Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Short Posts and Curb Appeal

When I said... shorter posts... what I really meant was... the fences I'll be building in 2009 will be much shorter. That will allow many of you to peek over and get a glimpse of my back yard.

And speaking of back yards. Yes, I spoke of back yards. I wonder how often we consider the back yard side of our lives? I mean really... the front yard and the front of the house is what many are concerned about... you know "curb appeal"?

I'm not so much into yard work or beautifying the landscaping around my home... just ask my wife... because beyond just keeping things mowed and as weed free as possible... I'm not really into keeping up with the Jones'. Besides we don't have any neighbors named Jones.

I take a holistic approach to my front and back yard that is simple and easy... less is best. Oh I know many of you like yard work, flowers, and just diggin' in the dirt and being outside. But, since at this time in my life... during the spring, summer and fall I work outdoors much of the time... when I come home from work... I really don't want to be outside very much.

Now the swing to my point: If all we ever concern ourselves with is the "curb appeal" on our homes, but ignore cracks in the foundation, leaking roof, windows that are energy in-efficient, etc. etc., our long term investment can dissolve into long term loss. We've gotta take care of the front yard, the back yard, the whole house... And so too with our very lives... Jesus said that we are to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength... that seems very complete. That seems like we are to be concerned with the entire investment of our lives... and not just the outside or the curb appeal.

Keep that in mind the next time you sit down to determine your life schedule and priorities... especially in this coming New Year. Matthew 6:33.

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2 New Year's Resolutions

1. Shorter Posts.

2. "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8 NIV

If God Is For Us?

I sure loved the fact that someone finally made a comment on one of my posts (and not just some friendly... "I liked what you wrote"). I'm not looking for affirmation on anything I post... just interaction. I truly respect other people's thoughts on God and life. All I have to offer is my personal experience with God through my relationship with Jesus Christ. I guess that's called faith?

As for theodicy being a defense for God's omniscience or benevolence... as I understand the term... I make no justification nor vindication for catastrophic events as if God's wrath was being poured out on any one people... or the contrary... that others are blessed by some capricious selective love.

I totally agree with my anonymous friend regarding a God that would in anyway favor Westerners over anyone else... that would be repugnant to me too... and absolutely a god I would never love nor serve... if anything we who live in the luxury of the West will ultimately face a greater consequence of His judgement, because we have been rich and well fed, but have done less than we could have to share that blessing. Ever heard of Laodicea? if that's not a composite of us here in America... I don't know what is.

I believe that the Bible clearly tells us that we are in an age of grace... meaning that God's wrath and judgment are being held at bay until the end of time as we know it. If and when bad things happen to people... good or bad people... of which that is relative from a human stand point... I chalk that up to several things.

1) entropy - the cosmos is slowly failing and running down - I don't agree with Al Gore, but the world as we know it is changing, and likely it's not for the better. Cyclical yes... but ultimately chaos will find it's way to the surface of reality.
2) folly - since the Bible tells us (of which I believe the Bible) folly is bound up in the heart of a child... and if it's not dealt with properly... the child becomes a fool (which says in their heart there is no God - don't get mad at me I'm just paraphrasing the Bible)... and that fool grows up to be a rebel... and rebels do just that... rebel against the normative established ways of doing things... possibly leading to change and overthrow (for right or wrong - both of which are relative according to who your audience is)
3) sin - now one would have to believe the Bible to accept this point, but sin ultimately entered the created order and ever since has cause the axis of a once perfect world to be tipped to the point where evil is birthed in the hearts of people... and the very fabric of the cosmos is "groaning" for redemption back to the perfect original state... of which is part of why Christ came and died and rose again.

Well this loving response is getting long again... so PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE post a comment again... I'm not trying to convince you or anyone of anything... I'll let God do that... I just wanna volley some words back and forth and see what emerges!

Your Serve...

Simply Coping

I sure appreciate the post-WW2 generation and the post-depression era generation because they tend to have an uncommon tenacity. I mean the kind of buck-up, quit your whining, get-er-done mentality. I'd say we need a little injection of that into this present generation... especially the customer service side of life... but that's a subject for another post.

What I was thinking about this morning was how we've been taught to "cope" with our life struggles. In many cases... what is touted out as overcoming something is actually and simply a coping mechanism. But the funny thing is... coping comes in many shapes and forms. Some are deemed acceptable... others are not.

Some use the counseling couch and prescribed medication to cope with life's challenges (typically acceptable)... others use mindless entertainment, alcohol, illicit drugs or even food (typically unacceptable) to cope or satiate their inability to handle life as it comes. Others saturate themselves in academia or a career... others shop till the plastic melts... others redecorate their living space... some simply put a bullet in their head.

The problem is "coping" never ultimately works... it simply buys the person a short burst of time and false feeling of absence from their problems. And this is true regardless of the type of coping mechanism a person uses... to include the more acceptable types.

My questions are these: What if we taught people to stop coping and to start running toward the pain and trials so as to find the root cause? What if we stopped selling religious anesthesia and started up-rooting the lies that cause the bad feelings that dictate the need to "cope"?

Exodus 25:22 (NLT) tells us that God will meet with us at the place where "Mercy" is most needed and He will talk to us... He will communicate with us... He will speak to the need in our lives... and I would suggest and the Bible bears this out... that He will heal and eliminate the need to cope. Jeremiah 33:3 tells us that we are to communicate with Him and He will speak to us and show us mysteries and often very difficult things... but inevitably He will heal us if we only let Him.

Remember... God's sufficient Grace is not a "coping mechanism" it's a healing, empowering, delivering GIFT. So when it comes to coping... the only coping I wanna do is the grinding of it with my skateboard trucks... (for all you ol' grinders out there). Have a great day!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Time & Space

I never have been very good at the Time Space Continuum thing... but ever since I got on Facebook... I'm running into all sorts of friends that I've not see nor heard from for 30 plus years... as if time and space never separated us.

They say that "time heals all wounds". I'm not sure if that's true, but time sure makes good memories better... and bad memories worse.

I'm very glad that most my memories are good... but when they're not, what should we do? I've come to the conclusion that Jesus is the only one that can help us with painful memories and experiences that might still plague our present life.

I'm very excited about the coming year because I believe God is opening a new door of ministry to genuinely help people. As a genuine Christian... I believe I have the answer to peoples problems. Colossians 1:27

So whether it's time or space that separates us from each other... One thing I know for sure is that nothing can separate me from the Love of God as I live in Christ Jesus!

Just one final thought... maybe more people might get to know the living God if we who do know Him would offer people the help they need? Genuine life changing help. Remember it's "Christ in you" that is the ultimate hope people are looking for.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The 2 Minute Window

What if I only had 2 minutes to speak to the world? What would I say? That's a question that's been burning in my mind for several days now. For me, that's pretty tough, because I'm given to gab... meander... go round and round... ramble on... chase rabbits... see I'm doing it again. Percolating thoughts and words down to one short and salient point isn't always easy. If all I had was 2 minutes to talk to you... to tell you something... would I be able to meet the challenge? I'm really trying to get to the bottom line on this, because if I can, just maybe I'll touch someones life for eternity sake. If our attention span has gotten smaller and smaller... then by now you're probably bored. So I'll keep thinking of the most important and powerful 2 minutes of my life and yours... and we'll see what comes up! Happy New Year... RAK