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.