Tuesday, December 16, 2008

capitalism and Jesus

Capitalism and commercialization are funny ideologues aren’t they? We want companies that are successful that we also like so we can continue to buy from them regardless of the service they provide. We support these places of business based on our ideals but largely based on need and the ability to afford whatever it is that the business has to offer.

So based on this and based on our clear understanding of what capitalism truly is (more on that later), why all the upheaval with naming anything “Christmas” related as “holiday” related? This has become a huge issue in the past few years and is reaching a point where businesses are going to go through some real financial hardships for making the decision to go one way or the other.

If you are a Christian bookstore there is no argument here as to what you call this time of year, but if you are a major name retailer and you are trying to appeal to all of humanity in an attempt to capitalize on all sales, you are probably going to use the newer and more politically correct term of “holiday” instead of Christmas.

Funny thing here, if you walk in to a large retailer who uses the term holiday instead of Christmas, you are likely to find something really scary; the same products that are over at the store that uses the term Christmas instead of holiday. If that came across as sarcastic then I achieved my point. When you pony up the millions it takes to buy one of these large retailers then you can decide what you call your sale.

Now if your favorite retailer does the unthinkable and advertises their “holiday sale” and then they start selling Ouija boards and how-to kits for prostitution, maybe it’s time to really boycott them. If you are shopping for those items you are probably not real worried about what they call their sale.

The other day I was bombarded with emails relating to Costco’s decision not to have the word Christmas in any of their advertising. Before I write this next section, I have to ask a basic question that deserves an honest answer from everyone so deeply offended by the so called lack of the word Christmas from businesses during this time of year; at what point did you gain the right to corner capitalism in regards to Christmas? Your being offended is either a sign of ignorance or a complete failure to understand what this season is really all about.

Regarding this email that I received, when I got it I was shocked by the amount of people who were claiming they were going to boycott Costco and just not shop there anymore…ooof. Such thoughts make my head spin but I stopped the rotations long enough to write one of these people back. This is what I had to say…

“I certainly agree with you in regards to the offensive and the sometimes derisive nature of retailers and their blatant disregard for a very traditional celebration that has been going on for over 2000 years. However, here is an ad that I received via email and I see that 2 of the 3 greeting cards listed below are Christmas specific cards....so much for nothing Christmas related in any of their advertising.”

“With that noted, I certainly would question Costco's motive behind their decision, but I would hardly condemn it nor boycott them until I knew for a fact why they chose to use the term holiday instead of Christmas. If you read Costco's mission statement, they are not a Christian based company but they obviously care about their employees and the communities in which they serve. They are a very philanthropic company and are well known for their charity. “

“Most importantly, Costco is a for profit company that is trying to appeal to a very large audience of customers. And while I certainly agree that they should honor the very traditional holiday that Christmas is (and advertise items as Christmas gifts and not as holiday gifts), we need to remember what Christmas is REALLY about and that no matter how hard you look, you won't find it at Costco.”

I really don’t want to carry on about this for too much longer; I simply want to make an important point. What so many egg shell skinned individuals seem to lose sight of is what is in their very hearts and not what is found on the shelves of their local bobble shop. When a very public institution makes decisions that further anaesthetize certain peoples deeply held beliefs, you have a recipe for disaster and so public institutions typically cave in to pressure for fear of lost revenues.

As of yesterday, Costco announced that they are putting the words Merry Christmas back into all of their stores and their subsequent adverts. I suppose we should say a great big thank you to Costco because maybe they started selling jumbo sized miracles there.

I know this will rattle some and for those I have to ask why. Why do we put so much stock in what someone else is doing to bolster our own private faith? Why does it mean so much for a store to say Merry Christmas on their cakes when we are more than capable of spreading the news on our own? Why can’t you stop trying to inflict your own personal will on the rest of the world and let God inflict His will on your life? Why do you fight Him?

I pray for the leadership of stores like Costco because I know the reason they changed their policy this winter and it wasn’t because someone suddenly developed a conscience. The sad truth is that we live in a capitalist society and the owners recognized a very large section of the population that they were not being properly sensitive to and recognized the need to change in order to capitalize on those profits for the next two weeks.

So go on and shop happily in your local Costco and buy that Merry Christmas cake. Please don’t forget to pick up your bulk size baby Jesus while you’re there though, I would hate to see Him go to waste.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Thursday, November 20, 2008


OK, so by now you know that I write a lot about conflict and war and peace and all that, right? Fairly clear assessment that it is, I just have to dig into this more. I am not convinced by my own writings at this point, only that something isn’t right, something is not quite fitting into this puzzle I call enlightenment. You can call it anything you like but at some point we all make realizations about one thing or another and this is one thing that I am constantly at battle with…no pun intended.

Conflict has been discussed, so has war. Peace has been hashed over and over so much I might need to come up with a new word. There are so many buzzwords these days that peace is almost passé. We can talk about greed versus human desire and then discuss semantics; wouldn’t that be fun!? There has to be a great way to make this point, some words that just sum it all up, if only there was a book I could refer to…

I know, let’s look at the Bible. Maybe if we are lucky we can discover some hidden nugget of understanding amongst all those pages… (I think my sarcasm is making a play for my diplomacy).

Dear brother James has this to say in chapter one (The Message), versus 19-27:

19-21Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
22-24Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
25But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
26-27Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

Normally I would dive in with my own thoughts but let’s examine this set of verses together. 19 says listen first, speak second. 20 says that no good thing that is meant for God’s kingdom comes from our being pissed off. 21 says to be humble and let God do the work in us. Let’s break it down again.

19-21 says listen first, speak second, don’t get angry, remain humble and let God take control. That my friends, is diplomacy 101.

22 says to listen to the word and not let the word leave you. 23 says to act on what you hear. 24 is a warning of what happens when we listen but do not act. Recap!!

22-24 says listen, act and repeat. Listen, act and repeat. Say it with me.

25 is all about hope. For some the time has come when you catch sight of how amazing God truly is and want nothing more than what He has to offer. 25 is all about affirmation in living for Christ and knowing that there is great joy in serving God. Review…

25 is faith in action.

26 is another warning, especially for those who talk the talk but fail to walk the walk. 27 is a reminder of what the word religious means. When we have faith, we become religious in our actions. The word religious simply means faithful repetition of action. When we have faith in something, we should be religious about our actions as a result of that faith. Your religion is what you are faithful about repeating, over and over and over. 27 gives us all a clear directive on what our repetitive actions should look like. Take care of the homeless AND the loveless and guard against corruption from the godless world.

For the last several years I have been trying to share my views with many people. I have grown discontented with the minimal feedback I have received, although what has come has been extremely beneficial, so thank you to all who have shared your thoughts with me. Conflict is my big thing right now and I need to come to terms with it by asking God to sum it all up one day, I know He’s big enough.

My rants and ramblings are derived from a soul that has been searching for specific truths for a very long time. My run in with Jesus has brought me most of the answers but there are still a few truths that need to be flushed out. Namely is the understanding of why so many Christians hold on so dearly to the idea of peace as Jesus prescribed while also making excuses for going to war. Honestly, I may never resolve that one until I come face to face with my creator and we get a chance to chat.

As far as I can tell, we are called to be peacemakers in a rough situation. We are called to resolve conflict and shelve our anger. We are called to love one another and not hate, let alone murder. We are called to be like Him who came before us and showed us the way. In fact He showed us the only way.

It seems there are a lot of people listening. How many of us are acting?
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Monday, November 17, 2008

What is central?

Look at the foundation of any structure; the greater the structure, the greater the base. If your job is your base and you lose your job, what happens to everything else? If your spouse is your foundation and your spouse dies, what then?

Look even more closely at your faith. Christians have a unique perspective on more than just the here and now. Those who are living for Him on a daily basis are aware of something much bigger than they could ever be. It is the hope of eternity which is completely undeserved by us and yet He gives it to us freely.

When we look carefully at the base of our lives we probably can point to a few different attributes. There are the common things like our careers or our education. Most of us will point to a healthy and strong upbringing by our parents. Some will consider their capital assets as their base. Others will point to a God of some sort and claim that their faith is their base. A few will very specifically point to Christ.

If we phrased this in the form of a question, it would sound like this; “what is the base in your life, or rather, what is the foundation that your life is built on?”

In addition to the above answers, others might also list specific people such as their pastor, their spouse, their siblings, a close friend or maybe even a grandparent. Whatever your base is, examine it closely and ask yourself one very important question; what happens to you if your base is gone?

Of all the possible answers that you might give, there is only one that does not change and never goes away. A life based on Christ is one that will never fail, just like the house built on the rocks. Every other thing listed above is like building a house on sand. Eventually the water is going to wash it all away and you will have nothing left.

As I sit here tonight I am struck by the thought of the foundation that many people I know have used to build their lives on. There are some very real struggles going on right now in homes all around me, people are frightened and anxious. I am reminded that there is a lot of sand here in the high desert, but there is more than I thought.

My faith is an ever changing, every day maturing facet to who I am. As I continue to be molded by Him into the vessel that he needs me to be for His kingdom, I am distancing myself from others around me. I am reminded of what Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 10:32-39 (The Message);

32-33"Stand up for me against world opinion and I'll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I'll cover for you? 34-37"Don't think I've come to make life cozy. I've come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don't deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don't deserve me. 38-39"If you don't go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don't deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me.

With that said I hope that my thoughts are not misconstrued to say that I am not interested in being around other people. Honestly I would like nothing more than to talk to anyone at anytime, regardless of their opinions or views. The part I can’t stand however is when a view or an opinion takes center stage in such a way as to assume that my views and opinions don’t matter. At that point the conversation is pretty much over for me.

Most people I come into contact with are more close minded than open. I want to be as open as possible, as transparent as clear glass. My troubles are at the surface and I am trying to lay them at His feet. The constant issue for me is simply control; I can’t seem to get enough of it. I wrestle with God way more than I should. I like having things I can count on at all times. But with people that is a hard concept.

There are very few absolutes in my life. I know I can count on God; His word gives me that assurance. I believe that as long as God is on His throne (which is eternal), that my life belongs to Him and no one else. I can count on His grace and I know that while I have done nothing to earn it, it is freely given. I believe that as long as my dog is alive he will always love me too. Other than that I count on very little more. I suppose that seems like a narrow view but think about it.

Regardless of your worldly view or theology, you cannot count on the sun coming up tomorrow, nor can you count on the ocean being blue. You cannot count on the love of a spouse forever (although you should be able to), but unfortunately people change while here in this fallen world. You cannot say that your child will love you in 30 years. You cannot count on your car, your bank account, your pastor, your best friend, your job, your mother. If this is offensive I apologize, but coming to grips with your priorities can be very eye opening.

With that disturbing news I should retrace a few steps and mention that I love my wife very much and hope and pray that we are married for 60+ years like my grandparents. I love the consistency that she represents in my life. I love that God is in her life and that her walk is an ever maturing one. I love that we are raising our children together in a Christ centered way. I love the way my wife cooks, I love how she takes care of me and the kids. My wife means more to me than almost anything else. Only one thing comes before my wife and that is Christ (although my wife is a really close second).

Somewhere along the highway of life we choose our base, we choose our foundation. For some it is science, for others it’s some mystical creature that cannot be explained. For me it is my love for Christ. At the very center of who I am there is only one, and that is Jesus. There can be no other way. As long as I build from that basis I have no worries regarding eternity.

The trip up is the road between here and there.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.D

to what end?

We live in a world that seeks peace and understanding. Christianity, if practiced to the red letter of the New Testament is the vessel that could bring about peace. And yet Christians world wide are accepting of war. The message that that sends to the world is profound. Those outside the church see this and hope is not attainable. It is out of reach.

I heard someone recently say, “we don’t want to live in fear” when discussing why we go to war. To me this sounds like an excuse for pre-emptive measures, or more aptly to strike first regardless of provocation. What I really want to know is this, is the fear that of retaliation? Or fear of retribution, or fear of prosecution? We are willing to go as far as murder of another human due to our fear of being overtaken in some way, whether physically, mentally or spiritually.

That’s it!!! The entire premise is exposed. Conflict is born out of contempt, greed and ego, that’s for sure. But isn’t the root of all of those things fear? Isn’t it insecurity? We want it our way, within our comfort zone, on our time. We want control over all of it. We have to write the agenda, organize the meeting and then run it our way, When are we going to learn that we are not of this world, just called to live in it?

Even those who do not believe in God know full well that you “can’t take it with you.” So who owns it all? Not us that’s for sure, you heard right, you own nothing, it all belongs to someone else.

When will people get a clue?


My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one who sees this? Islamist terrorists are claimed to raise their children with guns in their hands and hate in their hearts. Has anyone else looked closely at what the GOP is doing to their kids? Raising them to hate anyone that doesn’t look, smell or appear like them. There are millions of people out there who have been raised or are being raised to believe that unless we take up arms now and fight, we will be inundated on our own streets by these so called terrorists!

Who are these people kidding? This is a massive country, not Iraq or Iran or Turkey or Pakistan or Afghanistan; so many of the countries in the Middle East are tiny in comparison. To inundate the very streets of neighborhoods here in America would take an inner cancer, mainly from what I am referring.

What I am saying plainly is that no terrorist cell is going to infiltrate your cul-de-sac and take you hostage and murder your neighbors for not worshipping Allah in front of them. The very absurdity is beyond anything that mere words can define, and yet daily I am caught by this amazing ideology among extreme right wing radicals that we should fear this event if a Democrat were to be in the White House. The lack of any sign of intellect is appalling to say the least and also quite scary.

The outcome here is there are kids whose parents are teaching hate. Profiling is acceptable in certain households so long as we do it in love and with the proper intent of the heart. This is happening right now, in a home near you. Don’t believe me? Turn on the TV for a second, read the paper, listen to the radio. There are so called God fearing men and women out there right now scaring their own kids into hating, all the while carrying leather bound books that teach love and forgiveness and peace. What a sham!

My faith means more to me than a declaration of independence. My personal independence comes from leaving sin behind and not the UK. My freedom comes from Christ and not a gun or a soldier. There are many virtues of being an American, but being a smug fascist or a smug fundamentalist are not among them.

Citizens of America have for some time held themselves above the rest of the world for being better, more educated individuals. While I certainly agree that as a Christian it is my responsibility to tell of the good news of Jesus, it needs to be done from the lectern of peace and diplomacy and not from the bully pulpit of aristocracy.

Remember the Pharisees, for they had their law that they held so dear. They walked around with checklists, making sure they did everything just right. The term we use for that today is legalism. The Pharisees of 2000 years ago are today’s Americans, clinging to their Constitution and not their Bible. The sad truth is the Constitution is not what it used to be. We trample right over the Bill of Rights on a daily basis in order to uphold our personal views and opinions instead of looking after the greater good.

Worse yet, we are being told over our very public AM radio waves that the person running for president from the Democratic platform is the anti-Christ and the world will surely go straight to hell the minute he is elected. I heard today that the Dow will sink 5000 points, oil will jump to $180 a barrel and that unemployment will jump to nearly 20%. Who writes this stuff? At what point are we going to demand that we deserve better?

The term conservative is defined by our dear friend Mr. Webster as this; con·serv·a·tive - a person who is conservative in principles, actions, habits, etc.

What exactly is conservative about hating people that are not like you? More important a question is what does the bible say about it? Matthew 5:21-22 (the Message);

21-22"You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

If I appear mad it’s because I am.

I have honestly had enough with Christianity as lived by my father and his father before him. I have had enough with saying you are for Jesus and then living a life for Satan. If you want to make a difference for Christ, then shut up and do it. Live your life as if it isn’t yours in the first place and live it for Him.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Sunday, November 2, 2008


Variety Is The Spice Of Life (life is exciting when you try different types of experiences ...)

Interestingly enough I had the opportunity to listen to two very different takes on the subject of variety. The first instance was in reference to a question, which was “what is the biggest challenge for a Christian trying to live a Christian life?” Of all the answers that were given to this question, the one that struck me as odd was that of variety. It was noted that because we have so many choices in this life and things aren’t simpler (apparently like they used to be); we are challenged to live in a Christ like way.

Is it really possible that too many choices are bad for us? Is it true that all this variety is actually confusing and therefore leading us to bad decisions and possibly to a life of misguided consequences? We have all undoubtedly heard the expression, “Moderation in all things, and all things in moderation”. However, this statement was coined in specific reference to gluttony, and not variety per se. We can all agree that gluttony is rampant in our society, greed is gluttony’s cousin and between the two many a man has been ruined (and many a woman too).

Let’s suppose for a moment that variety can be, and usually is, a good thing. The negative connotations are evident as already discussed, so let’s not rehash them. Instead I would like to point to the second time today that I heard an inference to variety and that was in the context of a sermon. What was so eloquently stated is that our God is a God of variety. Look around you, the hundreds of types of dogs for instance. Or look at how many ways we display a rock, from soapstone to granite to diamonds! Variety is not the spice of life, it is life.

Every life you see before you is different; there are not two people who are the same. In the existence of mankind there have never been two of the same people. Certainly there are lots of similarities but no exact duplicates.

Think of all the restaurants in your town. You could probably pick a different one for every night of the week for a month and still not visit them all. How often do you see two of the exact same cars on the road? From ice cream to beer, from house styles to grass types, from music selections to fashion, the varieties are nearly endless.

It is fairly easy to agree that there is a great deal of variety when it comes to nearly every facet of our lives. So let’s go back to an earlier question from another post which was, “what is the biggest challenge for a Christian trying to live a Christian life”. Is variety truly a challenge in the first place? What makes it a challenge? Is it hard to pick out which candy bar you want at the check out line and therefore you live with heightened anxiety for your next trip to get groceries? Surely I jest but let’s be real here.

We have choices today because of variety (that and capitalism). I for one am not interested in a society filled with limited choices. There are few places in my life where choice is not an option, otherwise I love the fact that there are so many options when it comes to where to eat, or buy shoes, or go golfing.

So let’s get to that question lest I digress as I often do. If variety is not a challenge for Christians trying to live a Christian life, shouldn’t we examine what the challenges really are? There are significant challenges and obstacles for Christians today and knowing them is a key for getting through them.

I am sure that anyone reading this could cough up half a dozen major issues that we face in our walk as Christians, but here are two I find most poignant. The first is apathy and the second is the greed.

Apathy is appalling and yet it is ever present. Some areas of the world are worse than others for sure but make no mistake that apathy is something that every Christian will face many times in their journey. Apathy affects not only those in our secular world but Christians themselves.

We live in a world where the enemy is alive and well and working against us at all times. That same enemy is busy trying to convince Christians that the good things we do are never enough and nobody really cares. We find ourselves downtrodden and increasingly uninterested in volunteering and/or being involved in ministry because we don’t feel adequate or that we can actually make a difference. Do not believe it for one second.

Every moment you spend assisting others is cheered by thousands of angels in heaven. God sees it all and is smiling when you beat apathy and the enemy. But apathy is something that takes work,focus on Him and prayer and commitment to overcome.

Greed on the other hand is the overwhelming number one problem facing Christians today. We live in a society that promotes having it all. We are good people so naturally we should not be limited to what this world has to offer, right? God makes it clear in the Bible about where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. He also said to store up treasures in heaven and not here on earth. Another favorite is that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the gates of heaven.

Greed takes all that is good within us and turns it around. Nothing good comes from greed except possibly lessons of what not to do. Variety has a way of throwing greed a curve ball. Sometimes all these choices that we have lead one to conclude that greed is the only palpable answer. Since there are so many choices we should be greedy in order to take advantage of all of them. But doesn't variety come from God like we talked about above?

Variety is fantastic, but in this world we have to be careful not to be overwhelmed with too many choices. The most important choice we can make with the variety that is presented to us is to ask if we can use what we choose to glorify God with it. When we ask that question we will avoid the apathy that comes with being inundated with too much, and we will avoid the greed that comes from wanting too much.

Our God is a god of variety, and He has given us so many amazing things to choose from, most importantly His Son. When we choose to take advantage of His variety we are opting for some pretty awesome gifts. I for one like the gift of grace.


My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Saturday, May 31, 2008


How many of you know what unity really means? Without looking it up give it a definition in your mind. Stick with your first guess, or hunch. From Latin, the root is unitas, which means oneness.

The dictionary is succinct, usually and has this to say…

u·ni·ty / Pronunciation Key
the state of being one; oneness.

That pretty much sums it up. To be united or to have unity is to have oneness. With that said how many of the fractions that make up your life are unified? Do you have oneness in your family? How about at work? How about among your friends? What about when you drive?

In order to answer those questions we should first ask if the definition is clear as it relates to your life. Are you one with your family? Are you one with your spouse, or your kids, or your parents or even your siblings? If we were studying psychology we could even ponder whether or not you were one with yourself, but that might be a tad deep for this round.

I can tell you right now that I am not at one with my family. I can also tell you that I am finding it harder to be one with my friends. All in all, unity is elusive and the struggle is not in the definition but more the application. Somewhere inside those five letters is a much bigger word known as compromise (which is important to note is a settlement of issues and not a giving in as some would have you believe).

com·pro·mise / / Pronunciation Key
a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.

When there is not unity but there are people who share it as a goal, compromise is the term (and the method) used to reach the goal. People must settle their issues, reach an agreement and then unity can be achieved. This process can be repeated at work, in the home or even at a family reunion. In some circles the terms “problem solving” or “conflict resolution” are used to convey the same thing. The first step is to define and label the problem or conflict, then take steps to reach a solution that ALL can agree on. Commonly there is one or more sides that must compromise.

To achieve unity we need to compromise. But in order to compromise we need to converse with each other. (I know, we have to talk to each other….eeewww.)

For some of us, speaking to other people is downright scary and yet without a conversation with another human being we cannot get to the heart of any matter. The minute we try without talking to each other is the minute that everything goes wrong. Assumptions are made and we go around putting words in peoples mouths.

The hard part about talking to each other however, is that usually it only involves people we know. We need to reach out to the strangers in our lives.

When we seek to converse and commune with others who are like we are, it only goes to embody the truth that we shun others who are not like us. Therefore an invisible wall is erected, a barrier of sorts that is clearly visible between people who are different from each other. If we seek out others with which we have common ground, conversation has a basis, or a starting place.

This is typically more difficult when two people have nothing in common. In order to talk to someone who is different from you, there has to be a human interest on the part of at least one of the two.

So here is the really important part. You have to show an interest in another human that you don’t know and then seek to talk to them. In the midst of any conversation there are going to be commonalities as well as differences, we are all different. The point is that without that conversation we go on with our lives trying to inject our views without any understanding of how they might affect others.

Unity is not really that hard of a concept to wrap your mind around. It is attainable but it is going to require some work. If we sit back and think for one second that someone else will do it so we don’t have to we are going to fail. Unity can start with you and me. We can seek to converse, find the differences and then work on a few compromises.

You and I are not perfect. Remember that about the rest of the world. We are all trying to get a little better as we go along but we still make mistakes. Understanding that is a real key.

Swallow the pride, let go of the great big ego and find someone to chat with.


My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

My rights and my freedoms

In pondering Memorial Day I would like to consider remembering one who sacrificed far greater than any soldier ever did. Our savior is the one who gives us our “freedom” from original sin and the gates of hell. Jesus also gives us the “right” to be called sons of God.

We are free from bondage. We have a right to tell others the good news.

We are free to live for Him. We have a right to be bold in His name.

We are free to love and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ AS WELL AS those who are lost and do not know of His grace. We have a right to step out in faith and live a life that He gave us.

We are free to seek His face. We have a right to accept Him into our hearts and be changed forever.

Say a prayer on Monday, by all means please, pray. Pray for the safe return of our troops. Pray for their sanity, their peace of mind and their souls. Pray for all those who have served this country in years past and again, pray for their sanity, their peace of mind and their souls.

But most of all remember to thank Jesus for His wondrous gift of sacrifice on the cross. He died so that we could be set free. He gave up everything so that we could have a right to our inheritance of eternal life.

Jesus asks us to follow him. We are free to do so. We have a right to follow. Will you?

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Here we go....again??

Boy oh boy am I asking for trouble. The funny thing is I have yet to find too much, just a few sideways glances, and that can be dealt with, trust me I have my own glance…

For some time now I have tip toed around this issue of war. OK, so tip toeing is probably not applicable but I have certainly brought it up and out on this post. I would love to think of war as simply a format for getting ones way but there is so much more to it than that. Egoism is the chief fuel for this fire, spoken fact, completely reputable, there is no discussion, it is tried and true.

I am probably going to get a tad offensive this time around, so first of all forgive me. Second, be aware that I just don’t care anymore. And third, did I mention I don’t care?

For many centuries mankind has been carrying around his opinion. Women like to shop and then show their girlfriends what they bought. Guys like to walk around with their opinions in a bag and force them into the face of anyone and everyone regardless. Strange things happen though, other guys don’t agree with a particular opinion and guess what, we have ourselves a little fisticuffs. Of course this usually involves men with the combined IQ of a squash, so little is actually lost other than another fragile little ego.

What irks me more than anything is how a man will work to elevate himself in a given society, win over a majority of people in its’ populous and then proceed to drag out the old bag of opinions to show all of his friends. Meanwhile, imagine that somewhere there is someone who doesn’t agree with one of those fancy opinions in the bag. And guess what?! It happens again, two (or more) dimwits are at each other’s throats arguing about who is right.

The crazy thing is that this exact situation takes place in daycares all over the world on a daily basis. Every time little timmy wants a block that little jimmy has you know someone is gonna get the block and someone is gonna cry. The poor little thing.

War has always, and WILL always be about greed or ego or both. One way or another some birdbrain just has to have something that some other birdbrain has. Sooner or later it comes down to who can yell the loudest, or who has the best toy, or who has the hottest girlfriend or even who has the most; of whatever.

I have been arguing most of my points from a biblical perspective. For some time now I have sought the expertise of many an author, writer and pastor for help with specific scriptures that support what I now believe without a doubt. In an interesting twist I have also discovered that a fair argument can now be made from an economic angle, a social angle, a diplomatic perspective and of course an intellectual view. Mind you however that those who typically support war are void of intellect. If they had two cents to share it would probably be their last two.

War is not an answer. War cannot ever be an answer. It is financially crippling. It ruins the minds and mental states of hundreds of thousands of soldiers. It takes fathers, mothers, sons and daughters away forever. It has a reverberating effect on any medical system. It causes irreversible damage to those who witness it. NO ONE WINS. Please repeat that with me. NO ONE WINS.

I have given so much thought to this subject and find myself at odds. On one hand there are those who oppose democracy and will fight to the death in their opposition. For those people out there something must be done, a plan must be implemented to stop these individuals. Much has been said about how to fight the war on terror and much will continue to come out in the months ahead as we approach this election. Stopping the real terrorists is certainly an issue that requires much thought.

If peace is really the goal and we know there are a select group of peoples out there willing to stop at nothing to oppose that peace, we need to do what we can to stem that tide. However, killing them just doesn’t work for me and if that angers about 50 million people then oh well.

I would rather be “…blessed as a peacemaker” and “…persecuted for His name” than “…take an eye for an eye”. Pulling lines from scripture is all I have right now. There are just a few people in my sphere of friends and relatives that seem to get this. To suggest the impact is huge would be to insult the word huge. I am well aware of the peace marches of the 60’s and 70’s. I have read about the beatniks who opposed war and were branded as “liberals” in the worst possible light.

The difference here is most of the peace freaks that are related to this movement are commonly tree hugging greenies, and commonly have no relationship with Jesus. Their spirituality is founded in feeling good and not harming anyone anywhere at anytime, they are pacifists. I am not a pacifist, I am a Christ follower. I am attempting to live a life based on the red letter words of Jesus when He was upon this earth. Christ came to serve, not to be served. He came to teach us how to live a life worthy of praising our creator. He came to teach us how to pray. And He came to save us from the wicked ways that we were lost in prior to His arrival.

As Jesus said, “In a word, what I'm saying is, grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you." Matthew 5:48 – The Message

Grow up??!! I thought I already did that. Turns out I still have some growing up to do. Here we go again.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

missing pieces

Explaining the holes takes some work, especially when I am trying to explain it to myself. There are these strange gaps in my life, as if I had the ability to erase parts of a tape, or possibly they were taped over by something more significant or more recent. Somehow I have taken part in so many little things that it is hard to look back and tie it all together.

There are certainly major accomplishments and events that can most likely never be forgotten, but there are all these less than epic moments that seem to get lost in the space between then and now. Recalling them is intense but mostly impossible. Surely there are important pieces that are never retrieved, never remembered.

For instance, there is a large chunk of my 20’s that is missing from my memory banks. Knowing the insane amount of alcohol that was consumed back then it is really no wonder why but it is really disheartening. I know that certain parts are less desirable that they be remembered but there are times I wish I could recall, at least in more vivid detail than the fog I have now.

I know a lot of people who share this. There are a lot of folks who have some serious holes. Mine are really not that unique, they are just mine. The hard part as I mentioned before is explaining them. My reasoning for an explanation is to draw them more clearly in my mind. It’s the details I want, not just the pretty pictures. There are raw emotions involved that need to be harnessed and then tapped for future use.

I feel like a mess, regardless of the outward appearance. My mind continues to sharpen itself daily and is an amazing tool. However my mind is also doing an incredible job of covering up for some other pieces of me.

Sooner rather than later the rubber hits the road, so to speak. In my case the rubber has planted itself firmly upon the road with no intention of ever leaving again. The place I come in is as the guy who gets to mark where the lines go, and so far I have been able to avoid the traffic. Metaphors are great by the way, everyone should use them.

I have very carefully worked myself into a place where no one can get to me unless I let them. I have put distance between, time included. Conversations have been limited. Relationships have been kept at much more than an arm’s length. No one gets in. The walls are up and they are getting higher and thicker by the day. And yet the inevitable has happened, my plan is being circumvented by something bigger then me. And it isn’t the first time.

The holes are probably going to always be there, but explanations will come a lot easier if I would just stop stonewalling. I suppose my biggest wish is that there was someone on the other side of this that was intuitive enough to decipher this and then talk to me about it, but I know there is no one at this point. There is too much fog.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Settle the tongue, settle the heart.

Peace begins in your own heart and it is the heart that transcends the tongue. The heart even transcends the mind, or at least it should. We trap ourselves into believing that if all the smart people in the world cannot find ways to agree, the simpletons must surely be in real trouble. The sad and contrived rhetoric is that peace can never be achieved by the witless. That is our trap. Do me a favor and slam that door shut and let’s start over; today.

I am so tired of hearing anyone who says something along the lines of “I don’t support the war but I support our troops”. Do you have any idea how ridiculous that statement is? Here’s your definition…supporting the war means you are OK with the killing of anyone involved, regardless of their affiliation. You might as well have a gun in your hands and start shooting. Does that sound harsh to you? Please take offense now, or at least relate and pick a side, the people on the fence are getting nervous due to the instability of the fence.

If you are against the war you would like to see people live in harmony and work together for the common good of all mankind, again regardless of their affiliation. I cannot begin to relate to anyone fighting in this war. I can understand their positions but relating is a whole different matter. I can agree with the concept of defending our borders against attack and defending our freedoms against those that would fight to take them away, but kill someone for it?

So where does the idea of supporting our troops come into view? It is the politically correct and often hyper sensitive way to suggest that we want peace but are too afraid to say it for sounding like an anti-war sympathizer.

I have no ill will towards sympathizers of this war and our military. We are all entitled to our opinions, including yours truly. I have had many a long talk with God about this one and trust me, the chat is ongoing. I am constantly at odds with friends and relatives about this subject. God continues to lead me to scriptures that remind me that we were not meant for this world, that we were meant to work together and that war is not the answer, we must “fight” for peace and seek community as a fellowship of believers.

One of my new favorites that God showed me recently is from James. It says, “Post this at the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.” (James 1:19-20)

Every week someone else seems to pop up in my peripheral view as being a promoter of peace. Today I listened to someone else suggest that it is the intent of the heart and that if we are Spirit led we will indeed seek peace among our fellow man. On the radio station I listen to there was a blurb about being a “peacemaker” as Jesus was and prescribed in Matthew 5:9. The relative story was about all the people you come in contact with that are so combative, they want to argue at every chance. We all know someone like that. I used to be like that. I remember why too, it was easy. Most people I came in contact with seemed obtuse and defective. Back then I was living my life for me and no one else. If your opinion didn’t line up with mine, I was ready to take up arms and fight if necessary.

Time and especially my walk with God have shown me otherwise. A life spent being defensive and angry is no life, no one wins and everyone loses. Today we have half a nation of people just like that, maybe more than half. All of them ready to take up arms to “defend” our nation and our freedoms. Back in Jesus’ day, followers of Him were persecuted daily and knew the dangers associated with being a “Christian”. Today we take those dangers for granted and instead say it is our right and a freedom that we enjoy because of so many brave men and women who have died defending our great country. Jesus died for my sins and set me free from those chains, that is my freedom.

The real freedom is knowing you are free to allow Jesus into your heart to change you forever. You are free to speak His name among the masses and know that God smiles when you do. You are free to be a son or daughter of the most high God and as a peacemaker you will be blessed. Jesus said it this way,

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5: 10-12)

This will be a constant battle for me I am sure. I pray regularly that the Spirit will lead and direct my thoughts and keep the intentions of my heart pure so that my actions will bring glory to God as Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33. I have two brothers, a sister and an earthly father that I know do not have a personal relationship with Christ. I think one of those brothers may have been close at one point but now I am unsure based on recent conversations. Peace is the least of their concerns and I see the battles they face daily. Without a proper perspective on eternity all they have is what is in front of them now in this world. It becomes easy to “go to war” to protect what seems precious to them, regardless of its’ earthly origin.

If you are inclined to fight for something then fight for peace, and not with a gun or a knife but with the power of the Holy Spirit as your weapon. In the meantime, pray for your enemies and speak well of them, keep them in your thoughts. This is nothing new but I know how unsettling it is.

The trick is to first settle the heart, then the tongue will follow.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

thank you Jesus

Last Sunday we were treated to a video in preparation for Easter. I was blown away. So much so I had to share it with anyone willing to check it out. This is powerful. Here is the background on the video. This piece is from a well known pastor by the name of S.M. (Shadrach Meshach) Lockridge. The link will take you to Igniter Media Group’s website to view the amazing and powerful video, which also plays the narrative. Check it out here

Following is a copy of the words from the sermon. You can follow along with the video…

It’s Friday
Jesus is praying
Peter’s a sleeping
Judas is betraying
But Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
Pilate’s struggling
The council is conspiring
The crowd is vilifying
They don’t even know
That Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The disciples are running
Like sheep without a shepherd
Mary’s crying
Peter is denying
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s a comin’

It’s Friday
The Romans beat my Jesus
They robe Him in scarlet
They crown him with thorns
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
See Jesus walking to Calvary
His blood dripping
His body stumbling
And His spirit’s burdened
But you see, it’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The world’s winning
People are sinning
And evil’s grinning

It’s Friday
The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands to the cross
They nail my Savior’s feet to the cross
And then they raise Him up next to criminals

It’s Friday
But let me tell you something
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The disciples are questioning
What has happened to their King
And the Pharisees are celebrating
That their scheming has been achieved
But they don’t know
It’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
He’s hanging on the cross
Feeling forsaken by His Father
Left alone and dying
Can nobody save Him?
Ooooh, It’s Friday
But Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The earth trembles
The sky grows dark
My King yields His spirit
It’s Friday
Hope is lost
Death has won
Sin has conquered and
Satan’s just a laughing

It’s Friday
Jesus is buried
A soldier stands guard
And a rock is rolled into place
But it’s Friday
It is only Friday
Sunday is a comin’!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


bla·tant – adjective
1. Brazenly obvious; flagrant: a blatant error in simple addition; a blatant lie.

Have you ever watched the Miss America Pageant? Or the Miss Universe contest or Miss Teen USA? Ever notice how even the most vacuous contestant can appear indignant when asked what they would do, if crowned, to change the world? Of course the majority of contestants all spew the same blather of wanting “world peace”, even though I doubt very much that a single one of them has the faintest idea of what that really means.

So here’s the question of the day? Do you know what it takes to achieve world peace? Do you even know where to start? What if I told you that you were born with an innate sense of what to do? What if I told you that your own mother and father were grooming you for the proper qualifications to meet the needs of world peace as a youngster?

Most likely you grew up with the golden rule tattooed somewhere near your rear end. Your parents constantly drilled into you the importance of treating others with respect, showing kindness, saying nice things instead of not nice things and so on. “Be nice to your brother”, “don’t hit your sister”, “the cat does not belong in the dryer”, and so on.

In any culture, unless your family dynamic was really messed up, you were raised to respect your elders, to use your manners while also being polite and of course not to take others things. In fact nowhere in the world is it OK to steal, you heard me, nowhere.

So at what point in our development from childhood to adulthood do we make the switch? Does it happen after high school? Does it occur in grade school somewhere? Or is it later on in college? I’m no psychologist but I can tell you this, there are some people out there who have some explaining to do with regards to the raising of their children. It might take a village to raise a child but do me a favor and ban the village idiot from the classroom.

Of course these are rather harsh statements but blatancy works like that. It is brazenly obvious like the definition says above. Over the span of some few thousand years we have fought to define parenting from what it looks like to how to do it right. Hundreds of thousands of men and women with heady degrees have written tomes on the subject, all with the same outcome. We have children out there whose parents were busy spending quality time with the idiot and not with their own kids.

This of course gets me off of topic to some small degree, but I will hastily return us to the important subject at hand, and that is peace.

What I tire of is not just the garden variety apathy of most adults I come into contact with, but their lack of wanton to improve their own lives as well as the lives of their children. The scary thing however is the longer adults procrastinate about the future, the worse it gets for their kids. Once this seed of apathy is sewn, it grows into the hearts and minds of the next generation, which in turn dominoes into the next and then the next…and so on.

When grown mothers and fathers disregard social and lawful rules including being peaceful towards your family, friends and neighbors, we make it socially acceptable for our children to follow in our footsteps. Your kids will grow to steal, cheat systems, lie and cause general unrest within their very circle of society. This dilemma is expensive and quite frankly, our world can no longer afford for its’ citizens to act with this kind of disregard. It is time to act. It is time for peace.

Start today by taking a post-it-note and writing the word ‘peace’ on it and sticking it in your car. Put another one on your computer monitor, either at the office or at home, or both! Put one on the fridge. Put one in your wallet. Personalize your cell phone screensaver with the word peace.

We have an amazing potential you and I to change this world. Even more so do our children, as evidenced by this cartoon… here

It starts with us and it starts now. Seek peace in every circle of influence in your life. I know it is hard work, but imagine the dividends, they shouldn't be blatant.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

missional living

For the last few weeks, our pastor has raised the issue of missional living. As one of the congregants listening to these sermons I am struck with a sense of urgency to respond. For the last few weeks, I have asked many questions not only of myself but also of my God. Mostly I ask Him how He would use me to further His kingdom.

Simply put, I have lost count of how many times I have asked God to use me in a mighty way. With each request comes a simple reply; seek peace, show peace, promote peace, teach peace. The still small voice has been growing into a deafening roar over the last several months and now is a full blown scream. I suppose it is unlikely to believe that God would scream, but for some of us, screaming is the only way to break through the din of this world.

I have been constantly reminded by this noise in my head to search the book of Matthew, primarily the sermon on the mount. Through some studies and commentaries by noted theologians on the subject, I have found this (from Matthew 5);

"First, kingdom people do not try to force God's whole will on a world unprepared for it. Many first-century Jews had begun to think that revolutionary violence was the only adequate response to the violence of oppression they experienced. Matthew's first audience no doubt could recall the bankruptcy of this approach, which led to crushing defeat in the war of A.D. 66-73. But Jesus promises the kingdom not to those who try to force God's hand in their time but to those who patiently and humbly wait for it-the meek, the poor in spirit, the merciful, the peacemakers.
Of course Jesus' demand does not merely challenge the bloodshed of revolution. Peacemakers means not only living at peace but bringing harmony among others; this role requires us to work for reconciliation with spouses, neighbors and all people-insofar as the matter is up to us (Rom 12:18)."

In my opinion, it is clear that we are to first seek peace, while at the same time seek to bring the good news of God's amazing story of salvation to the whole world. While we are doing this we are going to be persecuted by people who are cold to the reception of God's word. In that moment we are blessed (Matthew 5: 9-12). However, there seems to be an even larger paradigm here.

By the time you reach Matthew 5: 23-24, there is a pattern emerging for how this cycle of peace works. First, at the start of chapter 5, Jesus proclaims that when there is less of you, there is more of God. Then Jesus says we should show people how to work together instead of compete and fight. However, when we are persecuted for this we are blessed even more! Furthering this, Jesus says we are the light of the world. We are to shine for all mankind to see the greatness of God.

But then Jesus really dives in. First it was all about being in Him and then shining for Him. Next he says not to murder (well duh!). Then it gets real deep. You can't even be angry with your brother for fear of the fire of hell. Whoa! And now Jesus gets to verse 23 which says,
"If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. "

By the time you get down to verse 38, Jesus hits you the hardest. Turn the other cheek, live generously, love my enemies?!! Jesus was considered a radical for His day, but that's radical for this day. Surely He can't be serious, no one lives like that. There must be a way around that one.

Putting chapter 5 in perspective and making it concise for a world that is looking for its next sound bite looks like this....

Be meek so that God shines through you.
Be peaceful towards all mankind.
When (not if) you are persecuted for your faith, thank God for it and you will be blessed.
With God shining through, be a light for all to see.
Love your brother (and your sister).
Let no grudge come between you and a friend.
Make all these things right before coming before the Lord.
Love your enemies.
Pray for everyone, not just the ones you love, but for your enemies too.
Grow up.
Be generous and gracious toward others, the way God is with you.

You could call that a Mission Statement for right living.

And in case you didn't think the secular world was listening and waiting for someone of sound mind to step to the plate to lead this charge, consider these lyrics from a current radio hit from a very popular rock band of today....

Singing Amen, I, I'm alive Singing Amen, I, I'm alive
[Chorus:] If everyone cared and nobody cried. If everyone loved and nobody lied. If everyone shared and swallowed their pride. Then we'd see the day when nobody died.
And I'm singing Amen I, Amen I, I'm alive Amen I, Amen I, Amen I, I'm alive.

This world wants peace, let's step up and show them how.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

demanding...in a nice way :-)

In a small area of my heart there is a grand celebration going on right now. As we move closer to the November elections I am pleased to announce that the vaunted republicans are literally eating themselves alive. They hate their own candidate. For those of you paying attention from home, here’s how it looks on the big screen….

For the last 7 years we have endured one of the single most greatest failures by a leader of any country, let alone one of the greatest countries in the history of mankind. Never has there been more derision and in-fighting among every day citizens than there is now. Our economy is in the toilet. The US dollar is weaker than it has ever been. Our children consistently score lower and lower every year in tests when compared to any other major country in the world. Consumer confidence is lower than it’s been since the Great Depression. The president’s approval rating is the lowest for any war time president ever; in fact it is lower than any president has ever had at any time during any term in the history of the United States.

Meanwhile, the list of Forbes top 400 (yes you read correctly) wealthiest individuals continues to get wealthier, read here. In order to get into this group, you need a cool 1.3 billion just to make the list…what in the world is wrong here!

We could argue all day long you and I regarding the evangelistic fundamentals of why this is and how we got here, but let me be quite frank for those that have dozed off recently.

In 1999, hard and soft line conservatives nationwide bought into a candidate out of Texas that wowed people with his hard stance on conservative issues. This individual made some encouraging statements back then, concepts we could all be proud of, regardless of which side of the fence you call home. In an interview with the Washington Post in March of 2000, he spoke of revenge and being good neighbors (Please read the third paragraph from the top). Here is an excerpt from that interview…”you cannot lead America to a positive tomorrow with revenge on one's mind. Revenge is so incredibly negative.”

In May of 1999, George Bush was interviewed by David Horowitz of Salon.com (Read the whole article here). What I want to point out specifically from this is a particular paragraph that is so poignant…

David Horowitz: “Ronald Reagan had the only successful two-term presidency since Dwight Eisenhower. Part of the secret seems to be that he focused his attention on two important goals -- lowering taxes and winning the Cold War. What are your priorities?”
George Bush: “One is prosperity: to make sure that we continue to be prosperous by lowering taxes and by fighting off isolationist and protectionist policies and politics. A second priority is to make sure that we educate children. A third priority is to promote the peace. America must be strong enough and willing to promote peace. One way to do so is to bring certainty into an uncertain world, and I support the development of anti-ballistic missile systems to do so. These are three priorities.”

Please note that your current President specifically pointed out as a priority that he wanted to promote peace, to bring certainty into an uncertain world. Forgive me for sounding glib, but throughout this Presidency, peace has never been a priority. In fact I will go out on a limb here (trust me it’s more sturdy than it looks), but George W Bush is not unlike any candidate to ever grace the oval office in regards to one simple aspect, he said what he needed to get the votes necessary to get elected.

In an article here, our current President literally goes against the very statements made in the Salon article regarding his priority involving peace. If we were so in jeopardy here in America, why didn’t we do something about this threat before then? Why was intelligence information that has been clearly documented prior to 9/11 ignored? These are some really hard questions to swallow for passionate conservatives all too willing to forgive a man who claims to be “born again”. But this term gets thrown around so loosely any more in public circles that even the much defamed liberals of our day have thrown it around in order to gain fundamentalist evangelist votes.


For all of the belly aching that goes on around this time relating to pro-life versus pro-choice, let’s get one thing straight. Pro-choice is an absurd excuse for saying it’s your body and so you get to make that choice. What about the choice of the unborn? The absolute ridiculousness of this law can be read here. And another good article here with unending wisdom and insight regarding the history and destruction of the family since the 1950’s.

With that said, abortion rates are down, read here. This is especially encouraging as it appears that more and more men and women are coming to value life on a scale unlike anything we have seen for nearly fifty years. Based on these facts, the most startling thing is this continuance to “support our troops” or even to support the war. If fundamentalist Christians are so against abortion, how can they be for killing another human in the context of war?

So the point here is that our current administration is more concerned with waging the wrong war. We are closer now than we have been for over 30 years to overturning Roe v. Wade and yet our current president hasn’t even whispered a thing about it. Instead, we are told that the surge is working, when in fact we lost more troops in January of 2008 than in nearly any month since the war began!

Please pay attention to who you are planning to vote for. John McCain would literally have us never end the war (and just for fun, Mr. McCain is pro-choice). Instead of concentrating on a different type of war right here at home, the men and women running this country would have you believe that killing thousands of Middle Easterners is in the best interests of America. Those in the paranoia machine that is certain extremist outlets of the media would rather polarize this country with the idea if we don’t fight them over there, we will have to fight them here on our streets, in our neighborhoods.

Wake up people, especially those that call themselves Christians. You have been duped by the Republican Party for too long. A group of individuals who claim to be “conservatives”, yet are anything but.

Now before my faithful readers decide to rush over to my house and string me up for crimes against humanity, let me make something clear. I am not specifically endorsing the Democratic Party. To be honest, they have not exactly shown signs of brilliance in the last 4 years when in fact they could have dominated the political landscape given the debauchery that is our current leader and his troop. What the Democrats lack is the confidence of anyone who is truly conservative in nature. Democrats right now are believed to be truly immoral and unethical.

The thing missing however in any current popular statements regarding the Democrats is the truth. There are a few shades of it if you look closely but let’s look at a few facts together. First, start here and here to get a good insight into the history of the party, including the fact that the Democrats were considered conservative all the way until the days of Roosevelt (in fact, Grover Cleveland was the Ronald Reagan of his day). At that time, due to the inability to control the country’s economy by Herbert Hoover and crew, Roosevelt took a more “liberal approach” to government.

Speaking of President Reagan, in his 1981 inaugural address, Republican President Ronald Reagan summed up his belief in limited government when he said, "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." I’m all for limited government, trust me, but our current president has decided that he IS the government and has so trampled on the US constitution that the original document is barely legible any longer. Here is an excerpt (the whole article is here) you may find revolting…

“President Bush is a proponent of the unitary executive theory and has cited it within his signing statements about legislation passed by Congress. The administration's interpretation of the unitary executive theory was called seriously into question by Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, where the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that the President does not have sweeping powers to override or ignore laws through his power as commander in chief, stating "the Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails." Following the ruling, the Bush administration has sought Congressional authorization for programs started only on executive mandate, as was the case with the Military Commissions Act, or abandoned illegal programs it had previously asserted executive authority to enact, in the case of the National Security Agency domestic wiretapping program.”

For an in depth analysis of our current presidents’ performance over the last 7 years, please go here.

Ok, so now for the personal reflection part of this series.....

From a purely biblical perspective, I am supposed to support my government leaders and stand behind them, as in Ecclesiastes 10:20 which says, “Don’t bad mouth your leaders, not even under your breath…” (The Message)

However, Proverbs 14:28 says this, “The mark of a good leader is loyal followers; leadership is nothing without a following.” (The Message)

Of course for further perplexity there is Romans 13:1-2 which says, “Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen.” (The Message)

Just prior to those last two passages is some extremely relevant information found in Romans 12:14-21…this is profound!!! “Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.”

“Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

“Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” (The Message)

Before I climb off this box tonight, let me say this; I love our current president as a brother in Christ and I pray for his salvation. However I refuse to turn a blind eye to what Jesus says so clearly in Matthew 5:38-48 (The Message).

Jesus lived on this earth in human form and tried to teach us all a few things. Namely to love the Lord thy God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. That is the number one command. Secondly and almost as important said Jesus, we are to love each other as much as we love ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-40)

Here’s the deal, we are called to love one another as Jesus loved us. There are not asterisks in that statement. Nowhere does it say that if someone torches my house I get to torch theirs, it doesn’t work any other way than what Jesus prescribed. At some point in our lives here on this earth we have to accept that or face the consequences on judgement day.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2008 Breast Cancer 3-day walk....from my sis

The following is from my sister-in -law (Michelle Roberts) who lives up north of Seattle. If you recall, I posted her amazing accomplishment from last years walk, here on this site. Please read the following and if you have it in your heart to donate to this worthy cause, I believe the link is embedded below. If you have any questions regarding this please feel free to email me.
Thanks. D

Yes, I’m doing it again! I registered for the 2008Breast Cancer 3-Day. I had such an incredible experience doing the 3-Day last year that I’m going back for more. I’m so excited about this event, even though this year I really know what I’ve gotten myself into.

This 60-mile walk over the course of three days raises funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. Last year, I raised $3005.00 and heard so many amazing stories along the way. The stories covered all walks of life. Like the guy and his 4 friends that were walking in memory of his wife. They decided to walk during one of their poker parties, he was my age. There was the woman that walked all 60 miles on crutches! Or the husband and wife that were on the “survivor” team, walking in her honor. Our family knows of 6 women who have fought this disease. Not all of them have won their battle. Walking 60 miles was hard, but I will keep walking until breast cancer is no longer. I walk because EVERYONE DESERVES A LIFETIME. I walk because I can.

I need your help. I am raising the minimum goal of $2200 with the hopes of attaining last years’ total. I couldn’t have done it last year without all of your generous support, and can only hope for the same generosity this year. Please make a donation to support my fundraising efforts. They have also made it possible to make a donation every month for four months if you donate online at http://www.the3day.org/. You may also make a one-time donation. Many companies have matching gifts programs, so please ask your employer if they will double your donation with a matching gift.

To make a donation, go to http://www.the3day.org/, click on Donate now, and search for my name. Once you get to my personal fundraising page, scroll down and click on the button to donate to me. If you don’t want to donate online, you can download and print a donation form from that page that can be mailed in with your donation. You can also send the check directly to me, payable to the Breast Cancer 3-day and I will submit it.

If you have any questions or want to hear more about what I am doing, please let me know. Thanks for all of your support!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

super bowl edition

As sermons go, today’s was among the more stirring I have heard in a very long time. Occasionally the pastor at the church I attend finds a way to mix things up within me and force me to ask hard questions of myself. Today was one of those times, and hard questions were asked.

I have posed it before in this very place about who we are and what we are called to be, but to think about it the way I heard it today was compelling. In regards to missions, we here in America have a bad habit of referring to them as something that happens an ocean away, by people who have some special gift and calling by God that we don’t have. Of course if you have read anything by the apostle Paul you know that that is simply not true and we are called to so much more including being a missional people of a missional church.

Given this calling, our mission fields are not as complex as we make them. As the pastor said today, it might be the person who takes our order at lunch or the guy who pumps our gas, or a co-worker. It might be a neighbor or someone we regard as an enemy. No matter who it is in our lives that needs to hear the good news, it is each and every one of us that is called to spread it. Our mission field is as simple as the people you and I come into contact with every single day in our ordinary every day lives.

What really got me though was when the pastor made an analogy about missions and our typical response to them. When we want something done here in this country we just pay someone else to do it. For instance we pay to have the oil changed in our cars, most of us do anyway, including yours truly. Not unlike having our oil changed, we pay for missions to be done. That one kind of stung. I can remember the guy sitting behind me saying very clearly and audibly “ouch”.

We are so passive at times, we sit on the sidelines content to let someone else make all the plays. I have to say that in my past I was content to just be on the sideline. It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I began to ask God to put me in. It was hard at first because I knew what would happen. God was going to ask me to make a play and contribute. I was going to be a part of the team because I had asked to be. It seems odd that we would ask and then still be nervous about contributing, but it happens that way.

So when you get up the courage to ask God to be used mightily by Him for His kingdom and His glory, you had better be prepared, because I guarantee you will be asked to contribute to the team. When that happens you will experience some amazing things, there will be people who will enter your life for the purpose of sharing. The sharing that takes place will be some small or even large piece of what God means to you and how important it is to have Jesus in your life.

It is at this point that you are beginning to fulfill your mission here in this place, wherever you are. God has called you to minister to the lost, wherever you are, not just pay some “chosen one with a gift for missions” to do it for you.

I am realizing just how much this means to me as I further my walk with Him who calls me. I used to think it was so far beyond my capacities to talk to other people about the good news of Jesus. Now I see just how far I have come when I make phone calls completely unprompted to check on someone that is just making baby steps back to God and wanting nothing more than to shake their hands on Sunday when I see them at church. Or it’s the young woman at the coffee stand who I know is searching for a new church but she works Sunday mornings. So I like to stop by just to reassure her and say hi and let her know that when her schedule changes there are places she can go and be welcomed like family.

The more I learn and know about this good news, the harder it gets to keep quiet about it. I have some very serious internal struggles to deal with and God is helping me with that, but His message is clear. We CANNOT sit idly by while so many are in need. It is as simple as telling your neighbor that he can go to hell when you don’t make the effort to tell him about what you know. What are you so afraid of? Jesus said, “blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”.

We all have the gift of missions, trust me. How each one of us applies that gift may be different, but it’s there. Those that are more extroverted are more likely to tell anyone at any time, while those that are more introverted will do best in small groups and when they feel confident in their surroundings. Reaching out is the first step, don’t let anything stop you. Go at this knowing that you have the power and protection of God almighty.

If you have asked God to get in the game, it’s only a matter of time before you will be asked to carry the ball. When you do, the Holy Spirit will be there to direct you through the chaos of those first steps. Don’t worry about dropping the ball or even getting that far. Your mission is simply to carry it so someone else can see you doing so. And in that moment you will be inspiring someone else to ask God to get off the sideline and get into the game.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Monday, January 21, 2008


We all experience it right? I mean, everyone ages so there’s no getting away from it, but I really feel there are certain periods of your life where you don’t feel like you have aged at all. For instance, there is a large chunk of my twenties that all felt the same. I could repeat that statement about my thirties as well.

Lately however I am feeling very much like an old man. There are sure to be those older than I that would scoff at such a statement, but being in my late thirties does not qualify me for a lifetime IHOP membership, I’m not ready yet!! In the last few months I feel more like late eighties than late thirties and am getting all these weird pains.

I know, woe is me and alas and all that, there are so many out there so less fortunate than I so how could I complain, but really, my body was not meant to swear off beer, pizza and coffee for two weeks and then slowly ease back into each after that. These are serious withdrawals people, I have to take medicine to boot!!!

I must sound like such a whiner, but a few of these pains are more than just growing old. Someone I don’t know has been following me around stabbing me in the back with a really large and very sharp knife. That is just one of the hurts lately that has me feeling like my 95 year old grandfather.

I think I have reached a magic age where a select number of parts begin failing, kind of like your VCR the day after the warranty expires, or parts on your car when you’re halfway into a cross country road trip. But unlike the car, if something stops working I can’t run down to the salvage yard and pick out another one. If something falls off, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, or my body, whichever.

So in the midst of my trials currently, I have had to give up a couple of my staple comfort food groups, namely coffee and pizza. In fact anything that may be on the heavy acid side is out for now. So pardon me if I come off a little cranky when you see me, the lack of French roast and pepperoni in my diet has me seeing a Tums bottle, which is not a pretty sight.

Fortunately I have humor, and a few good spirited friends to remind me what I’m missing on a regular basis :-( With friends like mine, who needs an acid reflux medicine? Meanwhile, I am now relegated to using one of those weekly pill boxes with the first letter of each day on it…I’m not really but how close am I really?

The next thing you know my left foot is going to fall off and the doc is going to prescribe me something that only has twenty three side effects, one of which is feeling my age. I gotta tell ya, I am gonna be one grumpy old man!!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

the bus

Today I listened to a former alcoholic tell of times he would rather forget. He mentioned how he was looking forward to pursuing a position as a counselor for those that are where he was.

While that was encouraging, what caught my attention the most was how he would recall something that he had done while inebriated and remember causing someone or possibly himself pain.

I noted in his voice that instances like these were recurring and they bothered him greatly. He felt remorse but knew there was little he could about what had already happened. Instead, he seemed to find new focus in the thought of helping other people, especially teenagers, deal with alcohol and find treatment.

I didn’t say anything to him at the time and instead absorbed the content. After some time it hit me how amazing it is that while we are beat down by certain circumstances in this life, some people take these situations and turn them into opportunities to help others avoid the same problems.

The wonderment for me comes with the acknowledgement of just how selfish we can be. Traveling along at the speed of extremely busy, it’s easy to miss a lot. In fact it’s easy to miss anything that’s not attached to us.

We are each on a proverbial bus that’s moving at some insane speed. There are several seats on the bus and we choose to fill those seats with a few people who see our life as we live it at the speed with which we are going. Sometimes new people get on and sometimes people get off and never come back. I think it’s fair to say that there are rarely ever more than ten people on your bus. You just don’t have that kind of time for more than that many relationships while traveling at such a high rate of speed.

Once you figure out who’s driving and you can get them to slow down a bit, you can begin to add more passengers. But to actually stop once in a while and take on a temporary rider for no other reason than to just give a brother or sister a quick lift? That’s what we are talking about here. Taking the time to let someone into your life just long enough to help them got to where they are going.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Friday, January 11, 2008

back at it

This time of year is hard for me. I grew up in the pacific northwest and am quite used to the rain, but now that I live here in Central Oregon I guess I was expecting something a little different. It’s not to say that the weather over here is bad but lately all the clouds and rain and so forth have been a real downer.

With that said I will say that I am actually kind of missing Christmas already. This was probably the first year in about 20 years that I can actually recall being excited for the holidays and then really enjoying them when they got here. I know part of it is having kids now but I will also admit that nothing seems right anymore about what I remember. It is sad to think of how it has all come to be. There used to be a time when we were so close, now we rarely talk and when we do it’s more like water cooler topics at best.

Maybe this is best. I’ll let it be and see what happens. For those that are unaware, I am talking about my family. A lot has transpired in the past 18 or so months that has literally shaken us to the core. And it hasn’t been just one major thing either, instead there have been several and it has been hard to take to some degree. Part of it for me is the distance. I used to be so close when my sister needed help. I could just run over whenever and now that is not possible. There was a time about a year ago or so that she broke down on the phone when she pointed out the fact that I could not just drop everything and be there like the old days.

So when this time of year creeps up, it’s hard not to remember all the really great times we have had as a family. Christmas was always really special and we all looked forward to it even during those testy teen years. I know there is no going back and maybe that’s the hardest part to take. I know we can never have that again with my family and so I insert myself into my in-laws family as a way to compensate.

I will admit again that this year was really great and it helps to think of how my in-laws have accepted me in their lives at this time of year. I suppose it should seem natural for them to do so but I have heard stories to the contrary so I know I am very lucky.

As I move into this new year I am inspired to say a few well meaning things to those few who read this. Most of this will seem quite trite and maybe a bit overdone, as some wishes and resolutions can be. But all in all I want to convey a message that hits home with you. I want to leave an impression.

First, thank God for how great He is. I am remembering to thank Him daily and it has made a real difference in my life. It never ceases to amaze me just how blessed I am and I can’t imagine my life without Him in it.

Next, take the time to call or visit family members, no matter how hard it is. I can’t fix what’s broken nor should I attempt to, but I can maintain a connection. I can also pray, because while I am incapable of making the repairs, I know there is nothing beyond the scope of God.

I don’t know your situation but I do know that we all face challenges when it comes to our families. Some are increasingly daunting and for that all we can do is take our hands off the wheel and pray. Sometimes there is no other course.

Face this new year with a desire to see the ones closest to you in your life through an eternal perspective. You might be secure in where you’re going but I know in my family there is some real question as to where the rest of them are headed.

Greet each day as a gift. Drive slower. Use your signals. Let people in when they’re trying to get out into traffic. Say thank you and please. Listen more, talk less. Donate to the needy when you can. Be a good neighbor. Have friends over more often for dinner. Laugh out loud as often as possible. Love someone that you think doesn’t deserve it.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.