Archive for October, 2008

The preacher presented a message this morning about whom to vote for. I wondered what people were thinking when he got started? I wondered how many people stayed home because of whatever feelings they were feeling against this type of message (or church people involved in politics or religion in politics or…)? Of course, being the wise guy that I am, I knew when he told us the title last week he wasn’t going to talk about human candidates. The title was just a teaser (you know how preachers are).

I’m glad he began his talk explaining that, Scripturally, we cannot legitimately separate our relationship with Christ and our citizenship in God’s Kingdom from all areas of life. Of all the things that come out from Christian publishers and preachers telling believers how they can finally have the life they’ve always wanted, I wish more of us would understand that we cannot compartmentalize Jesus. I imagine things would change rather dramatically if we stopped compartmentalizing our lives with Jesus.

As I sat taking notes this morning, I thought how interesting it would be to take the issues that candidates debate (economics, life, government, war & peace, etc.), and study Scripture and present the issues from God’s agenda. Not like the way politicians bring in God or "faith" when it helps them, nor in a way where people panic because they think we want a "theocracy" (man, I hate that word), but so we Christ followers can get a grasp on how to apply God’s plan, and then he works through us to transform culture. Of course, this type of sermon series would also need to entail what to do after an election, and the ultimate perspective that Jesus is Lord and Scripture is what defines who we are, and what we are to do, say and believe.

Paraphrasing our preacher, we have become desperate to just grab something rather than grabbing what is right.

We are more interested in security than liberty. Even churches and church people act like that, not just Americans. We are more interested in self-preservation over the preservation of country and freedom. It is the bread-and-circus approach to governing people. "Bread-and-Circuses" – A phrase used by a Roman writer to deplore the declining heroism of Romans after the Roman Republic ceased to exist and the Roman Empire began: “Two things only the people anxiously desire—bread and circuses.” The government kept the Roman populace happy by distributing free food and staging huge spectacles (The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition, 2002).

This election is clearly style vs. substance, form vs. function, charisma vs. character, feelings vs. facts, convenience vs. conviction.

We are in the same position as the Israelites who asked for a human king instead of just wanting God (1st Samuel 8). We want the government to take care of us instead of being personally responsible for our lives. We church folk are guilty as well. Guilty of sitting around waiting for human leaders in our churches and picking them just like a company would pick a CEO or a country would pick a politician. Just like everyone else, we are swayed by what is on the outside and tend to shy away from ministers who are introverted, soft-spoken, and conscientious. We, too, are swayed by personality.

We want government to be our provider but God should be our provider.

 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me" – Jesus (John 14:1)

"Be still, and know that I am God;
       I will be exalted among the nations,
       I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10)

 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done? (Proverbs 24:11-12)

We live by faith, not by sight. (2nd Corinthians 5:7)

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20)

Psalm 33

2nd Corinthians 4 & 5

Hebrews 11

 We vote every single moment: Do I trust God or not? We vote every single moment with our words, our lives, our thoughts.

There is more potential power in our churches than in Washington. There is more potential power in a single believer than in an entire body politic. But what is available isn’t being used and, therefore, isn’t being seen or felt.

 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me" – Jesus (John 14:1)

"Be still, and know that I am God;
       I will be exalted among the nations,
       I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10)

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While watching a DVD of The West Wing, season one, the above named episode brought me to tears. I don’t mean wet eyes, I mean rolling down my cheeks. A senior staffer used his influence to arrange a funeral for a homeless war veteran. He went so far as to find the homeless brother of the deceased and to also arrange for an honor guard.

I don’t know why I was so moved. I know it is only a show. I guess I reflect on I really haven’t done much these last few years and I saw in this senior staffer who is normally closed off desperately try and make a difference.

I used to make a difference. I used to be out meeting practical needs or witnessing or being a good listener or praying with people. Man my head is not on too well. I’ve gotta get off the bench and back in the game. Heck, I’m not even on the bench. I’m in the retired folks’ home. Not even in the stands. Not even at the game.

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I heard "Little Drummer Boy" just now while watching a TV show. There is a line which goes, "I am a poor boy, too." The word that struck me was, "too." I had been reflecting today on the comfort that Jesus grew up in the home of a manual laborer and that Jesus himself was a laborer for most of his life. I reflected on the fact that Jesus chose laborers as his followers and that Paul, a certifiable genius, supported himself with labor. When I heard this line from "Little Drummer Boy," the word "too," just screamed out to me.

I struggle daily and mightily with thoughts and feelings of "loser." What am I doing with my life? What has happened to me? How did I let this happen? Why won’t I move heaven and earth to change the direction of my life? Will we ever never struggle financially? When I die, will I have done enough to save my wife from the sitz im leben which my mother was when she died?

What was God doing being poor?!

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. – 2nd Corinthians 8:9

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My Day Off

Got out of bed around 6:50 am. Put wife’s clothes in dryer. Ate breakfast. Read. Took a walk around the lake (saw a white heron trying to eat a snake – black with white belly; looked at the metal artwork and the old tree). Took wife’s clothes out of the dryer. Fell asleep listening to the rain. Read. Snacked and flipped channels for a few minutes. Went to grocery store to buy lunch foods. Made lunch. Put on The War DVD. Fell asleep. Pulled a vine off a plant. Got out the fall decorations. Watered a plant. Snacked outside. Put dishes away. Turned on computer at 3:15 pm. Put computer to sleep. Finished watching The War. Snacked. Began cleaning bathrooms. Watched MASH. Played Text Twist whilst snacking.

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