Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy "New" Year

I won't go on at length since I talked about it yesterday (for those at church), but Happy New year everyone. I like the idea that because some monk picked this day 1300 years ago we get to ignore everything we did before and have a fresh start!

btw, for all those coming to the all-nighter tonight, unless we get some adults/parents to help we will have to cancel or have everyone leave early. Sorry, but I'm not allowed to be the only adult in the building with people under 18.

Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

What's Most Important

Sorry it's been a few days, not to mention I will be gone again for the rest of the week (happy holidays everyone, more specifically, Merry Christmas!)

So here's a thought for the week. Lorie and I watched a special tonight kind of by accident about different beliefs in God. Very interesting. But one thing was in my head. It originally started with two guys who were doing a documentary at the World Trade Center on 9/11, the day causing so many questions to them they decided to go around the world talking to religious leaders.

So, of course, there was one question about the place of terrorism and war in religion. Although one person was smart enough to point out that out of the six billion people in the world, only a few thousand hold to terrorism. Good point. But one other leader talked about how he had been to the U.N. one time and they didn't mention terror. They mentioned hunger. They mentioned the quality of life around the world. And this religious leader made the point that these things cause more deaths every day than terrorism ever will so we should not lose focus on where the real threat is.

Good thinking. It also got me thinking about Boxing Day, the holiday after Christmas that was originally intended to be celebrated by taking the left-overs, the abundance of food from the holiday, plethora of gifts and things, box them up and take them to those less fortunate. I invite you to do something like that this Christmas (and don't wait for someone to organize it, just do it).

"Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Get for yourselves purses that will not wear out, the treasure in heaven that never runs out, where thieves can’t steal and moths can’t destroy. Your heart will be where your treasure is." ~ Jesus (Luke 12:33-34)


Monday, December 10, 2007

O That The Church Would Have This Problem

Tonight I was doing a little reading in the book of Exodus and came across Bezalel, Oholiab and the "skilled workmen" who built the Tabernacle, the Ark of The Covenant, and all the other cool stuff God told the Israelites to build. Now I could go into a whole rant about how skilled people were giving their best to God, but we'll leave that for another time.

Instead, let's focus on the task at hand. These guys have to build this stuff for the isarelites. one small problem, they haven't arrived in the Promised Land yet, all the Israelites are still living in the desert which means no jobs, no resources, etc. So how did these guys build all this stuff? Donations. That's right, the people of God were to donate to the cause, donations from people who are living out of tents, have no permanent homes, have no jobs, have no source of income other than what they left Egypt with.

So you have skilled craftsman building incredibly ornate objects of worship for God, mostly made out of gold given by homeless people. What a surprise, they ran into a problem. The amazing part is, it's not what you think it would be.

Finally the craftsmen who were working on the sanctuary left their work. They went to Moses and reported, “The people have given more than enough materials to complete the job the Lord has commanded us to do!” So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: “Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!” So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings. ~ Ex. 36:4-6

Yeah, that's right, in the desert, these unemployed people were giving too much to God! What a horrible, horrible problem to have. "Sorry everyone, thanks for your donations out of the tiny amount that you have, but it's too much so we need you to stop giving to God for a while..."

And here we are, roughly 3500 years later, probably in a rich first world country if you have the internet to read this, but for me, in one of the richest countries in the world, in what was once in the top ten richest counties in America, and churches are struggeling financially. Almost every family in my church has a job, many above the national average and our church has financial problems. Homeless Israelites need tons of gold to build stuff, and have too much. How does that work?

Luke 6:38 ~ "Give, and you will receive. You will be given much. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.”


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Who Came First?

It still amazes me how many people say they believe in God or Jesus yet know so little about Him.

Here's what got me started on this. Apparently this week on "The View" there was some disagreement about who came first, the Greeks or Jesus. Stories of Jesus being first because the Greeks fed the Christians to the lions abounded (you can see the story and clip at

Okay, a celebrity show not knowing all about theology and history. I can take that. But then there was an online poll asking who came first, the Greeks or Jesus. At the moment, 21% are wrong (1 in 5 people!). To me that's just shocking. Maybe it's because I care enough about what I believe to learn more about it, maybe I'm a freak that way, wanting to know more about Who it is I believe is the Son of God. But don't people want to know more about Jesus? If they don't, how do they believe in Him, a little goes a long way?

Btw, the Greeks came first. The Roman Empire took over just before Jesus came, and they were the ones who fed Christians to the lions a little later...


Monday, December 03, 2007

Those Tough Verses

I like reading the Bible, I think there's lots of good stuff in there, but this is one of those times I read something and wonder, "Oh, how's that going to work." Working with teenagers, youall are going to love this one.

Ex. 21:17 ~ "Anyone who says cruel things to his father or mother must be put to death."

Now, some versions say "curse" instead of saying cruel things, but I'm sure a lot of people fall into that category too.

So haw many think they should be acting a little differently now, since just a few thousand years ago the same God we served would have allowed you to be stoned for saying mean things to your parents? I don't think it's a coincidence that the only one of the ten commandments that comes with a promise (that of a long life) is the one that says to honor your father and mother.

By the way, if you aren't sure if you're honoring them or saying cruel things, ask them. If you're scared to ask, I think you know the answer...