Reconciling the beatitudes with being American

I was reading in Luke 6 this morning. After Jesus pronounces His ‘blesseds’, He pronounces His ‘woes’:

24(AS) “But woe to you who are rich,(AT) for you(AU) have received your consolation.

25“Woe to you who are full now, for(AV) you shall be hungry.

“Woe to(AW) you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.”

And I asked myself, “What’s fundamentally wrong with being rich?”

And I responded (to myself), “Because all rich people know some poor people, and that means that they are withholding their riches at the cost of their friends’ comfort and provision.”

And then I thought, “Well, most people seem to agree that all Americans are pretty much rich by the rest of the world’s standards. So, who are the poor people that we know?”

And then I thought, “Well, pretty much the rest of the world.”

And that’s kind of funny

…for about 5 seconds.

And then it’s disturbing and overwhelming.

I’m typing this on a computer that cost more than many people will make in the next 5 years.

What kind of steward am I being?

What kind of steward are you being?

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Huge Opportunity

A lot of folks don’t realize that I actually have two sisters. One is a little younger than me and lives nearby, but the other is 5 years older than me, and lives in Apple Valley, California. And she has one heck of a story.

I won’t put the whole thing here, because you’ll never get around to the end, and there’s a point to this post… the gist of it is a classic story of redemption. My dad divorced her mom when she was very young, and her mom raised her foolishly… and before it was said and done, she spent YEARS on the streets, addicted to drugs, in and out of jail, and finally hit rock bottom.

And when she did, she looked up and called out to God, and He reached down and rescued her…

Continue reading

Interesting post about Joel Osteen

Have a look here.

What do you think?

Best eternal investment opps

This weekend at church, I taught about how we are free to serve Jesus because we don’t have to.

…yeah, just take a second and think about that. My texts were Galatians 5 and 1 Peter 2.

I got on a social justice soap-box for just a minute.

According to Compassion International, 19 billion dollars a year could provide for the basic needs of all the poorest children in the world. To put that figure in perspective, this is about half of what Americans spend on dieting programs every year.

I told folks at the church about various opportunities to invest eternally, and this morning I began a list on the website.

What do you think should be on the list?

Please Pray For Jack

Hey folks,

I just received this email from a leader in our church. Please don’t get distracted by how long it looks. It took me 2 minutes to read it.

Please stop and take 5 minutes to lift this guy up in prayer:

I sold land to someone names Jack Rafac. His wife is Delores. He’s lived a rough life, from abandonment as a baby, to carnivals, to Chicago Hell’s Angels, to prison, to homicide, to informant, now under Witness Protection Plan. He looks rough. He is rough. But he’s got a little boy’s heart in him. He just wants to be cared about and loved. I am the only person he trusts in this world, other than Delores. He’s quite poor, making a living in the junk-world business, with a little government assistance per month. He has never missed a payment.

Jack was recently diagnosed with some form of liver cancer. They gave him a few years. He was optimistic and was preparing a plan to take care of Delores. He collapsed today and is now in the emergency room at Mariah Parham. Beth and I had just invited them to come to our house this week to bathe and to eat lunch with us. We were going to buy them some new clothes. He had agreed to let me share the gospel with him for at least an hour without interrupting me. (He loves to talk….)

Please pray that he will live long enough for me to see him in the hospital. Pray that he will live long enough to make that trip to our home. Pray that salvation will over take him when I share with him. Pray for Delores, too.

so far, pt. 1

*I usually don’t have time to write anything very meaningful, and I want to force myself to, because I think it’s a really healthy exercise, so this is part one of what I think will probably be a lengthy series of posts. The title is ‘so far’, because with every day I live, I see things just a little differently, and this is what I see, so far. I would LOVE to hear your feedback/thoughts! *end disclaimer

I’m not sure what my goal is writing this right now. It seems like I haven’t had time to even think insightfully in a long time, and I think that somehow, writing makes it easier.
…well, I suppose that’s not true. I’ve been thinking a lot lately. I think I just don’t have time to think all the way through anything. In fact, I’ve been wrestling with this suspicion that if I did think through this stuff to the logical end, my life would probably get turbulent… again

I’m happy to report that I feel very alive these days, also very human. I’m less happy to report the ‘human’ part. It’s a very bittersweet thing, being human. Lately I’ve been reading and hearing about this ‘Palagian heresy’. In short, there’s this dude from history who didn’t like Augustin’s prayer, “Lord, command what You will, but grant what You command.” He said that’s it’s an absurd prayer, because God puts in all of us the innate ability to accomplish anything that God commands from us. And he even goes a step further and says that that means that we all have some good in us. And that’s where the ‘heresy’ comes from. Many people today -even followers of Jesus – believe that humans, deep down, are good, or at least we have some good. I actually wrote an editorial in the NC State newspaper about this when I was in college. The Bible is clear that there is no good in us. None whatsoever.
But that’s all kind of a rabbit trail. My point in diverging is that as I get a little older, and hopefully just a little bit wiser, I’m learning that theology doesn’t meet reality as simply as we would like it to. I most truly believe that there is no good in any of us. And yet, to steal the imagery from Erwin McMannus, I have these cravings inside of me that honestly feel like there is some good in them. And I see them in other people too.
To be continued…

everybody loses everything on earth — someday

That’s a quote from Piper in his sermon “Where Is God“, which is a response to catastrophic occurrences like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina.

Piper is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota. They are so close to the bridge that collapsed that you can see the lights of rescue crews from the church.

They sent their video crews out to capture some of what’s going on out there, with some audio from the ‘Where Is God’ sermon spliced in. Here’s an excerpt:

Famines, pestilence, persecution — these happen so that the world will see that followers of Jesus count Christ more precious than everything they’ve lost — and discover that He can be that for them, because one day they’re going to lose everything. Everybody loses everything on earth, some day.