Monday, January 29, 2007

Keeping Your Word

Most people know what a treaty is. An agreement between two countries to stop fighting. At least, most times that's what it means. And usually it will be forgotten and people still fight when angry.

But who has heard of the Treaty of Windsor? It was signed way back in 1386 by two countries who were not at war. England and Portugal created it saying they would never go to war with each other.

And 621 years later they have still never been at war.

Imagine if we all lived like that. If we all kept our word. If we simply stopped fighting (or never started) because we simply said we wouldn't and did our best to find another way to solve our problems. There are many treaties that are worth nothing because they simply aren't followed. This one has six centuries of worth.

What's your word worth?

Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no... ~ James 5:12


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Almost Made Me Sick

So last night I was up late with the TV on (I was at a hotel and couldn't sleep, more on that later) when an infomercial came on for the Season 1 DVD of "Gifted".

Now, for those of you who don't know what "Gifted" is, it's basically a Christian American Idol. You can see the website at I have no problem with people showing the gift God gave them, but there was something a bit too much for me.

Backtrack. Back when I was in high school (oh so long ago) the modern worship movement was just starting. It seemed good. Lots of new songs, lots of books and CD's so people could play the songs in church. Good.

Then it got bigger. Christian/worship CD sales were the second highest growing genre in the last few years. Worship was on the radio. Worship leaders were now giving concerts. I had mixed feelings. I'm glad people have the opportunity to hear these songs. People may even be worshipping in their cars while the radio's on, but is it focused worship? Are people really thinking about how God is holy or merely humming along to "Holy Is The Lord" while it's on in the background? Are we praising God or the laser light show? So many questions...

But this one made me sick. I mean sick. Like I said, if God gave you a talent and you want to use it, maybe even let people know God gave it to you, fine. But then, during this infomercial for the DVD set, I heard "How Great Is Our God", a wonderful worship song that is pretty much summed up in the title. And it was being sung by someone promoting themselves to win a recording contract. Singing "How Great Is Our God" to promote to judges "How Great Am I".

And I couldn't take it anymore.

I don't know where the line is. I don't know everything there is to know about worship. I honestly think our view of worship is quite small and think God would like it to be bigger. But is this really it? Singing songs written for God possibly even inspired by God to worship Him, use all this so I can show how good I am? I believe in doing a good job for God, giving Him our best, but is this really right? Am I off base here or is taking a song of worship and completely shifting the focus off of God onto ourselves okay? Can these singers actually say they were worshipping God while trying to show how good they were and earn a recording contract? It's possible, but probable? Even right?

One more thing that got me. The grand finale was all the contestants together singing the "hit radio single Amazing Love". Not "song of worship to God", not "wonderful song of praise", but "hit radio single". Honestly...

"What I do is done for My own sake—
I will not let My Name be dishonoured
or let anyone else share the glory
that should be Mine and Mine alone." ~ Is. 48:11


(we have no right to His glory, He has no need to share it, the only glory we get we don't deserve but is shared with us for being His children, see Ro. 8:17, Heb. 2:10, Col. 3:4. God is not being vain or proud in this verse, HE IS GOD. He is the only Being in all of time who can honestly say He deserves all glory because He does... because He is God).

I'll stop. I could go on forever on this...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Undue Stress

I've heard someone say that a majority of our stress is based on things in our head that have never happened, or based on something in the past that you cannot change anyway.

So today, Lorie and I had a wonderful meeting at Immigration. We've known about it for over a month. We've prepared. We brought 8 binders of information (yes, 8). We sat in the waiting room while people were separated from their families, lawyers told people what to say or not to say, and even while one guy found out his father was taken into custody and detained.

You can guess where our stress level was at (more Lorie's, I just made bad jokes that made her stress worse). So we finally get called in almost 90 minutes after our appointment was supposed to start.

We were there 10 minutes.

I kid you not, we had a great time, the officer who talked with us was really nice and totally understood what we were going through, in fact, the part that took us the longest was having our officer photocopy some forms. We left smiling. No problems whatsoever. So where did the stress come from?

We made it.

And it's a sign of our society in my mind. I noticed yesterday the A.E.D. at the high school (the portable paddles to start your heart, "Clear!") and started wondering when we got those things. Then I started wondering when did we need those things? Have we put so much stress on ourselves that our hearts might give out at any time? And is it proper stress or completely undue? We have to have machines at any public place in case our hearts give out. I don't think we were built that weak, so what can the reason be? Are our lives too stressful? If so, what's the answer?

"I leave you peace; my peace I give you." ~ Jesus (John 14:27)


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Verse For The Day

Sorry, I gotta go so I'll be quick, but there's a verse that was in some way told to me three times Monday, so I figured that was a sign from God to learn it. Now it's posted everywhere so I'll see it and I thought I would share it too.

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father ~ Colossians 3:17

So whatever you're doing, no matter what, do it for God. Do your best since you're putting His name on your work :)


Monday, January 22, 2007

Things I Learned Last Night

Sorry, but another list since last night was just too much for me. So many things happened that people don't realize but we all need to understand...

~Football is more important than God
I know right away most people are going to be offended by this and I really wish it wasn't true, but actions speak louder than words (see Titus 1:16). Our attendance was down about 70% last night, and the only reason some of those people came is because I promised to bring my computer from home and hook it up to the big screen so it could record until we were done and we could still see the whole game after youth. Even then, people still had to check the scores on their cell phones. We even had people ask why we weren't canceling our student ministry to watch football. Yes, football's fun and I enjoy it and I like to watch and play it, but it's still just a game. The only power it has to control your life is what you give it.

~You don't need a lot of people to worship God
We had fun last night, people really missed out. Why? Hardcore's were there. People who really wanted to be at church. People who really wanted to worship God. And since it was all hardcore's no one was embarrassed to sing loud or have fun in worship. I think the people there last night were louder than any other night when we've had 4x as many there. It's all about God, not everyone else and what they're doing.

~Football is a really short game stretched out over 4 hours
One of the beauties of last night with the game on computer is we could fast forward through all the useless commentary between plays, commercials, ten minute reviews, etc. Here's the sad part. We watch two hours of football in a little over 40 minutes. And that was taking our time at points. I understand it's a rough game, but after you get hit in hockey, everyone doesn't' stop for five minutes and let you catch your breath. And do we ever have a lot of commercials. No wonder I don't watch them...

~Never give up
Down 21-3. People watching the game were so upset. And the Colts came back to win 38-34. You could hear the commentators praising Tom Brady before it was over. Anything can happen if you don't give up and keep going hard at whatever it is you are doing.

Just some things to think about...

btw, just one more for all those who didn't like the "football is more important than God" quip. Last night, by the number on a guys back, people were able to tell me who he was, what he'd done, his records, what school he'd gone to, etc. If I give you a verse number out of the Bible, could you give me that much information about what it says? People can quote an entire team's stats (let's say 20 people), can you quote 20 verses from the Bible? hmmm....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"White As Snow" Winter Retreat

Okay, I'm back and I'm not going to do like Mexico where I relive each day a week after or something like that. It hurt my brain. But I will list some highlights from the retreat...

-watching the floor bend under Thomas as everyone jumped to "Undignified" (and Teagan holding the projector so it wouldn't break during the same).
-the taste of well water with that hint of sulphur.
-great food (chicken and beef fajitas?! At a camp?!?!)
-having time alone with the Sr. Highs where we could learn about what God wants from us in our lives, how we can be "White As Snow" and why.
-a student actually coming up to me and saying "Good Job" after a discussion one night.
-seeing everyone with the chance to be alone use it for prayer.
-a football game with trees as the end zone (my arm still hurts, 3 hours as quarterback with a 1.83 passer rating).
-Jon deciding to hide on a boat for sneak.
-talking about suffering and not being made to suffer by those listening.
-the Colts winning for the first time for me on a winter retreat (they lost on that same weekend every single year since I moved here).
-Ali not having a clue how to play Euchre, and her being on the other team.
-Tina Myrick asking what an "M" on her piece of paper meant during Mafia.
-Ann going to the hospital after Noah "collided with her" during football.
-that amazing adult leaders who helped make this a great weekend (some even took Ann to the hospital after the above collision").
-having a room full of boys run a lap around the camp since they had too much energy to go to sleep at 1:00am.
-getting obliterated in air hockey by Shawn (sorry my home and native land).
-seeing students spend time with each other, get to know each other, talk with each other and pray and genuinely care for each other.
-watching how quickly everyone worked and how eager students were to serve when we were packing up.
-actually being able to hear people singing incredibly loud during worship.
-watching Sarah run to the garbage can gagging after trying a taste of "Buckley's Cough Syrup".
-realizing that God still heals, even though we say He does, actually experiencing it.
-seeing lots of deer.
-being away from it all, able to focus on God without the many distractions of everyday life and getting certain things in perspective.

There's my list, there are more but I'm too tired right now to keep going. Check the forum at by clicking on the "Discussion" button at the top of the page and going to the discussion titled "Winter Retreat." Also, pictures will be posted in the "Pictures" section. Thanks for a great weekend!


Friday, January 12, 2007


Notice it doesn't say "Skiing"...

But we're gone for the weekend on a winter retreat. It'll be fun for all with many fond memories for us to look back on someday. Hopefully pics will be up next week, if we remember the camera this time.



Tuesday, January 09, 2007


For those that don't know, the CES is the Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas, where all the new little gadgets and gizmos are put on display, things that make James Bond look like someone holding a ghettoblaster (and it's true, some of his stuff from the last movie was there, it's real).

Everyone was singing its praise today, telling about all the leaps forward and everything we can do, from the new Apple iPhone that will be coming out to new OLED displays. But here's something I noticed.

Nothing looks like it will actually make our lives better.

There were some things that will make our lives a little easier. Wait. A little lazier. A coffee maker that hooks up to satellite weather to tell you the forecast. Apple's new iTV which will allow you to play your iTunes downloaded movies on your TV. Speaking of TV, what about the 108 inch flatpanel (yes, 108 inches!). All nice, fun things to have. But how do they actually improve our lives? Very little. In fact, the only thing I saw mentioned that could even be close to helping us better ourselves was an outrageously priced exercise bike with a screen in front of you. It shows a course and as you ride, the pedals get tougher or softer depending on if you go up or down hills. Um, why not just actually go ride a bike?

So really, with all our technology and everything, I see only two uses. They give us access to more information and the entertain us more. The problem with the access to information is people will not be likely to download books or things to enhance their minds, they will just get more useless entertainment for all the other products that are there. Does a bluetooth really need an MP3 player?

So here's my suggestion. Buy whatever you want. Have at it. But don't let it control you or be your focus. All this stuff will do is make you lazier (except the bike). Instead be trying to better yourselves. We played a game on Sunday with the Jr. & Sr. High students. After the game I realized that people simply do not read enough (it was more mind exercise type games). Try reading. Try being a better person, not just one who owns a better TV...


Monday, January 08, 2007

They Like Jesus, But Not The Church

I haven't read it, but it's the title of a new book that caught my attention ( That's right, there's so much information on this someone was able to write a book.

So how does it happen? How is it that people like Jesus but don't like the body that is supposed to be representing Him?

Which makes me think how far off are we from being like Christ? When you go to church on Sunday morning, do you see Jesus in other people? Do they act, think talk, behave, love like you think Jesus would?

What about you? Someone told me long ago if you want to fix your church, draw a circle on the ground, get in it and start praying for the member of the church in the circle first.

No real answers, just questions. If I knew the answer, I'd be doing more to fix the problem, but how do you lovingly help people see where their spirit really is?


Saturday, January 06, 2007

People Get Mad Over Anything

I have a theory that you can get anybody mad over any little thing. It's not hard, people just like to be upset. So here's something I read today.

George Smathers ran against Claude Pepper in the 50's for Senator of Florida. Now, Smathers knew he had to run down Pepper to win, so he got people all fired up against Pepper by telling all sorts of true statements about him to belittle his character. Here's a few of them:

He let people know Pepper was a "known extrovert."
He said Pepper's sister was a "thespian."
He called Pepper's brother a "practicing homo sapiens."
Said while Pepper was in college he "openly matriculated."
And one more. Smathers said that before Pepper was married he "engaged in celibacy."

The people were upset, and they spoke. Smathers won.

And by the way, if you're actually upset by anything said here, get a dictionary.