Wednesday, February 10, 2016

100 Pound Chicken


Did you hear about the 100 Pound Chicken researchers have developed? They crossed it genes with a pig. Not only is it much larger, but its eggs taste like bacon.

If you believed that little story, you are probably gullible, because I just made it up. I have sometimes heard folks described as being Gullible and at other times someone described as Jaded. Just so we are "On the same page" as they say, here are the meanings of the words. Gullible is defined as: "quick to believe something, possibly something that is not true". Jaded is defined as: "made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience".

I got to thinking about this the other day when in good nature banter I heard someone say, "She's gullible, she'll believe anything you tell her." I heard that and thought, "Wow, what a complement… though they probably don't understand it that way". My wife is that way too, she tends to believe anything thing someone tells her and I love that about her. Why, because I'm not as open to that way of thinking as is she, I may be a little "Jaded", yet, being gullible is a biblical principle.

One of the passages we often hear at weddings comes from 1 Corinthians 13:7, the apostle Paul talking about what love means in our life says, "(Love) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." A more modern translation of that verse reads this way, "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." (NLT)

Just so we can be reminded of the importance of these things, take a look at the whole context of this verse. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7:

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing.
If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud
or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance". (NLT)


I don't know about you, but I think I need to work on that principle in my life. I need to be a little more gullible. I need to not give up on people, not lose faith in people, always hope for the best and because of love, endure when circumstances don't work out as I would like. How about you?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

GOD'S PROVEDENTIAL SIGHT (GPS)



Have you ever thought about God's providence and how it works in your life? A few synonymous for provenience would be: opportune, advantageous, favorable, auspicious, propitious, heaven-sent, fortunate, timely, well timed and expedient.

I personally believe that God's providence works in the lives of Christians. How, I'm really not sure, but I have seen it happen too often, what Paul declares in Romans 8:28. That is that “all things work together for good for those who love God”.

By way of example: This past week our oldest son had to go somewhere to make application for membership to a shooting club. He had been there before, but on a whim turned on his GPS and followed its directions. On a back road he saw a car in a field, so he stopped to see if he could be of assistance. It turned out that the man had gotten a phone call and didn't have bluetooth, so stopped to take the call. The man thanked him several times for stopping to check on him.

As my son proceeded he noticed the car following him, turn for turn, right up to the club building where he was going. When they got out of their cars the man asked what my son was doing there. It turned out that the man was a club officer and took care of the enrollment process himself, cutting any red tape that might have slowed things down. Could it have been God's Providential Sight (GPS)?

Perhaps it was; when God proclaimed through Paul that all things would work out to the good, he didn't specify that they had to be “spiritual” things. Could it have been “just a coincidence”? Perhaps, but I prefer to think that God watches over his people. That's what faith is about, isn't it? Believing that God is in control of our world, trusting in him to make things work out, even when we don't understand the how, when or why? I'm not a big fan of "The Message" (a paraphrase of the Bible), but I like what it says of Hebrews 11:1. It reads, "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see."

I realize that not everything in our lives may feel like it is being touched or guided by God. There are a lot of bad things that happen, simply because there is evil in the world. Sometimes we choose poorly or make bad decisions, sometimes in our mind we do nothing wrong at all, but bad things happen. That doesn't change the fact that God is in control of our world.


Maybe each of us should trust a little more in the real GPS, not necessarily that little box on our dash or in our phone. Maybe we should walk with a little more trust in God, or by Faith? What do you think?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Genesis or Genesis



The company I work for uses a computer program called Genesis. It operates the cash registers, inventory searches, customer data bases and much more. The problem I've had in learning this program is there doesn't appear to be any manual or even basic instruction forms. If you learn something on the program it is because someone has shown you how to use it. I've asked everyone from my manager on down and no one knows anything about any instruction manual.

I have been taking notes and writing codes and keystrokes down in a small note pad I carry with me with intension of putting it into a better form sometime. So, this afternoon things were a little slow and I started compiling my few notes into a written basic instruction file. I titled the page, "Notes on Genesis".

Here's what surprised me at the end of the day. I have a coworker who has been there a few months longer than I and we have talked about this problem. So at the end of the day I shared my notes with him and his reaction surprised me (a good surprise). He said, "I saw that title when I walked by and thought you must be working on a lesson for your church."

Isn't it a great thing when people see you doing something and assume it must be a spiritual or Godly thing! Far too often it seems that people assume the worst, they really don't think of us in terms of spirituality.

What do folks around you think about you? Do they recognize the priorities in your life? But then, maybe that's the problem, they do recognize the priorities in your life and they aren’t what you thought they were. Maybe you wouldn't be proud of what people recognize as your priorities if you knew what they thought.

That may fall into the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 5:16 where he says: "In the same way, let your light shine in front of others. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will praise your Father who is in heaven."


So what are we putting forth in our lives, Genesis or Genesis, God's priorities or your own? 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Some times you make tents…



It seems that the older you get, the more you think about the meaning of life and what is really important. Of course you don't have to be very old to start thinking about those things. I remember as a young man wondering about when I would figure things out, when would I really know what I wanted to do or be. I still wonder about that from time to time. I don't think we should ever stop stretching or growing, reaching for new challenges in our lives.

I've led an amazing life, sometimes people have trouble believing me when I tell them about all of the things God has allowed me to do in my life. Raised in the country, apprentice to my father a general contractor who taught me every aspect of the building trades. Spending some time involved with Uncle Sam and his Navy. Moving from there to an assembly line in a Chrysler factory. Then making a complete change by moving to Texas and going to school to being a preacher. Working in mission points in the U.S. and 6 years in missions in Kenya East Africa.  Seeing things and doing things that many will only see on Television.

We have lived and worked in 7 different states and have friends all over the world (literally). I have work experience and degrees that would allow me to continue in my ministry. But after 44 years in the full time ministry we moved back to Ohio and now I work at Lowe's. My co-workers recently asked me why I would do that, why I would choose to give that up to work in Lowe's.

I've thought about that question and of course it is a matter of choice. We are back here because we feel we can serve God better here right now. Are we right, did we make the right choice to “make tents” as Paul did to support his avocation? I don't know. My wife and I are trying to keep an open mind and watch for signs from God. We try our best to let Him lead us and open or close doors in our path. It all, ultimately boils down to the question, “What do you love most” or “How can you be of the best service to God at any given time as you perceive needs”? We think that right now we can be of service to the kingdom here in Ohio, doing what we are doing, making tents.

I read that Theologian Tim Keller said: “If you love anything more than God, even though you believe in God, if there is anything in your life that is more important to your own identity or significance than God, then that is a false god and it is a power in your life”. (reference unknown)
I really don't know what God plans for us in the future, but we will continue to look for open doors. Maybe he has something in mind for us that we have no idea, but then life is full of surprises isn't it.

It may be that God has some plans for you, but he can't use you until you put certain things out of your life or determine what is really and truly important to you. You see God doesn't compete for your attention; it has to be your choice. But be warned, when the door does open for you and God does speak to your heart, it usually costs you something. It takes a change on the inside and the outside. Our old self has to die and we have to be born as a new person putting God first. Paul wrote in Romans 6:3, all we who were baptized in to Christ Jesus were baptized in to his death.” Verse 4 says we then begin “to walk in a new life”. Are you ready to do that?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

KNOWLEDGE


 I am in the middle of a study of the book of Hosea right now and just finished teaching on one of the more powerful verses of Scripture in this book. God through Hosea is trying to get the people, who have stopped following him, to return. He warns them that the spiritual leaders are leading them astray. He is showing them through this book that no matter how terrible their lives have become he loves them anyway. He shows them that He will have to follow through with his judgment and punishment of them, but he has never stopped loving them. That's the basic message of the book of Hosea.

However in Hosea 4:6 he gives us some insight as to why. Hosea writes: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." (KJV) Another translation puts it this way, "Destruction has overtaken my people because they have no knowledge; because you have given up knowledge, I will give you up, so that you will be no priest to me, because you have not kept in mind the law of your God, I will not keep your children in my memory." (BBE) Another rendition, not a translation, but an attempt to help us understand the meaning says, "My people are ruined because they don't know what's right or true. Because you've turned your back on knowledge, I've turned my back on you."

The book of Hosea has so very many teachings that can be compared to our modern world, but this one stands out as a beacon on a hill to me. It is so easy to compare our present world to the world of Hosea. It is a world in which many of the "priests" or religious leader have stopped following the Word of God and are telling people what they want to hear so they can have bigger crowds in attendance. We live in a world where people believe it is more important to entertain people and be politically correct than to speak for God. Yet in 1 Peter 4:11 we read, "If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ."

The accusation is laid at the feet of the priest, (preachers or teachers) in Hosea of failing to hold to God's Word. However the people are also the ones who are cut off because they forgotten what God really wants. All of this is to say that each and every one of us is responsible for our own souls when it comes to understanding The Word of God. We will not be able to face God in judgment and say, "But my priest, preacher or teacher said," or "My parents raised me this way." Each of us have a responsibility to "search the scripture" to read it and know what God expects of us in belief and actions.


So, once again I am urging you, pleading with you, to read your bible. You should know the passage from Acts 17:11 already, where it is recorded, "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." The question is then, "Do you do the same or will we be destroyed because of a lack of knowledge?"

Saturday, January 9, 2016

THE NEW YEAR CAME AND THE OLD LEFT AND I MISSED IT!


Well here we are in the New Year once again, all sparkly and fresh like a new snow fall ready for us to make foot prints in. I'm glad it's here, but I'm really not much for New Year celebrations. This year I had a hard day at work and was fast asleep in bed by 9:30 p.m. So, the New Year came in the old one ended and I missed it, but it really didn't need my awareness to happen anyway. After all, men set the date of the year, but God created the world, makes the days and that never changes.

How are you looking at the New Year? Myself, I'm looking at it with hope! Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 about folks who have no hope and I afraid that includes far too many in or world. Hope of what? Hope of eternal life, hope of a better life now, not based upon what we do necessarily, but based upon our relationship to Christ.
I love the line from Anne of Green Gables where she says, “Each day is fresh and brand new with no mistakes”. That of course is true, but it usually doesn't stay that way very long, simply because we are human and mess up far too often, (1 John 1:10).

I love what Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:3, that “God has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. Wow! “a lively hope”… in the Greek that means “Not lifeless, not dead, but vital and strong”. (Strong's)

How is you hope and what are hoping in? I saw a sign the other day that said, “Life is full of choices, the problem is that sometimes we make stupid choices!” Some times I make stupid choices, but not when I choose to hope in Christ, to hope for eternal life, to hope of a better life here in this world because of my hope and trust in Christ Jesus.

There is an old hymn that declares, “My hope is built on nothing less that Jesus' blood and righteousness.” I hope you can can sing this song with all of your heart.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Holiday or Merry Christmas?






Which of the above greetings is correct? To be quite honest, I really don't care what your choice is, but then again, I don't care much about being politically correct either. I realize that as a Christian I can call it whatever I want. Is December 25th the actual birthday of Christ Jesus? Most likely not! Does it matter? No!

There are many that want to celebrate December 25th as the birth of Christ, yet some who just enjoy the "holiday season" with all of the sights and sounds of Christmas, feasts with the family and exchanging presents, with no thought of Christ. That's OK by me; I really don't care what you do with the day.

Now before you get on your religious high horse, let me again say; that first, December 25th is most likely not the time of Christ's birth. Second, no where in the scripture are we given instruction to or example of celebrating Jesus' birthday. Third, like most of the world, I really don't care what you do; I have the freedom to choose to celebrate the birth of Christ or just to have a "happy holiday".

You might think, "How can you as a mister say such a thing?" It's really rather simple. Again, there is no command or example in the bible to do so, but there is a scripture that deals with our freedom to choose to do so if we wish. In Romans 14:5-6 Paul writes, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each should be fully convinced in his own mind.” Should Christmas then be an official church holiday? In my way of thinking, no. It is not in the Bible and all of us don’t even have the same opinion about it. Do we have the right to celebrate it if we want to? Yes!

Yet Paul cautions us in Romans 14:22, “Blessed is the man that does not condemn himself by what he approves (or says is good)”.  You see Romans the 14th chapter deals with problems between brethren who are having faith problems. The brother with the weak faith had not yet grown to the point where he understood that everything we do is to the glory of God, therefore doing certain things, such as "keeping holy days", would cause him to stumble in his faith.

So, even though I don't care what you do or say about this holiday, because it will not affect my faith, yet for some it may. So, be careful of what you "approve," so you "do not condemn yourself". Do I have a problem with our world, our schools, our town counsels, and our federal government telling us that we cannot remember Christ in any way or even mention his name in certain places? You bet I do!

I've made my choice, but you are responsible for your own choices. For me, I'll just close this by saying that I wish each of you a Merry Christmas!