Thursday, May 21, 2015
Same sex marriage should be legal because this is not a Christian nation. Separation of church and state makes that pretty clear. Christian pastoral services should be reserved because pastors should have the right to not perform any of their services, including a marriage that they disagree with in belief or opinion. It is by the knowledge and presence of the law that sin is known, and it is by that knowledge of the law that Christianity will know what it opposes and what it supports. While this faith cannot compromise on clear, non-judgental beliefs that are grossly misunderstood, it can choose allow America to be what it needs to be and continue to be part of the freedoms that are offered. That is, until freedom is no longer granted.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
What is it about worship that is so powerful? Is it the music, the atmosphere, the energy, or the politics of it all? It seems like worship makes something powerful. What is being worshiped right now? Money. Sex. Substances. Fame. Freedom... Control. Control. Now, there is a powerful thing to worship. It creates, if not a substance then a presence. Control is the driving force of so many things in the current cultural development of North America. Substance control, political control, healthcare control, taxes, property, and even people are being controlled and manipulated. It's powerful and those who worship control are not only powerful people themselves, but are also enslaved to it. So by nature the very thing they worship controls them. God. The supreme being, the Creator, the myth, and deity. The worship of God is an anomaly amidst the various forms and arts of worship because the worship of God does not make one more powerful. He makes the worshipers more dependent on him, which is normally true about worship, but in return that dependence creates freedom from other bondages that enslave our typical man. It's unusual to observe something that grants independence from the rest of the natural world. What's more is that the more one worships God, the truth is, God does not become more powerful. He remains with or without his worshipers. Rather than control God offers self control. Rather than slavery God offers freedom. Rather than abuse God offers attentive care. The worship of God is powerful, because God is powerful.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 I suck at waiting. When I learned to cook it was with the burners on high. FAST, quick. Microwave me, God! Sometimes I have to stop and realize that God's plans, God's timing, God's movements, etc aren't always genie like. Rub the lamp and poof God appears to get it done with me or for me. Sometimes I have to wait for him to do and say things...and that's hard for me. But my mother-in-law has shown me that some of the best food is cooked "low and slow". God knows when the time is right. Such a short verse and such a hard concept for those of us who like to DO things ourselves, fast and work hard. Git er done! I guess it's just waiting for me today, no requests, no excuses, and no microwaves.
Monday, November 19, 2012
So, there's these awesome teens in my youth group named Alex and Deanna. They recently accepted a call ministry and, as a pastor, I am naturally drawn to facilitating this sort of thing. Kingswood was the name of the university that both felt drawn to, and interestingly enough this was my college. As we raised support and did some lawn jobs I had to prepare my sweet 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan for the 1280 mile trip into the great Canadian Atlantic region. $225 of repairs later we were ready for the road. Half way through the trip we noticed a hub cap was missing, but that wasn't enough to slow us down. Massachusetts and Maine presented us with a tremendous storm that was apparently the tail end of some hurricane, but that wasn't enough to stop us. My windshield wipers attacked each other in Maine, and when I pulled off the road we bottomed out on something and destroyed the muffler...but that wasn't enough to stop us. Loud muffler, wobbly balding tires, weirdo wipers, missing two hubcaps now, and 6 hours behind schedule due to the storm is just not enough to stop us. Upon arrival at Kingswood University we pretty much went straight to bed since it was after midnight. The next day one of my former professors helped me get the van to a shop who put a used muffler on...for $113...sheesh. Also Deanna opened the van door and ripped the gas cap off the day before which set off a sensor saying "service engine soon" so we actually got that fixed for free which was a nice change. The school was awesome and really inviting. The teens had a great experience. The visit was short lived and we had to begin our return journey, still not well rested. New Brunswick and Maine flew by like a breeze, also a nice change. But Massachusetts was a bugger again. 3am and still rocking at a cruise speed we were making great time, and then the worst happened. The biggest deer I've seen yet in real life. 8 points and a back line that was hard to see over...oh yeah, Alex was driving. 75mph strong we plowed into this bad boy who was tall enough to just fall on us rather than slam into the van. Totaled. There was nothing I could do but laugh, and then tell Alex to hit the brakes since we were still going 45 mph after the collision. The police officer that responded was about 5'6", clean cut and had a startling resemblance to a young Elmer Fud. Jumpy as he was he examined the deer, cursed, and then after a heart felt apology he shot the deer...twelve times! He approached me shortly after the massacre and said, "Dat was a big fwiggen deeah" in the thickest Boston accent anyone could have. We got a tow to the nearest hotel, which happened to be a Holiday Inn, not a bad coincidence. We then rented a sweet 2012 Tahoe, and soon found out that I couldn't total my vehicle until Monday morning...this was Sunday morning, which means I had another night's stay and a wasted day of car rental to pay. The next day we finally made it back to Michigan after some interesting conversation with customs and a couple random carpool layovers. Longest trip ever. Knowing that these two kids have been called by God to serve him with their lives...I'd do it all over again.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
So I grew up in a middle class Christian home with parents who actually love Jesus AND love each other. I finished high school on time, was accepted at 5 different colleges and began attending one that wasn't even on that list. I was engaged to be married a week before my 19th birthday, and was married the week before my 20th. I finished college by age 21 and am now in the 5th year of my career of pastoral ministry. I had kids at age 23. I own my home. I own one sweet mini van and one rusty old pickup truck. Last year I was healed of colitis and my wife was healed of unknown bladder pain. My spouse and I both love Jesus very much and we are faithful to each other today after six years of marriage and three kids. We don't smoke, drink, chew tobacco, gamble, use pornography or any illicit substance. We don't use language that would make our home PG-13. We don't abuse each other, ourselves, or any other living creature on this planet. We simply don't live for ourselves. And that's not good enough for MTV.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
I dreamed last night that I was in prison for being a Christian. My latest appearance before the council had only secured my death sentence. I couldn't believe how real this felt and how fearful and courageous I'd felt all at once. The moments were ticking away and the council ordered that I be prepared for execution. None this seemed to bother me, only strengthen my resolve and encourage my excitement of things yet to come. The cell mate I had, a total stranger who shared my sentence, began to dream with me what our immediate future would be like. He described our short pain, our entering into death, and then the light. He described the confusion and the clarity, the surroundings, the sights. And then he described Jesus. I couldn't contain myself when I realized what a wretch I still am. In all my courage, all my defiance of this world and it's evils, and in all my revelry I surmounted to failure. The guard came to the door just then and called for me. Barely able to still my sobs, I stood, begged a prayer of forgiveness and entered the door into darkness. Today I learned my failures are shadowed by His successes. My fear is driven out by His love. My weakness illuminates the perfection of His strength.
Monday, October 1, 2012
"Where's my sword, daddy, where's my swoooord?!" Such a long conversation as we scoured the house one more time for their latest whatever toy that had become a sword. This time it was the handle to a playschool golf club. "Let's look over here", I'm desperately trying not to lose my patience while hunting for this stupid toy one more time. We do this daily, almost routinely. Misplace the weapon of choice and looking under every nook and cranny to find it. As I thought about this process today I was reminded how grateful I am that God's word is the most printed book in the history of mankind, and it's hidden in my heart. I may not always act or think like it, I still have work to do, but the word of God has engaged my life and changed me into a person who never stops changing. Thank you, God, for today's reminder.