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.