Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tropical Storm Ernesto has turned out to be a bit of a dud. I'm a bit disappointed. But at least I can say "I told you so ."
Ernie reminds me of why I go into denial about hurricane predictions and the hype that follows. The years between Hurricane Andrew (August 1992) and the previous two hurricane seasons (2004 & 2005) I prepared for hurricanes that always blew off into another direction. In July of 2004, we bought a house in Stuart, FL, that, I'm convinced, is a hurricane magnet. We've been in the direct line of South Florida's last three hurricanes. And Ernie's path is just a little to the west of where I reside.
Since I'm a little frustrated with Ernesto's delivery, I'm taking it out on my kids and making them stay home. Just spreading the love.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
And now, there are Christian-oriented video games: In early May, at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," made its video game debut. The game "features plenty of biblical smiting, albeit with high-tech weaponry as players battle the forces of the Antichrist in a smoldering world approaching Armageddon," the Los Angeles Times reported. The game is based on the best selling series of apocalyptic novels of the same name, written by Jerry Jenkins, and conceived of the Rev. Tim LaHaye, a longtime Religious right leader.
"'Left Behind' has the Antichrist, the end of the world, the apocalypse," said co-creator Jeffrey S. Frichner. "It's got all the Christian stuff, and it's still got all the cool stuff."
"The reason that I think this game has a chance is that it's not particularly preachy," said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities. "I will say some of the dialogue is pretty lame -- people saying, 'Praise the Lord' after they blow away the bad guys. I think they're overdoing it a bit. But the message is OK."
"We hope teenagers like the game," LaHaye commented. "Our real goal is to have no one left behind."
I have to admit that I've never read any of LaHaye's Left Behind books (although I have read - and highly recommend - several of the books he co-authored with his wife, Beverly, on marriage and family), this video game thing has me trippin'. Is it just because I was never any good at video games or something else? Any thoughts?
Monday, August 28, 2006
I'm thinking we'll have some wind (but you probably shouldn't fly a kite) and get a little wet. Maybe we'll get lucky and have a couple of days off. That's what I'm talkin' about.
And if my denial is wrong and your panic is justified, I'll just come back and delete this post. Comment if you want, but you've been warned.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Global Language Monitor defined "truthiness" as used by Colbert as meaning "truth unencumbered by the facts." "Wikiality," derived from the user-compiled Wikipedia information Web site, was defined as "reality as determined by majority vote," as when astronomers voted Pluto off their list of planets last week. (source)
These two words kind of go hand-in-hand. Do you think we have a place in church leadership where words like this would fit in. I can think of a couple of personal examples. Especially from my youth pastor days. For example, when putting together a sermon directed at the kids I might come across a story that another preacher uses that I like. But it really isn't my story. Yet it has a certain "truthiness" ["truth unencumbered by the facts"] to it. So I use it.
Or maybe I just took the kids to a youth event that featured the worst Christian rap artist in the universe. I know it (because I'm forty-one and hate rap that doesn't sound like the Red Hot Chili Peppers), and the kids know it (because there are two many "Jesus per second" jammed into lyrics that hardly rhyme), but there is a certain "Wikiality" ["reality as determined by majority vote"] among the event's thirty-something youth event organizers who have, as a group, determined that they, themselves, are hip.
So, if I can get these two new words past SPELLCHECK, I'll post this on my blog (I still haven't been able to get "blog" through SPELLCHECK).
Do "truthiness" and "Wikiality" fit in your emergent (sorry, I couldn't resist) life in ministry?
Saturday, August 26, 2006
So I've been able to rest this week. And I've started this new diet thing where I don't eat sugar or wheat. Or much of anything else. It's called an "elimination fast." My wife is a certified nutrition consultant and she's got me on track with this. My friend Billy and I have begun to ramp up our training for the Disney Marathon so I figured I'd lose a few pounds at the same time. I feel like I'm fasting. I feel that way because I'm having to constantly tell my self "no" to so many of the food options I love soooo much. Although I was busted eating brownies Thursday night after my wife and I came home from our anniversary dinner. She shrieked at me. Shrieked. I committed food adultery. I felt I deserved it because I lost four pounds.
When I was an intern, a pastor I respect very much told me that if I want to gain control of a bad habit, I should fast. The bad habit in question at the time was a smart mouth. I told my pastor that I really wanted to grow up and get it under control. It's evident that this was a way for me to "one up" people, - I'm quick, you see - and I like to make myself first. So I took it to heart and started fasting. He said that fasting is a way to say "no" to your impulses.
I couple of years ago, a friend was diagnosed with a terminal disease. A precious prayer warrior organized friends to fast and pray for our sick brother. I committed to fasting once a week. So for about six months of Wednesdays, I went without food. The progress of the disease has slowed down dramitacally. So much so that now doctors are saying my friend may have been mis-diagnosed.
I lost ten pounds in that six months, too.
I know that last statement seems a little out of place. But twisting God's arm so He'll answer your prayers is not the point of fasting. You fast to learn to deny yourself. And you spiritually fine tune yourself.
The idea is not the being "in tune." The focus is the denying. And that leads to obedience, maturity, spending time with God, and increasing your hunger/understanding for/of God's Word. See?
If you're struggling with a bad habit, any bad habit (yes, even that one) try going without food once a week for a chunk of time.
By the way. Before I change my eating habits, I practice first by fasting.
Doing a quick concordance (NIV translation) search I find:
--The word love appears is scripture 310 times and the various forms (loved, loving-kindness, etc.) appears 555 times.
--The phrase Kingdom of God appears 65 times while Kingdom of Heaven 31 times.
--Faith is mentioned 256 times.
--Salvation 120 , saved 109 and eternal life 42 times
--In the Old Testament there are 236 verses that talk about God's concern for the poor and in the New Testament another 328 verses for a total of 564.
Of course, simply counting words in scripture is not the best way to judge the value scripture gives to a particular topic; it is the context and overall themes of scripture that gives it weight. So, we can't say that faith is more important than the Kingdom of God just because it is mentioned more times. However, this simple analysis makes it clear that scripture does put some pretty significant weight behind God's heart for the poor.
Compassion recently did a survey and found that nearly half of all Christians in the US had not heard a sermon about poverty and how Christians should respond to people in poverty from a biblical perspective even once in the last year.
The Bible makes poverty an important topic, but the American church does not. Why not?
Thursday, August 24, 2006
A list of excuses Mr. Hawkins can use when the world doesn't end on 9/12/06:
- "Did I Say 9-12-2006? I meant to say 9-12-2007." (Dave Kriesel)
- "The war has broken out as I predicted and it's only a matter of time before the missiles will launch. Some day. Soon." (James King)
- “I write dates in the European fashion, so the date of the end of the world is actually December 9, 2006.” (Brother Mike Bube)
- "Satan himself intervened and saved the world in a diabolical plot to discredit me." (Dave Gottlieb)
- "The Lord listened to our prayers and saved us from doom." (David Pescovitz)
- “The world did end, but God recreated it, so as to give people another chance. Like in Groundhog Day.” (David Bedno)
- "Thankfully for all you sinners I appealed to God directly via prayer, he heard my plea and has spared you non believers from certain damnation." (Steve)
- "I said nuculer war, and whether that's happened or not already is none of your business, thank you." (Ben Smart)
- "There was some shmutz on my Bible. Turns out it really prophecies a breakout of tubular Wii which one third of all humans will cherish." (Dorian Baldwin)
- “God works in mysterious ways. Still.” (Craig Howard)
- "It's the terrorists' fault." (Adam Morgan)
- "President Bush saved the world from terrorism by increasing troop strength in Iraq." (Scott)
- "I was under a hypnotic spell of that white buffalo on the shelf behind me!" (Harold Hays)
- "Mr. Hawkins is not available for comment at this time." (Chris Null)
- "What was I thinking? I forgot the verse that says: 'Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh' (Mat 25:13)" (Christopher M Palmer)
- “[Darn] you Pat Robertson!” (Tim Slipp)
- "The missiles did launch on the day in question, but they'll remain in the atmosphere, invisible, just as the second kingdom of Jesus Christ did back when the Jehovah's Witnesses's original prediction didn't pan out." (Wyrd)
- He's going to follow the same sequence as previous kooks: First, he will wait until September 12 has fully expired around the
world--maybe up to 48 hours just to make sure. Then, he will say that
his efforts to publicize the date resulted in increased prayers--and
the increased prayers will have averted the disaster. He will consider
his prediction a success. I'm looking forward to this farce being played out once more. (Frank Williams)
- "It's a miracle! Disaster has been averted through my direct communication with the Lord! However, I fear that disaster will strike soon (perhaps tomorrow!) without your financial support for my work. Send in your faith pledge today!" P.S. - Leon Festinger (one of the giants of social psychology) did some interesting work on a doomsday cult in the 50's in which he infiltrated the cult and investigated what happened when the doomsday prophecy failed. Of course, the failure of the prophecy only further convinced most believers in the vailidity of the prophets (who fed the followers some line about a miracle). It turns out that it takes about three failures before most people abandon the group/prophet. The work is summarized in the book When Prophecy Fails. (Fred)
- "If it wasn't for all those peace loving liberals getting in the way the world would have ended as we want it too....I mean as it is prophesied to end." (Andersson)
- "God won't end the world until He finds out who Flava Flav picks to be his honey on The Flava of Love 2." (CG Browning)
- "I did not say, and no one in my administration has ever said, that the world was going to end" (Robert Spina)
- "There is an ongoing investigation into why the world did not end on September 12. And I have a policy that I do not comment on an ongoing investigation." (Robert Spina)
- "There is no consensus in the scientific community that the world has not ended. The jury is still out on that one." (Robert Spina)
- "All this talk about the world not ending is just more liberal, pre-9/12 thinking." (Robert Spina)
- "Last night God and I had a powwow. I rescheduled with God because I read this:
"Deuteronomy 23:1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD"
"My urologist wasn't going to be able to check that my stones weren't wounded until the 15th. Thanks be to Satan's HMO's, seeing a specialist can take forever." (Meadowlark Bradsher)
- "Now that we've averted yet another terrorist plot, we need you to give up even more of your rapidly dwindling freedoms so this can never happen again." (Courtney Silverthorn)
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Have you ever wondered what a pound of flesh looks like? Well take that pound and multiply it by the amount you want to lose, and... well, you get the picture.
A Pound of Fat
Looking for an effective weight loss motivator? Check out this all-too-realistic anatomically correct replica of one pound of human fat, complete with blood supply. Keep it on your dinner table and watch everybody lose their appetite. For even stronger motivation, you can buy the five-pounds-of-human-fat version.
One Pound of Fat Replica
Available from Amazon
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, his influence became much more than practical. His sway over me and handful of guys from our church who gathered for breakfast was eternal; spiritual. His transparency and humility about his own humiliation challenged us to be men character.
Rod pulled no punches when he said to our guys, “I’m a sinner,” said Rod. “I can sin without really thinking about it, and I teach others to sin, as well.” He intentionally avoided using language that blunts the meaning of his words; sin is sin. If it’s on God’s Big Ten, the cause and effects are death and destruction.
“Just like Hurricane Katrina destroyed homes leaving nothing but a concrete-slab foundation, so have the effects of this sin been in my life, ministry, and marriage,” said Rod.
Rod spoke about how God, that amazing architect, began newly, re-construct his life on that exposed foundation. “When you restore an old car, the result is better than its original condition.”
Four things must happen to restore:
Brokenness and repentance.
There are two priorities: restore your relationship with God and restore your relationship with your wife. It’s going to be humiliating. Suck it up.
James 5:16 says that healing comes with confession.
Rod became visibly emotional when he shared about forgiveness. “My wife would not say ‘I forgive you’ until she knew in her heart that those words were real and not hollow.” This, of course, made many of the men in the room visibly emotional.
Job 14:14 says that renewal is something one waits for. No quick fix. When a man’s been shot off his horse, there’s no telling when he’ll be able to get back in the saddle.
The verse that held Rod’s talk together was Luke 22:31, 32:
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
There is little doubt that men were strengthened through Rod’s testimony.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
By email@example.com (David Pescovitz):
Baby Rock Records is releasing a slew of lullaby cover CDs of alt.rock tunes by the likes of Nivrana, Radiohead, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, and Queens of the Stone Age. Lots of synth glockenspiels, chimes, vibraphones, in lieu of fuzz boxed guitars. The song samples are much more promising than most of the lullaby cover schlock out there today!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
I just had a thought: can I carry Pop Rocks onto a plane? If I load up on Pop Rocks and drink a bunch of Coke, you know what happens: my stomach blows up. If I eat enough of the volatile stuff and I'm seated by a wing, theoretically, I can blow up my row, blow off a wing, and down the whole plane.
Someone get Homeland Security on the line.
August 4, 2006
Mel Gibson's public tirade earlier this week during his arrest for allegedly driving under the influence has become a ringtone. Oasys Mobile introduced its "Mel in Malibu" ringtone, a dramatization of the star's recent highway arrest.
The ringtone features a reenactment of the actor's altercation with the Los Angeles County police, according to Oasys Mobile, and features a man with an Australian accenting screaming obscenities and other choice phrases, such as "I own Malibu!"
The "Mel in Malibu" ringtone is part of Oasys Mobile's new ScandalTones. Oasys says the ringtone is compatible with most major U.S. wireless carriers. The Mel Gibson ringtone is available for free download on the Oasys Website.
Tattoo artist Richie, who lives and works in Colorado, has been offering UV blacklight reactive ink to his clients for most of his 4-year career. "Three and a half years ago, I was asked by a friend about the UV ink," Richie says. "So I did a little research and got a sample of the ink and all the paperwork explaining how it was made and how safe it is. After trying a small sample on myself, I began to use the ink." These are some of the results.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
The bigger they are the harder they fall.
Here's what James Dobson had to say:
"We certainly do not condone that racially insensitive outburst," Dobson said. "Mel has apologized profusely for the incident, and there the matter should rest. Mel has also indicated his willingness to seek help to overcome his alcoholism, and has asked the Jewish community for forgiveness. What more can he do?"
Monday, August 14, 2006
Beaujon makes no bones about his lack of religion. But he doesn’t seem cynical or on the attack. And his “tongue-in-cheek” style of writing is actually endearing. At least it was for me and this is my review. He’s like one of those guys you have in your life that just needs one little nudge, it seems, and he’ll be all the way “on board”. You think if I could just get him to church when everything is ‘just right’ he’ll totally get it.
In all of our weird, Christian quirkiness, he seems to believe that our fervor for God and our love for men’s souls are genuine.
Get this book. I’ll be reading my copy again, soon.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Schwarzenegger sends Guard to California's airports
Governor Schwarzenneger has deployed 300 National Guardswomen and men to California's airports to ensure that if liquid/gel/iPod terrorists escape from a British prison and fly to San Diego (without blowing up the plane), and then get off and start hijacking the entire airport, they can be shot.
"I can assure the people of California that we're doing everything to keep them safe and to return our airports to normal operations as quickly as possible," he said. "We need the public's help and their patience."
To make the state's airports more normal, it is necessary to first make them extraordinary and abnormal by filling them with armed, nervous teenagers.
posted by Cory Doctorow at 11:22:45 PM
Friday, August 11, 2006
My heart is gripped. How can it not be? We just watched an interview Bill Hybels did with Bono, lead singer of the greatest rock band ever, U2. Bono has taken his influence, or as he calls it, his "currency," as a celebrity to lead people to involve themselves in the work that God has already "blessed" - work to care for the poor and vulnerable.
Here are some highlights:
“God is with us when we are with them (the poor and most vulnerable).”
"I never had any problems with Christ, but Christians were always a big problem for me."
"Great ideas are like great melodies – immediate resonance, passion, clarity, etc."
"The church has historically always been behind the curve."
"Christ won’t let the church walk away from the AIDS emergency because it’s hard and expensive."
"Only 6% of Christians polled felt it imperative for the church to be involved in the AIDS crisis."
"Love thy neighbor is not advice – it’s a command. Who is our neighbor in the global village?"
"Your service to the poor, the imprisoned, the vulnerable, the widows, and the orphans defines your place in the Kingdom."
"The church must create the moral and practical infrastructure to address these issues."
Bono then turned and faced the camera and said, "We need you. These problems are fixable, but not without the involvement of the leadership of the local church."
Hybels closed with a live challenge concerning the AIDS pandemic. At current rates, by 2015, over 115 million people will die from AIDS. He said, "For the church to sit idly by and say 'what's happening over there is not my problem,' is unacceptable." What can you do:
1. Educate yourself and your church
2. Get involved financially and personally
3. Every Senior Pastor should travel to Africa and see it for themselves
Bono spoke about the following passage and said it's not a warm and fuzzy idea, but a command from God with judgment held in the balance:
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
Things I learned grow'n up in Texas
Armadillos sleep in the middle of the road with all four feet in the air.
There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 live in Texas.
There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in Texas, plus a few no one has ever seen before.
Raccoons will test your melon crop, and let you know when they are ripe.
If it grows, it will stick you. If it crawls, it will bite you!
Nothing will kill a mesquite tree.
There are valid reasons some people put razor wire around their house.
A tractor is NOT an all terrain vehicle. They do get stuck.
The wind blows at 90 mph from Oct 2 till June 25; then it stops totally until October 2.
Onced and twiced are words.
Coldbeer is one word
People actually grow and eat okra.
Green grass DOES burn.
When you live in the country you don't have to buy a dog. City people drop them off at your front gate in the middle of the night.
The sound of coyotes howling at night only sounds good for the first few weeks.
When a buzzard sits on the fence and stares at you, it's time to see a doctor.
Fix-in-to is one word.
There ain't no such thing as "lunch". There is only breakfast, dinner and then there's supper.
"Sweetened ice tea" is appropriate for all meals, and you start drinking it when you are two. You also give it to babies for colic..Just a tid-bit.
"Backwards and forwards" means I know everything about you.
"Jeet?" is actually a phrase meaning, "Did you eat?"
You don't have to wear a watch because it doesn't matter what time it is. You work until you're done, or it's too dark to see.
You measure distance in minutes or hours.
You can switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day.
Stores don't have bags. They have sacks.
You see cars with the engine running in the Wal-mart parking lot with no one in them, no matter what time of the year.
All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit or a
You install security lights on your house and garage, and leave both unlocked.
You carry jumper cables for your own car.
You know what "cow tipping" and "snipe hunting" are.
You only have four spices in your kitchen: Salt, Pepper,
Ketchup, and Tabasco.
You think everyone from north of Dallas has an accent.
The local papers cover national and international news on one page, but require six pages to cover Friday night high school football.
The first day of deer season is a state holiday.
You find 100 degrees a "tad" warm.
The four seasons are: Almost summer, summer, still summer and Christmas.
You know whether another Texan is from East, West, North, or South Texas as soon as he opens his mouth .
Going to Wal-mart is a favorite past-time known as "goin Wal-Martin" or "off to Wally-world".
You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good
A carbonated soft drink isn't a soda, cola, or pop....It's a
Coke regardless of brand or flavor.
Texans understand these jokes. If you don't just come and stay awhile.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
“Do those church and ministry leaders who so vociferously defended Gibson against charges of anti-Semitism during The Passion controversy now feel burned?”
And I’ve been dying to ask this question (but I tend to keep politics out of my blog unless I can have some fun with it):
Are you let down by George W. Bush now that there a handful of recordings of Bush’s potty-mouth?
My opinion is that we make too much of guys that act like you and me. When I’m in the work place and claim to be a Christian, then turn around and treat my co-worker badly, I get held to a different standard than the guy that doesn’t make loud, possibly obnoxious, public statements about his faith.
When Gibson’s movie was pre-screened and endorsed by pastors as an end-times tool for evangelism, Gibson was placed a couple of rungs higher on our moral ladder than he probably wanted.
When Bush said during his campaign for president that his greatest hero was Jesus Christ, we didn’t expect him to cuss “off microphone” in Tony Blair’s ear. We looked for him to share a Four Spiritual Laws gospel tract with the Prime Minister. That’s what all good evangelicals do off mic.
A couple of thoughts about Mel Gibson:
I have never heard or read a better public apology than the one crafted by Gibson. If only Bill Clinton would have had that kind strength of character. That is definitely a good first step toward making public repairs of the damage done so openly.
And when it comes to his movie The Passion: a guy in our church congregation asked me if we were gong to rent a movie theater on opening night to boost ticket sales of the “Greatest Christian Movie in Human History,” I said that I was going to wait for the video. I thought the guy was going to punch me right there in Starbucks.
Anyway, any thoughts regarding the above questions?
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation...
I share this verse often with people when we sit down together and talk through their relationship with the Lord, their experience serving Him, and their attitude toward the people in their lives.
Let me tell you something about this verse: this will happen. Heaven will be full of people from every color and hue and language and culture.
The question is not “will this happen if I don’t do it?” This is the future, baby. Unchangeable.
The question is “What will I have to do with it?” What will YOU have to do with it?
The question I challenge a person to ask him/herself is: “how can I get IN on this?”
How does God want YOU to get in on this?
You won’t be in on it if you participate in church only for what you can get out of it. That misses the point. If you get anything out of it, it’s the by-product of obeying God. Happiness is not what you follow Christ to get.
Happiness is the by-product of living a life to serve other people.
If you’re depressed, lonely, or feeling isolated, then serve. Find someone somewhere to serve. Expect nothing. Expect to be treated like a servant. I PROMISE that you’ll begin to feel the comfort of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
Monday, August 07, 2006
I met Susan in October 1985 after I was discharged from the US Marines. I was twenty and she was nineteen. Our paths intersected in South Florida when I was running from the law and she was running from the Lord. After living with me for a couple of months, she found out how bad running from God could get. She went back to the Lord and was welcomed back into the fellowship of family and friends no questions asked.
I like to take credit for leading her back to the Lord. Really, I drove her back.
Fast forward a couple of weeks to her parent's front lawn. I'm there, too drunk to stand up. “Susan! Susan!” I yelled, “I LOVE YOU!”
Picture her mother coming out of the house, finger wagging in my face, confronting drunk ex-Marine: “You’re drunk. I rebuke you in the name of JESUS!”
“I don’t need YOUR religion. I’m CATHOLIC,” I say, “just not a very good one.”
Next scene: the cops roll up. I swing on one and five of them jump me, cuff me, and shove me in a cruiser. I wake up in a jail cell, in my underwear, hogtied.”
Maybe I do need Jesus.
I went to their church, by myself. I wanted to see what could possibly make this girl leave me.
The preacher preached and asked who wanted to get right with God? I raised my hand. I prayed a prayer asking Christ to come into my life and change me. The pastor sent me over to some prayer counselors to give me a Bible and talk to me about the decision I made. My prayer counselors were Susan’s mom and dad. They welcomed me like a son.
Susan and I were married eight months later on August 23, 1986.
Susan has been God’s greatest gift to me. She completes me.
Happy Birthday, Honey.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
My wife saw the video the other day and neglected to tell me. Can you believe it?
Crunchy Tuna Rolls. Spicy Mayonaise. Spicy Tuna. Super Crunch. And a bunch of other rolls that come in many beautiful colors and amazing flavors with names I don't even try to pronounce.
Are my fantasies sin? Do I need to join a recovery group?
My desires are healthy. I always think, while eating at my favorite sushi bar, "who can I share this experience with?" I want to spread the love.
Both of my children and one intern on my job has recently converted from calling Sushi "fish bait" to saying things like: "I'm jonesing for some sushi." It brings tears to my eyes.
Friday, August 04, 2006
It was a pretty crazy time in my life to be going to school. I enrolled in two classes a semester as well as listened to Chuck Smith teach through the Bible on cassette. I worked fifty hours a week delivering five gallon water bottles for Deer Park (later Zephyrhills) Water Company, teaching high schoolers at church during the first Sunday morning service and running sound at the second and evening services. And I was a husband and dad with two little kids.
That was an insane time. But for some reason, taking those courses with that crazy schedule really forced me to focus on my studies. I didn’t have time to prepare something else for the high schoolers I taught, so I used the notes from Bible College
My most influential teacher was Dr. Larry Taylor. He challenged me and took me into depths of the scripture that I never even knew could be tapped. He gave me Bible knowledge, but not so I could be right; so I could pastor and love the flock of God. Every bit of Bible information he gave demonstrated that God drew me into a relationship with Jesus Christ with bands of irresistible love.
My path has crossed with men and women literally all over the world (Africa, the Middle East, Mexico, and even California) that were Dr. Taylor’s students. Now they are schooling and loving people into a deeper relationship with Christ.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Rich or poor, it's righteousness that really mattersBy Pastor Mark Driscoll
Special to The Seattle TimesThere is a tremendous spiritual lesson to be learned when the world's two richest people give away much of their wealth to help others in need.
In 2000, the world's richest person, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, launched the Gates Foundation to focus on strengthening education, reducing poverty and improving public health, with a special emphasis on HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. He has since given $29 billion of his own assets to charities, including $23 billion to the Gates Foundation, making it the world's largest philanthropic organization. Gates also recently announced he would be ending his full-time role at Microsoft in 2008 so that the majority of his time could be focused on the foundation.
Gates' friend of 15 years and the second-richest person in the world, Warren Buffett, recently announced he will be contributing roughly $31 billion to the Gates Foundation. Buffett will be joining the Gates Foundation board, helping to ensure that the resources are wisely stewarded and that as many people as possible are helped.
From a spiritual perspective, their generosity illustrates an important biblical truth. Sadly, wealth is often viewed through the erroneous lenses of either prosperity or poverty theology. In prosperity theology, God loves rich people more than he loves poor people, as evidenced by his blessing. In poverty theology, God loves poor people more than he loves rich people, who are vilified as greedy thieves.
The problem with both these theologies is that they make money the issue. The real issue is not money but righteousness. There are not two kinds of people — rich and poor — but four kinds of people: the righteous rich, the unrighteous rich, the righteous poor and the unrighteous poor.
The righteous rich became rich because God blessed them; they worked hard, invested smart and did not obtain wealth through sin like stealing or taking advantage of others. Such people spend their money righteously, generously sharing their abundance with those in need. I do not know the religious convictions of Gates or Buffett, but their generosity is an example of rich people acting in a righteous manner.
The unrighteous rich are people who obtain wealth through sinful means such as stealing and extorting. They spend their money in sinful ways and do little if anything to help people in need. The most legendary biblical example is Judas Iscariot, who stole money from Jesus' ministry fund.
The righteous poor are people who work hard for the little money they have, spend it wisely and share their pittance with others in need. Jesus is the most obvious biblical example of someone who was both righteous and poor.
The unrighteous poor are people with little or no money because they are lazy or spend foolishly. They do not give to God or others. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about such people, calling them "fools" and "sluggards."
When the issue of money is framed as rich and poor instead of righteous and unrighteous, we are allowing politics and economics rather than spiritual wisdom to dominate our thinking. The generosity of Gates and Buffett is an opportunity for each of us to evaluate whether we are acting righteously with how we obtain and dispense the little or great wealth we have.
Pastor Mark Driscoll is founder of the nondenominational Mars Hill Church in Ballard. He and four other columnists — the Rev. Patrick J. Howell, Rabbi Mark S. Glickman, the Rev. Patricia L. Hunter and Aziz Junejo — take turns writing for the Faith & Values page. Readers may send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company
Charity, her momma, is doing such a great job with her. I’m impressed and proud of her. Her Uncle Aaron loves her and bounces her and Raps to her. She loves it!
Her Grandma is also a basket case over this little one. Susan takes care of Ali during the day while Charity finishes up school and works afternoons.
We thank God for this little life He’s blessed our family with.
Here are some pictures from this morning.