maybe part-time, then spend my 'retirement' doing that. One of mentors in college, Dr. Roy Buckelew, did just that. He preached and led churches, and then slowed down to being a full-time teaching professor until he passed away. He loved every minute of it, and was always a great challenge.

Anyway, UAM doesn't offer graduate study in that area, and doing 'wood utilization' for Dave Patterson doesn't really appeal to me. I know how to use wood: burn it for warmth, nail it for building, pulp it for paper. So, I was looking for an accredited, respectable, distance-learning approach. It's hard to find. Most schools want you to live there, and many of the schools that only require you to email in work aren't known for their quality. There are some good ones, like Gordon-Conwell Seminary, for theology, but you have to do at least 30 hours of the degree in residence. Which is a lot of week or 2-week trips to Massachusetts. I don't want to go to Massachusetts, especially 3 times a year for 4 years. Communications programs are harder to find.

Well, I found a couple, and the one that looks good, and only requires one trip to the school, is through Gonzaga University. NCAA Basketball fans will remember Gonzaga's run in March Madness a few years ago. They have a good program, with respectable teachers, and graduates who have strong support for the school (one good indicator. If graduates from a communications program find their main job is asking 'Do you want fries?' it's not a good program.).

The catch is cost. Ann and I are trying hard to get out of debt, and don't want to add $27,000 worth of student loans to the mix (which still includes student loans from seminary). So, we're praying for the money to come in. If I can remember to fill out my game show application to be on "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" and get on, I should be fine.

So, we're asking God for the money. That's right. We're going to pray. We have a need, and we are going to the One who can handle it. Does that guarntee that we'll get it? No. Praying guarantees that if God intends for us to have it, we'll recognize His hand in the provision.

We've talked in church about living in faith. This is where it comes in. Do you have a need? Are you seeking God about it first? Or are you trying to make your own plans? Submit yourself to His guidance, and then act based on His word and His direction. It makes a huge difference.




----------------
Now playing: Chris Tomlin - The Way I Was Made
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thoughts about the past...

I was listening to the radio this morning, well, not the real radio. I was listening to an internet radio station from last.fm. It's a music player that I can run through Firefox, which is my web browser. More on that else where.

Moving forward, one of the songs that played was the Garth Brooks tune 'Every Now and Then.' It's in the signature at the end of this post. The song goes through the emotion of remembering the past and comparing it to the life the singer now has. The singer has made choices that have brought him to a certain point, and he sees things that remind him of what his life might have been.

Now, the song is not a weeping or lamenting over either the current life or the one that he missed out on. It's just a reflection on the fact that life is filled with choices, and sometimes we wonder what might have happened. The point I want learn from this is that nostalgia and wondering isn't bad. But I cannot undo anything, and that the life I have is excellent. In truth, what I have now is better than I ever planned.

So when I start wondering 'what if,' I try to turn my heart back to the present. I'd never trade what I have now for what I had then.

----------------
Now playing: Garth Brooks - Every Now and Then
via FoxyTunes

Friday, September 5, 2008

Power

You know, true power only comes from God.

Which is a good thing. Because Entergy's been a little short for 2 1/2 days now. We don't know if we'll get it tonight, since it's getting dark and they've been working all day. I know these crews need some rest, so hopefully we'll get power sometime tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we're praying extra hard for our friends the Choates on the mission field. They won't have electricity or even indoor plumbing! Pray for them, follow the link with their name to learn about them. Follow this link to see the work they do: Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Politics

For those of you who haven't registered to vote in the next elections, I recommend a visit here:

I Vote Values

There is information here about how to vote, as well as links to info about candidates, parties, and issues in multiple levels of elections.

I won't tell you who to vote for, because I'm not God. I would challenge you to pray before you vote, and don't automatically go elephant or donkey. Be an informed voter and use your head and Bible to guide you.

Are any candidates for president truly going to turn our nation to God? Probably not, because that's something we have got to do ourselves. But, we should look to bring someone into office who will fulfill the responsibilities of the office in a Godly manner.

Nothing to ask?

Remember that you can post anonymous questions if you don't want anyone to know it was your question. It can be relational, emotional, practical, spiritual, theological, historical or sports!

Just don't ask me when I'll get my electricity back. Not even Entergy knows. Basically we have 3 preachers in Monticello that are just being kept in the dark :-) I think the Lord expects us to be learning patience.

I'm still annoyed

I'll admit it. I'm annoyed with my lack of electricity. I understand that there are people worse off, but it's still frustrating to have no power when people right down the road have it!!! Of course, I could do so much better running the power company!!!

Sure I could. I would make sure no one was annoyed by the fact that people on a different part of the grid had power when they didn't. I'd shut off the whole state every time there was an outage. Then, when it was fixed, everything would work right!!

This reminds me of a song by Wayne Watson. It's titled "If I were You" and it's about how we might handle being on God's throne. The basic gist is that we are all a little to self-centered and self-righteous to have God's power. And he's right.

All that leads me to be convicted that I'm alright without electricity. But I'm still annoyed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's not fair!!!

For the record, life's not fair!!

People 3 houses down from our street have electricity, and are at home calmly watching TV while I'm moving frozen foods to the church so they don't spoil!

Oh wait, not everyone is sleeping their own bed tonight. Sorry, Donnie. I guess life's more unfair to you.

Oh, and there are people trapped away from home. Sorry evacuees, I guess my life is a little less bad than I thought.

Oh, and I will be with my family tonight. To our soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors, words cannot express how much better it is for me because of you. Sorry, and thank you...

And then there's the fire department, EMS, ER workers, police, sheriffs, National Guard....

There's people without houses....people without power that can't put their stuff in church freezers....(I'll move some of mine. We'll make it fit!)

And then there's God's love for me, for which I'm not worthy, but Jesus Christ has died to give me anyway.

Ultimately, life's not fair. And I'm very blessed that it isn't. I owe all I have to the One who made life eternally unfair, and much gratitude to those who cover my shortcomings on this side too....

Planning and Prepartion

One of my favorite reads when I was growing was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Now, I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know if it's any good. And I am quite aware that the religious beliefs of the author, the late Douglas Adams, are fundamentally different from my own. However, one of the key themes of the book is rather on point these days.

The book is about a group of individuals (can't use people, some of them are aliens. Actually, 2 of the 4 are aliens), who are bouncing around the galaxy. One of them, whose name is Ford (this is his writing pseudonym. Upon reaching earth, he determined to take a name to blend in, not realizing that cars aren't the dominant species) is a writer for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, essentially a travel book about, well, the galaxy. The cover of the book has in big words:

DON'T PANIC!

The reason I think this is appropriate these days is that we need to learn to plan, prepare, but even when those things go wrong, DON'T PANIC! There are days that things go horrendously wrong, but panic should never be our response. There are days that it just seems the natural response, but those who are God's children have to learn to listen to His voice rather than that other one in the back of your head that screams 'AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHH.'

This is not easy. In fact, every time that something goes wrong is a good time to practice this skill! I've been working on it today, since the power is out, half the roads to my house are covered with trees, and the other half with smaller debris. I'm trying to be thankful instead. First, the tree is in the road. Not on my house. Not on anyone's house. Second, there's more than one road. Third, that 360 days a year, I have electricity. Some people get it 2 hours a day. Fourth, I have some place to flee to with power. Finally, I've got insurance if a tree does fall on the house. Why should I panic? God has already provided these things. And if something else goes wrong, He is still with us!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Of Hurricanes and Such

Well, the weekend saw Hurricane Gustav come in from the Gulf, and had many of us spend Labor Day watching water splash over the levee at the Industrial Canal in New Orleans.

Now, the rain has moved over north LA and south Arkansas, which is good for the water table, but now we have trees swaying and falling around us.

If now isn't a good time to preach repentance and turning back to God, when will be?

Sermon Recaps for November

I think I’ve missed a couple of Sundays. Also, we had some fill-in video that we used for Sunday nights, so I won’t post those here, but the...