Luke 6:41 NIV

Luke 6:41 NIV
"Why do [I] look at the speck of sawdust in [my] brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in [my] own eye?"


My Name Is "Ridiculous" & My Favorite Color Is "Clear"

There's a news report of a lady in Florida who is a divorced Christian involved in a sexual relationship with a man, her boyfriend. She was part of a church, Grace Community Church near Jacksonville, and had a spiritual "mentor" at the church. She confessed to the sexual relationship to this mentor who, in turn, told not only the pastor and elders and later other women in the church. The lady, the topic of this thread, was unable to end the relationship with the man after many failed attempts. So the women that had been told of this information confronted the "accused" in private. Thus far, everything is going, I think, according to the Biblical standard of correction.

The lady, unrepentant and HIGHLY offended, was, with good reason, very hurt. Her personal business spoken in confidence was now semi-public knowledge. Now she no longer tried, but refused to end the relationship with the man and was further admonished verbally. (Apparently one of the female congregants had even waited OVERNIGHT at the lady's house and reported that the lady never came home that night: implying she spent the night with her boyfriend.) She ultimately left the church, as was the right thing to do. Her children, I think 18 and 21 yrs. old continue to attend the church.

Here's the topic of this discussion: even after she left the church, the board of elders and the pastor sent a typed letter to the lady stating that if she did not end the relationship with the man they would, in accordance to the Bible, "TELL THE CHURCH" of her indiscretions. The lady was extremely offended, yet still unrepentant and/or unwilling and/or unable to leave the man, reminded the pastor (Pastor the way...that's his real name) she was no longer a member of that church. Still, according to the pastor, if she did continue the relationship with this man then on January 4, 2009 the news would be told to the church congregation publicly.

Offended and hurt, the lady did the only reasonable thing ... conducted an interview with the media stating her disagreement with the church making her "situation" public. In the interview she stated she was concerned about her children finding out, and thought it was wrong for the church to air her private life publicly to a church she didn't even attend. So she, in order to expose the churches supposed error, ... conducted an interview with the media. She felt her life was her personal life and was a private matter so she ... conducted an interview with the media. She ... conducted an interview with the media. Really ... THE MEDIA?! HEL-L-O-O-O?!

... thoughts?



Every once in a while something happens to you that makes you say, "You know what? Everything is going to be o.k."

Whether your bills are paid, or you had a fight with your spouse or parent or friend, or you have to go to the hospital for a "test"...there are things in life that supercede all those. I believe these are moments from God. And I believe that He shows these things to believers and un-believers alike. Those who do believe in God and those who do not believe in God are equally likely to see these small touches of His goodness.

I remember when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I was on a camping trip in the Blue Ridge mountains in northern Va. We had spent the night on the top of a mountain and were coming back down the other side. It was early morning and we were crossing over a stream. We were walking on a natural "bridge" made by a tree than had fallen across the stream. The tree was so large that two people could walk side by side across it without any real fear of falling off. I was walking across this tree and stopped right in the center of the stream. I looked and could see down the stream, into a valley and could see some foothills in the distance. The early morning mist was rising and the sun was beaming through the treetops. The mist was creating these shafts of light that were so soothing to my eyes. A sense of peace overwhelmed me. I just stopped and stared for a few moments. I thought to myself, "How can I look at this and say there is no God?" It was the beauty of God's nature. In my own way, at 9 or 10, I just worshiped for a few moments. Not in song, or gesture, but in heart.

A few weeks ago I took vacation to the outer banks of North Carolina. My mother and I walked out and sat on the beach late one night and were just making small talk. After a few minutes of silence, she just began praying. Nothing extravagant...she just prayed. Right in the middle of her prayer the sky lit up with the largest shooting star we'd ever seen. It was not a moment that was frozen in photo, but a moment that was imbedded on my heart. An emotion...a piece of time...a memory that stands as an internal photo.

I was in Africa in February 2006. The area of Kampala, Uganda had been suffering a drought that had been ongoing since June or July of 2005. There had been a short rain in November of 2005, but nothing of any significance. It was so dry that it was suggested we stock up on dust masks, cough drops and sinus medicine before leaving for Uganda. We did. The night we arrived we were talking with a local pastor about the drought and the effects it was having on the community. We were staying in a resort located very near Lake Victoria. The surrounding areas depended on hydroelectric power, but due to the drought, that was in short supply. Power was cut off every evening and turned back on every morning. All water had been shut off to the hotel and we bathed with buckets. We prayed the second night we were there that God would bring rain. Not for ourselves, or because we didn't like to bathe with buckets, but because we could see the toll the drought was taking on the people and the land. Later that very night, with no rain in the forecast, it began to rain. In fact, it began to pour. Of 16 days we were there, it rained 10-12 of those days. Don't get me wrong. Was it because of our prayers? Probably not. How dare I think that the people of Africa, who had been praying LONG before we got there, weren't "doing it right", and that our prayers actually made the difference. How dare I think that we brought the rain. The fact that God chose to answer the prayers of the people of Africa while we were there was a moment in time that will forever be imbedded in my heart. I lived a two week miracle.

Throughout Israel's history God gave the people "things to look to" to give themselves reasons to hope and trust in Him. He gave Adam & Eve the garden. Land was distributed by sight. The Israelites followed a literal cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. Joshua laid stones in the Jordan, and on it's banks. The Israelite tribe looked upon the serpent on a pole for healing, until they turned it into an idol. Elijah saw a cloud forming off in the distance. Moses saw a burning bush. John the Baptist saw a dove descend. Hundreds of people saw Jesus ascend. Saul saw a bright light. Today we are to look to Jesus. Look to the cross. John 12:32 says "But I[Jesus], when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself."

Isaiah 44 says mountains, forests and trees will burst into song. Isaiah 55 says the trees will not only burst into song, but will clap their hands. Psalm 69 says the heavens and the earth will praise God. Psalm 93 says the seas will lift up their voice to God. The heavens, the earth and all that are in them will praise God. One day EVERY KNEE will bow (and if you don't have knees...?) and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

Try to take a moment each day and reflect on God's goodness. Take note of the tiny things. Allow God to work in you in His own way; through a shooting star, through a whisper in your spirit, through another person...God is not limited how He shows Himself to us. When He does, it requires a response. That response is worship. Respond.

With Faith Like A Child

The beauty of a child.

When I was a young teen, early twenties dude I wanted nothing to do with kids. My brothers have lots of kids, and after several simultaneous visits I swore I would never have them. Now I have four. Nothing breaks my heart more than to see a child in pain, either by sickness or by violence. Nothing makes my heart more glad than to hear a child laugh. But it's not about me. In Matthew 19:14 Jesus says, "let the children come to me...unhindered...for theirs is the kingdom".

I read story after story, day after day, of violence and injustice being committed against children. Just last week, over 170 people were arrested in a child pornography sting. I think about the parents of these children; I think about the futures of these children and my heart breaks. The blatant removal of innocence by perverts. The total disregard for human life is enough for me to wish death. But it's not my place. Vengence is God's.

I love the conversations my 2, 4, and 6 year old boys have together. They mostly involve Transformers, Speed Racer and the Wiggles, but their philosophies are timeless. Only in their world can GI JOE, OPTIMUS PRIME and MURRY (THE RED WIGGLE) occupy the same space in time. Three "real" people...a Freedom Fighter, an alien robot and an Australian guitarist with an uncomfortable affinity for all things RED...who would never be caught in the same room under any circumstance suddenly have complete and total relevance in the imagination of my 4 year old. I have a friend who has a son around 6. He knows more about NASA, spaceships and space travel than 99% of all adults I've ever spoken to. To spend five minutes with this boy is to realize that he doesn't just WANT to be an astronaut...he already IS.

His future, in his limited mind, is already planned out. His hopes and dreams are alive and attainable. My daughter, who is not a baby anymore, wants nothing more than to open orphanages in Africa. The way she cares for her little brothers shows that she is more than capable. The only thing holding her back is a passport. The desire is there, the ability is there, the anointing is there. So will Jamie ever be an astronaut? Will Teanna ever open an orphanage? Will Elijah ever get to meet Optimus Prime? God only knows. The hope comes in the fact that 2 out of three of these desires are possible. That possiblility brings a realism to them that should not be squelched.

...and I read of 170 perverts...I read of the little Anthony girl in Florida...the brother and sister in Idaho...children across America, and the world whose dreams are dashed by selfish perverts. I wonder if Hell has a special place for those who are unrepentant about their crimes committed against children. Jesus describes that our faith is to be childlike.

As I was laying in bed last night I thought of the short time God gives us to prepare children. Typically about 18 years out of possibly 65-70 years on earth. I think of the years that have already passed with my own children and wonder if I have nurtured them the way God wants me to. Probably not. I'm trying. I'm trying to say "yes" to time spent with them. My 6 year old often comes up to me and says, "Hey dad, let's go to the couch and talk about Transformers" or "Hey dad, let's go talk about spelling some words." Sometimes I say no, like I'm too busy. Then I think about how stupid I am for being selfish. Yesterday I cooked soup with my sons. They all took turns stirring it. Even the 2 year old. I probably overcooked the soup. In fact, they said so. But they ate it anyway because they had a hand in cooking it. And they liked it. But I was so enthralled at seeing the joy they had in stirring it, I was left with no other choice than to allow the soup to burn. It was, after all, for the greater good.

I know I'm rambling, but my point is this: I like kids. I love children. I think God uses our children to teach us about ourselves and our relationship with Him (see my very first post on more about this topic.) It's not that I just like my own kids either. My heart breaks when I hear about sickness of any child, or any child going through pain or being treated badly. Children should not have any knowledge of cancer. Children should not have any knowledge of sex. Children should not have any knowledge of violence by people that are supposed to love each other. Children should not have to see daddy treat mommy bad. I think of these things and I want to become Superman, and fly all around the world putting and end to these injustices. I can't, though. I can pray. And I will. And I will do my part to stop these things from happening in my small world. I will try to make a difference in the things that are tangible to the things I can effect.

You can learn a lot from a child.

UPDATE: 16 DEC, 2008
I find it quite interesting that I posted this blog yesterday. Today it was released that the case has officially been closed in the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh, the son of John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted. John's tireless efforts to find his son's killer and undying love for his son have become recognized worldwide and were a catalyst in the formation for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Read a report here.