Monday, April 28, 2008

We had an interesting day yesterday. While getting ready to go Sunday services, we noticed that our dog Charlie had gotten out of the yard. The three of us went out and tried to get him back. That is a whole lot easier said than done. When Charlie gets out, it's time to play, and no matter what he's not interested in coming when we call.

My son Josh followed Charlie down the street and through neighbors' yards. I drove around in my truck and tried to find the dog. After a while I lost both of them. After two trips around the neighborhood (thankfully it's small), I returned home to find that Charlie had wandered off into the woods and Josh had come home. I thought, "Well. Having a dog was nice while it lasted."

We went on to church. When we returned, we saw Josh and Charlie coming up the street. It took a little while longer, but we finally had the dog back in the yard, none the worse for the experience. That night, I ordered a set of DVDs on dog training so we can hopefully spend the summer getting our relationship with Charlie at a level that will make our lives together enjoyable rather than a burden. He's a lovable dog, but still a puppy who is very headstrong and in need of some education. Kind of like me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

TGIF

It seems like time is passing faster than ever these days. Two weeks ago Jan and were relaxing in the Smoky Mountains. It doesn't seem that long ago. Here are some things that caught my interest this week:

imonk has a complex.

Grace writes about handbaskets.

Steve Knight gives his thoughts on being post-congregational.

Scot McKnight links to the best blog post he has ever read.

Dan Kimball speaks on social justice and hell.

Jared Wilson gets to hear N.T. Wright speak and I'm jealous.

Rachel has a good memory.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Man-made or God-made?

This morning on the radio, the announcer was talking about the display that we see in spring, the beauty of the trees and flowers as they bloom and leaf out. He compared it to what we see at Christmas, with the lights and decorations. The Christmas displays have to be put up so, without human effort, there would be nothing to see. On the other hand, what we see in the spring is from God, and doesn't depend on human effort. The beauty of spring far surpasses that of Christmas.

I think the same thing is true in our lives. We try to please God by our own efforts, by trying harder to not sin, by doing more spiritual things, and by teaching others to do those things. So many times the result is something far less than beautiful. Sometimes it looks like a tacky artificial tree with the most fake looking ornaments, sometimes it looks simply ugly.

By contrast, we can recognize that it is only by the grace of a merciful Father that we have anything. Because God is merciful and loving, and because Jesus has died for us on the cross, we can rest in the fact that we are loved by the Creator of all things and are heirs along with Jesus. If we fall into that endless, amazing grace and let the Holy Spirit work in us and form us into the image of Christ, the result will be something beautiful and wondrous to behold. Like spring.

There is another thing to remember when other people don't seem to "get it" like we do. In spring, the plants don't all come out at the same time. Sometimes even plants of the same species are on a different schedule. So it is with God's children. We are all growing, just at different rates. Back when I was a teenager (way back in the dark ages), there was a popular saying among Christians: "Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet". We need to remember that.

Friday, April 18, 2008

TGIF

Why does it seem like the week after a vacation takes forever to go by? At least it 's finally getting warm here in the sunny South.

Here are some of the interesting things I've seen this week:

Molly gives us a good reminder on how to treat those with whom we disagree.

AnneDroid convicted me of a need to check for residual bitterness.

Brant Hansen has a Bucket List for Christians.

imonk asks about "A Divine Protection Racket"

John tries to be still.

A Former Leader writes about worship songs come to life.

Grace throws her hat into the political ring.

Jeff McQuilkin is In-Between.

jonathanbrink reminds us that we are first human, and then breaks our hearts.

Brother Maynard made me laugh.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hands

This is something I wrote a little over a year ago. I thought of starting a "Best of" series like some other bloggers have, but I realized that "best of" would be a bit if an oxymoron for what I write. And anyway, imonk doesn't read my blog so... :)


Nickel Creek has a song titled "The Hand Song". The words are challenging.

The boy only wanted to give Mother something
And all of her roses had bloomed
Looking at her as he came rushing in with them
Knowing her roses were doomed
All she could see were some thorns buried deep
And the tears that he cried as she tended his wounds

And she knew it was love
It was one she could understand
He as showing his love
And that's how he hurt his hands

He still remembers that night as a child
On his mother's knee
She held him close and she opened her Bible
And quietly started to read
And seeing a picture of Jesus he cried out
"Momma, he's got some scars just like me."

And he knew it was love
It was one he could understand
He was showing his love
And that's how he hurt his hands

Now the boy's grown and moved out on his own
When Uncle Sam comes along
A foreign affair, but our young men were there
And luck had his number drawn
It wasn't that long till our hero was gone
He gave to a friend what he learned at the cross

But they knew it was love
It was one they could understand
He was showing his love
And that's how he hurt his hands

How willing are we to do whatever it takes to show our love? We who have learned at the cross - do we give to others what we have learned?

Are we even willing to get our hands dirty, let alone hurt them to show the same love that Jesus showed us on the cross?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tax Rebate

If you're wondering what to do with your share of the "economic stimulus package", check this out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Rare Post

I normally don't get too involved in political stuff, but I saw this and thought it was pretty significant, given the state of the primaries at this point. Look for the April 1 post titled "Hitchens v Hillary".

Church Signs: "The Best Thing We Can Give Someone​...

...Is Our Prayers." Usually my church signs posts are about the disagreements I have with the message on a particular sign. This time...