Saturday, February 28, 2009
Today he had this entry which reminded me of this truth ...
... be sure your sins WILL find you out!
We can't hide from our mistakes - they might show up on a Google search someaday - the better course of action is to "confess" them, and "repent" (change our ways).
God (and people) will not condemn us for our mistakes - only our feeble efforts to cover them up! Here is a great word from God's Word:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
Friday, February 27, 2009
Apart from Valentine's Day - February is a month that I could do without! I'm tired of the cold weather ... the snow ... the cloudy days ... the limited hours of daylight! February is not my favorite month of the year!
I believe it is evidence of God's grace that February is the shortest month of the year! I'm looking forward to March!
Dear God ... Bring Spring!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Recipes for Financial Ruin
"When your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall!"
"We spend money we don't have to buy things we don't need to impress people we don't like!"
"We're from the government and we're here to help you!"
I believe the government has a (minor) role to play in helping us turn this current economic recession around, but the current fiscal carelessness is getting ridiculous. At this rate, the cure is going to kill us!! (But we'll all have government-run medical coverage! Sigh!)
The best thing the government can do is help the hard-working people of our country to create businesses that create products that create jobs!! (Current policy proposals threaten to discourage each of these - businesses, products, and jobs!)
I would suggest that securing the banks and backbone businesses which make products and create jobs may in fact be a very appropriate "investment" of tax dollars - which if things work out will all be returned to the public treasury, WITH interest. But the entitlement spending that is being sold under the catagory of "stimulus" is a different story - the only interest payments these will incur are the ones our children will pay on the debts which are exploding into the trillions!
Please protect us from US!
“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,
but a foolish man devours all he has.” - Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
- That would make us taxpayers Santa's helpers? (B. Pursley)
- Santa!!? In all the years he's been at it, Santa has spent that much, combined! (R. Decker)
Santa didn't have control of the US Treasury! Start the Presses!! (And Warn your Grandkids!)
The folks in Washington, DC appear to be in the mood to spend quite a bit of money - so we're going to have to print some more of it!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
So what is our theology of sin?
Apparently for many it is ... "sin today" and then "repent tomorrow!"
I would suggest we need a more profound understanding - a deeper way of thinking.
A great place to begin is found in Paul's letter to the Romans:
"Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right. All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end." - Romans 5:18-21 (The Message)
So the sin of Adam has been trumped by the grace of Jesus Christ!
How should we then live?
Should we go to church on "Ash Wednesday" only to make up for the excesses of "Fat Tuesday"?
"Well then, shall we keep on sinning so that God can keep on showing us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not! Should we keep on sinning when we don't have to? For sin's power over us was broken when we became Christians and were baptized to become a part of Jesus Christ; through his death the power of your sinful nature was shattered...
And since your old sin-loving nature "died" with Christ, we know that you will share his new life. Christ rose from the dead and will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. He died once for all to end sin's power, but now he lives forever in unbroken fellowship with God. So look upon your old sin nature as dead and unresponsive to sin, and instead be alive to God, alert to him, through Jesus Christ our Lord." - Romans 6:1-11 (NIV)
May we no longer be gripped by the "death of sin." Let us instead live "alive to God" - let us make the choice to honor God!
I would invite you to spend some time tomorrow - perhaps even at church - to begin with a spirit of repentence (the spirit of Ash Wednesday). Repentence means more than "sorrow" - the word literally means a "change of mind" (see this post)
This Ash Wednesday, we are providing a self-directed guide for repentence in our Prayer Chapel and an opportunity to receive the elements of grace in the Lord's Supper at Sonrise from 12noon-8pm. We invite you to join us.
I am very aware of the pain of sin - and I am thankful for the grace of God ... Amazing Grace ... Ash Wednesday Grace!
Monday, February 16, 2009
God's word says it this way:
"It's better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth ... By yourself you're unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst." - Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12 (The Message)
Jesus understood this - which is why he sent the disciples out in teams instead of on their own. They wouldn't be able to cover as much territory this way - but the impact was greater - and the results are indesputable!
Kingdom Partnerships are strategic ...
... if we want to see God's Kingdom Come!
I am thankful for some strategic partnerships in my life - which each make me better than I am alone:
- my partnership with my wife Kathy makes me a better man.
Sonrise Church Staff
- my partnership with our church staff makes me a better pastor.
Colleagues & Friends
- my partnerships with these co-workers make me a better servant.
Mentors & Models
- my partnerships with these folks make me a better leader.
I want to make an impact with people that want to make an impact - for God's Kingdom!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
It appears that the gambling industry is doing its best to get a foothold in "the city of churches" with promises and payoffs which fail to calculate the social cost to our great community!
This past week I was invited along with a number of other leaders to meet with some representatives of our mayor to share our concerns - and we did! We want to support our mayor in finding better alternatives for our city.
My concern is less about the morality of gambling itself than the fact that balancing the public budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our community is pitiful public policy. The poor, the addicted, and the desparate are the ones who will be taken advantage of by the gambling industry. Their "games" are designed to suck money out of people's lives - and out of our community! They produce nothing but addiction, bankruptcy, and crime. (The ABC's of Gambling)
I'm not proposing that gambling become illegal - but I would propose that the government should not encourage it. I'm embarassed that our state sponsors lottery gambling - because it is a regressive tax. (It is a tax on people who are bad at math!) You have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than winning the big jackpot! If you want to waste money - that should be your right as an American - but let's not entice people to do that under the guise of civil policy!
Downtown Fort Wayne has experienced some wonderful development in recent years. A new downtown stadium will open this spring. A new library expansion was recently completed. The Headwaters Park and RiverGreenway Trails are awesome public jewels. There are some challenges facing the new Harrison Square development, but they will be overcome - let's not trash these advances with the slimy efforts of the gambling business.
Let's create businesses that create products - that build our community - not tear it down!
Let's just say NO to a CasiNO! We don't need this stuff.
We can do better - we must do better!
Monday, February 09, 2009
Here's what one trillion dollars looks like on that check:
Here's the kicker ... the check is going to be covered by folks like you and me!! So get ready to ante up! Unlike the Toubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) this government spending will not be backed by any ownership value that promises to return some (or all) of those funds to the U.S. Treasury.
Those are a lot of zeros!! And it appears they represent a lot of "pork" - designed to "stimulate" our economy. When will we learn? Government is not designed for efficiency!
I think there is a role for government to help in this economy, but I'm not putting my trust in government to do this alone. One of the best things the government can do is stay out of the way of the market's own efforts to turn this economy around.
Forgive my skepticism, but history does not indicate that government spending produces what it promises. The best ideas being discussed, in my humble opinion, are the tax cut proposals being considered - which would allow the people who pay those taxes to decide how to best use those funds, in the marketplace that has created the greatest economy in history!
LORD ... Let your kingdom come in our economy! (And let your wisdom come to our leaders.)
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
The prayer I am praying the most these days is, "God may your Kingdom come, may your will be done!" This is also the focus of the new message series we are in at Sonrise as we study the gospel of Mark. We're simply calling it "Kingdom Come!" (You can listen here.)
The message of Jesus was and is that there is a new administration available to those who would seek after God's agenda - this new administration is over 2000 years old, but it is still growing! It is not limited by geography or political philosophy. This administration will last forever! It is for those who would seek God's reign and rule in their lives. It is the Kingdom of God!
Oh God, may your KINGDOM COME!
... may your kingdom come in our world,
... may your kingdom come in our nation,
... may your kingdom come in our families,
... may your kingdom come in your church!
May YOUR will be done! Amen.