Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven
where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal

Thursday, October 31, 2013

When You Believe All Humans Are Good

Atheists tell us that humans are born good. This judge seems to agree.
"Gagnon died, following months of deprivation, neglect and beatings. The couple, who lived on a rural property east of Edmonton, admitted they kept Gagnon locked up, at times in a basement, a dog run, a garage or a filthy unheated converted bus. The treatment of Gagnon, 48, was "callous and cruel … degrading, humiliating and cannot be justified in any way," said the Judge. "They engaged in atrocious activities." The Scrivens' actions were "truly abhorrent, but does that make them horrible individuals? The answer's no," the judge said."

Look What I Did!”

Sadly, some people who call themselves Christians think like that in terms of salvation.

Except that a person be born again, s/he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
No one comes to Jesus unless Father God draws that person to Jesus.”

If the Holy Spirit does not make of us New Creations, we are not capable of seeing our need for forgiveness for our sinful and rebellious human nature.

Unless God uses the same power that created the universe, and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, to create in us a new heart so to speak, nothing and no one can change us from self-worshipping, self-adoring, self-obsessed creatures of rebellion, to those who worship and obey our Creator.

We must be born again from above or all hope is lost.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'm Better Than Uuuuu Are!

There are two type of rebellion against God. The first is very obvious. It goes something like, “Screw You!”

Whatever our Creator has said to do, this person does the opposite. It exists in various forms degrees of hedonism.

The other type of rebellion is much more subtle; it's much more destructive and dangerous – to the individual and to those around h/him. This type of rebellion is self-salvation. I'm going to be so good that God will be obligated to save my soul. I'll keep all the rules. I'll anticipate God's will and do it before He even asks. And most of all, I'll be a better person than all those other people that God has to put up with.

Both forms of rebellion are wrong of course, but they aren't equally wrong.

The first case contains the possibility of remorse and reconciliation. It has the potential of the person being forced to recognize how wrong s/he is and then asking for forgiveness.

The latter case stands almost no chance of the person recognizing that h/her behaviours are destructive to one's relationship with God. This is the person who is in danger of hearing from Jesus, “Get away from Me. I never knew you.”

Friday, October 25, 2013

Blessed Is Not The Same As Happy

I think there is a very poor translation error when the Sermon on the Mount says, “Happy are those who . . .” instead of “Blessed are those who . . .” or more accurately, “God blesses those who . . .”

Those who Jesus is calling blessed are not those who obey the apparent rules that we see in the Sermon. Rather, blessed are those who have taken on the character of those who will be, and in fact are part of the coming Kingdom, the Kingdom that has now begun with the arrival of Jesus.

Happy is when you accomplish something by your own effort. Blessed, in this case refers to the inherent, almost second nature or new nature that becomes ours when we accept the invitation to become Kingdom people. This is a new way of being human; a new way of looking at life, a new way of living. 

In my own case, this new way of being is recognized only in hindsight, for it is something that happens to me. I ask for God to change me and then I watch for ways in which He is doing it. And then, months or years down the road, I look back to see that I am no longer the man I once was. I am now becoming the kind of man that God wants me to be.

The more time that I spend with Jesus, in His Word or through prayer, the more time that I spend following Jesus, the more this new character transformation takes place. Being fully alive, as God promises to bring to those who step into His Kingdom even here on earth, is truly a blessed way to live.

This is not the kind of striving that atheists brag about, “I don’t need God in order to be good,” or “Just be good for goodness sake.” That only leads to pride.
This is a change that is brought about by God’s grace and mercy and power and it leads to gratefulness, peace and as sense of being blessed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What is this Evil (2)

Atheists of course use the presence of evil as "proof" that God Himself does not exist. A flow of logic has never been the strong suit of atheists. 
On the one hand, atheists rage that God does not judge evil and bring it to a halt according to their time frame.
On the other hand, when the knowledge strikes home that God will judge evil and bring it to a halt and that they along with evil will be forever removed from His kingdom, atheists rant and rage and pout like little children having a tantrum.

The presence of evil necessitates God’s justice. 
But God justice is not just handing out rewards and dispensing of punishment. 
God’s justice is restorative. 
God’s justice entails the complete defeat of evil and the removal from His kingdom of all those on the side of evil.
God’s plan for His creation, a plan interrupted by the intrusion of evil at our behest will take place and there is nothing that atheist or Islamic fundamentalists or anyone else can do about it.
Amazingly this restoration will be brought about by the nation of Israel (the apple of God’s eye) His only begotten Son Jesus the Christ, and those who believe in and follow Jesus and accept His forgiveness for the the evil in their lives. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What is this Evil?

A couple decades ago, I was still doing some work in the Federal Corrections system. In my off time, after work, I was doing a lot of reading about satanism. Well, one of the guys that I was working with was pretty - um - spooky, creepy, unbalanced more than the norm, and the norm was pretty unbalanced. Anyhow, I had never spoken of what I was reading to anyone. I doubt that my wife even knew (we have very different tastes in reading material so her pile is her pile and mine is mine) and if she did notice what I was reading she never had any contact with anyone who could have told this guy. Long story shorter, this guy comes into the office and after a bit of small talk he says, “You're studying about satanism aren’t you?”

The problem with involuntary facial movements is that they’re, well, involuntary. Noticing the twitch of my eyebrows he said, “I have powers and I know how to use them.”

Evil, has fascinated me for a long, long time. Evil as an entity, evil as a personal agent, personal, social, governmental evil - that kind of stuff. I’ve been fascinated with how we as humans give ourselves willingly to evil and thereby become its slave. After all, if evil is a real entity, like information or logic or matter or energy, and if you are obsessed with attaining power (as is everyone in the prison system (and I mean everyone)) then why in the world would someone want to be on the side of the created (satan) rather than on the side of the Creator?

According to the Bible, God created human beings to bear His image; to possess and display to a limited degree His mercy, grace and love. God created humans to use their intelligence and creativity to manage the earth and walk humbly with their God.
The invited entrance of evil into the cosmos changed everything. Yet, God’s plan for a healed, forgiven and intimate relationship with His creation has not ended. While the presence of evil temporarily adds tension to that plan, that plan itself will not be halted, only delayed. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Lord cares for the humble, but He keeps His distance from the proud.”
Psalm 138:6

Can We Trust the Bible?

The Bible is true in all that it affirms or teaches according to the author’s intended meaning.”

That says a lot. I believe that all of the Bible is true in what it says. But not all of what it says is easy to understand. The essentials are clear of course. No one will miss the offer of salvation because of some obscure verse(s).

Bottom line, Jesus is the “author” of the Bible, from beginning to end. A Christian, a believer, a follower of Jesus will believe what Jesus said about the Bible.

Jesus taught the Bible with confidence and based His entire ministry on fulfilling the words of the Bible. If Jesus says the Bible is trustworthy, then I believe what the Bible says because Jesus is trustworthy.

Jesus treated the historical portions of the Bible as historically accurate. 
Jesus treated the prophetic portions as prophetically accurate. 
Jesus treated the portions of the Bible that dealt with teaching as portions worth following. 
Jesus treated the spiritual portions as worth heeding if we want the kind of spiritual life that God says we must have.

Can we trust the Bible. Yes. We can trust the Bible because the words it speaks is the message that Jesus intends us to have as a revelation of Himself and His plan for the universe.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oprah – Even Dumber Than I'd Thought

Awe and the mystery and the wonder, that is what God is. The collective respect and awe of all living souls is my definition of God. So God is love in those terms.”

Wow, not just a horrible non sequiter but she's more screwed up than ever regarding what Jesus taught about God. So much so that she views a clear atheist as not being an atheist because said atheist can feel inspired by nature. 


I don't know if it still exists, but there used to be an organization, in Nevada, I think it was, made up of prostitutes and those who use and abuse them called C.O.Y.O.T.E.

It's an acronym that stands for, “Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics.”

Yep, that's what we need. Those who sell their bodies for cash and drugs defining the moral parameters of society.

It's nothing new of course. In the book of Psalms we read:
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, "Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”
Psalms 2:1-3

Every soul who has rejected God's Truth feels imprisoned, constrained, tied down by the prison they have constructed for themselves. 

They are slaves of satan in every sense of the word. 
In bondage to sin. 
Incapable of freeing themselves. 

Because these people are so dull of mind and slow of thought (sin makes us stupid), they actually believe that true freedom is to be found in a total rejection of their Creator.

That's why there is such a rage mounting against Christians and the teachings of Jesus around the world. It hasn't reached a critical mass of opposition – yet – but it's coming.

The stakes are enormous. There is only one force standing between what human nature wants and what it feels it's forced to accept. And that force is Jesus and those who follow His teaching.

Only Jesus keeps the powerful from completely obliterating the weak.
Only Jesus keeps the law from descending into anarchy.
Only Jesus stands in opposition to those who long for an atheistic world power.

As history winds down and as Jesus slowly but surely withdraws His hand of protection, those who oppose God and everything to do with God are going to get exactly what they want – an eternity without any influence of God.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Jesus Gives That Healing Touch

For those who hide from Jesus, for those who wish Jesus would see only beauty when He looks at them, I've got some bad news. It just isn't gonna happen. Jesus went out of His way to touch those things which tradition had declared ugly and disgusting: dead bodies, oozing sores, women, children, leprosy, bloody discharges and sinful people.

To follow Peter's first instinct at the Last Supper, and tell Jesus to not cleanse us denies Jesus a place in our lives. If you insist on making yourself acceptable, if you think that you can't release your life to Jesus until the porn and masturbation, the lying and hating and withholding forgiveness and lusting are in control, you disqualify yourself from receiving anything from Jesus. He came to earth to save sinners, not those who think they are good.

It is Jesus who will release you from sin's power.
You have no ability to achieve that freedom on your own.

Powerful changes that happen in the life of someone who follows Jesus never come from the follower working hard at doing anything. They come from arriving at a place where Jesus is everything and we are blown away by His gift of love.

We, you and I, can never be anything other than what we are, broken, sinful, wounded, failing, hurting people. We need to accept our brokenness. 

When Jesus holds us, it's our brokenness that He touches. He invites us to lean back into to arms of grace. He does this because He loves us.

In trying to make ourselves loveable, we actually distance ourselves from true love. In pretending to be good, we are abandoning the life of grace. Jesus was nailed to the cross for those of us who are not good. Pretending to be anything else is delusional.

Our only option, our only need is to come home, and to take shelter from the storm within the safety of God's forgiveness. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

When everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, then finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and I keep trying to find a way to become what I'd like to be, and what I could be if only there were no other people in the world.”
Anne Frank

Atheists Try To Ignore Determinism

On atheism, determinism must be in control of our lives. There is no rational or logical alternative to that particular world-view. 

Yet atheists often borrow from reality as Christianity describes it, and live just as though we really do have free will. This despite what leaders in the atheist community have to say. For example:

In a deterministic universe, we understand that a criminal's career is not a matter of an unconditioned personal choice, but fully a function of a complex set of conditions, genetic and environmental, that interact to produce the offender and his proclivities. Had we been in his shoes in all respects, we too would have followed the same path, since there is no freely willing self that could have done otherwise as causality unfolds. There is no kernel of independent moral agency -- we are not, as philosopher Daniel Dennett puts it, "moral levitators" that rise above circumstances in our choices, including choices to rob, rape, or kill.”
Tom Clark, Director of the Center for Naturalism, in his article "Maximizing Liberty"

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

As John Ortberg wrote, "All day long we are bombarded with messages that seek to persuade us of two things: that we are (or ought to be) discontented and that contentment is only one step away: 'Use me, buy me, eat me, wear me, try me, drive me, put me in your hair.'"

She Knew How Babies Are Made

Sceptics and atheists, laugh at the very thought of a virgin (specifically Jesus' mother Mary) becoming pregnant by the Holy Spirit. This would be impossible for the Creator of the universe to bring about, they say, even though your run-of-the-mill gynaecologist could make it happen, practically in h/her office.

Mary knew that virgins don't get pregnant. That's why she asked the angel, “How can this be, for I am a virgin?” People of the day knew that people aren't healed, storms aren't calmed and the dead aren't raised by the spoken word. They knew this, but the events happened before their very eyes. What could they do? They weren't so stupid as to say, as is true of atheists, "Because it doesn't agree with my world-view, It didn't happen.”

This leads to one more reason why the miracles listed in the Bible are believable. You see, the fact that the pregnancy occurred, or that Jesus was walking on water or that the storm was calmed is not argued by the enemies of Jesus. What these hostile witnesses do instead is come up with alternate explanations for what obviously happened. They don't even attempt to say that people weren't healed, for they obviously were healed. Instead, Jesus was accused of healing (doing work) people on the Sabbath.

In the face of reality, atheists are left with helpless pleas that, “It didn't happen.” They do it in multiple areas:

When an intelligent person wilfully abandons reason and begins to posit finite infinities, causeless beginnings and beginningless beginnings, I know that I’m dealing with someone involved in a desperate attempt to avoid a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists.

When an intelligent person wilfully abandons classical historical scholarship and begins to deny known and knowable facts of history, but only as they apply to the person of Jesus, I know that I’m dealing with someone who is confronted with a philosophically unacceptable conclusion:
Creator God exists.

When an intelligent person claims to follow whatever ethical standard is currently in vogue and calls that a reasonable way to live, I know that I’m dealing with someone involved in a desperate, fearful attempt to avoid a philosophically unacceptable conclusion:
Creator God exists.

When someone ignores Occam’s Razor and goes in search of ever more complicated solutions, abandoning one after another, after another, after another, not because of new evidence but because of a need to avoid the conclusion indicated by current evidence, and when that person never returns to a simple solution that coincides with current knowledge and common sense, I know that I’ve encountered an individual who has been confronted with a philosophically unacceptable conclusion:
Creator God exists. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thankful for Stuff?

At Thanksgiving we usually focus on the things that we've been given, and for good reason. As promised, Jesus meets all our needs. But at one point in His ministry, Jesus described both the characteristics of a righteous person and He described what's in store for those citizens of His Kingdom.

In His call to a life of righteousness, Jesus taught:

. “God blesses those who are poor in spirit and who acknowledge their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs because of their trust in God.
. God blesses those who mourn for the sinful state of the nation and for the suffering and loss that comes with living in a fallen world, for as citizens of His Kingdom they will be comforted by God.
. God blesses those who are humble and who, like Jesus, shun pride in all its forms, for in the coming Kingdom it is the humble who will inherit the whole earth.
. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice and righteousness, who long to obey Jesus and who say with fervent passion, “Your will be done on earth and in my life,” for as citizens of God's Kingdom they will be fully satisfied.
. God blesses those who are merciful and who show kindness to those in distress, for God will show them mercy.

. G
od blesses those whose hearts are pure, those who do not rely on the trappings of tradition and ceremony to be right with God, for in the coming Kingdom it is the pure and humble and repentant who will see God.

God blesses those who work for peace, who show an absence of hostility toward others and who work for the salvation of their enemies. Those who strive for justice, righteousness, reconciliation, and mercy as a natural effect of their salvation will be called children of God.

. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for expressing His grace to their enemies, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

Jesus promises to meet our needs, and our greatest need; our soul's deepest longing is for a healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus, a relationship that expresses itself in a love for others.

Our real blessings, those things for which we need to be truly thankful can only be attained through Jesus who came to proclaim good news to the poor.  He came to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, release from darkness for prisoners, and to comfort all who mourn.

Friday, October 11, 2013

But I Don't Like The Music

I saw a blog with the heading “Christian children face many challenges.”

Sure they do.

Like, Which Christian tunes should I download? Do we have to have the same Youth Pastor this year? Sunday School is boring. What if my professor laughs at me?

Christian young people are not alone. Adults are also hard pressed on every side.

Our Pastor is old fashioned. Our Pastor is too much into young people. Or we whine, “But I don't like the music.”

It's tough here in North America. Pfft!

If I have to hear one more prayer thanking God that we can worship without fear of persecution I just might throw something.

We NEED persecution! We need to actually think about what it means to follow Jesus.

When the Church first began, and spread like a wild-fire, and even today where the Gospel of Jesus seems unstoppable, it's in those countries where to confess Jesus as Lord means your job, your family and your life are on the line – daily!

In those countries where being a Christian is considered just a little bit this side of treason, prison is a real possibility for you and your relatives. In fact there is a good chance your Pastor disappeared months ago.

Following Jesus in China, or India or any country dominated by Islam means that you are seen as a destabilizing force in the country. In these countries where persecution is real and tangible, real character transformations takes place. To be a follower of Jesus in those countries means that you have a crystal clear understanding of Jesus' comment, “Pick up your cross daily, and follow Me.” In countries where Christianity is booming, there are no casual fans of Jesus, no fancy Churches, no squabbles about sound systems.

As Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Who Am I – Really?

Oh baby! Do atheists ever hate to hear a Christian's description of who humans are at their core.

If we say that we have no sin, we are lying to ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

That was written by a man who was a disciple, student and follower of Jesus. “We have erred, strayed from Your ways, just like lost sheep. Worse still, we are often purposely lost. There is no one who is righteous, not a single person. We are miserable offenders. Even our best works are nothing but dressed up sins.”

Most people find it difficult to admit to these truths, because that is where they stop. They refuse to meditate on why God insists that we admit who we really are. For if we can't or won't admit that we are in need of forgiveness, we will be incapable of recognizing and receiving the good news of Jesus' offer of salvation.

Those who lie to themselves about being good are also, to a person, those who reject Jesus. They reject Him as Creator, Saviour and Lord. They are self-righteous with no perception that they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and spiritually naked.”

There is good news in accepting my fallen nature. That good news comes in the fact that it no longer matters. 
I'm saved. 
I'm free. 
I'm forgiven. 
I have no need to dwell on my past. I have no need for self-transformation or endless efforts at self-improvement. Jesus has taken care of it all. The focus is taken completely off of me and it is placed where it belongs. On Jesus the Christ. 

Who am I really? A sinner, saved by Grace.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I spent a long time trying to come to grips with my doubts and suddenly I realised that I had better come to grips with what I believe. I have since moved from the agony of questions that I cannot answer to the reality of answers that I cannot escape and it’s a great relief.”
Tom skinner.

Leaving Church / Leaving Jesus

Much has been made of the fulfilment of prophecy that bears witness to the massive exodus from that Church that is taking place before our very eyes. I'm not going to go into the reasons for why people leave, nor the fact (as atheists so desperately wish was true) that these people are not necessarily also leaving Jesus.

My point is that those who think they'll grow closer to Jesus by leaving a hypocritical, dysfunctional congregation are profoundly naive and spiritually blind.

G.K. Chesterton responded, “I am,” to the question, “What's wrong with the world?” Each of us (including those who are leaving the Church) should give the same answer to, “What's wrong with the Christian Church?”

The heart is desperately wicked. Who can understand it?”

To think that verse applies to everyone else but me is tragic nonsense. To believe that any effort to grow closer to Jesus, including leaving the Church, without that attempt being corrupted and saprogenic is, as I said, profoundly naive.

Paul tells us to “Don't quit meeting together as some have begun to do.”

He says this because learning to love others, our enemies no less, is critical to our spiritual growth. The main thing that we have in common with those sitting in the Church Pews with us is that we've been called to salvation by Jesus. The differences in our personalities and interests, and loving those who possess those differences is a refining process. This process can't be ignored if we are serious about being transformed into character of Jesus.

Loving those who are different than us gives us a glimpse into God's love for us; fallen creatures as dissimilar to God in holiness as any difference can be.

Leaving a difficult environment to seek out those like us, those with similar interests, those who will not irritate and annoy us, and then believing that we are somehow made new because we no longer display anger is simply lying to ourselves. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Breast Recall

I did a flippant post on Breast Appreciation Month a few days ago. And that post caused me to recall an incident that happened, oh maybe 15 years ago.

The incident involved breasts.
I recalled the incident.
Breast Recall.
Get it?
Okay, so maybe its not my best stuff.

Anyhow, I'm sitting in my office with my 10:00, who brought her baby with her. It's not an ideal situation but, it happens. She's a new client so I should maybe point out that because by this point in my career, I not only have a graduate degree and several thousand hours of counselling experience, I can tell right off that this woman is gorgeous. I mean, her face is flawless as is the rest, right down to the tips of her toes.

I shake my head, blink my eyes and force myself to pay attention.

So she's telling me how she's been really really tired ever since the baby was born and how her husband is doing nothing at all to lighten her load. She feels angry and resentful all the time and she thinks that the baby isn't sleeping well because he's picking up on the tension in the house. 

That's when the baby begins to fuss, and we have to stop the conversation.

I'm kind of a “look a squirrel!” kind of guy, so distractions have little trouble distracting me. However, babies have to go somewhere so I try to block it out. And then something happens that simply can't be ignored.

The mother decides the baby is fussy because he's hungry and she begins to unbutton her top. She unbuttons her top all the way. Not only is she not wearing a nursing bra. She's not wearing any bra at all.

Perhaps now you understand why I recall this incident.

She pulls both sides of her top out of the way so both breasts are fully out there, and latches the little darling on to her right breast. Then without missing a beat, she continues by asking if I thought she should demand that her husband do more to help, or wait and see how exhausted she has to get before he notices.

It is summer and it is warm (and getting warmer) in my office so I understand not wanting to smother the child with some kind of blanket to cover up. But this woman is really relaxed about this sort of thing. She didn't even bring a blanket or some sort of cover. She had no intentions of covering up. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for breastfeeding. I mean, you know, mothers feeding their babies that way. It's just that – okay – it made me wish she wasn't so incredibly beautiful. I'm feeling guilty about my thoughts. My eyebrow muscles ache. For the last five minutes my brows have been in a high high arch trying to keep my eyes from losing eye contact with her.

You may think there must have been something wrong with her. That she had an ulterior motive for exposing so much of herself. I don't think so. She wasn't making a statement or anything like that. I know what making a statement looks like. Like the time a young woman was in my office. She was sent by Parole for an addictions assessment. Complexion as white as rice, wearing an Afro the size of huge watermelon and a tee shirt saying, “Eat Shit.” She was making a statement.

To the breast of my recollection, this young mother was simply taking care of her baby and looking for a little understanding. At least that's what I recall.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I'm Of Three Minds

So I was asked to do the Sermon a bit ago. I hate doing that kind of thing. On the other hand I know what it's like to ask people to help out and listen to one after another say “no.” So I said yes. But I hate speaking in front of people. My ego can't handle it.  

So I am saying my thing when over there on the left and near the back, I notice Tracy. But that's not possible. Tracy is in Brazil on a missions trip. And I'm thinking about how Tracy can't be in two places at the same time when I realize that my mouth is still talking. At the exact same time that I'm solving how Tracy can be in Brazil and in the second from last row near the north exit, I'm still giving the sermon.

This is bad. I've got to get control of my mind. I'm not even sure what my mouth has been saying. So I force my head to turn somewhere else, and there is Greg working at his teeth with a toothpick. He's going at it like he's his own dental hygienist. I mean, his toothpick is digging and scratching and cleaning and cleaning. His head is bent way back -

Yikes! I'm still talking. How can that be? How can a brain be saying what needs to be said AND notice that someone is picking his teeth AND think about thinking about how the brain can do that?

It can't be possible.
I must be screwing up.
I'm making a fool of myself.

Look at your notes!

That's when I notice Dave. He is leaning so far to the right, well, to his left, it looks like Dave is about to capsize. And I'm still talking.

I'm starting to feel genuine panic.

I've GOT to stop.
I've GOT to concentrate.

So I force myself to not look at anyone. I gaze at the ceiling. I focus at a spot where the wall meets the ceiling at the far end of the hall. And that's when I see the camera. Huh. I always thought the camera was a lot closer to the front.

And I'm still talking when this all starts to strike me as humorous. I almost laugh out loud at the the absurdity of what's taking place. This all resembles some sort of dream.

I'm trying hard to concentrate on the sermon while also thinking that by not looking at anyone, and instead looking at the ceiling, I must resemble Steven as he's being stoned to death and heaven has been opened before him and he sees Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

I contemplate spreading my arms wide and saying, "Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit." 

Bad plan. 
Don't do it.
They might laugh. I like to make people laugh
No, don't do it.

I lower my eyes only to notice that Mr. and Mrs. Benson are smiling. Crap. Have I said something stupid? No, they're nodding. They're agreeing with what I've said.

I'm exhausted.
My legs are weak.
I've never stood this long – for maybe ever.
I need some water.
Cold water.

Hey! I'm on the last paragraph. Somehow I've made it through a 40-45 minute talk. And I go to sit down. I shake my head at the mess I must have made of things. With head bowed and elbows resting on my knees, I resemble a man praying against impossible odds. I make a promise to myself that I'll never again say “yes” to doing anything like this. A couple people come up and tell me that they really like my “message.” Are they joking? Are they serious? I can't tell.

A few days later, I listen to the sermon on the Church's website. I have the text of my sermon in front of me while I listen to the audio and it's practically word for word bang on. Kind of monotone perhaps, but hey, I've never pretended that I'm a public speaker.

That's not the point. The point is -

A person really can do public speaking while not just thinking about something else, analyzing something else, solving another problem. A person can do public speaking while thinking about how it's possible to think about something else.

How in the world can a brain do something like that?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Breast Appreciation Month

Have you noticed? It's Breast Appreciation Month. Every football player and baseball player and boxer is dressed in pink.

It's beautiful actually.

Pink wristbands, Pink towels. Pink socks, Pink gloves.

And all because we don't want to lose one single breast.
Keep em all right where they are.
It's good.
I'm as pro breast as the next guy. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Jesus cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself because there is no such thing as peace and happiness apart from Him. I think one of the most common reasons that people conclude that God doesn't exist is when they have expectations of God that He never agreed to, and when He doesn't deliver on THEIR erroneous expectations, they conclude, “God must not exist,” or, “God can't be trusted.

It Would Be Funny If . . .

Have you heard that line? “It'd be funny if it wasn't so sad.”
I heard it again the other day as an atheist was raging against the God she doesn't believe in.

Why was she doing something so illogical?
Because, she said, God is going to “torture good people.”

Atheists, you see, demand justice. They want things to be fair. Atheists hate it when bad things happen to good people (them).

If it would be funny if it wasn't so sad, but atheists also hate it when good things (salvation) happen to bad people (everyone else). Like the criminal on the cross, or the criminal down the street. Oh how they howl in protest at the thought of Jesus' forgiveness being given to those who are morally in need (in reality, all of us).

Thursday, October 3, 2013

To journey for the sake of saving our own lives is little by little to cease to live in any sense that really matters, even to ourselves, because it is only by journeying for the world’s sake – even when the world bores and sickens and scares you half to death – that little by little we start to come alive.”

Frederick Buechner, The Sacred Journey: A Memoir of Early Days