Archive for December, 2009

Crunch Time

December 15, 2009

It is the end of the semester.  Finals are being taken by students everywhere.  Some will have prepared diligently for this final opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned through the last few months.  Others will frantically cram in the last few hours before a test that they knew was coming since the beginning of the semester.  Some will just show up and hope that somehow they will pass.   A few will not even bother to show up.

One way or another, it will all be over soon.  All that will remain is a grade on a transcript, varying amounts of accumulated knowledge, and the memories of the experience, that will have been good for some, but not for all.

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Wahi (not a vacation destination)

December 14, 2009

Wahi is a Japanese word that means poverty.  In Zen Buddhist teachings, it is used to emphasis a life that is free from dependence on wealth, reputation and power.  (G. Kessler:Voices of Wisdom)

When I read this in preparation for my class, I was confronted with the questions: “How many pastors of Christian churches desire to have wealth, reputation or power?”  and   “Am I pursuing, or desiring wealth, reputation or power?”  and “How can we reconcile that with the command of Jesus to ‘Take up your cross and follow me’  ” ???

It was thought provoking.  Does the American church need to realign its thinking?  Has the gospel of health, wealth and prosperity distorted our thinking?  Have we drifted off course?

Can we be rebuked and corrected from a non-Christian source?

Just some random thoughts, and questions.

2nd Stimulus Package

December 10, 2009

President Obama is pushing for a second stimulus package.  He seems to think that we can spend our way out of economic trouble. 

That would be fine, if we had the money to spend.  When we continuously borrow money to pay for our ever-increasing programs we are headed towards economic disaster instead of economic recovery.  Instead of adding to the deficit, in the hopes of recovery, we should be reducing our spending.  Our economy will recover on its own if we quit adding to the burden placed upon the business world.  When families overspend, they go bankrupt.  When businesses overspend, they go out of business.  What will happen if our government continues to overspend?

It won’t be good.

Winter is Here!

December 9, 2009

For Iowa, it may still be officially autumn on the calender, but it is safe to say that winter is here.

Just last week I rode my motorcycle to the college.

Not this week.

Iowa has been hit with a winter storm packing three stages.  First, snow ranging from 3-18 inches, then winds picking up, then the temperatures dropping significantly. 

Oh, joy.

Many schools have cancelled, so students have the time off.  For this teacher, there is still plenty of work to do.  It is the end of the semester and there are papers to grade, tests and study guides to update, and of course, the normal daily routine, and church duties. 

After I shovel the snow….

Christmas Lights

December 8, 2009

I enjoy the lights of Christmas.  One of our family traditions has been to take some time specifically to drive around looking at the light displays.  Some of the families really go all out with spectacular arrangements of various colors and designs.  It takes a lot of work, and a lot of money to put together those expressions of Christmas spirit.

When I see Christmas lights I can’t help but think that Christ has told us that we are the light of the world. (Math 5:14)   I wonder how much effort we put into letting our light shine?

“Let your light so shine before men, that they will see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven.”  (Math 5;16)

The “To Do” List

December 7, 2009

I have used a “to do” list since I was a MIMMS clerk in the Marine Corps.  (For those of you who know me and thought that I was a tanker; I was a tanker, who was assigned to serve my company as a  MIMMS clerk for part of my enlistment.)  The list helped me to stay organized and gave me a sense of how much was done, and how much was left to do. 

To this day, I use a “to do” list.  In my case there are five sections: the first section is the daily list, those things that I do every day.  The second portion is the contact list, those people who I need to visit, email, call or write.  The third portion is the today list; that is comprised of the things that are scheduled and need to be done on that particular day.  The fourth portion is the top six things that are waiting to be completed if I have time to work on them.  The final portion is labeled extras and is everything else that I would like to do, or need to do, but that is not a high priority.  These items are placed on the list and dated, so I will know how long it takes to get them done.  (Some things are on the list for years!) 

Monday through Thursday, I update the list and print it out.  This enables me to take it with me, cross things off as they are completed, and helps me to remember what needs to be done.  Once it is on my list, I won’t forget, but it might take me a while to get to it.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, have their own lists,  but those lists are primarily in my head, although I may work off of Thursday’s list. 

The list helps me to organize and prioritize my day.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment as I check things off.  It helps me to know at the end of the day how to answer the question “What did you do today?”  I am not chained to it, but it certainly helps me to stay organized.

Enjoy Today

December 3, 2009

“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalms 118:24

Do not think to yourself, “I’ll be happy when…”

Be happy today.

True joy comes from being in the presence of God; and we are able to enter into His presence at anytime, and anywhere.  When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, it is possible to enjoy even the most tedious of tasks.

This does not mean that we shouldn’t make plans for the future, that we shouldn’t have dreams and goals towards which we work, it means that we should enjoy the journey, the journey of our lives. 

Look around you.              See the good.                 Enjoy today.

The Word of God

December 2, 2009

The Bible is the word of God.

The Bible contains God’s word for us.

These are two widely prevalent views of the Bible.  At first glance these two statements might seem to be synonymous.  There is, however, a significant difference.  In the first statement, we accept the Bible as God’s Word.  All of it.  We seek to understand it.  In the second view, the Bible contains God’s word…mixed in with the words of men.  The goal is to discern what is the Word of God, and what are the words of men.  In the first view we recognize that our lives will be judged by the Word, and in the second view, we spend our lives, judging the word.

I believe that the Bible is the Word of God. 

I seek to understand it.

Daily Bread

December 1, 2009

A few years ago, a young woman in our church wrote a poem that she called “Our Daily Jesus”.  It was about our need for Christ to be present in our lives each day.  “Give us this day our daily bread.” as prayed in the Lord’s Prayer, takes on a new meaning as we remember that Jesus said that he was the bread of life which came down from heaven.   Not only do we need our daily food requirements, but we also need a daily dose of Jesus.  Actually, our desire is for Him to fill our lives to overflowing, so that people will see His nature in us.