Thursday, April 28, 2011

Singing Rocks

"I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Jesus is replying to the Pharisees when they are upset with the followers praising Christ on his entry into Jerusalem.

It reminds me how very important the job of singing Christs' praises is. It is so vital that God will make the stones cry out if we, as Christians, fail to do our job. While that would be something amazing to see, I don't want to be in the position of being disobedient to God in order to see singing rocks.

It also reminds me that I am no one special. I am not particularly eloquent, intelligent, or gifted. I am not the focus here. It is my job to focus others on Christ. I am no more important than a stone. I am blessed to be used by God, but I should always keep in mind that it is ALL about Him and not about me. After all, if a rock can do my work, it certainly doesn't take any great skill.

Let's be sure that we are not keeping silent. Don't let the rocks take your job away (there is already enough problem with outsourcing these days). Sing His praise loud and long. Don't worry if anyone is listening or not, if they agree or not, if they choose Christ or not. Leave that up to God. Let's be sure that we are being obedient to our call.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Liar, Lunatic or Lord?

For the past two years I have asked my facebook friends who are not believers to please share with me how it is they handle the resurrection of Christ. I am sincerely interested. I think that I would find that a huge stumbling block if I were not a Christian, so I wonder how it is they overcome it. I think I have my answer. In two years not one of these people has responded. My conclusion is that they have no response to the resurrection of Christ. There is not logical way to rebut the evidence that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and if he did in fact rise from the dead, then they have no logical reason to not believe every other claim made in the Bible. My guess is that they just don't think about the resurrection. If you don't acknowledge it, it never happened seems to be the thought process. Maybe they take their cues from Bill Clinton and are busily arguing over the meaning of "is". I don't know why not one could bother to answer a serious but simple inquiry. My hope is that they are now thinking about this miracle and doing a bit of research. I know where the search will lead, so I look forward to hearing their questions and arguments in the future. God has the answers ready for them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Left, Right, Left, Right

They say that religion and politics don't mix. It seems to me that they are completely intertwined. One's religion shapes one's worldview. It affects every area of your life including your views in the political arena. There really seems to be no escaping that fact. I don't know that I agree with Kevin McCullough completely in his assessment of the Right and Left, but he is certainly on to something. "The primary difference between the Left and the Right is their view of God. To the Right, God is someone who is outside of humanity, uncontrollable by human effort, beyond them, sovereign over them. Whether we are talking about observant Jews, Orthodox, Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, charismatics, or evangelical Christians,to people on the right, God is an authority in their lives, who guides their actions, calls them to repentance, and seeks to mold them into better people, with greater integrity, who ultimately impact their world. To the Left, God is someone who might not exist. Or if he does, he is relatively uninvolved or uninterested and certainly unauthoritative in today's world. He might be controlled by human intent. He may even be able to be squelched altogether. But generally speaking, his is unwanted, unneeded, or needed on the terms of what the person desires, no what true omnipotence would logically require." K. McCullough, No He Can't Think about the people you know on the Right and the Left. Think about their religious views. Can you see that those views shape how they vote, the issues they deem important, and their idea of the American dream? I sure can.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No He Can't

I received the book No He Can't How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change for free as a part of the booksneeze blogger review program. All views written here are my own. I will start out by saying that I have never been a big fan of President Obama. While he campaigned on "Hope and Change" I wondered where he planned to get the funds for all of his change. I had no problem with Americans wanting something different than what they currently had in the political realm, but it was my opinion that we weren't questioning the change quite enough. Kevin McCullough points out with clarity the reasons behind many of my own (and others) misgivings concerning our current President and his goals for America. While some will find the book biased, I can find no lies in the things Mr. McCullough says. He has a great way of cutting through the muck and double speak of politics to make things clear to the average person. For this alone, I am grateful. I wish there were more honest writers out there seeking to do the same. Though McCullough is no fan of President Obama, he does not hesitate to point out where positive strides have been made during this administration. I would hope that many would bother to read this book before voting in our next presidential election. If more had done their homework the last time, the change we received might have been more like that which we had hoped for. It is our responsibility as voters to vet those wishing to represent us in Washington. Mr. McCullough's clear insights might just help us to do a better job of it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

To Conform or Transform, That is the Question

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will." A friend mentioned this verse a few days ago, and I have been thinking about it a lot since then. I checked a couple of things in my dictionary, and this is what I understand the verse to mean. Do not be the same as or very similar to the pattern of this world, but be altered in character, condition or nature by the making new spiritually or regenerating of your mind. This seems to be a pretty clear cut admonition to the people of God and by extension to His church as a whole. So what does it mean for the church? I think it means that we don't dispose of the pulpit in church just because some people don't realize that it is useful to give a picture of setting apart the Word of God and elevating it above everything else. It doesn't mean that the only music played or sung in a worship service has to be less than five years old. It doesn't mean that a Starbucks needs to be in the narthex. It doesn't mean that we stop using words like justification and sanctification because some people will have to go look those up after the service. It doesn't mean we stop talking about sin, its consequences, and the wonderful gift of salvation through Christ's work. Mostly, it does not mean we should put the comfort of people before the worship of our Holy Lord. The church is called to NOT follow the same pattern as the world. It is to be different. Really different. Stand out from the crowd different. That doesn't mean that Christians shouldn't care about those who are lost. They should seek to build those relationships. Volunteer in the schools, invite your neighbors to dinner, start a lunchtime discussion group at work. Get to know those around you who don't yet belong to the Lord. Share with them who He is and what He has done. Then, invite them to worship our glorious, wonderful Lord and Saviour with you at your church. Let them see just a glimpse of heaven where you worship. If God is working in their hearts, they will be back. You know they will because that is His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hoshimoto's in the House

When Tori was about 18 months, we took her to the doctor because we were a little concerned about her speech. She wasn't speaking much and wasn't clear when she did speak. We were pretty much patted on the head and sent home with the admonition that "all kids develop at different rates". Tori is number 4 for us, so we knew that and persisted in bringing up the speech problems. When we finally got a doctor to listen, we found that for inusrance purposes there were many treatments to try for her before sending her to an ENT. It took us until she was 3 to get her to an ENT and have a auditory specialist give her a hearing test. By then, she could hear only 10% from one ear and 40% in the other. They removed adnoids, inserted tubes, and things improved unbelievably. I confess that I was not a happy camper until that point. It frustrated me that no one would listen to her mom about what was wrong. I chomped at the bit at the restrictions insurance companies placed on getting the right doctors and treatments. I confess that I forgot that our God has perfect timing and works all things out for the good of them that love him. After two sets of tubes, Tori was visiting her ENT for a final check up before being dismissed as his patient. He discovered that her thyroid was a little large and ordered some blood work and a referral to a pediatric endocrinologist. It turns out that at age 8 Tori was diagnosed with Hoshimoto's disease. This is an auto immune disorder usually diagnosed in women in their late 20s or 30s where the body attacks the thyroid as an alien body. Left untreated, it would be fatal, but treatment is simple, a daily dose of thyroid medication. The difficulty comes about in finding the correct dosage of medication. This involves bloodwork every 6-8 weeks in order to test hormone levels. This last year we finally had the correct dosage and were happily living our lives. Unfortunately for my sweet 12 yr old, puberty plays havoc with hormone levels and thyroid function. This means that her last bloodwork (done 2/year when all is well) showed seriously increased numbers. That puts us back at square one in terms of determining dosage. Our idea of perfect would be that this first try at an increased dosage is just what she needs. The reality is that we are probably in for another couple of years of trying new dosages every couple of months. This in not a tragedy, but it is no fun. In all of this, God shows himself to be good and caring. His timing allowed for her to begin treatment very early in the disease. It has made her doctor more aware of Hoshimoto's as a possibility in young girls so that he has diagnosed a couple more girls and has done much study. There is readily available medication to treat her so that life is normal. One pill each morning is such an easy thing to do. Driving to Orlando to visit the doctor gives us some much needed time for girl talk in a house full of testosterone. We appreciate your prayers that the right dosage of medication will be found quickly.