Monday, December 28, 2009

Step Two to Balancing your life- Find Passion

There is no sense of balance in living as a slave. While most jobs have unpleasant things to do, the life of that finds passion and works in that area of passion is bound to find more joy and peace. I am not suggesting that we are to avoid work... work is a source of joy and peace and balances our life. But only when it is something that we can be passionate about. Carpenters should like working with wood, pastors should like working with people, and dog groomers should enjoy working with animals. It makes too much sense.

The shame is that so many of us don't have a clue about the things that we are passionate about. Spend some time taking an inventory of your internal passions. Some of those are God ordained strengths and gifts that waiting to be released to the world. When you are in that "sweet spot" you will be able to find the sense of balance that will be fulfilling.

Ironically, the joy and peace is found after the intensely selfish moments of introspection. Too often people get locked into looking at themselves. Real fulfillment happens when we give ourselves to serve others in the areas of our passion. Balance includes the focus of our passion on those who are around us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Step one to balancing your life-Self Nurture

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony."

Thomas Merton

The first step to balancing your life is to take care of your self. Essentials to this are rest, exercise, down time, spiritual meditation, and listening to your body.
Now at Christmas time it is almost a sin to talk about rest. But it is quite frankly the key to enjoying the season!

Too many of us try to get by on stunted sleep. Burning the candles at both ends can't be healthy... and often leaves us physically exhausted and affects our attitudes negatively.

Exercise stinks. (My opinion!) But the heart rate has to rise above sleeping occasionally- (smile). Long walks, time in the gym, regular calisthenics all have their place in a life of balance.

Chill time is crucial as well. You will be better for time in a hot bath, or sitting in the favorite chair reading something you don't 'have' to read for work. Rest and rejuvenate.

Prayer and meditation are also indispensable. They are the exercise for the spirit. To be fit as a fiddle physically and be spiritually shallow is a weakness. Your poor body will have to drag that aching spirit with you. Have you prayed today?

Listen to you body. Is it happy? Are you eating right? those aches and pains are the language of the body, describing the poignant need for a change in body management. Have you practiced fasting? Are you nurturing yourself?

The life of balance will lead you to a truer happiness than one of intense but frivolous energy expense. Remember the race is not to the swift, but to those who can endure...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To Santa or Not to Santa...

A lot of Christian parents face the dilemma of "to Santa or not". When my kids were little we were torn on whether to tell them about Santa or not. I didn't want to practice a form of deception on my kids and have them doubt other things that I was telling them (ie., the gospel of Jesus). So we, my wise and amazing wife and I, determined to keep them free of the juvenile delusion that is Santa (and the Easter Bunny for that matter). Yet, the question arose how to have them react with the kids at school and their little cousins who were believers (in Santa). We didn't want to be the buzz kill for the others but wanted to speak truthfully to our kids.

Truth is important in communicating to kids. And Christmas is gotta be confusing. Elves are fake, angels are real; wisemen from the east- real, reindeer with irridescent noses- not so real. Come on, and thingk like a kid. If they grow up thinking that storks bring kids, and bunnies bring candy, and elves make toys, etc. they are likely to not differentiate between the truth of the love of God for them and the childhood stories. Yet children deserve the freedom to develop their creative intellect and imagination too. So how do you practice truth and live in the world we live in?

For my wife and I, we felt that it was okay to teach our children that Santa was a game that people play. We told them that we would always tell them the truth because we were christians and that they were in on the secret of the Santa game. We asked them not to ruin the game for the other kids but to play along. It was fun to watch them look at us and giggle as other kids talked about Santa. We would wink and play along.

Not sure what you all have done... but that worked for us. We ended up unafraid of the fantasies of the world around us but with our kids trust in tact. And that trust has always served us well.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Discriminatory "Non-Discrimination Act"

By Matt Barber

(Though I feel this is a very serious subject, this has some humor in it!- PD)

Today's Democratic leadership is a predictable lot. They've cornered the market on mass manipulation through semantic tinkering. It's a relatively easy code to crack. To decipher what Democrats mean versus what they say one need merely apply the "forked-tongue test."

If Dems say "Fairness Doctrine," expect unfairness in spades. When Harry Reid tags Obamacare the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," we know that the patient gets hosed, and the "care" breaks the bank. Indeed, if the 111th Congress were to pass the "No Kicking Fuzzy Puppies Act," bet your Obama tax hike that Nancy Pelosi would be first in line to punt Poochie across the Capitol Rotunda.

And so it goes with the characteristically mislabeled "Employment Non-Discrimination Act" or ENDA (S. 1584 in the Senate and H.R. 3017 in the House). According to its leftist proponents, ENDA – which is under consideration in both houses of Congress – would merely insulate people who choose to engage in homosexual conduct (sexual orientation) or those who suffer from gender confusion (gender identity) against employment discrimination. But in truth, this legislation would effectively codify the very thing it purports to combat: workplace discrimination.

ENDA would force – under penalty of law – Christian, Jewish, or Muslim business owners to hire people who unrepentantly choose to engage in homosexual or cross-dressing behaviors, despite the fact that those volitional behaviors are in direct conflict with every major world religion, thousands of years of history, and uncompromising human biology.

This is no different than compelling a deeply religious business owner to hire and accommodate an "out and proud" adulterous "swinger." It's a direct assault on the inalienable rights of people of faith. It pits the government directly against the free exercise of religion and is, therefore, unconstitutional on its face.

During his second term, President Bush issued a Statement of Administration Policy on ENDA, pointing out its clearly unconstitutional nature. "[ENDA] is inconsistent with the right to the free exercise of religion as codified by Congress in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)," noted the statement. "The Act prohibits the Federal Government from substantially burdening the free exercise of religion except for compelling reasons, and then only in the least restrictive manner possible. [ENDA] does not meet this standard."

The fact that our current president both supports ENDA and prefers our sacred Constitution as potty paper for the aforementioned Poochie makes ENDA no less unconstitutional.

Chai Feldblum (pronounced "high" as in "stoned") is a lesbian activist and sexual anarchist attorney who supports legalized polygamy and bisexual polyamory. She has been nominated by President Obama to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This is like having Michael Moore guard the donuts. In the past, Feldblum – ENDA's chief framer and, if confirmed, one of five commissioners charged with its enforcement – has candidly summed-up the mindset behind the bill.

Feldblum believes that the battle between religious freedom and unfettered sexual license (aka, "gay rights") is a "zero sum game," meaning that the two cannot possibly coexist in harmony. One must triumph over the other. (Guess who wins in her twisted analysis?)

When asked about the Christian business owner or religious organization that morally objects to hiring people openly engaged in the homosexual lifestyle, Feldblum snapped: "Gays win; Christians lose." And where Americans' constitutionally guaranteed right to religious liberty comes into conflict with the postmodern concept of "gay rights," Feldblum has admitted having "a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win." Of course Feldblum's analysis is entirely arbitrary and completely unsupported by any reasonable constitutional interpretation or federal precedent.

In fact ENDA would – for the first time since the Constitutional Convention – extend special, federally preferred government status to individuals based upon a changeable and objectively aberrant sexual lifestyle, rather than requiring that such status be delineated by immutable, non-behavioral characteristics such as skin color or gender.

Former Secretary of State Collin Powell put it well when he said, "Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument."

But Ken Hutcherson, a prominent, well-respected African-American pastor from the Seattle area, summed it up even better, stating rather incisively: "Don't compare your sin to my skin."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Don't Go to Church if...

I hear all the time that people have given up gathering with other like minded believers. They routinely tell me that their relationship with Jesus is much deeper than gathering to watch a "worship concert" and hear a teaching. And, surprisingly, I agree. It is possible to have a relationship with God outside the walls of the assembled brethren. But I would be remiss if I didn't say that I have also heard stories of great tragedy from those who wandered from fellowship. Families that broke up, morality that crumbled, and souls that were... well, lost because they wandered from faith. The scripture warns that we should gather frequently to make sure we are challenged by the Word preached and that we can worship (with or without music).

So don't go to church if...

You are looking to appease God by some form of religious "doing". Attending services doesn't necessarily please God. Some of the sickest and most twisted people attend services regularly... thank God, they need it! Gathering with the church is a way to insure that you will have a challenge to your mind and spirit by the Word; you will be given an opportunity to fulfill the biblical mandates to worship in song, in heart, in giving, and in service to others; and it insures you the opportunity to help others.

Don't go if you are selfish and only care about yourself. We are people who need each other and are unashamed of that fact. We have chosen to stick together and gather to make a greater impact than we might as individuals in this society. Together we can help the brother or sister who is short grocery money this week by all throwing in $5. What do people do who have a friend in need but don't attend church? In my experience, they send them to the church!

Don't go if you aren't serious about worship. At least here at CLC we are pretty determined to connect with God. Through songs, through silence, through meditating on a scripture, etc. we are trying to connect with the gracious one who saved us by his blood.

Don't go if you know everything. There isn't any room for your big brain in the place. Of course, the question isn't have you heard it before... the question is are you living it out every day. Are you loving? Are you kind? Are you giving? Are you selfless? Are you... like Jesus?

Don't go to church if there is no hunger for change. The last thing the Lord needs from his kids is another hard hearted and recalcitrant kid. The place is already slammin' full of hypocrites. (don't fear... there is room for another!)Soft hearts are demanded by him in order to be molded into the Jesus shape.

But for me I need it. I need my friends and my family to challenge me to live for Jesus the other 6 days of the week too.I need to be reminded that watching hockey isn't the biggest priority in my life- loving people is. I need to be moved by the testimony of fellow strugglers, i need to hear about miracles in other peoples lives, I need to be moved emotionally by songs, videos, images, and stories of the goodness of my God. It gets me through. But more... it gets me out of the church and into the world. This time with a mission to help another and point to a Savior.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Absorbing Shocks

I've been connecting with a lot of old friends. (Most of my friends are old :-) - but by that I mean that these are people I've know for a while!) Some I haven't seen in many years. For a lot of us life has been difficult. Personal loss, relational challenges, sickness, economic hardships, ministry troubles... the list goes on. I reflect on the things that I have gone through over these recent years, and that list is pretty scarey as well. So I have come to the conclusion that God doesn't keep his kids from the problems and drama of life.

When I say that I know full well that my life could be much worse if Christ were not daily intervening in my messy and imperfect life. I have "dodged the bullet" many times and I realize that it is not my "ninja reflexes" that accomplished that but rather the faithfulness of God. Yet, 'into every life a little rain must fall' the saying goes. These things test our resolve, our faith, and nearly everything else in our lives. How we respond determines the impact of the events that test us.

This summer I watched with horror as two people I care about greatly flipped in their canoe at the base of a multistory water fall. Freaking out didn't help so we all pitched in and pulled em out of the drink and emptied their canoe and put them on their way again. At the end of the day, it was a blip on the radar. One minute they were just hats floating through the rapids... a few hours later they were laughing around a fire. Now don't get me wrong, it could have been bad. But attitude and friends helped make the situation better.

Likewise when we are in the thick of it... when stuff is hitting proverbial fans... when life sucks the strength out of you... we need to do a few things to survive so we can laugh about it later.
1.) Look for friends to help your through it. Hopefully you will have amassed a large group of supporters and encouragers in your life by that point. Lean on them and they will help you "out of the drink".
2.) Make sure that you have a great attitude of faith and a positive outlook on life. That will help you through
3.) See number one? remember that there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother... his name in Jesus.

This is my story. God hasn't protected us from the bumps in the road... but he is a heck of shock absorber!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prophetic Ministry

Too often Christians misunderstand prophetic ministry. They think that prophetic ministry is spooky or scarey. Many pastors shrink from having prophetic brothers and sisters into their churches because there is a certain amount of control given up when we let anyone minister in our pulpits. This fleshly fear is the kind of insecurity that the Devil plays with in the heart of the pastor or minister. But churches need prophecy. The word of the Lord needs to be shared in the life of the church for the health of the church. Describing the church meeting the apostle Paul writes (1 Cor 14.26) "Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification." NKJV Any restriction on the giftings out of fleshly fear will stifle the church from being "edified" or built up.

Here are some healthy guidelines for prophetic minsitry in the church.

First, prophecy is public. One glance at 1 Cor 14 will clearly tell that all must be able to "say Amen!"ESV to the prophetic word. At CLC we are very leery of any word that is private. Even when Paul was told that he would be bound to prison(Acts 21.11) it was done publicly. This insures clarity and accountability.

Secondly, prophecy in the church must be judged. No word should come forth that is not stood up and examined (1 Cor 14.29). The person at the pulpit who is in charge of the meeting, should acknowledge the Spirit's moving. Too often pastors run away from "hear what the Spirit is saying". Sometimes someone will speak out of emotion, or out of their flesh and not out of the Spirit- it is important that leadership gently confront the speaker in an effort to encourage the gifts but insist upon their genuineness and integrity.

Third, prophecy should flow from a clean vessel. I disregard any prophetic word from a liar, a thief, a greedy heart, or a person in sexual sin. It may be necessary in some circumstances, to restrict prophetic words to those who are known to the leadership.

Fourth, prophecy needs to be pastored. It is too easy to remember wrongly the word spoken over your heart. Emotions run high and cloud our hearing. These days it is easy to get a recorder to get the word exactly right. We ask each person who receives a word to write it down (or better, type it out) and give it to their pastor. That pastor should go over the following things with his sheep. (1)What things were revealed that I understand ; (2) What things were revealed that I do not understand (pray for clarity); (3) what action points are there for the person to perform, (4) What things do they need to trust the Lord for. That directive of the Lord that is honored will be certain to be a blessing.

Prophetic ministry is a powerful tool used to build up the church in it's holy faith. It builds the commodity of hope in the heart of the individual. We all need hope- it is the foundation of faith. And faith is the currency of the Kingdom.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Keep on Keeping on

Certain times in our life are defined by dry heavens. There seems to be no rain, no voice from God, no answers to prayer, and no freedom. These times feel exhausting and laborious. We find ourselves weary in doing good and begin to question all that we have previously learned from our times with God.

These times are a test of our spirits strength and perseverance. They are tedious and seem to be long and drawn out. When we are going through them we have to remember that we are not out of God's line of sight.And we are certainly loved by him during this time.

Apollo 11 had an experience that reminds me of this. As they were orbiting the moon NASA lost communication with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren. the world waited in silence to see if they would emerge on the other side of the moon and reestablish communication. During that phase of the trip the Astronauts went through the dark side of the moon and lost contact with the guiding voice of Houston. The key to surviving the dark side of the moon was to keep doing what you had been trained to do and to keep on doing what you were supposed to do. Any deviation from the plan and they might end up careening through space completely off the mark.

When I am going through these testing times I don't change very much. I might intensify my prayer life but that is about it. I do everything in my power to stay on course. Of course, my emotions can get the best of me at times and I can fail or sin. This reveals weakness in me and in my character. Thankfully, God is forgiving and merciful - Always. I learn through these times what I am made of.

Eventually I know that I will pass outside of the dark side and communication will be reestablished. What a sense of relief! What a sense of victory! But until then, we keep on keeping on.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Feeling Burned Out?

Here are a few things that I have learned from bouts with burn out. Burn out is a bit like depression except that it is linked to production, success, or achieving. These five steps will help get life back on track and restore the strength and meaning to your life.
#1 Cut back- choose to produce more and higher quality work by doing less. Delegate to others, ask for help, get out from under the feeling of being overwhelmed.

#2 Rest- Start by lining up your leisure times as appointments far in advance. Don't let anything steal family time. Don't let date nights wane. Don't surrender your quiet times - ever!

#3 Sleep- Get some... get a lot because you look and act ugly when your tired and burned out. It's that serious

#4 Start exercising- the physical needs discipline and your exercise plan will release the dopamine in your brain to help you feel better

#5 Daily spend prayer and devotional time. in burned out times I like to read devotionals that others have written.

These steps will put you in the place (when practiced diligently) that you will rise out of the depths of burn out and find healing for your soul.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Lessons learned while Working

I enjoyed reading this today hope you do too.
by Mary Schmich

I've been working since I was 16. I've been a waitress and a writer, a college admissions officer and a movie-theater candy-counter clerk. In honor of Labor Day, here are some things that working has taught me about work.

1. Work is hard. That's why it's called work.

2. Calm down. The work that must get done will get done. Or you're fired.

3. Deadlines are the enemy of perfection. They're also your best friend.

4. Your boss has a boss too. That explains half the crazy things she -- or he -- does.

5. Listen to the assignment. You may think it's stupid. But be sure you understand what you're being told to do before you do the thing you think is smarter.

6. As one of my first bosses told me: Be loyal to individuals, but never be loyal to an institution because it will not be loyal to you.

7. Some bosses are very wise.

8. Your job is harder than other people think, but not as hard as self-pity tells you.

9. Looking busy and working effectively aren't the same. But only the fortunate few get credit for making work look effortless.

10. Your boss doesn't understand what you do. Let her -- or him -- know occasionally.

11. It's easier to second-guess the boss than to be the boss.

12. As a business-school professor once told me: Power doesn't corrupt; power reveals. That knowledge won't change your workplace, but it might change your perceptions.

13. Keep your psychodrama to yourself and not only because your work chums could wind up as your superiors or subordinates.

14. Sad but true: Work is a bond, but the workplace can be as ferocious as "Survivor." You can rarely be sure your work friend is your true friend until you're off the island.

15. The above is especially true of workers at different levels of power.

16. Flattery won't get you far. If it does, it's called sucking up.

17. Respect. You can't expect it if you won't give it. This applies to the ranks above and below you.

18. Don't quit when you're mad. Or drunk.

19. Alcohol never helps get the job done. Never.

20. Sad but true: Team players don't always come in first.

21. Neither do sick people who won't take sick days. Stay home.

22. Find work you love. If you can't, find things to love about your work. If that fails, remind yourself that there's always, always someone with a worse job.

23. Work pays for the fun.

24. Everyone feels underappreciated.

25. At least once in your working life, you will hear at least two of these phrases: "Don't take it personally." "We've decided to move in a different direction." "I wish I could offer you more, but ..."

26. The boss is not thinking about you as much as you're thinking about the boss. But she -- or he -- wants your approval too.

27. Bosses are like the weather and the pop charts -- they change. You're likely to outlast more than one.

28. Yes, you are lucky to have a job. But that's not license for your employer to exploit you.

29. Power trumps talent. And effort. And experience. All the way up the ranks.

30. Work gives life purpose. But it's not the only purpose. It's a piece of your identity. But it is not you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

10 Tips for being a Better Wife

1. Flirt with your husband at inappropriate times. Rub his back while he’s talking to a friend on the phone. Pinch his butt in church. Whisper in his ear in the doctors waiting room. Keep romance alive

2. Keep yourself clean and attractive. Don’t always give him the “sweatpants, no makeup, greasy hair, baby burp- look”. Work out enough to be strong in your old age. Dress nicely. If you get dressed up to go to dinner with your girl friends, then make the same effort when you two go out to the show.

3. Fix up your bedroom so that it is a love sanctuary. It is hard to be romantic in a jungle of dirty laundry and dog hair.

4. Get over it. Forgive and move on. A bitter woman is unattractive. A lonely bitter woman is even less so- get it?

5. Listen to his stories. Make sure that the children don’t always interrupt and push him into the background. He may stop talking altogether. Remember- the kids will leave the nest… and then you will be stuck with a non communicative husband.

6. Don’t nag. Find the right time and place to share your frustrations and disappointments. Maybe the sentence should begin with “Honey, it would really bless me if you would remember to take out the garbage…” (as opposed to “ hey dimwit, take out the trash…)

7. Give him space to be himself but keep him close to the family. Tell him about what the kids are saying/doing. Tell him its time to have a talk with Junior. Tell him how important he is to the family- cause he is.

8. Sex. Lots of it and varied. The world is over sexed and full of temptation and lust. You are the best thing that ever happened to him…. Even if your 15 pounds heavier than when you met. So believe in yourself and your marriage- that God put the two of you together make “sweet music”.

9. Be a strong woman. Be confident and competent. But know when to let him “rescue you”. Every guy wants to be a hero. Every woman wants to be rescued by a stud. Let him know when you are a ‘Damsel in Distress’- but you can’t always be helpless.

10. Stay spiritually in tune with God. yeah, he should be the spiritual leader of the home but don't pile on when he isn't. There will be times when you are the strong spiritual link to the Lord. Be ready for it. And Pray for your man.

25 Tips on How to Stay Married

by Sharon Randall

These are good... wish I'd have thought of them.

1. Always put her first - before work, friends, even basketball. Act as if she's the best thing that ever happened to you, because we all know she is.

2. Keep no secrets. Pool your money. Allow nothing and no one to come between you.

3. Pick your fights with care. Play fair. Show some class. Hurtful words can be forgiven, but they're hard to forget.

4. Fall in love again every day. Kiss her in taxis. Flirt with her at parties. Tell her she's beautiful. Then tell her again.

5. Never miss an anniversary or a birthday or a chance to make a memory. Memories may not seem important now, but one day they'll be gold.

6. Never give her a practical gift. If she really wants a Shop-Vac, let her pick it out herself.

7. Go to church together, and pray every day for each other and your marriage.

8. Pay your bills on time and make sure you each have a living will, a durable power of attorney and life insurance, lest, God forbid, you need them.

9. Love her parents as your own, but don't ask them for money. Never criticize her family or friends. On her birthday, send flowers to her mother with a note saying, "Thank you for giving birth to the love of my life."

10. Always listen to her heart; if you're wrong, say you're sorry; if you're right, shut up.

11. Don't half-tie the knot; plan to stay married forever.

12. Never go to bed mad; talk until you're over it, or you forget why you were mad.

13. Laugh together a lot. If you can laugh at yourselves, you'll have plenty to laugh about.

14. Never criticize, correct or interrupt her in public; try not to do it in private either.

15. Remember that people are the least lovable when they are most in need of love.

16. Never fall for the myth of perfectionism; it's a lie.

17. When you don't like each other, remember that you love each other; pray for the "good days" to return and they will.

18. Tell the truth, only the truth, with great kindness.

19. Kiss at least 10 seconds a day, all at once or spread out.

20. Memorize all her favorite things and amaze her with how very well you know her.

21. Examine your relationship as often as you change the oil in your car; keep steering it on a path you both want it to go.

22. Be content with what you have materially, honest about where you are emotionally, and never stop growing spiritually.

23. Never raise your voice unless you're on fire. Whisper when you argue.

24. Be both friends and lovers; in a blackout, light a candle, then make your own sparks.

25. Finally, be an interesting person, lead your own life. But always save your best for each other. In the end, you will know you were better together than you ever could've been apart.

Here's to happily ever after.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

10 tips for being a better Husband

I am no expert, but after nearly 29 years of being married, I’m confident that these Top 10 things any man can do to make himself a much better husband.

1. Be humble. We have to be willing to admit our failures to our wives and kids. Too often I have had couples who never offer real apologies and never give real forgiveness. When you make a mistake … own up to the facts. You will ultimately gain respect in the long run.

2. Pay attention when she speaks. Put the remote down, the cell phone away, and turn the TV down. Listen for her emotions not just facts to debate. Remember what she says and likes when you are being dragged around the mall… listen for gift ideas for future events.

3. Gentle , Big boy. The tone of our words, the harshness in which we live in the world, and our tempers often get in the way of real communication.

4. Think out loud. She might be surprised that you think at all. She might be mortified what you think about. But she will be excited to know your actually sharing your inner thoughts with her. (BTW- you can even share your struggles!)

5. Give Gifts. Women love to receive gifts. You don’t have to wait until Valentines Day, her birthday or your anniversary. BTW- you might try to spend your money on her rather than that new fishing rod!

6. Be Sexual. But don’t be perverse. Not everything is about the bedroom. If you honor as sacred your moments of intimacy you will likely have more of them to ponder…

7. Ask her about her day. Then listen to what she says. Don’t give advice unless asked.

8. Stop worrying about being on time. You will likely be late to some events… do you want to be arguing with her all the way there and back too?

9. Notice her appearance. She doesn’t smell like your buddy Bill… so tell her she smells good. If you like the way those pants look on her.. .tell her. Otherwise, you might end up with her smelling like Bill! BTW- you should shower too!

10. Hold her hands, rub her shoulders, and touch her in non-sexual ways. You will have to practice this. Please don’t count slapping her behind as an effective touch :')

Monday, August 03, 2009

Show Offs

I got done mowing the grass today and walked up from the garage. In my defense, it is uphill, I had been mowing and working for the better part of the ninety degree day- by the time I got to the house I was exhausted. Did you ever get so tired that you were concerned about yourself? Well, that is how tired I was.

In my fifties I realize that I am not in great shape, but why are we so frail. My son fractured his heal and he was off his feet for 6 or 7 weeks! Clearly we bounce back and are designed to heal ourselves (that in itself is amazing!)But why weren't we designed to be more invincible. Why aren't we more like Robocop and less like, the Pillsbury Dough boy! The Apostle Paul gives us a hint in 2 Cor 4.7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Here he reveals that our weakness and frailty is a part of the grand design! The clay pot (our frail human body) is functional to carry the the majestic image of God and his glory. We can face amazingly horrible circumstances and difficulties and find our way through them. For the follower of Christ- the one who endeavors to live his life for Jesus- there is a promise that God will give us his strength to live by. God's power working through us is the testament to our frailty and his "surpassing strength". Doesn't this intimate that as Christ followers we are to be in over our head? Doesn't it say that we are to be doing more than "normal" living? Isn't there an implied promise of living supernaturally?

And while we are enduring afflictions and persecution and facing the press of life and even the blows against us we are allowing the life of Christ to flourish in us and be shown off to the world. Wouldn't it be better to live our lives as show offs?

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Maybe this will help us evaluate whether we are really in a health care crisis.

46 perent of African-American homes are headed by a single parent.

39 percent of twelfth graders engage in dangerous drug and alcohol behavior.

33 Percentage of the middle class who say they are doing worse financially than their parents

53 percent of Bogan High School (Chicago) students drop out.(JSMorton HS -5%

38 Percent of Americans say that they would get plastic surgery if they had the money.

26 percent of Americans are currently obese, while 86 percent of Americans could be overweight by 2030.

42 percent of Americans fear their children will make less money than they do.

33 percent of Americans are afraid they will never pay off their debts.

However, the good news is 89 percent of Americans are satisfied with their health insurancea>.(Including 70 percent of the 46 million without insurance)

Mr President, Come on- please, fix what is broken in our society. Abandon your call to socialize our health insurance!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

When the President acts 'Stupidly'

The Presdient this week waded into local political arrest of a Harvard Professor who was a friend of his. It is hard to believe that the President could not see the controversy coming. He, while claiming ignorance of all the facts, then presses forward into making an ill informed judgment.

Meanwhile, 1 in ten americans is unemployed. The economy is in the dumper- the stimulas is a failure (Ford posted 2 billion dollar profits- they refused stimulas money- yeah for capitalism adn the power of the market!) Race baiting is not the perogative of the highest office of the land. The presidents healthcare bill will largely and negatively impact seniors- some of the weakest of our citizens.

These are perilous times... People of God, we need to pray.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Seal with image of Jesus found in Tiberias

by David Hacohen

Two embassy volunteers find lead seal from sixth century in Tiberius depicting Jesus on one side and a cross on the other side

A lead seal from the sixth century depicting Jesus was recently discovered in excavations by the Antiquities Authority in the Old City of Tiberias.

The other side of the seal has a cross with an abbreviation of the name “Christos.”

This is the first time a seal with the image of Jesus has been discovered in excavations in Tiberias. A number of similar seals have been found in Caesaria, which in ancient times was the capital of the province.

The rare seal was discovered by two volunteers, employees of the American and British embassies.

Professor Yizhar Hirschfeld of the Hebrew University, who is in charge of the dig, notes that the seal shows an important church official.

"The church here was stronger than we thought. This also shows that Judaism and Christianity met here and lived together in harmony,” he says.

In February of this year, a tenth century C.E. coin was discovered in the excavations in Tiberias that depicted Jesus on one side, and had the Greek inscription “Jesus the Messiah, King of Kings” on the other.

Professor Hirschfeld belives that the coin was issued in Istanbul in honor of the first millennium. He notes that the fact that the Jesus coin was found in a dig in Tiberias indicates that the Crusaders continued going to Tiberias even in the Muslim period (the tenth century C.E.).

Tiberias is the only site in Israel where such coins have been found.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spiritual Gifts- what's yours?

Far too often Christians fail to pursue their spiritual gifting. Often this is from simple ignorance. They do not know what their spiritual gifting is. When a christian cannot name his spiritual gifts he finds himself sampling areas of service and ministry that do not bear fruit. This leaves the Christian frustrated and longing for more fruitful and purposeful endeavors.

There are a number of passages in the NT that speak of the giftings of individuals. Rom 12, for instance, speaks of the motivational gifts of the Spirit. These are the directions for service and ministry that reside in the personality of the individual. This is quite different from the dynamic giftings of the Spirit that are listed in 1 Cor 12. Clearly, here the emphasis is on the Spirit's empowerment of the individual. This is relating to the unction or the anointing of the Spirit on a persons life.

I have found that the pursuit of living a purposeful life is often difficult. We try to be all things to all people- and of course, we fail to function at a high level. The key to this is to know your spiritual gifts. You can find your spiritual gifting by going to this page Take the inventory there find your spiritual gift. Then complile that information with the desires of your heart, the unique abilities, your personality, and your life experience and you will have gained some direction. Once this information is discovered, bring it into your pastor and ask him how best to use your gifts. You will find a life of spiritual purpose that can be used to make a difference in the world around you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Saying "no" to Gambling in Illinois

I am usually silent on this issue but with the Governor's newest budget proposals I feel that I have to speak out. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Governor is expanding the place of gambling and using it to balance the budget. Rather than cutting spending, which is what every responsible family and institution is doing these days, Illinois is going to expand spending on some things that should simply wait. Among them 5 million dollars to Northwestern University, a private institution!

So why shouldn't we gamble?

While no passage of scripture explicitly forbids gambling, we can with confidence claim that gambling is wrong. We needn't be squeamish about calling calling gambling wrong because we have the intent of God revealed to us in Scripture.
Rev. Hershael York writes "...With good reason, Christians are hesitant to label sins that the Bible doesn’t mention, yet we often have to distill principles from the Bible that we apply to contemporary situations. Pornography, computer hacking, or cheating on tests aren’t mentioned in the Bible either, yet believers who want to live like Jesus know intuitively and correctly that these behaviors run counter to the will of God. While biblical texts may not mention them explicitly, biblical principles speak to them directly."

So why is gambling wrong?

First Gambling predominantly affects the poor. Not that wealthy people don't gamble but that the industry is based upon taking peoples money in games of chance largely stacked against them. this disproportionally affects the poor who have much less of a margin for mistakes in handling their money. Gambling houses, poker machines are in it to win. They don't go broke because the odds are stacked in their favor. YOU are the only one that is gambling... they are not.

Secondly, the concept of gambling is contrary to the way God intended man's economy to function. The Scriptures are replete with references like (Genesis 1:28-30, Colosians 3.23, 1 Thessalonians 4.11,5.12-13, 2 Thessalonians 3.10) We are created to work, to labor, to invest ourselves. It is so woven into the NT that help and mercy were not shown to those poor who were able bodied but didn't work! When you paint my garage for money- it is a win-win situation. Services or goods for money. Gambling is based on a win lose situation. There are winners (they be few!) and losers (by the score!).

Further,gambling plays to the basest instincts of men and women. It is based upon the sin of covetousness (Ex 20.17). This greatly overlooked sin of the ten commandments is the heart of gambling.

Also,gambling ignores the biblical principle of stewardship. This principle teaches that we are to be held responsible for the way we spend our life, our energy, and our money.

Gambling is addictive behavior. Even if it is not for me and you there are others who are being enticed into gambling by the way it is marketed. We never hear of the thousands of people who have lost cars, homes, and reputations due to gambling. But we are regularly treated to the visual of a person receiving an oversize check- why is that? When we gamble we participate in the ruination of lives.

So now the new governor wants to increase the number of video poker machines by 45000. They will be in bars, truck stops and restaurants through out the state. Your kids will hear of all the winners and never see the cost of gambling. And our children will pay the price of this lifestyle of greed. They are being taught that there is an easy way that doesn't involve working, investing, etc. This is directly contrary to the scriptural admonitions to work hard and live productive and quiet lives. Too bad we can't teach the government to do what we all have to do... tighten our belts, spend less on frivolous things, and work hard to benefit the rest of society.

Until then Illinois will be full of losers and very few winners!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Recipe for Restoration

To the Church in Ephesus

Rev 2.1“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

2“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

The Ephesian church was on the verge of crisis. It had been faithful and patient; they had been diligent and hardworking. They were bearing up under the pressure of demonic attack and spiritual warfare as well as the worldly influences that were assaulting them. Often we find ourselves on the brink of crisis because of the stress of living in our day and age and standing faithful for Christ. Like the Ephesians, we need the recipe for restoration.

1. Remember (v5)- the lofty heights of the intimacy that you once expereinced with Christ. It wasn't a fluke- it was the result of a devoted heart chasing hard after God. Find your first love again... love the Lord with everything in you.

2. Repent- otherwise you will be commiting spiritual suicide. All disobedience and rebellion is spiritual suicide. The Lord never wants to remove the anointing (lampstand) from our lives... that is always the discipline of the Lord to save us from ourselves.

3. Return -to your first works. Do the things that you once did when your hearts were on fire. Reading the Word, Radical prayer times, faithful obedience, etc.

When we practice these things, we avoid the impending spiritual crisis' of burnout,frustrations, and bitternesses and find again the joy of living in the love and service of a God who madly loves us.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Being Nice

Every year until now the family has gone on vacation. This year we rented a wonderful home on the beach in South Carolina (after visiting grandma for a day or so). The funny thing about vacations is that they often require a bunch of family members to be confined to small space, share meals for the week, and make decisions together. Here is my conclusion after being with the people that I love in cramped space for a week.

Close proximity demands being nice and being flexible.

It seems trite and perhaps, at first blush, a bit juvenile to say it. But being nice is important. Relationships are tough and hang on a thread many times- being nice is important to the survival of even the most tightly bonded relationships.

whether the relationships are family or working relationships there are demands placed upon the proximity. Though we are told to be nice since childhood we are loosing the art of being nice. Part of this is the disconnectedness of our generation. Electric media separates people. Our lack of being together places less demands on being nice. Politics, job relationships, family- etc they all show the lose of being nice. Below are some tips

1. Smile. Maybe just view everything positively.
2. Say hello. act friendly.
3. Ask people how they are doing. Ask some personal questions.
4. Be a good listener.
5. Be courteous.
6. Be positive.
7. Be humble.
8. Offer to help.
9.Be sincere.
10. Assume the best about others.

Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Even though some people may not be nice to you at first, they will the more they get to know you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Practicing Happiness

I am reading a book on the Lost Virtue of Happiness. So far the authors seem to indicate that we have looked outside of our spirituality to find happiness that is, of course, really pseudo-happiness. What struck me was their insistance that happiness must be practiced to be deeply felt.

Likening life to a golf swing they insist that the bad habits must be worked out by practicing the correct swing. Likewise, they would insist, that life must be lived out by practicing the good until the bad is a distant memory. Deep spiritual change they say is a result of living out the spiritual disciplines. One of those is happiness. By "acting happy and confident" ( my terms not theirs) ones attitude changes. By changing ones attitude the deep abiding change of character becomes lasting.

There are so many people in this world (and the church too) that are miserable. They are not content with contentment but need to have something to complain about at all times. They are cynical and harsh; judgmental and brutish; they are brooding and bitter; and they cannot be happy for those who are expereincing joy nor can they experience sorrow with others who sorrow. Since this is a command of Christ- I wonder if it wouldn't be important for us all to just simply practice being happy.

Here is my list of things that one might do to practice happiness.
1. Smile Stand in the mirror and smile. Notice how much more pleasant you look. Determine that you will smile at many people today. Note their reaction. Smiling at strangers often disarms them!
2. Choose the Positive i am not saying that you should ignore evil or dysfunction but don't live in the shadow of the negative faith crushing news media outlets! Even if the world is coming apart at the seams, you are probably doing pretty well. After all you ahve a computer on which to read this blog!
3. Sing Preferably not the blues. (smile) Praise God for things in your life that you know are working good,
4. Remember God is working on your behalf. Rom 8.28 And we know that £God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose

What things do you do to practice happiness? Do you feel that "faking happiness" is phony or practical?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Family Tradition

The family tradition- at least for the men in my family has been to take a spring trip to the wilderness in Canada. We go to a Provincial park in Ontario called Quetico. No motors are allowed. We paddle canoes, sometimes as far as 50 or 60 miles, to move through out the wilderness. it is pristine, unblemished, we drink the water from the lakes and eat what we catch. It isn't exactly living off the land but it is close. We have seen moose and bear come to make a visit in our camp ground, eagles and much wild life. I think that there are a couple reasons that I like the trip is that it is a wonderful bonding trip with my boys. We learn the ways of the earth, act silly, tell stories, and drink hot black coffee around a fire until we can't stay up any longer. It is hard work, but in a way that I don't normally do. Carrying the canoes across arduous passages and boulder strewn creviced is a workout!
But the fresh fried Walleye filets every night are worth the effort.

My boys seem to like it. I think they will be bringing me when I cannot do it on my own. As a tradition it is excellent. We usually read books aloud, discuss the scriptures, or wonder aloud about our dreams and futures.

The moon and stars oversee the evenings, the eagles soar over us by day. The campfire and the camp cooking warms the soul. The friendships and the love last forever.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Losing out with God

2 Peter 2.19- 22 NASB 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves£ of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Every so often I get this question, "Can a person who has had a genuine relationship with Jesus lose his salvation?"

The answer to this question is much more simple than the centuries of church bickering would lead one to conclude. In the passage above we see three truths that show us that every believer is in danger of falling from grace (Gal 5.4) if he or she doesn't take seriously the relationship with Christ that they committed to in their salvation prayer. Peter is writing to false teachers who (v20) escaped the "defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Savior". Clearly this indicates that these men had salvation experience because one cannot know Christ without salvation. These men became "entangled again and overcome" v(20). this shows that momentary sins do not cancel out our salvation- when we become entangled there is always hope of deliverance from such sin... as long as we are not overcome by that sin. Falling back into a sinful act grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph 4.30) but it doesn't cause us to lose salvation- The only way one can be saved is to trust in the work of Jesus on the cross for salvation, and as long as we continue to strive toward the mark (Phil 3.14), watch our life and doctrine closely (1 Tim 4.16), press on to live in holiness under the Lordship of Jesus (Heb 12.14)and trust in his work rather than our own for full deliverance we remain in Him. Certainly there can be no meaning to Christ's warning to his disciples to "remain in Him" (John 15.6)if there is no possibility of being fruitless branches gathered up and "cast into the fire to be burned". So while we are to strive for a sinless life, momentary failures do not discount us for salvation.

The second thing we see in the verse is that because they had been "overcome" by their sin again- they were worse off in the end than in the beginning. now if they were condemned to Hell as sinners in the beginning- what possible way could they be worse if they still had salvation? Obviously - they couldn't be worse off... unless they had lost out with God. Now they stand doubly condemned- where once they sinned in ignorance (Rom 2. 7-8), now they are sinning boldly in defiance of God's provision of Christ (Heb 10.26)and their condemnation is all that can await them.

The third and final point I see in this passage is that losing out with God is a disgusting act- like a dog returning to his vomit. Having three dogs I can say that this is a disgusting act that makes no sense. That which we have once rejected as no good for us, shouldn't be embraced as our own without the accompanying reaction of disgust. And when a person's faith is shipwrecked (2 Tim 2.15-17)it is a pitiful thing in the eyes of the Lord. His will for our lives is to be fruitful and to live out the abundance of his riches and grace in this life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Angels and Demons

If your hoping I am about to review the recent film- sorry to disappoint. I am, however, willing to offer a review of what the enemy of our souls is up to. And you won't need a producation company to follow me around with a camera.

Lying Liars LieThe enemy of our soul and his demonic spirits are working against your life right now by speaking lies. They are lying about you to you. They are lying about God to you. They are lying to you about what others are saying. And they are lying about the things God has asked you to do.

Looking to LootThe enemy is also seeking whom he may destroy and devour. He is not content to tempt you (silly Christian!) He wants to completely derail you from the things that God has assigned for you to do. Pacing outside the doors to your heart he looks for every opportunity.

Losing LoserThe enemy is a loser. I mean this in the most accurate scriptural fashion. If you are listening to his lies then you are a loser too. The Word tells us that he is spinning in some of the final swirls before the "final flush" into captivity (for 1000 years). Surely he knows it because he, as you and I, can sense that his time is short.

If you are not aware of his efforts you may fall pray. And the God of peace will soon crush Satan underneath your feet Rom 16.19


I am surprised as I sit and meditate on my reading from 3 days ago. I find myself turning to the 15th chapter of John and chastise my self for ignoring the reading plan that I had devised for myself. yesterday , I felt that the Lord was telling me that this chapter is important for me right now. Today I reread the chapter again and again. "What is here, Lord?" I queried Him as I read the words on page. Like a teenager looking for car keys I scoured the pages and then I came upon it. It had been there all along... verse 5.

I guess I had been frustrated at the slow pace of ministry growth and having some questions about my own worth. "Am I washed up?... Am I supposed to feel this frustration?...etc?" i was looking for some great paradigmatic shift; some new secret formula; some hidden trick to ministering in Jesus' Name (centuries old and forgotten by the masses); but what I got was verse 5.

And verse 5 set me free. "If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit."

Jesus has set the stage there for freedom and fruit. I need only to live in such a manner that I do not grieve his Holy Spirit so that He remains in me, and draw close and remain (abide, live) in Him (Jesus). And there will be fruit. Guaranteed

it is as simple as loving the Savior with all your heart mind and strength. I don't know how fruit happens- only that it does. I eat apples and never wonder why they hang out on the boughs of the tree so beautifully. Nope. Don't care why- God does it. He just makes sure that the tree that is tapped into the supply bears fruit.

Is it just me? Or does that set you free too?

Friday, May 08, 2009

National Day of Prayerlessness

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV): "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Yesterday, we passed through the National Day of Prayer. Or, perhaps this year, it should be called the "National Day of Prayerlessness". It is fitting that the people of God call out to their creator and sustainer, even more so to do it in concert with one another on a selected day. National prayer goes back to 1775 when the Contintental Congress designated a time of prayer for the birthing of this "new nation". Abraham Lincoln called for a resolution to pray as a nation in 1863. Congress passed a law giving the President the right to select a national day of prayer under Truman.

And yet, these days it seems that there are fewer people praying. Even the people of God have lost their understanding of prayer. We have mastered the art of asking God for things and lost the art of surrendering ourselves in prayer! So perhaps it is fitting that President Obama failed to send even representation to any of the National Day of Prayer observances yesterday. In a nation that doesn't pray- it might be seen as a dangerous throwback to the archaic notion that our nation needs the help of God in the economic Tsunami that we are desperately trying to survive. (After all, we can print more money... right???!)

Those of us common folk see things a bit differently. Reports are that many are coming back to church, because of their difficulties and stresses. Perhaps there is a hue and cry in the hearts of the broken and beatdown that the Washington DC elite have insulated themselves from (are any of them facing forclosure???). Many people are starting to turn back to God- in spite of his bad press these last few years. But there probably won't be much in the way of relief from the economic hard times for a little while. The nation that ignores God so famously cannot turn to him once a year and expect blessing. The demand of God is to follow him with all our hearts.

And that is why the scripture says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord". So the Question needs to be asked...If a nation's God is money, power, and political influence... what is its reward?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Same Sex Marriage Considerations

This article is thoughtful and not hateful while considering the volatile subject of SSM.Thought it was worth posting.

Marriage is of such importance that it is uniquely protected in the law and culture. It predates the law and the Constitution, and is an anthropological and sociological reality, not primarily a legal one. No civilization can survive without it, and those societies that allowed it to become irrelevant have faded into history.

The Meaning of Marriage

Marriage is the union of the two sexes, not just the union of two people. It is the union of two families, and the foundation for establishing kinship patterns and family names, passing on property and providing the optimal environment for raising children.

The term "marriage" refers specifically to the joining of two people of the opposite sex. When that is lost, "marriage" becomes meaningless. You can no more leave an entire sex out of marriage and call it "marriage" than you can leave chocolate out of a "chocolate brownie" recipe. It becomes something else.

Giving non-marital relationships the same status as marriage does not expand the definition of marriage; it destroys it. For example, if you declare that, because it has similar properties, wine should be labeled identically to grape juice, you have destroyed the definitions of both "wine" and "grape juice." The consumer would not know what he is getting.

Marriage, the Natural Family, and the Best Interests of Children

Marriage is the union of the only type of couple capable of natural reproduction of the human race-a man and a woman. Children need both mothers and fathers, and marriage is society's way of obtaining them.

But even childless marriages are a social anchor for children, who observe adults as role models. Besides, childless couples can be "surprised" by an unexpected pregnancy, and they can adopt, giving a child a mother-and-father-based family. Single parents can eventually marry. And marriage is a stabilizing force for all. Even when a couple is past the age of reproduction, the marital commitment usually keeps an older man from fathering a child with a younger woman outside wedlock.

Children learn crucial things about family life by observing our crucial relationships up close: interactions between men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and parents to children of the same and opposite sexes. Human experience and a vast body of social science research show that children do best in married, mother-father households. It is wrong to create fatherless or motherless families by design. The effort is being driven by the desires of adults, not the needs of children.

The drive for homosexual "marriage" leads to destruction of the gold standard for custody and adoption. The question should be: "What is in the best interests of the child?" The answer is: "Place children, whenever possible, in a married, mom-and-dad household." As homosexual relationships gain status, marriage loses its place as the preferential adoption-family option.

Defining Marriage Is Not "Discrimination"

Marriage laws are not discriminatory. Marriage is open to all adults, subject to age and blood relation limitations. As with any acquired status, the applicant must meet minimal requirements, which in terms of marriage, means finding an opposite-sex spouse. Same-sex partners do not qualify. To put it another way, clerks will not issue dog licenses to cats, and it is not out of "bigotry" toward cats.

Comparing current laws limiting marriage to a man and a woman with the laws in some states that once limited inter-racial marriage is irrelevant and misleading. The very soul of marriage-the joining of the two sexes-was never at issue when the Supreme Court struck down laws against inter-racial marriage.

Requiring citizens to sanction or subsidize homosexual relationships violates the freedom of conscience of millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims and other people who believe marriage is the union of the two sexes. Civil marriage is a public act. Homosexuals are free to have a "union" ceremony with each other privately, but they are not free to demand that such a relationship be solemnized and subsidized under the law.

Homosexual activists say they need legal status so they can visit their partners in hospitals, etc. But hospitals leave visitation up to the patient except in very rare instances. This "issue" is a smokescreen to cover the fact that, using legal instruments such as power of attorney, drafting a will, etc., homosexuals can share property, designate heirs, dictate hospital visitors and give authority for medical decisions. What they should not obtain is identical recognition and support for a relationship that is not equally essential to society's survival.

The Legal and Social Fallout

If same-sex relationships acquire marital-type status in the law, several things will occur:

Businesses that decline to recognize non-marital relationships will increasingly be punished through loss of contracts and even legal action. This is already occurring in San Francisco and in Canada.

Other groups, such as bisexuals and polygamists, will demand the right to redefine marriage to suit their own proclivities. Once the standard of one-man, one-woman marriage is broken, there is no logical stopping point.

As society rewards homosexual behavior, more young people will be encouraged to experiment and more will be discouraged from overcoming homosexual desires.

Popular understanding of what marriage is and what it requires will undergo change. Homosexual relationships, which usually lack both permanence and fidelity, are unlikely to change to fit the traditional model of lifelong, faithful marriage. Instead, society's expectations of marriage will change in response to the homosexual model, thus leading to a further weakening of the institution of marriage. Some homosexual activists have acknowledged that they intend to use marriage mainly as a way to radically shift society's entire conception of sexual morality. (See appendix.)

Recent Polls

Americans are reassessing their stance toward homosexuality and homosexual activism. Major polls show a reversal of "acceptance" of homosexuality and homosexual so-called "marriage" and "civil unions."

A USA Today/CNN poll1 by Gallup in July showed a huge drop in support for homosexual acts between consenting adults. In May, 60% supported legal homosexual acts, with 35% opposed. By July, support had dropped to 48%, with opposition rising to 46%. Among African-Americans, support for legal homosexuality dropped from 58% in May to 36% in July. Among people who attend church almost every week, support dropped from 61% to 49%. Concurrently, 57% of all Americans opposed homosexual "civil unions," with only 40% supporting them.

An Associated Press poll2 in August revealed that support for civil unions had remained steady over the past three years at 41%, but that opposition to civil unions had risen from 46% to 53%. "Close to half of those surveyed said they would be less likely to support a presidential candidate who backs civil unions (44 %) or gay marriage (49%), while only around 10% said they would be more likely."

A Washington Post poll3 in August revealed that "a strong majority of the public disapproves of the Episcopal Church's decision to recognize the blessing of same-sex unions. … So broad and deep is this opposition that nearly half of all Americans who regularly attend worship services say they would leave their current church if their minister blessed gay couples-even if their denomination officially approved those ceremonies, the survey found."

Other findings: "Three out of four frequent churchgoers opposed the Episcopal convention's decision. … But even among those who acknowledged that they rarely or never attended church, nearly six in 10 objected to blessing same-sex couples." The poll also found support among Americans for civil unions falling to 37%.


"Marriage" for same-sex couples (or the counterfeit equivalent under pseudonyms such as "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships") is being promoted as an extension of tolerance, equality and civil rights. But all these devices are really wedges designed to overturn traditional sexual morality and to win official affirmation, celebration, subsidization and solemnization of behavior that is harmful to the people who engage in it and to society, and that is still viewed as morally wrong by a majority of the American public.

For the well-being of children and of society, we must not allow the creation of government-imposed counterfeit "marriage" by any name. Marriage is civilization's primary institution, and we tamper with it at our own peril.

-- Robert H. Knight is director of the Culture & Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America. Mr. Knight was a draftsman of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the current law that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for all federal purposes and allows states to resist demands to recognize counterfeit "marriage" licenses. Some references were drawn from "Questions and Answers: What's Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples 'Marry?'" by Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council, InFocus, Number 256, August 14, 2003.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Whose got time?

I was perusing a pile of memorabilia, gifts given, cards written, notes of expression, and handwritten poems. "My God," I prayed aloud, " whose got time to do this anymore?" Right then it struck me... all these time saving devices... don't. they don't save time... they might help you double dip, answer email while at a ball game or multi task during a boring meeting. But save time... nah.

The time invested in a handwritten note is so precious. Somebody had to turn off the playoffs or American Idol and give themselves to writing to just you. A phone call is nice but it is over with a click- a handwritten note lasts forever. But , you say, whose got time to do that? Who can just take 10 minutes out to write a letter complete with scratch outs and underlined words for emphasis? Who can make that kind of time?

What if you began to hand write one letter or note every day? Wouldn't that be meaningful? You could write to your unborn grandchildren; or your sons and daughters; or your family who are far removed? You could skip all that tripe about the weather and jump right in to the meat- your feelings. About your missing them or how much you are looking forward to visiting with them on the holiday. You could talk about lessons that you have learned... the hard way. You could testify to the goodness of God and encourage others to seek Him.

Your gift of writing would develop - encouraging, exhorting, and strengthening those around you. You might be known for your prose and wittiness rather than your grilled cheese sandwiches... And people would learn to savor those thoughts shared that must have taken so long to write.

But whose got time...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lies on Torture

I have a bone to pick with Pres Obama. He has released carefully cleansed and politically charge memos (revealing only half of the story) to create a diversion from his ineffective and ill designed bail-out plan. He has completely botched his first hundred days and has proved to be a friend of nearly every foriegn thug and despot. But he has failed to be a friend to americans (unborn, born, and yet to be born!) His red herring is to throw out the controversial topic of torture to divert attention from his inept administrative blunders and foriegn lack of policy.

So let's talk about torture. Some high sounding folks will make sweeping statements and judgments about torture. So you will hear some say that torture doesn't work. That simply isn't true. I can find out anything about you given enough time and the impliments of "persuasion". Why, I bet if I waterboarded Timothy Geithner, I could find out if he paid his taxes on April 15th! And if you can't get a person to tell you what he knows then you don't know how to do it! Come on people use your heads... you would sing like a canary if you were being tortured. Admit it. We all would.

It turns out that certain horrible plans were revealed during these "water boarding" events that may have saved many American lives- even here in the US. Do I feel badly that my country used strong and aggressive means to extract that information and save those lives? No. Does this mean I am saying that torture is okay? I guess I can say that I am convinced that sometimes aggressive questioning is called for. Remember that there are doctors overseeing these techniques, and professionals whose job it is to get accurate information from these detainees. These aren't bad teenagers with a neighbors cat! So where does harsh interrogation leave off and torture begin???

Is there excess in these practices, sure! But if you could save thousands of Americans lives by extracting information and you refused to do so, could you call that moral? I couldn't.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Prayer for Spring by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Wonderful Cross- Part Three

Jesus was abandoned by all. He knew it was coming, he prophesied it to his disciples but the pain of the separation was great. When I was young, maybe 3 or 4 we had a store in our neighborhood called Topps. It was like a Walmart- a huge discount store. I remember playing hide and seek in the clothing racks. One time I hid pretty good inside a circular dress rack. And when I jumped out, my mom was gone. Vanished. There is a feeling in the pit of your stomach that happens when fear quickly grips you. It is often overwhelming and quickly brought me to tears. So here I am this toddler crying in the store and wandering around looking for my mom (who was surely looking for me!) I felt as if my childish game of hiding had lead me to be abandoned.

Jesus wasn't hiding. He lived his life before God and man circumspectly. yet , there on the cross, he experienced the abandonment of all his friends, his followers, his family, and even his God. Why did he experience this? So that you and I would not feel the pain of eternal rejection and abandonment. Like that stupid little toddler, our games have gotten us lost, and we are in danger of abandonment. But he knows us; and his love for us is so overwhelming that he is willing to send his Son to taste abandonment for us. What a wonderful cross!

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Wonderful Cross- Part Two

One of the great pains of the cross is the shame associated with it. Often we think of Christ as he is depicted in artists or drama's or even in films like the Passion of the Christ. In all modern depictions there has been a cleansing of the drama what has lessened the shame that Christ felt on that Cross.

Christ felt shame for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that he was naked. No loin clothe, no modesty rag, naked. Biblical Scholar Morna Hooker writes " Crucifixion was a barbaric mode of execution. Widely practised in the ancient world, it was adopted by the Romans for slaves and for the worst kind of criminal; they also came to employ it in delaint with rebels against the Roman role. Since the victime was stripeed naked and fixed immobile to suffer the torments of pain, thirst, insects and aunts, sometimes for days , it was particularly humiliating, as well as a prolonged and agonizing form of death." For a Jew to be subjected to the public indecency of public nudity was in itself a humiliation.

Christ was further shamed because of the companions crucified on either side of him- each one a thief. They were a vivid reminder to Christ (as was the excruciating pain) that the world rejected him as a liar, criminal, and blasphemer! This shame in itself was compounded by the fact that Jesus viewed his life as a ransom (Mk 10:45) and his teaching as truth from God. The holy man is rejected as unholy; the teacher as a liar; the sinless one as a criminal. In effect he was rejected, and marked out as cursed by God. To be hung on a tree was, as Paul recognized in Galatians, a rejection and an acknowledgment of not just mankinds rejection but of God's rejection of Christ.

Now we know that the shame that Christ bore was the shame for our sins since he had none of his own. His humiliation was for our exaltation. And his bearing of sin was for our forgivness. What a wonderful savior

The Wonderful Cross- Part One

Jesus had been arrested, illegally charged in an unlawful meeting of the Sanhedrin, spit upon and beaten when he was brought to Pilate to be crucified. Crucifixion usually began with a scourging or flogging of the victim’s back. The Romans used a whip called a flagrum, which consisted of small pieces of bone, pottery, and metal attached to a number of leather strands. The number of blows given to Jesus is not recorded; however, it was limited in the Old Testament law to 40. During the scourging, the skin was ripped from the back (often to the bone), exposing a bloody mass of tissue and bone. Extreme blood loss occurred, often causing death, or at least unconsciousness. In addition to the flogging, Jesus faced severe beating and torment by the Roman soldiers, including the plucking of His beard and the piercing of His scalp down to the skull with a crown of thorns (Judean thorns are 3 inches in length).

After the flogging, the victim was often forced to carry his own crossbar, or patibulum, to the execution site. The patibulum could easily weigh 100 pounds. In the case of Jesus, the record shows that He may have carried His patibulum the distance of over two football fields up hill and through the rough streets of Jerusalem. In a weak and tormented state, it’s no wonder the record establishes that Jesus needed help. Once the victim arrived at the execution site, the patibulum was put on the ground and the victim was forced to lie upon it. Spikes about 7 inches long and 3/8 of an inch in diameter were driven into the wrists. The spikes would hit the area of the median nerve, causing shocks of pain up the arms to the shoulders and neck. The Patibulum would then be turned over and the spike tips bent to prevent working loose. Already standing at the crucifixion site would be the 9-foot-tall post, called a stipes. The patibulum was then lifted on to the stipes, and the feet were crossed and nailed to the stipes. At this point, there was tremendous strain put on the wrists, arms and shoulders, resulting in a dislocation of the shoulder and elbow joints. The position of the nailed body held the victim’s rib cage in a fixed position, which made it extremely difficult to exhale, and impossible to take a full breath. Having suffered from the scourging, the beatings and the walk with the patibulum, Jesus was described as extremely weak and dehydrated. He was probably losing significant amounts of blood. As time passed, the loss of blood and lack of oxygen would cause severe cramps, spasmodic contractions and probably unconsciousness.

Ultimately, the mechanism of death in crucifixion was suffocation. To breathe, the victim was forced to push up on his feet to allow for inflation of the lungs. As the body weakened and pain in the feet and legs became unbearable, the victim was forced to trade breathing for pain and exhaustion. Eventually, the victim would succumb in this way, becoming utterly exhausted or lapsing into unconsciousness so that he could no longer lift his body off the stipes and inflate his lungs. Due to the shallow breathing, the victim’s lungs would begin to collapse in areas, probably causing hypoxia. Due to the loss of blood from the scourging, the victim probably formed a respiratory acidosis, resulting in an increased strain on the heart, which beats faster to compensate. Fluid would also build up in the lungs. Under the stress of hypoxia and acidosis, the heart would eventually fail. There are several different theories on the actual cause of death for Jesus. One theory is that there was a filling of the pericardium with fluid, which put a fatal strain on the ability of His heart to pump blood. Another theory states that Jesus died of cardiac rupture- a literal broken heart. Regardless of the actual medical cause of final death, the historical record is very clear -- Jesus suffered numerous hours of horrible and sustained torture on the cross of Calvary for me and you.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Buyers Remorse

I have to admit that as I am watching the news tonight and seeing the debacle of the American people and their newly chosen President I am wondering if there is "buyers remorse" from some of the evangelical christians who voted for him?

The thing that gets me is that he is determined to increase the spending of federal money on abortion when the economy is obviously in sewer? That tax payer (you and I) funding of abortions has gone from $0 to 500 million dollars overnight. And this to the most rabid activists of abortion as population control.

I just wonder...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins of my Mouth

Most of my problems involve my mouth. I am contemplating the sins of my own mouth- trust me there are more than I'd care to admit. Here is a list of Biblical sins that come out of the pie whole!

Lying and Deceit- Some people think everyone does it and so it is okay. Really? Jesus didn't see the need to inflate the truth, make himself more spiritual than he is, or flat out lie about something. To the extent that I practice deception I am not like Jesus!

Gossip and Slander- this is speaking about others when it is not my business. Whether it is true or not, if it is not your business, then you shouldn't speak of anothers business to another. You are always free to confront another believer about godless behavior (though we seldom do!)

Boasting- This is of course motivated by our pride... need I say more?

Profanity, swearing, cursing- though they are different from each other they pretty much take all that is holy and drag it through the mud. Profanity makes common the holy; swearing is an effort to insure the truthfulness of your words by calling on holy things, and cursing is calling upon a holy god to "damn" things.

Complaining- yeah we don't "do everything without complaining and murmurring" do we?

Contentious words- you know looking for a fight or a controversy. Causing discension or confusion in other believers minds, maybe even causing division amongst brothers.

Destructive words- speaking things that don't build up, edify and make strong.

Eph 4.29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of yoru mouths... and do not grieve the Holy Spirit!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What is Giving?

Luke 21.1And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 3And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”

Seems from the passage above that Jesus respects the kind of giving that is sacrificial and springs from a deep trust inspite of circumstances. The Widow put in more than all of the them because she gave out of her need rather than surplus. The irony is that most of us look at what we have and adjust our giving accordingly. The example that Jesus draws attnetion to is one of a giving out of devotion. How can we really evaluate our giving? Can we determine in our hearts to give to the Lord what is his (Lev 27) and live out of the rest? That is both sacrifical and exemplary.

And evidently, the kind of giving that impresses the Lord.

Deception at Core of Obama Plans

This article is worth a read - even if you don't buy the lies of the current administration. By the way, as I am writing this the President has just confirmed his desire to cancel write offs of charitable contributions and mortgage interest!

By Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- Forget the pork. Forget the waste. Forget the 8,570 earmarks in a bill supported by a president who poses as the scourge of earmarks. Forget the "$2 trillion dollars in savings" that "we have already identified," $1.6 trillion of which President Obama's budget director later admits is the "savings" of not continuing the surge in Iraq until 2019 -- 11 years after George Bush ended it, and eight years after even Bush would have had us out of Iraq completely.

Forget all of this. This is run-of-the-mill budget trickery. True, Obama's tricks come festooned with strings of zeros tacked onto the end. But that's a matter of scale, not principle.

All presidents do that. But few undertake the kind of brazen deception at the heart of Obama's radically transformative economic plan, a rhetorical sleight of hand so smoothly offered that few noticed.

The logic of Obama's address to Congress went like this:

"Our economy did not fall into decline overnight," he averred. Indeed, it all began before the housing crisis. What did we do wrong? We are paying for past sins in three principal areas: energy, health care, and education -- importing too much oil and not finding new sources of energy (as in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf?), not reforming health care, and tolerating too many bad schools.

The "day of reckoning" has now arrived. And because "it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we'll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament," Obama has come to redeem us with his far-seeing program of universal, heavily nationalized health care; a cap-and-trade tax on energy; and a major federalization of education with universal access to college as the goal.

Amazing. As an explanation of our current economic difficulties, this is total fantasy. As a cure for rapidly growing joblessness, a massive destruction of wealth, a deepening worldwide recession, this is perhaps the greatest non sequitur ever foisted upon the American people.

At the very center of our economic near-depression is a credit bubble, a housing collapse and a systemic failure of the entire banking system. One can come up with a host of causes: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pushed by Washington (and greed) into improvident loans, corrupted bond-ratings agencies, insufficient regulation of new and exotic debt instruments, the easy money policy of Alan Greenspan's Fed, irresponsible bankers pushing (and then unloading in packaged loan instruments) highly dubious mortgages, greedy house-flippers, deceitful homebuyers.

The list is long. But the list of causes of the collapse of the financial system does not include the absence of universal health care, let alone of computerized medical records. Nor the absence of an industry-killing cap-and-trade carbon levy. Nor the lack of college graduates. Indeed, one could perversely make the case that, if anything, the proliferation of overeducated, Gucci-wearing, smart-a** MBAs inventing ever more sophisticated and opaque mathematical models and debt instruments helped get us into this credit catastrophe in the first place.

And yet with our financial house on fire, Obama makes clear both in his speech and his budget that the essence of his presidency will be the transformation of health care, education and energy. Four months after winning the election, six weeks after his swearing in, Obama has yet to unveil a plan to deal with the banking crisis.

What's going on? "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," said Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. "This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before."

Things. Now we know what they are. The markets' recent precipitous decline is a reaction not just to the absence of any plausible bank rescue plan, but also to the suspicion that Obama sees the continuing financial crisis as usefully creating the psychological conditions -- the sense of crisis bordering on fear-itself panic -- for enacting his "Big Bang" agenda to federalize and/or socialize health care, education and energy, the commanding heights of post-industrial society.

Clever politics, but intellectually dishonest to the core. Health, education and energy -- worthy and weighty as they may be -- are not the cause of our financial collapse. And they are not the cure. The fraudulent claim that they are both cause and cure is the rhetorical device by which an ambitious president intends to enact the most radical agenda of social transformation seen in our lifetime.