Archive for November, 2010

Retaliation is the Wrong Choice

November 30, 2010

Recently, a young man was arrested for attempting to set off an explosion during  a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon.

First, thank you to the good work of Homeland Security, and all other law enforcement agencies that participated in preventing this attack.  Great Job!!

Second, I would again want to remind us all that it is important that we not allow an escalation of hostilities.

There was a fire at an Islamic Center  in Corvallis, Oregon on Sunday.  Arson is suspected.  It seems likely that it was in retaliation for the failed bombing attempt.

The Bible clearly tells us to “Repay no one evil for evil.”  (Romans 12:17a)  By setting fire to this building we fan the flames of terrorism, giving radical Muslims a crime around which they can rally support for their ongoing activity.

Retaliation is against the teachings of Scripture.  It is against the law.  It is not effective in combatting terror.  It is the wrong choice of action.

The First Step

November 26, 2010

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  (Proverbs 9:10)

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, foe he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith is the initial premise to achieve true understanding.  Faith is not the conclusion to an argument.  When we interact with others we offer to them a relationship with Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  This offer is made through the Word of God, and is confirmed by the Spirit of God.  It is not achieved by logic, reason, or empirical proof; but by the Word, and the Spirit.  God has ordained that we must come to Him in faith, and then He will bring understanding as we grow in Him.

Faith is the first step that we take towards understanding.

Blending of the Good and Bad

November 24, 2010

Tonight is the first night of a three-day celebration of Thanksgiving.

This year is an interesting blend of emotions for me.  I have recently been diagnosed with some form of heart trouble and the future is uncertain.  There have been a variety of tests and I am scheduled to meet with my cardiologist soon to figure out what it all means.  One thing is certain.  Life has changed.

I am thankful for the many things with which  that the Lord has blessed me and my family.  I am most thankful for his presence in our lives and the confidence that he gives us to face an uncertain future.

As I sat at the computer to write this post, the roof over my head sprung a leak.  I cannot help but know that, although the problems seem to increase, the grace of God is always sufficient.

The turkey is almost done.

It smells good.

Examining The Faith

November 22, 2010

Why do we believe what we believe?

I believe that it is important to critically evaluate our religious practices and teachings.  By this I mean that we should think about what we believe, and about how we live.   We should be able to give a reason for the things that we believe, and say, and do.

Not everyone will have the time, or inclination to seriously probe our religious constructs.  Still it is important that  someone should, because people who are outside of the faith will challenge our conclusions with questions that we should be able to answer.

God is the source of ultimate Truth.  Our faith can stand up to rigorous examination because it is founded upon  that Rock.  The parts that fall away under critical review are the stubble and straw that accumulate over time.   The burning off of dross is a good thing that will result in a faith that is more pure.

That is a good thing.

 

Eye On The Prize

November 18, 2010

In Genesis 15:1, God tells Abraham ” I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”  As spiritual descendants  of Abraham we are able to take hold of this promise for ourselves.  The greatest blessing that we receive from God, is the relationship that we have with God through our faith in Jesus.   We are given the opportunity to walk this earth in a relationship with the Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings.  There is nothing in this world that can compare with that gift.

It is sad that so many people, even many Christian people , look to the things of this world to make them happy.  True joy is not found in the material stuff of this world, but in the One who created the heavens and the earth.  In our daily lives, may we keep our eyes on the prize, the “exceedingly great reward’.  May we walk on this earth, in a relationship with God Almighty.  May we be aware of His presence in our lives.

Half-Way There!

November 16, 2010

When I was in my teens, I would go to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for a few days almost every summer.  I was relatively small in stature, but wanted to prove that I was stronger than I looked, so I would volunteer to carry the canoe across the portages.  By the time I was sixteen, I could carry a canoe, while wearing a backpack, across the trails.

On long portages,  they would have places set up where you could lean the canoe, without actually setting it back on the ground.  This would give you an opportunity to rest and catch your breath.

The portages would be marked on the map with their distance.  It was always nice to know when you were at the half-way point, because it gave you an idea of how much further you had to travel.

I believe that I am likely at the half-way point of ministry.  I began my role as a lead pastor twenty years ago and, should Jesus tarry, and my health holds out, I imagine that I will continue in full-time ministry until I am seventy.

It is a good thing that I enjoy a challenge.  It has not been an easy portage, but I am at the half-way point, and it is well worth it.

Thank You, Veterans

November 11, 2010

Today is Veterans Day.  I would like to thank each person who has served in the military, in all of its branches, over the years.  Our country would not be what it is today without the willing sacrifice of the many who have served.  That service comes at varying prices.  Not all have had to endure combat, but all have given years of their life, in service to our country.  For those who have endured the horrors of war, it is a very difficult scar to heal in their lives.  Even for those who have never seen combat, their lives are forever changed by their time in service.

They all deserve our thanks, our prayers, and our support.

Show and Tell

November 8, 2010

Remember as children when we would bring some special item from home to show the class and to tell them about why it was special?

As Christians we are called to show others the difference that Christ makes in our lives.  We “show” them by living a life that is made different by the presence of Christ.  We are also called to tell them about Jesus.  They need to be told that Jesus makes the difference.  It is important that our lives not be just “show” or “tell” but a combination of both.

Judges Fired!

November 4, 2010

On Tuesday, November 2nd, Iowa voters decided the fate of three of the seven judges who decided that Iowa should legalize gay marriage.

They were fired.

Hopefully this will send a message throughout the country that the people do not want a small handful of people making decisions of that type, and  magnitude, in that fashion.  The decision of seven people did not strike down a new law, but in effect, created a new law of the land.  The attempt by legislatures to put into writing what had been the common practice, understanding, and law, of the state for one hundred and fifty years should not have been declared unconstitutional.

I am surprised by the observed response of the media.  It has been kept pretty quiet.  You would think that something that has never happened before would be a bigger story.  It has been a strange response.  I am curious to see what will be the ramifications of this action of the people of Iowa.

Finally Election Day

November 2, 2010

I am so tired of political ads on television and political calls at home.  I am glad that election day is finally here if for no other reason than I am ready for a break from the commercials and the calls.

I don’t pay attention to the ads.

I hang up on the calls.

They both still annoy me.

I did read something in the paper yesterday that bothered me.  A Republican leader stated that his two goals were “no compromise” after the election today, and to “win back the White House”.

I would like to suggest a different goal.

Work together with other elected officials to find ways to achieve the common good.

I can dream can’t I?