Monday, March 2, 2015

Quote for the day

"Often, to be free means the ability to deal with the realities of one's own situation so as not to be overcome by them."

- Howard Thurman, For the Inward Journey: The Writings of Howard Thurman

Saturday, February 21, 2015

But each one in his own order....

As we draw near to the season of Passover, it is helpful to re-examine the significance of this celebration.  This annual time of reflection extends back to the Jewish festivals which were developed early on as a representation of what was to happen in a future time. Passover was the time when the first crop of barley was presented before the Lord. Seven weeks later, Pentecost was the time when the firstfruits of the wheat harvest was presented. The offerings of the firstfruits signifies the great harvest still to come.

Historically, Passover commemorated Israel coming out of Egypt while Pentecost recognized the arrival of the Jews at Mt. Sinai where the giving of the 10 Commandments (Torah) occurred. "The two strands were woven together since part of God's promise in liberating Israel and giving it the law was that Israel would inherit the land and that the land would be fruitful."

1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul applies this Passover image to Jesus. Stating (verses 20-23): "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen sleep. For since by man came death [Adam], by Man [Jesus] also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming."

So it will be ....to each of us [those who have placed their faith in Jesus/Yeshua]... in this order:

Already taken place:

Death through Adam----Christ's death----Christ's resurrection

"Afterward" / Soon to take place:

Our death (falling asleep)---Christ's return---Our resurrection (w/Christ)




-Quote from Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Cow lives better than 60% of this world

Terry was in Rwanda recently on a work assignment. He met a teenage girl named Constance. Sixteen years old, she sometimes suffered from anemia, which often left her tired. She had no access to medical care because of her poverty. Constance spends most of her day outdoors, where she works on a small patch of land she received when her mother and father died of HIV/AIDS. She cannot go to school because she needs to care for siblings. They manage one meal a day and live in a one-room shack w/out electricity. She receives no subsidies from her government. Once, a local church gave her some money to buy clothes and school supplies for her little brother, but that was a long time ago. 

Terry could not help comparing her to Betsy in Europe. He had come to know Betsy when he was living and working in France. Betsy is young, healthy, and, frankly, productive. She lives in the French countryside, spends most of her time outdoA Coors, and gets free meals and wonderful accommodations that are heated and air conditioned. She has 100 percent health care coverage and, like many others, gets a daily subsidy of about $3.00 from the government to cover auxiliary expenses. She is in great shape and has a bright future.

Betsy and Constance do not have quite the same existence. Betsy has it made. The tragedy is that Betsy is a cow, and Constance is a human being. They represent the incredible disparity so unexamined in our world. The World Bank tells us that the average European Union cow has more to live on per day in European Union subsidies than 60% of the people in the developing world. It appears that it is better to be a cow in France than to be a child in the developing world. When a French cow is wealthier than two billion people in this world, we should wake up and take notice.

-Direct excerpt from Going Global by Nelson, King, & Smith


Saturday, January 31, 2015

The grief process

Denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance....this is the grief process.

Embrace it...

Don't fight it...

Go through it....

It's a part of life...love and loss....it's all a part of life


Thursday, January 8, 2015

I don't know what to think anymore....

Wow!

I don't know what to think anymore....I am torn between the life I want to have (ease & comfort) and the life that I shouldn't be running so hard away from (pain & suffering). After reading Hosea & countless stories about the life of Paul and his sufferings. I have been meditating and examining myself on this notion of "what should I be thinking/moving towards?"

I know that I have been living my life and trying to set myself (consciously and un-consciously) towards a life of comfort and ease and as little struggle as possible....but is this what I should be making a priority?

I heard a line in a sermon the other day about how so many of us think that the path of least resistance means that we are headed in the right direction for God's will.

Yikes!

Oh how this is me....oftentimes I believe that I am on the right path based on how smoothly my life is going....or what doors are opening and what doors are shutting....but is this right?

I don't know!

Does suffering and resistance automatically equate to being in God's perfect will?

I don't know!

As I continue to re-read the words in Proverbs and Hosea I am challenged to continue to cry out to God to seek true wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

I don't want to "deck myself w/ earrings & jewelry and go after other lovers and forget the Lord"

I don't want to despise the discipline of the Lord and run away from the counsel of God. By doing this and going after my own way of understanding of what I believe is good in my life -  I will eat the fruit of my own way. This fruit will most likely not satisfy me the way that listening to the Lord will.

Countless times we are advised to not be wise in our own eyes and seek the Lord for wisdom, knowledge & understanding. This is where our "happy" comes from (Prov 3:13)

So today I cry out for discernment, wisdom, knowledge & understanding. Come Lord!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ben Watson- A timely voice in the wake of chaos

At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:
I'M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.
I'M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.
I'M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I'm a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a "threat" to those who don't know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.
I'M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.
I'M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.
I'M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.
I'M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I've seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.
I'M CONFUSED, because I don't know why it's so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don't know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.
I'M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take "our" side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it's us against them. Sometimes I'm just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that's not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That's not right.
I'M HOPELESS, because I've lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I'm not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.
I'M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it's a beautiful thing.
I'M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I'M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that's capable of looking past the outward and seeing what's truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It's the Gospel. So, finally, I'M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.