Worst Day Ever

Most of us if pressed could identify our worst day ever; it may be the dissolution of a relationship, a personal tragedy or even financial struggle. Though we may be a little hard-pressed to identify a worst-day-ever in the course of mankind, one might speculate that the worst day ever was the day that Eve sunk her teeth into that delectable fruit thus triggering the collapse of the relationship with God. One may identify the era of the black plague upon the face of the earth. Perhaps, it was the day that the bombs were dropped upon Japan, causing great loss of life. Could it be the lust for megalomaniacal power in the heart of Hitler that even precipitated such an event? One may speculate that the worst day ever was the election of a given individual, or the passage of a particular law.

All have their merits to some extent, but I would surmise that the worst day ever is yet to come. I would suggest that Jesus speaks of this day, a day of judgment, in Matthew chapter 7. Continue reading “Worst Day Ever”

Where was God?

I am pretty sure that most people are aware of the tragedy that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, when a disgruntled youth made his way onto the grounds and began indiscriminately taking the lives of young children and teachers. I have not heard an acknowledgment of the existence of evil in such unison for quite some time. But in the mêlée, I have often hard the cries, “Where was God in this terrible ordeal?” Continue reading “Where was God?”

Monuments

There is a particular topic going around these days that is drawing a lot of the air out of the room; it is the subject of monuments, statues, and memorials. We understand that they are all designed to commemorate something; sometimes the attention given to any such monument is due to the architecture, often times the attention is focused on what the monument represents. In any case they are intended to remember something one finds important, like points in history: events, accomplishments, or people.

There is a lot of tension right now as people debate, or even argue any given value of “offensive” statues, memorials, and monuments.  What one wants to remember, another desires to forget. What one applauds, the other jeers. What one celebrates, another mourns. Some find honor, some find offense. Some pride, some shame. Differing viewpoints, and differing perspectives. And as is becoming the case, those who jeer, end up tearing down the structure in revolt and anger. Unfortunately, it seems as though the same spirit that razes them may have been the same spirit which put them up to begin with. Simply put, some things do merit remembrance, others do not. Continue reading “Monuments”

The Resume of Christ

Resumes are a funny thing to use when we are seeking a job. Why? Well, when we are looking to be employed by someone, we do not stand up and announce any or all of our failures that would disqualify us from that particular line of employment. Rather, it seems to be a culturally acceptable practice to be only as transparent as you want to be, not that that makes it right. We seek to display all of the happy and successful achievements. We don’t announce that we lost a job due to incompetence, or that we only held a job for a week, or got fired. Nor, do we confess that we have had 39 such jobs. We seek to present ourselves in the best possible light, thus increasing our chances of getting the desired position. Continue reading “The Resume of Christ”

Scribbles in the Hymnals

Oh the signs of youth! They do leave a wake of destruction in their path, but such are the signs of exuberant life. Even around a church one can see the evidences of tiny hands: candy wrappers, fingerprints on walls, stains on the carpet, broken crayons and scribbles in the hymnals. Some may contest these disturbances in the sanctuary but I suggest they are precious and valued in the eyes of the Lord. When these indications of a youthful presence are undervalued, it is then that a church is in trouble.

It took less than a generation for a Christian nation such as England to be so secularized. From a nation which boasted the likes of John Wesley, JB Lightfoot, Charles Wesley, and C.S. Lewis, all it took was one generation in the latter part of the 20th century for that heritage to dissipate into secular humanism; the baton of Christ failed to be passed from one generation to the next. Continue reading “Scribbles in the Hymnals”

Over, Under, Around and Through

In some humorously demented ways we love our obstacles, we love the challenges of mazes, the puzzles. In our independent determinism, we will find our way; “one way or another, I will deal this situation, I will find the solution!” In the moral and spiritual realms, it is at times not so different; yet the question to be asked is, “What is the solution which God requires?”

Following are two passages of Scripture that are often viewed as advisory, or simply a challenge to be thwarted, or averted. Continue reading “Over, Under, Around and Through”

The Shortest Prayers

“God Bless America.” How many times throughout the day is this phrase uttered in the nation? A sacred entreaty to the Sovereign of the universe, the Giver of life, the eternal God. It is a prayer pleading for God’s help, for His direction, for His protection. We are asking for Him to make His presence known through an affirmative response. Yet, action after action seeks to reject God and remove Him from the fabric of the United States, a nation founded upon the God and fundamentals of the Bible. We have driven prayer out of the schools, and wonder why God doesn’t seem to be there, and why discipline is such an issue. We insist on the removal of the Ten Commandments from courthouses and are amazed at the level of rebellion in the land. We abort millions of lives annually and still have the nerve to ask God to bless our lives. Our nation, founded by God-fearing people is quickly becoming a nation of atheists.

There is an old saying; “There are no atheists in a foxhole.” This was no more apparent than in 2001 after the World Trade Center bombings. The Sunday following and for several months, churches were filled with concerned, fearful and grieving congregants. They were seeking to be comforted, consoled, healed. They were looking for answers, and God seemed the only Person from whom to seek answers. Gradually, as confidence came back, those large numbers of attendees diminished until numbers were back to pre-911 “normal” levels. The strategy seemed to be the same, we ask for God’s help, but only until we think we can “handle it.” After we have things under control, we want God to be scarce. Continue reading “The Shortest Prayers”

9/11 Revisited

(This is an article which I wrote to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the event – 2011).

It is a date indelibly etched into the vaults of our minds. Anyone who is twenty and above surely remembers where they were and what they were doing as they heard or saw the news of jets careening into the World Trade Center Towers, an occurrence so profound upon the landscape of U.S. history that the nation drew a corporate national gasp as we lapsed into fear and mourning. We had been assaulted on a level never heard of on our own soil; the core of our foundation had been compromised.

In the days and weeks which followed flags sold in record numbers and patriotism flourished on a level seldom ever seen, and churches, yes, churches, forgotten churches, long since abandoned churches, were packed as fearful and confused nationalists sought comfort in the midst of a higher power. For months the resurgence of national pride paralleled renewed interest in the sanctuary of God, as perhaps, only perhaps, we sought to court the favors of the Almighty and once again be a nation, “Under God.”

But such were the hopes of dreams and fairytales; it was not to be. Continue reading “9/11 Revisited”

Good-Bye

Most of us speak it several times a day without ever thinking of the origin of the word. In an ever-so-casual demeanor we issue the greatest of divine blessing upon all those from whom we depart. We may issue it in a letter, or even in the course of terminating a conversation on the street. The word is the simple valediction of “Good-Bye”. Most of us may never even think about it, but the word is actually a contraction of the Middle English phrase God be with ye. It was originally shortened to Godbwye and subsequently evolved to the forms we know today as goodbye, or good-bye.

In any case we may never even have considered that we are casting upon that individual the greatest gift we could possibly proclaim for all of their lives, the presence of the living God. The entirety of Scripture communicates the greatest blessing in all of eternity is the enjoyment of God’s presence.  Bet you didn’t know you were invoking such a high blessing in that simple phrase, the intimate, personal, relational quality of the Living God. Continue reading “Good-Bye”

Insufficient

One of the more disturbing waves to roll over the landscape of Christendom is the willingness to embrace “doctrine” from something other than the Word of God.

The historical principle under attack is the belief of Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura is the understanding that the Bible alone is the sole agent which is able to communicate all that we need to know regarding the message of God, the character of God, the nature of God and plans for God regarding the reconciliation of His fallen creation to Himself; this however does not negate the Spirit’s involvement in our understanding (1 Corinthians 2:10-14). One of the tenets of this belief is that of “the sufficiency of Scripture.” This means that the Word of God, in and of itself, is sufficient to communicate all that we need about a particular subject, and indeed does confer all that we need to know in regards to salvation. We do not need to seek additional resources of information. Continue reading “Insufficient”

Weeds

Several years ago a friend of mine phoned me to see if he could dispose of a large amount of dirt in my back yard. He had been working in his yard doing some landscaping and had generated several extra loads of dirt. As I had plenty of acreage I told him that it would be okay. The next season I noticed some odd changes to the vegetation on my property, little thorny spiky purple plants began to pierce through the ground. In no time at all these invasive amazons of vegetation had grown to nearly 6 feet in height, with 2 inch stalks and nasty sharp leaves. Within a few years my entire hillside was inundated with this forest of unwelcomed intruders.

Now, my friend was unaware of the contents of his dirt I am sure, and yet he was the unwilling carrier of that which so altered the face of my landscape. Continue reading “Weeds”

Great Expectations

I must admit the world has quite a few enticements to which I have grown accustomed; Toyota Tacoma’s, Apple Computers, Ping golf clubs, Reebok tennis shoes, Levis jeans, Craftsman tools. Coffee, chocolate malts, Hershey bars, chocolate chip cookies (no nuts…Well, Macadamia nuts are all right), brownies (no nuts), chocolate cake (no raspberry filling), in fact anything chocolate (still no raspberry). Pillsbury Orange Danish with chocolate macadamia coffee (oh! Wow!), Pineapple chicken, teriyaki chicken, sweet sour chicken, flame broiled chicken, in fact most chicken dishes (but no curry or mushrooms). Golf, ukuleles, books, movies. And of course, Coconuts (yay! God), shredded with added sugar. These things represent some of the best things that this world has to offer. What can I say? I like them.

Trouble is, in a messed-up sort of way, these are things I don’t ever want to give up, but I gather these present day accoutrements will not accompany me into Heaven. Someday I will have to say goodbye to these beloved companions. Sniff. That raises the question; why can’t these great things, these time-tested winners be there in the best of all places? Why should these proven winners be abandoned? Couldn’t Heaven be even more perfect with these on the menu? Continue reading “Great Expectations”

Choices

Walking through the grocery store it is amazing to see all of the selections available for purchase. Who would have thought a hundred years ago that an entire side of one aisle would be dedicated to potato chips? What really amazed me is the number of options of sport drinks. Kiwi-Strawberry, Lemon-Lime, Orange-Strawberry, Fruit Punch-Berry. I have heard there are 40 some flavors from which to choose. What is next? Peppermint-Avocado, or Sirloin-Pumpkin? There are drinks for before a work out, during a workout, after a workout. Sugar free and not. Seems like we cannot just be happy with one choice.

We are like that as well when it comes to religion. Some of us just can’t commit to one certain kind. “I am a Buddhist, but really like the teachings of Christ.” “I am a deist, but embrace humanism.” “I think there are a lot of ways to get to heaven, I am just going to follow my own course.” “I think we are all God, but I practice basic Christ-like principles.”  Some may say, “I am a good person, I think God should just let me into heaven.” The theological term for combining religions is called “syncretism.” It is a buffet type of selection where an individual chooses various elements of many religions hoping to create his or her own way to heaven. Continue reading “Choices”

Scratch and Sniff Bibles?

Bibles have indeed come a long way since the days of massive scrolls needing to be rolled out in order to be read. Along came the modern style books which allowed it to be read with much greater ease having been nicely bound in one volume. Eventually in 1455 came the printing press which put the book into many more households. Truly a blessing to the masses. And even since those days we have continued to see developments to the presentation of God’s Word, some for the better, some…I am not so sure about.

For example, most of us are the privileged owners of a study Bible of some sort: God’s Word readily packaged with handy insightful notes to accompany our reading. Many Bibles come replete with maps and even some have pictures. Of the newer developments are the audio Bibles and even now the dramatized versions by actors, complete with music soundtracks and effects. I wonder what could possibly be next to facilitate an effortless time of devotion in the Word. What about a “scratch and sniff” Bible?

Can you image what it would be like to smell the freshness of the Garden of Eden, the new foliage, the unpolluted air, the water ions filling creation? What about the sulfuric stench of Sodom and Gomorrah? Or maybe the scent of the Levitical sacrifices rising up as an aroma pleasing to the Lord? How about smelling the broken bottle of perfume in John 12:3 when Mary anoints Jesus for His burial? “Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

I guess if the mind runs wild all sorts of Bible options could be generated. A tactile Bible where you could feel Gideon’s fleece. A 3-D Bible where we see the archers arrow pierce Ahab’s side.  A Virtual Bible where, “You too are part of the Story!” complete with your own lines. Don’t get me wrong, I am all in favor of stimulating reading in the Word but where do we draw the line?

Here is my concern: how far do we go until Christians are just a group of people who are seeking to be entertained? Or until someone is spoon-feeding us the Word? What sort of simplicity does it take to entice us to spend time in the Word of God? We have it so made and yet we fail to invest time in the study of His Word. What’s up with that? Something tells me there is a component of discipline that ought to be part of the equation.

Hebrews 5:12-13 admonishes, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.”

The problem addressed by the writer of Hebrews is a failure of God’s people to spiritually mature, or grow up. My fear is that we have become people of such convenience that we do not delve into the intricacies of God’s Word on a regular and substantial basis, but rather we let someone else pre-digest it for us and serve it up as prepared baby food. Though it is not always easy to engage in disciplined study, some of the greatest truths are those revealed through our diligent excavation of the Truth.

It’s time to leave the milk behind. It’s time we begin to dine on the main course once again. So, sink your teeth (and your mind and heart) into a steady, solid diet of the Word of God.

Bon Appétit!

Stolen Grace

Even in the “on demand” society in which we live, most of us understand that there is a protocol to the acquisition of our desires. We do not visit a store and simply take what we want; we realize there is a need abide by socially acceptable norms. We need to pay for it. At times we may be the recipients of items for which we have not been required to pay – those are called gifts. And even in those cases we don’t determine when we take ownership of them, we must wait for the giver to make that decision. We all “get that.” We understand that in the realm of the world, but we have difficulty at times grasping that in the context of God’s economy.

How many of us are willing to run to our favorite sin knowing full well it is offensive to God, yet expecting to be completely forgiven of it by playing the grace card? “It doesn’t really matter that much, cause I am saved. Christ paid for that sin.” I think we all do that to some degree whether or not we see it in our own lives. And though it is true that the blood of Christ paid for our sins, should we be so presumptuous, so careless as to toss grace around like a borrowed credit card?  … If we are so quick to do that, what does that say about our hearts? Continue reading “Stolen Grace”

In Flight

Most of us know the experience of traveling in the “luxury” of an airline. We are invited to take our very own seat, crammed in a row of other sardines. We are given a blanket that in any other parallel dimension would logically be considered a napkin; a meal that would constitute as kibble, and an accompanying napkin that would be considered Q-Tip fodder (I know because I was intrigued enough to see if I actually could cram this thing entirely into my ear and I did it). After “dining” we are invited to recline to the full leisure of around 2 inches back to enjoy the flight. Ahh! The wanton luxury. In the real world, these “amenities” would not be considered anything tolerable, reasonable or acceptable. In actuality, these are simply minimal expressions of reality, but hey, we roll with it.

Why do we do that? Well, possibly because we perceive it to be the best we can do. We delude ourselves into thinking we are living the life when in reality, we are only faking it. After all, things will get better after the flight anyway, right? Well, it may not have all that grave of consequences on a plane ride, but how about in the course of our spiritual lives? Are we deluding ourselves there? Continue reading “In Flight”

The Aroma of Christ

One of the true graces of God is the amazing physical world in which we live. Accordingly, the Lord gives us the senses by which we appreciate that world. Eyes to see the millions of shapes and colors. Ears to hear the whispers and tones. Taste buds to savor the savory.  Yet, perhaps one of the senses taken most for granted is the sense of smell. What wonderful smells fill our world!

Fragrances which remind us of a person; just a whiff of the cologne my father used to wear bathes me in memories.

Scents which draw us back to our childhood remembrances; I remember the smell of the fruity vitamins wafting as I opened the bottle.

Scents which call to mind an era; I can still recall the innocence of childhood wonder as I inhaled the smell of freshly baked bread as I toured the factory in grade school. Aromas which prompt our salivary glands to react. Continue reading “The Aroma of Christ”

The Smell of Knowledge

When I think of knowledge I think of books. When I think of books I think of the fragrance of books, and books come in two “flavors.” The first one is the smell that hits you when you open up a brand-new book; it is the overwhelming aroma of fresh ink and paper. I associate that smell with the pleasurable experience of buying a brand-new book and the anticipation of soaking up its contents. Mmmm. The second aroma is that of Grandma’s basement, yes, Grandma’s basement, that musty damp smell that meant you are lost in the midst of antiquities. Books that smell like this are old and often frail but offer the promise of a treasure trove of ancient knowledge. I love it.

What can I say? I love books. I love the smells. I love the tactile experience of the pages between the fingers. I enjoy sneaking ahead to see how many pages are left, or just finding out how the book will end. So, when it comes to the newfangled digital books on Kindles and iPads I am sort of in a quandary. I am between generations. You see, I do love technology, but I love good old-fashioned books. Did I say that already? Nothing can replace that experience. Perhaps, it would be a good idea to place a scented sticker at the top of the Kindle which smells like a new book or musty pages to simulate the true paper experience, sort of like that “new car smell,” but alas, even that would fall short; the event just cannot be synthesized. Yes, the smell of books signifies knowledge. Continue reading “The Smell of Knowledge”

Chocolate “Colored” Sprinkles

Recently my wife pointed out to me a rather pathetic, but amusing example of how minimal our culture has become. She had received as a gift what we understood to be those great tasting little chocolate sprinkles that you put on top of ice cream or cakes or whatever. Now sometimes, as we all know, those splendid little morsels are not always pure chocolate; sometimes those rascals put mere chocolate flavoring in those things. Well, that’s okay for the most part, in fact, sometimes you cannot even tell the difference between artificial and the real stuff. But these things were simply brown colored grease that made the roof of my mouth slimy.

Come to find out, these are not chocolate sprinkles, or even chocolate flavored sprinkles, but these are chocolate colored sprinkles. You read that right. They were not bursting with real chocolate flavor, or even synthetic chocolate flavor. In fact, they had no flavor whatsoever. All they had to offer was the color of chocolate. This little rip-off in the cake decoration section was only a bottle of brown lard sprinkles. Someone at the corporate level had determined to cut costs, or hassles or whatever, and be so intentionally minimalistic, they offered nothing even close to the real thing. Continue reading “Chocolate “Colored” Sprinkles”

Candle Theology

The other night I lit a candle. Nothing out of the ordinary, the candle burned. Wow, I thought as I looked at the flame. It sure is interesting how that wick just doesn’t burn up. That flame will burn for hours without expiring. Then, I reflected how it is not that wick that is burning, it is the wax that is acting as the fuel. The wick is only allowing the fuel to burn brightly. In fact, if the wick were left to burn without the wax, it would burn up in a matter of seconds.

After lighting it, I had dropped the matchstick between the glass and the wax, and, “What do you know?” it acted as a wick itself and it burned for quite a while as it allowed the wax to climb up it and burn brightly. I was amazed and wondered if the heat that it was generating was as hot as the wick in the middle. I know, dumb move, but I touched the glass and, “ouch,” it was indeed hot. Continue reading “Candle Theology”

“Bobble-Head” Christians

It seems somewhere along the way, that the prevalent worldview of the last 2 thousand years has taken a hit, especially over the last 150 years. Time was when the dominant respecters of higher education were those who embraced the Christian faith. Did you know that Princeton (1812), Harvard (1636) and Yale (1701) all began as Christian seminaries? Those that were champions of higher education were those who embraced the Bible. Wow! Where have those days gone? Today, in the arena of higher education, Christians are often viewed as the naïve, simpletons, bobble heads on campus, merely nodding in agreement to a “ridiculous” way of understanding. Now, Christians are ridiculed for holding to a worldview many believe is irrational and illogical. Today we are judged to be intellectually inferior. So much for “tolerance”! Continue reading ““Bobble-Head” Christians”

Liar Liar!

Many of us are familiar with some form of the child-hood rhyme: “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!” The complete version I learned was, “Liar, Liar, pants on fire, nose as long as a telephone wire!”

Though there are several iterations, and there are multiple “explanations” as to what this really means, it does seem to be universally accepted as a taunting indictment, which is cast toward someone who has been caught in a lie. It would appear that the garment on fire is a judgment of sorts, and the elongated nose even a reference to Pinocchio’s nose when he lied.

My mind wonders how interesting it would be if all such vile actions were revealed and judged this way. Hmmm? Self-igniting attire? And incriminating bodily contortions?…Wouldn’t it be convenient if other pieces of apparel spontaneously combusted so as to judge the inappropriate presence of gossip, slander, or wickedness? What if flapping ears, bubbling lips, and twisting eye-lids heralded that something was awry? Continue reading “Liar Liar!”

The Pane of Deception

As we approached the doorstep of our friend’s house we noticed there upon the deck, beneath the window the body of a beautiful bird. Its breast was a brilliant yellow and its feathers of a rich green-brown tone. It was beautiful, still it was dead, and its limp and lifeless body told the all too familiar story that occurs each, and every day.

While in flight this creature had come down to the level of the window and perceived open skies as far as he could see but he was deceived. Flying at full speed the last thing it had seen was the reflection of unending skies in the window that were actually behind him. And then…snap, instant death. Life for him was over, and now he lay motionless on the deck, another casualty of deception. The window had revealed the promise of vast eternal horizons but in the end delivered a quick and brutal death to the unsuspecting victim. Continue reading “The Pane of Deception”

Whack-A-Saint!

Have you seen those games in the arcades or the amusement parks where the little moles pop their heads up from the plastic turf, and the waiting assailant stands ready to pummel the ascending rodent back into terra firma oblivion with a mallet? It’s called “Whack-a-Mole.”

The game begins as the moles slowly appear at irregular intervals at different locations, yet one at a time. The action proceeds to intensify as the varmints pop up at increasingly accelerating intervals, and in multiples. The intent of the assailant is to clobber as many as he can, increasing his score until the moles stop coming up and the game is over. Pretty funny game albeit a little violent perhaps. Continue reading “Whack-A-Saint!”

I Speak “Cow”

Image courtesy of The R. A. Fox Society

Recently I went out wooding and came across a great slash pile from which to harvest some good wood. Only trouble was it was surrounded by cows, and lots of ‘em were young cows. I waited a little while a few dispersed, then backed my truck toward the woodpile. Still a few hung around, checking me out. I began to throw pieces on my truck sort of ignoring the nearby onlookers, but keeping a watch on them from the corner of my eye. After several loads of wood I noticed one particular Bessie that had kept a watchful eye upon me, all the while mooing; she was 15 or 20 paces away and she began to swipe at the dirt with her leg and moo louder.

Now, just to let you know, I had never had a previous conversation with this particular cow. We had never exchanged emails, and I have never attended the Bovine College of Language Arts. But something very peculiar happened that day, I realized that I could speak “Cow.” She was attempting some sort of trans-species communication and it was working. It was quite exhilarating. But, was it just me? Had I alone been graced with this ability to communicate with bovine? Was I a true cow-whisperer? Continue reading “I Speak “Cow””

Veneer

I love the beauty of wood. The providential symphony of rich textures. The divinely choreographed grains.  The celestial concert of variegated colors. What a privilege for the woodworker to take a solid chunk of this great material and turn it into a work of art, to sculpt from the palette of the Creator! What a pleasure it is for me to gaze upon furniture or cabinets that are demonstrations of God’s incredible creativity in the measure of wood.

Unfortunately the demand upon this beautiful resource has made these materials more and more scarce, and thus they are used more seldom. The solution has been to take a thin sheet, a veneer of this attractive wood and laminate it over a much less expensive base layer. The end result is a product, which on the surface appears to have the integrity of this valuable material through and through when it is in fact, only a façade.   Continue reading “Veneer”

Fissures of Men

Scripture is particularly clear of the value which the Lord places on unity in the Body of God’s people. Psalm 133:1 gives us just a taste: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” John 17 is the Great Apologetic speaking to the fruit of that unity. In His High Priestly prayer Christ is praying for the unity of the apostles, that it may bear witness to Himself…“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).

Note that our unity is anchored in the Godhead, and that evidence of our unity is an evangelical witness to the world of the veracity of Christ…so that the world may believe! The Church grows, in part, as a result of our witness of fellowship! Continue reading “Fissures of Men”

Mr. Potato Head Church

For those of us who grew up in the fifties and sixties we are well aware of that iconic toy, Mr. Potato Head. Hugely successful over the course of its sixty-year reign, it is a plastic-bodied potato into which various features could be stuck to characterize the object into various facial distinctions or personalities. Part of the fun is mischievously placing the parts in the wrong areas for amusement. The toy has gone through many iterations and characters as a result of its success.

Facial parts placed in the wrong areas on a potato can be amusing, and cause us to laugh when a nose is inserted where an eye should be, or an eye in place of a ear, but that sort of tomfoolery doesn’t bode well when applied to a church, the body of Christ. Continue reading “Mr. Potato Head Church”

The Bucket List

Much has been ballyhooed of late regarding what has been termed ‘The Bucket List,’ a hypothetical container housing all those accomplishments an individual would like to achieve prior to his or her death; a crude colloquialism referring to “Kicking the Bucket.” Although these could hold any variety of experiences, they generally are limited to a self-absorbed, self-indulgent nature. It may consist of earning a degree, climbing a particular mountain, running a marathon, parachute jumping, visiting a particular place, or simply passing some other seemingly previously-before-thought insurmountable barrier.

Appropriately enough, the ‘Bucket List’ of Christ is not so self-indulgent, rather up until the very end He is absorbed in serving others – denial of His own human will, obedience to the Father, dying for the sins of the world and setting an example of servitude to his disciples. Not days, but hours before he is to hang sacrificially upon the cross, He meets unceremoniously to set an example as to how His followers are to exhibit love to each other after he departs – only Christ’s bucket was, well, a basin. Continue reading “The Bucket List”

Two Dollars Worth of God

I remember hearing a story as a young man. It was about a man who desired to buy two dollars worth of God. “I would like to buy two dollars worth of God, please. Not enough to disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk, or a snooze in the sunshine. I want a pound of the eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy two dollars worth of God.” Unfortunately, this is a widely held desire. People want just enough of God to feel good. They want enough of God to “make it into Heaven.” They just don’t want too much of God, at least not so much that they need to change their beliefs or their behavior.

Truth is, God is an all or nothing offer. It is like marriage, pregnancy or life itself. You’re either all in or you’re not. You’re married or you’re not. You’re pregnant or you’re not. You are alive or you’re not. Continue reading “Two Dollars Worth of God”