Thinking

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Go at Throttle Up!

Posted by on 11 Mar 2010 | Tagged as: Thinking

Last night my study group discussed Sunday’s sermon by Mac Burberry of Haitian Christian Outreach. Here’s the outline:

“The Power for Missions”

  1. We serve a compassionate God (John 3:16)
  2. We have a compelling message (Romans 1:14-16)
  3. We are a commissioned people (Mark 16:15)

Mac had described the space shuttle and how at liftoff the shuttle is only at 70 percent thrust. Of course, at 3,000 mph, that’s pretty impressive. Then he said there is a point in the launch where they say, “Go at throttle up,” and when thrust is at 100 percent, the shuttle accelerates to 17,000 mph. Having seen that kind of power and also having seen the Challenger disaster, Mac asked a tour guide at NASA why anyone would get into the shuttle. Their answer was this: “They are completely sold out to the mission and they trust the engines to get them there.”

Our study group kicked around the idea that living the Christian life is as intimidatingly powerful as being a shuttle astronaut. There’s no doubt that the changes that God can make in our lives through our faith in Jesus can be intense, even explosive. We also considered that many Christians are content to stay at that initial 70 percent.

Many people, when they become a Christian, come up out of the waters of baptism fired up and excited. Everything they say and do is clearly changed, powerfully changed because of their faith in Jesus. However, the call to be Christlike is more than baptism. Even though we’re not saved because of the things that we do as Christians, the fact remains that because we are Christians, there is more for us to do. That’s why we have to “go at throttle up.” We need to be so sold out on our mission from God that we can sit back and trust God to complete it through us.

Buckle up, it’s a wild ride!

It’s Free! Really!

Posted by on 24 Jun 2009 | Tagged as: Thinking

This past Saturday, our church took the opportunity to serve our community by distributing bottles of water at the local parks and ballfields. I went with my two older kids, and we went to the local rec center, its outdoor track, three local parks, and two schools. We gave away 6 bottles of water in three hours.

I am baffled by the number of people who simply refused to accept a free bottle of water. Sure, the guys playing cricket and the folks setting up for bridal showers, baby showers, and birthday parties brought their own water, but most of the people who were out walking, running, or biking did not have water with them.

Has our culture gotten so jaded that we cannot accept even a free gift of water? That doesn’t bode well for the church whose primary message is about the free gift of salvation and forgiveness for all who believe.

Creative Malaise

Posted by on 09 Jun 2009 | Tagged as: Thinking

When I graduated from high school, all I wanted to do was write, teach, and preach. Even though I had committed myself to “full-time Christian ministry,” I had not determined that I would be a full-time Christian minister. It didn’t matter how I paid the bills, as long as I was able to write, teach, and preach.

I haven’t been able to do much of that lately. I haven’t been able to preach since March, and my writing has been limited to church newsletter articles. I don’t even get to teach that often, which is frightening, considering that I’m the “adult education minister” of the church.

I think I’m in a creative funk. I have all kinds of ideas, but I just don’t have the gumption even to write them down in a journal, just to log them for future use. To be honest, I think I just need some time to sit back and listen.

I need to listen to what God is telling me through his Word. I need to pay closer attention to what my body is telling me (less caffeine, carbs, and cable). I need to listen for the unspoken messages from my wife and kids, my coworkers, my church family, my friends, and even total strangers.

Enough said for now.

I’m Just Cleaning…

Posted by on 01 Jun 2009 | Tagged as: Thinking

I like a bargain, just like anyone else, but I don’t see the appeal in surfing the local neighborhoods looking for yard sales and garage sales. It just seems counterintuitive to me to spend the time and gas driving around looking for someone’s hand-me-downs and/or trash, only to have to spend a few dollars to fix it up or spruce it up, just to save a few bucks. Sure, I have picked up a few things over the past few years, like my charcoal smoker, that I enjoy, but it seems like an obsession that has little pay off.

Over Memorial Day weekend, we decided to clean out our garage. So we dragged everything out into the front yard. We started drawing looky-lous the way a dead oppossum draws flies on the side of the road. The street in front of our house has a speed limit of 45 m.p.h., but folks were crawling past our yard all afternoon. We had a few people stop and rummage through our stuff, until I told them I was simply cleaning out the garage.

Eventually I took a plank and spray painted “CLEANING” on it, and used it and a couple of sawhorses to block the driveway. One guy stopped 10 minutes later and pulled into what was left of the driveway, leaving his van to stick out into the street. “I’m just cleaning my garage.” “But this stuff is for sale, right?” You’ve got to be kidding me. Not 2 minutes later, a lady parked in the next driveway, but before she could get halfway across the yard, I said, “I’m just cleaning my garage.” “Oh, that’s why you have the sign that says ‘CLEANING.'”

I couldn’t make this up.

Time for Change!

Posted by on 05 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Thinking

Time for a little perspective: one man DID start the problem, and one man WILL take care of it, but I’m not talking about the guys who most people are thinking about this morning. Romans 5:12-15 says: “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”

Our families, our communities, our country, our culture did not get to this point because of anyone elected to any position at any time in history. The greed, poverty, injustice, hatred, and basic dysfunction of our world exists because Adam introduced sin into the world; and even that is a naively simple explanation of our condition. We are where we are because of sin, and Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 that we’re all guilty.

However, our families, our community, our country, our culture will not be redeemed from their condition because of anyone elected to any position at any time in history. The only way we will rise above greed, poverty, injustice, hatred, dysfunction, and their consequences is to accept the gift of God’s grace and forgiveness which is offered to us through Jesus. The evil of this world will not disappear until Jesus returns, but it does not have to control us in the meantime.

Change is here, but it is the change of hearts and minds and souls through repentance from sin and acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now is the time for those who have been changed to live their lives as evidence of that change. Now is the time for those who have been changed to lead others into a relationship with God so he can make that change within them.

That’s a campaign I can support.


Early New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by on 03 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Thinking

I will not use email as a means of communication for relational issues.

I will try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt when the say or do something that ticks me off or makes me wonder about their motives.

I will ask questions before “shooting.”

I will continue to blog vaguely causing friends and family to wonder if I’m writing about them; just assume that I am and change whatever you’re doing to bug me.

Litmus Test of Trust

Posted by on 16 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Thinking

It bugs me how this election has prompted me to write yet another political post. However, I just have to get this off my mind so I can get on with the day.

I despise the way so many people glibly dismiss the views of those who are anti-abortion/pro-life, as if the point of view is intrinsically stupid. Pro-life candidates and their supporters are often painted as backwards and selfish in their thinking. While I have to admit that some of the more vocal pro-life advocates have been less than reasonable in their approach to the issue, much less to those who actually struggle through the decisions surrounding abortion, the pro-life position is certainly superior to the pro-choice/pro-abortion position.

To be pro-life is superior because there is no logical reason to believe that the fetus is anything but an unborn human child, at any stage of development. To be pro-life is superior because there is no moral reason to devalue the fetus in comparison to the mother. To be pro-life is superior because it is unethical to support abortion as the industry it has become or to deal with the fetus as the commodity it is becoming.

Ultimately, in a political context, abortion is my litmus test of trust in regard to many different areas. To the pro-abortion/pro-choice candidates I say:

  • Don’t tell me you will support families when you think it is OK to kill unborn babies.
  • Don’t tell me you are opposed to war when you believe abortion is a matter of choice.
  • Don’t tell me you intend to build a sound economy when you will seek to protect an industry built on the bodies of millions of dead babies.
  • Don’t tell me you want to fix healthcare when you will fight against a parent’s right to be involved with their under-age daughter’s health when it involves abortion.
  • Don’t tell me you support free speech when you seek to classify anti-abortion literature, speech, and protests as “hate speech.”

Perhaps the worst among the pro-choice candidates are those who claim to be opposed to abortion personally but who support the supposed right of others to choose. Certainly they would not extend that right to racists, terrorists, and others who practice unspeakable acts based upon aberrant philosophies. This is an intellectually weak position adopted solely for self-preservation, and it cannot be tolerated, much less trusted, in an elected official.

Blast from the past, and not such a good one…

Posted by on 13 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Thinking

Back when I was more overtly a right-wing nut—when I simply read my NRA magazine and listened to Rush Limbaugh and nodded vigorously without a whole lot of investigation and thought—I joined in with other conservative-minded folk who lamented the apparent liberal bias of the news media. Now that I put some thought into my political views, I recognize that everybody has a spin they put on political “news.” And, for the most part, I tend to keep my views to myself, as the politicians I will likely support say and do enough goofy things on their own to validate at least some of the attacks they receive.

However, upon John McCain’s announcement that he had chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate, I find my head spinning as the news media revert back to the bold-faced bias of the 80s. It seems that every reporter and anchor has had their press credentials printed on the back of their membership card for the Democratic Party.

Maybe I’ve gotten soft in my thinking over the past decade, believing that news has been reported more even-handedly in the past few years. Maybe I’ve let my guard down and let myself be taken in by the friendly banter of Good Morning America’s crew. But now that the Republican ticket has been announced and the campaign is well underway, the smiles are gone, replaced by looks of open disgust. No more pleasant discussions about any topic; it’s back to slash and burn.

It’s sad, really, to see people I’ve come to trust as rational adults revert to childish name calling and snarky, sarcastic remarks. While it seemed that they were capable of reporting only the facts, even when they may have disagreed with conservative philosophy, it has become clear that they cannot be trusted.

Gotta love Facebook!

Posted by on 05 Aug 2008 | Tagged as: Thinking

Last summer, after helping out with the senior high camp, a bunch of folks convinced me to join MySpace—against my better judgment. I did it. Everyone was thrilled to find me there, but a month later, they were ALL GONE! (Thanks, guys!)

Then they started begging me to join Facebook. I refused. For months I remained defiant… but alone… oh, so alone…

So, I did it. Last week I signed on to Facebook, and I’m glad I did! I’ve found and been found by all kinds of people from high school, college, and around the world. While it points out how lousy a friend I’ve been for the past twenty years, it has been a blast reconnecting with old friends.

It renews my understanding of how important people are and how quickly time flies. It gives me a new sense of urgency to really live out my faith in “Love God, Love people.”

Still Percolating…

Posted by on 27 Mar 2007 | Tagged as: Thinking

Welcome to Egg Monkey’s Cosmic Chile Cafe!

Pardon my stumbling…

Not fully awake…

Coffee’s brewing…

Grab a table, anywhere you’d like…

I’ll bring you a menu, some water, and I’ll be back in a few minutes….