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Showing posts from April, 2011

Question (s) of the Day

Is the need for affirmation really a need? Is it a sinful desire to want affirmation? What kind of affirmation is good and what kind of affirmation is sinful? Paul seemed to affirm the actions of some of the folks in the churches he wrote, while not mincing words when confrontation was in order. Do we need the occasional atta'boy or atta' girl to keep us motivated to do right?
Does the need increase or decrease as one grows older? Where should single people find words of affirmation? In Scripture alone? Does or should the gift of encouragement include giving words of affirmation to people not likely to receive them anywhere else?
Does anyone even give rip? Just asking.

The Preeminence of Christ in Colossians

As so many celebrate His resurrection, I thought I would list what I learned in my reading of Colossians. It seemed fitting.
He is the visible image of God (Col 1:15)He is agent of creation (Col 1:16)He is the Sustainer (Col 1:17)He is the Head of the Church (Col 1:18)He pleases the Father (Col 1:19-20)He reconciles us through His death (Col 1:21-22)He lives in us as our glory of hope (Col 1:27)He is the source of all treasures (Col 2:2-3)The world and its philosophies will not conform to Him so we should guard against them (Col 2:8)We are alive in Him (Col 2:11-13)We are saved from legalism and ritualism by Him (Col 2:16-23)He is our life (Col 3:3)Because of Him, we can avoid immorality and serve Him as by being blessings to others. (Col 3:5-14) We have the responsibility to know Him through the Scriptures and to counsel one another with the Word, demonstrate our gratitude to him by doing all things as in His name (Col 3:16-17)

40 Day 40 Minute Challenge Day 10- Evil and the Internet

Yesterday there was a spot on the news about death threats being made to Rebecca Black, the young woman with the viral music video, Friday. I was blissfully unaware of 13 year old Rebecca until recently. Her music video, mostly an engineered compilation of an annoying but maddeningly catchy song, has more detractors than admirers. I don't have a problem with folks in either camp, except of course the ones that have issued death threats and said hateful things to her because they don't like her music. I have huge issues with that sort of behavior and even bigger issues with the journalists who are trying to make behavior like this some sort of news worthy event. Why? Because most of the anonymous people who would say horrible things to a teenager like the horrified reactions they are getting. Especially when they are not being called out as the feckless cowards they really are.
Back in my day if you didn't like a song, you turned off the radio. If I don't like …

40 Day 40 Minute Challenge Days 8-9 Failing Forward.... Still

I won't even pretend that I tried to keep my challenge to myself yesterday. I thought about sleep all day long. I am still sleepy.
Today I was headed out the door to run some errands and I heard that pesky voice of my inner monologue asking if my errands were of more import than sitting with the Lord. Even I couldn't answer yes to that one. I put down the list of things I need to do, picked up my bible and sat down at the kitchen table. Today I read Psalm 119. The thing that struck me is how often the psalmist begs God to keep him on the right path. Maybe I need to beseech more and blog less in order to get this discipline I seek. Lord knows trying to do both would be like me trying to walk and chew gum.
Still working on it, that's the important part. Usually two failures would mean I quit. Heck, one failure is enough to facilitate my giving up.

So... What if Moses had Facebook?

40 Day 40 Minute Challenge Days 5-7 Failing Forward

Confession: I have failed, but not epically.
I have a new computer. It is smarter than I am, which admittedly doesn't take much. I was unable to get it out of the box let alone up and running Sunday, hence no blogging. I wasn't feeling so great but I did get myself to the kitchen table and make myself read and pray. I felt so bad physically that it's hard to say what benefit I received, except that I did it. I read I Timothy and two chapters of Proverbs. What stuck in my mind after reading was Paul telling us the law is good when used lawfully. It made me think of the United States and what we're going through these days.
Failed to get to the table on day 6. I failed at just about every endeavor yesterday. Know what I learned? If you fail, get back to it and don't beat yourself up. Repentance is not about punishing yourself or talking smack to yourself about yourself. If I started some self-flagellation, self-condemnation or similar silliness, I would …

40 Days 40 Minutes Day 4- Let My People Sleep!

I am exhausted. So exhausted that I actually got a new computer and am too tired to set it up. However, I wanted to let you guys know that I managed day 4. I was up early, my roomie was home and I wasn't certain how that would work for me as I have been reading aloud in the kitchen. Well, our ever faithful Father had me up and at 'em hours before my roomie awoke. Funny how that happened, huh? Coincidence? Not hardly. You have no idea how badly I wanted to go back to bed. It was all Him, or I would have.
Today's read was II Thessalonians and a couple chapters of Proverbs. I love the book of Proverbs. It contains some great counsel. When I worked in law enforcement I had Proverbs 17:15 on my locker at work. I am so tired I cannot keep my eyes open so I will leave you with this. I am four days closer to building a good habit in my life. Praise God! It may not sound like much to you but for me it is a record.

Proverbs 17:15 15He who justifies the wicked, and he who co…

Scala Sancta and the 40 Day 40 Minute Challenge Day 3

I wanted to give up 40 minutes of my morning like I wanted to climb the steps of the Scala Sancta on my knees after uncooked grits had been sprinkled on them. I even tried to convince myself based on my lack of want to that sitting down with my bible and doing the challenge would be about as fruitful as performing that ritual or purchasing indulgences. That's how I start rationalizing, neglect discipline and go back to what is comfortable....that life is all about what I want to do and when I want to do it. Next I tried to convince myself that I have some great stuff to listen to and some books about biblical counseling that I could substitute. Somebody must be praying for my success. I relented.
Yesterday my pastor decided to tease me about going "Rick Warren" on him. Rick Warren is *so* not on my radar. I had forgotten completely about his 40 day plans for purpose etc. I wonder if pastor will read this and tease me about advocating plenary indulgences? He knows…

40 Days 40 Minutes Day 2 : It's Apostible

This morning it wasn't difficult to herd myself over to the table to begin day two of the 40 day 40 minute challenge. My roommate left for work, I jumped into the shower to freshen up my body and my mind, went into the kitchen, dispensed some French roast from the Keurig and sat down at the kitchen table to begin. I had been praying for a bit when I remembered I hadn't set the timer on the nuke box. Now I had a dilemma. Get up and set the timer or stay and keep going with some uninterrupted worship?
It isn't that I want to be legalistic about this endeavor that made me get up and set the timer, it's that I know myself too well. Close enough is good enough is too often my mentality. I could see myself whittling down that 40 minutes to less than a minute in just a couple of days, maybe a week. It was the right decision for me.
I found myself asking God some things today that I hadn't realized bug me. Spring is here in Kentucky and I look forward to several eve…

40 Days 40 Minutes Day 1

It was blissfully easy for me to get up, get out of bed and begin the first day of my odyssey into discipline. If you believe what I just wrote, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I will sell you; cheap. I wondered yesterday if I mightn't be wrong about this adventure being more than my semi-annual attempt to purge my guilt glands. Several hours after I had posted my blog, I was on to bigger and better things... not really but it's so danged easy to be convinced other stuff is more important.
First of all, all that had gone wrong the day before yesterday had been made right after I had posted my self-challenge. Once I did the ridiculously happy dance and praised God over and over again for His mercifully removing two very major stressors from my life and replacing them with major blessings... I found my suspicious Sicilian nature got the better of me. "Oh, nice going God! I probably would have forgotten all about my attempts to regain my spiritual disciplines now that…

The 40 Days 40 Minutes Challenge

Every story begins somewhere. The prelude, the happening and the debriefing all have their genesis. I have been getting ready to write this for years but last night at about 2am I woke up knowing that today would be the day. Initially I thought I woke up because I was in physical pain, so I took inventory as soon as I was aware of my various body parts. Yup, parts of me were painful. I hobbled to the bathroom to take some meds and hobbled back into bed.

Soon it was 3am. I was still awake and still unable to get comfortable. I got up again and went back to the bathroom for the next round of medications, surprised that the first round hadn't knocked me out. I have a very low tolerance for drugs and normally drool on myself after taking prescription strength ibuprofen. I dislike starting my day on drugs so I try not to take anything unless absolutely necessary during the wee hours of the morning. By the time it was 4:30am I was willing to take the remaining regimen of chemicals avail…

Powerful Pauses

Today I feel particularly lazy. It's not difficult for me to feel lazy. I can go the the litany of medical reasons that sap my energy and come up with plausible excuses. Not just plausible excuses, genuine reasons. I am exhausted today, not just lazy. I have had two cups of caffeinated coffee and am working on the energy to go make a third which may do the trick or complicate my day by making my guts fight back. My life has a lot of pauses in it. Pausing for energy. Pausing to reconsider choices. Pausing to breathe.

Pauses are wonderful things. In acting we learned that pauses are uncomfortable for the actor but give the audience a chance to feel and consider what they have heard and seen. They convey discomfort, regret, sorrow, arrogance, disgust any number of situations can be related to in a pause. Think of the power of a pause in music. Just when you think it is over, right when your soul is begging for relief the pause nearly kills you and then the note you are looking for…

Virtually Anything to Connect....

I watched this video and so many things jumped into my mind. Listen to the conclusions the speaker, Eric Whitacre, has to say about the human need to connect, using any method possible. Our hearts do long to be connected. We want to be known and to know others. We want fellowship. Without it, we get a little crazy and are willing to compromise our own safety and integrity to manufacture a sense of being connected, even if it is false.

The Map is not the Territory

Recently I had an email exchange with a sister in Christ. She said something that reminded me of a lesson I learned 35 or more years ago in a semantics class. My instructor tried her level best to impress upon us that words have meaning; they are the maps we use to convey ideas, emotions and experiences but maps are not the territory. A map may tell you that the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, 10 miles wide and a mile deep and you can understand the meaning of every word but- until you stand on the rim and see it for yourself . You only think you get it. Even pictures cannot do it justice. That's one reason we have so much trouble communicating. Your map and my map may or may not have the same features and legends. Think of the color yellow. While you may be thinking lemon yellow, I may be thinking butter yellow. And my concept of butter yellow may be butter with food coloring added while yours may not. You may not know that they add food coloring to butter.
Our language is bo…

Introducing Jake and Cayton

Back when I worked at a Christian college, I had the joy of adopting several students. These students have been major blessings and encouragements to me. It has been wonderful to see them mature in the Lord, have families, buy homes and begin ministries. I want to introduce you to one of my adopted sons, Jake Heath and his wife Cayton. I stole this off of their blog and I didn't even ask permission. I hope they will forgive me. I am betting they will. I haven't had the chance to spend a lot of time with Cayton, but I am hoping that will change once the two of them move across country and are closer to me. Jake loves her, she loves him and together they love the Lord. That makes her special to me. Jake I have had the pleasure of spending lots of time with and look forward to spending much more if the Lord wills.
My young friend Jake was in my office one day while I happened to be chatting to my sister either by email or on the phone, I don't remember which. She was tr…