Wednesday, August 31, 2005

All differences aside...

I remember the attitude of Americans in the face of 9/11, for too short a period following that disaster. I noticed we were all more tolerant of each other, as Americans we recognized we had a common enemy and it was not each other. We rallied together, locking arms, and dropping political differences, setting aside religious differences, and looking beyond color and racial lines. It was a proud time to be an American.
Now here we have another type of disaster; a natural one. We see the pictures of the disaster unfolding, hear the broadcasts of the rescues, the looters, and the dead. We see those displaced by a vicious storm. It's time to act again, and come together as Americans. Our own are being displaced, have lost their homes and loved ones. There are so many left with literally, only the clothes on their back.
I have a nice home that I am thankful for. It's just my wife and I living here. We've got spare bedrooms. I've offered it up in for a family that may need a place to stay. If you know of someone who might need a place in central Texas, please contact me via my email link in my profile.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


The analytical part of my brain has been in high gear, leaving little room for the left side to work. I've been fast and furious at work, trying to recover from a week's absence at the beginning of the month. I'm not sure when things will restabilize, but there's a lot to write about.
I've been contemplating this relationship with the Lord. How is it, that we lose the zeal we had as new Christians and settle for a mediocre existence as Christians in the world? I'm really fighting a battle with a lack of prayer, bible study, and consequently, enthusiasm. My creativity has suffered as well. I have so much in my head that I want to do, but circumstances have created a stifling effect. Even now, I find it difficult to write this.
If you're the praying type, please keep me in prayer. Thanks

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Goodbye Liberal Weenies

I've decided to quit reading and posting comments on "Liberal" blogsites. It's pure stupidity. I've never run across a bigger bunch of nincompoops, sourpusses, and self-exalted pinheads in my life. It's depressing, even. No logic, pure rote. They must all be reading the same blogs and faxes.
I just have to remember that "the carnal mind is emnity against God and is not subject to the laws of God, nor indeed can it be." Romans 8:7. There's just no making any sense to these people, so I quit. It's like arguing with my dog. It makes no sense to the dog, and I just get frustrated.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I Give You Permission

with thanks to Bob, who gave me the idea for this post...

I give you permission:
  • to ask me how I am doing, and not accept "Fine" for an answer
  • to ask me if I am telling you the truth
  • to ask my wife the same question
  • to ask me if I am struggling with any sin
  • to get real with me
  • to ask me about my prayer life
  • to ask me about where my relationship with God is
  • to ask me where my relationship with my wife and kids is
  • to ask me if I am being honest in all of my financial dealings
  • to ask me about my integrity
  • to put your arm around me and tell me you love me
  • to accept mine too
  • to pray for me
  • to call me no matter what time it is

Thanks, Bob...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Jimmy the Boss, Guido, and Little Ray

Pete came to JC and asked, “Lord, how much slack do I cut my brother and let him backstab me over and over? The dude’s pushed my buttons seven times already, ain’t that enough?" JC took a breath and told him, "You ain’t even close, little bro, try it another 500 times. Let me tell you what it’s like, man, if you’re gonna walk this walk. There was a man named Jimmy the Boss and he was out collecting his accounts. Guido had a meeting with the Boss, and he was nervous, because he owed the Boss some serious coin: close to 100 grand, and he couldn’t pay. He’d been ducking him for a while, but now it was crunch-time. He was trying to figure out a way to ask the Boss for a little time, but even then, he knew the debt was too large.
When the Boss showed up, Guido was pretty edgy, because the Boss had some of the other family with him. “Let’s take a little ride,” said one of the Boss’s men, holding open the limo’s door. Guido got in, and as the door shut behind him, the limo took off. There he was, face to face with the Boss, who was preparing to deal with one of his most faithful men in his organization.
“So whatabout the cash, Guido? It’s over a year’s pay for you. Since you can’t pay, you know what I gotta do. It’s strictly business, Guido, it’s not personal.” The Boss ordered cement shoes for Guido, and then to have his family picked up to settle the debt. Guido fell on his knees, kissed the Boss’s ring and begged, “Give me a little more time, Boss, and I’ll pay every dime. You know I’m good for it.”
Jimmy the Boss was soft on Guido, so he told his boys to let him go, and then told Guido. “Fugetaboudit…someday I may need to ask a favor of you.” So Guido split and found Little Ray Smalls, who owed him about fifty bucks. He knocked Little Ray in the knees and said, “Pay up, you loser!” Little Ray fell on the ground, kissed Guido’s hand and begged for mercy, just as Guido had done. But he would not have mercy and ordered his boys to break his fingers until he could pay his debt. When his boys saw what he was doing, they went and ratted Guido out to Jimmy the Boss.
So the Boss had Guido picked up again, and said, “You ain’t right, Guido, I cut you slack because you showed me respect, and this is what you do to Little Ray? The Boss cut Guido off right there and ordered his men to work him over until he paid back all that was due.
That’s how it is, Pete. You ain’t gonna get no slack if you can’t cut your brother no slack."
(Paraphrased, Matthew 18:21-35)

This is a story that centers on three things: forgiveness, mercy, and remembering where we came from. I wonder why Peter came and asked this question of Jesus. What was going on with him? Who had offended him? Or, was it just a hypothetical question? But Jesus went to the heart of the matter quickly, telling Peter, the kingdom of heaven is like this…
The story itself is a paradox. Why, we wonder, does a man who has just been forgiven of a huge debt, turn right around and not show mercy from someone who used the same course of begging for mercy as he did, and for a much smaller amount? Looking at it from the third person, we may even be indignant and judgmental of this servant. Yet, in reality, many times we are guilty of doing this very thing. We tend to want judgment for others and mercy for ourselves.
We forget we were once lost, apart from God, and had to ask forgiveness and mercy. We are offended by the lost people around us, and even worse, our Christian brothers and sisters. It’s been said that the “Army of God” is the only army that regularly shoots its own soldiers. The bickering and backbiting in the church is a disgrace, and it’s no wonder that the world wonders where the hope is. It’s interesting that Peter asked about forgiving a “brother” who offended him.
The principle of “seventy times seven” is not a formula to give us a limit on the number of times someone can offend us before we don’t have to any more. Forgiveness, by its nature means we no longer hold the offense against the offender any longer. So, in a sense, technically, it is as if he had never sinned or offended us. Isn’t that how God handles our sin when we confess and ask for mercy?
I think though, that the master in this story probably was wise enough to not ever trust the servant with such a large account again, and might not have allowed further credit unwisely, unless he was again willing to lose it all. We need to exercise wisdom in forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean we just blindly trust the offender again, at least not until the offender can rebuild trust. In other words, we may forgive an abuser, but not allow that person back to cause more abuse. That’s another issue.
God’s grace was enough to forgive my sin, as great as it has been. Who am I to hold judgment on another for something less than I did to offend God?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

San Diego

I'm off for San Diego for the week, so I may not post until I return. I'm working on a couple of other bible stories to post. I think you'll like them. This is for my family, who don't get to see Izzy all that often. I'm amazed at how quickly she's growing up!

My little angel

Grandpa's girl

Monday, August 01, 2005

Five Loaves of Bread and Two Skinny Fish

JC and His 12 running buddies were hanging out in his old 'hood of Nazareth, and JC had been speaking in the local church. The home boys and local preachers there heckled His teaching, because they just knew him as "Joe's kid"... from the woodshop. They remarked, "We knew that skinny boy growing up, His mama Mary, and His bro's, Jimmy, Josh, Pete, and Judas... and His sisters, don't they all live around here? Where does this Man get off talking like that?” They felt dissed by Him.
But JC said to them, “Man, I get respect everywhere else, just not in my old 'hood.” Because they didn't show him any respect, He didn't do many miracles there... so the boys and He all hoofed it out of there and went on.
Now, JC had just heard that His cousin, Johnny had his head cut off because of the king's daughter. He decided to take off out to the country where it was deserted, but when all the people heard about it, they all followed Him there from the different 'hoods. When JC saw all the crowd, His heart went out to them, and He spent some time praying for those that were sick. As night was approaching, the boys came and said, "Dude, we're way out here and it's getting late, send these fools home so they can get dinner." JC said to them, "Man, this party's just starting up, don't send them back, get them some food." His buddies said, "Man, all we have is like, five loaves of bread and two skinny fish."
JC just rolled His eyes (thinking, "These fools have been with me all this time and they still argue with me...") and said, "Bring it here to me." He told the crowd, "Y'all have a seat, get ready to feast!" He took the bread and the fish, looked up to heaven and blessed the meal. Then He broke up the bread, and gave it to the guys to pass it to the crowd. The party was on! JC just decided to hang out and laugh and talk with everyone, and not preach. Everyone ate, even seconds and thirds, until they were all full. When they were done partying, they all helped to pick up and they collected 12 baskets full of leftovers. It was said there were about 5000 men there, plus the women and children that came with them.
(my paraphrase from Matthew 13 & 14)

I think it's cool that Jesus just hung out with the crowd. I can imagine Him, cutting up and having fun with His followers, just being one of them. There's no mention of a sermon in this story, just compassion, prayer, and healing the sick. I imagine also there was wine to go with the meal, as people get thirsty while eating, so it had to be a heck of a party. I can't imagine a bunch of non-religious people, eating and drinking, just sitting there quietly, especially after many of them had just been healed! And after a few glasses of wine, I know some of those guys started singing and telling jokes.
This story is full of miracles. It's a story of compassion and the intense desire for fellowship Jesus had for those who were willing to follow Him into the countryside. Jesus must have realized this crowd didn't need to hear preaching, they just needed someone among them who spoke their language, recognized their needs, and gave them what they needed. They were tired, sick, and hungry, so He had them rest, He healed them, and He fed them. That's the Jesus I follow, the One who meets every need. That's the real miracle.