Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Blast From the Past: Thanksgiving

This was first posted on November 24, 2009. I have edited it to bring it more up to date.

This is the time of year that we remember the Pilgrims who held a feast to give thanks to God and invited the local Indian tribe, who brought the sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. We continue the tradition our forefathers began of eating far too much, and falling asleep on the couch while watching football games on TV. The celebration continues as we get up way too early in the morning to fight for parking spaces and all the bargains presented by our friendly local merchants.

It is easy for the above scenario to actually be true in our lives. We can get caught up in all the hype that has come to surround us this time of year. In the midst of the feasting with family, television watching, and shopping, we can forget what is really important. We can forget to be grateful for all that God has given us.

As I look back on this past year, there are many reasons to be thankful. The first, and most important, thing is the grace of God. I am thankful that God has adopted me into his family and that he loves me no matter what. I am thankful for the work of Jesus which makes me a child of God. I am thankful for the Spirit's guidance and work in me to make me more and more like Jesus.

I am thankful for a wonderful wife who loves me and is patient with my quirks and idiosyncrasies. Jan's love and support has been a truly amazing thing. I am thankful for a son and a daughter who have grown into responsible adults who love God. I am thankful for their spouses. I am thankful for my sister and her family and for the times we are able to get together, and for my sisters-in-law and their families.

I am thankful for friends who make me think, and challenge me to turn knowledge into action. I am thankful for the community of faith God has given us, a group of people learning together what it means to follow Jesus in the day-to-day of our lives. I am thankful for the things that God has taught me and the ways he has changed me.

I am thankful for the chance to serve some of the ones who are sometimes forgotten by others. I am thankful for life, health and all the things that we take for granted.

What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

Well, the election is over and one candidate came out on top. There are strong feelings on both sides and there are folks on each side that are taking advantage of things and do some pretty terrible things. Hopefully, things will calm down in the next few months. On a brighter note, the Chicago Cubs are World Series champs! It took over a century, but they did it. Fall has finally arrived here in the sunny South and the leaves and temperatures are falling.

On to the links:

Death of a monster.
It's okay to not be perfect.
Don't be confused.
Kayla Zilch picks a bone.
No, it's not easy.

Interesting article.
A few suggestions.
Funny article.
No buts.
Birth year and the flu.

This is kind of sad.
This will make you wonder.
Which color pill are we supposed to take?
From anger to joy.
This might not be such a good thing.

What is fellowship?
A look at the future.
Bob Edwards on the broken heart.
Mike Erich on subtle idols.
Counter-cultural God.

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thoughts on the Election

The 2016 campaign is over and I think it is safe to say that the result is not quite what a lot of folks expected. Full disclosure: I didn't vote for either of the major party candidates. So, I think I can speak on the result with somewhat of a neutral view.

I believe the last few months have uncovered some things about our country that most of us either didn't see, or simply refused to see. Throughout the primaries and on into the general election there were things said and done that should never be said about or done to another person. I know that there have been some pretty nasty campaigns in our nation's history, but that is no excuse for what came out of this election. That is one thing that saddens me.

Another thing that makes me sad is what I saw in the church. I saw people who claim to be followers of Jesus demean others who are made in the image of God, all because they supported another candidate. Questioning the faith of someone just because they don't wear the same political jersey is not what Jesus had in mind when he told to us love our brothers and sisters. Many seemed to forget that our first allegiance is to the King of Kings and not to a person or party. I have said it before and I'll say it again; some have sacrificed the gospel on the altars of political influence and prosperity.

I am also saddened by some of what I have seen in the days after the election. People on both sides are doing and saying things that they would condemn and have condemned in the folks on the other side. Folks on the winning side are decrying those who are chanting, "Not my president," while forgetting that some on their side said the same thing not very long ago. Others are committing acts of harassment and violence against those on the "other side."

 Americans have forgotten that we are all part of the same nation. We have divided along many lines and made it quite easy for power hungry demagogues to gain power by preying on our fears and convincing us that some of our fellow citizens are bent on destroying us. Even worse, those of us who claim to follow Jesus have forgotten that not only are we fellow Americans, but most importantly we are part of one body. Instead of hurting because one part of the body is in pain, we are telling other parts of the body Christ that they are useless and we don't need them. As the Apostle Paul said, that is ridiculous! How can we expect the world to listen to us when we are not showing love to those in our spiritual family!

Judging from the past year, we have a great opportunity to show those who are watching the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus by the way we treat each other and by the way we treat the least of these in our society. The problem is that we have not been doing a very good job of that lately. May God change our hearts and help us to live like who we say we are.

Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings will be a bit shorter than usual this time. This has been a busy week. I am part of an organization of artists that seeks...