|New Weapon--Same Evil
|Thursday, May 30, 2013|
A working gun...created by a 3D printer. By now, of course, it's old news.
A pill, a pressure cooker, a blade, a bomb…or a gun. In a world of evil, a darksome thought in the mind…is as good as a weapon in the hand.
|Reach Out (Ur...but do we really have to?)
|Thursday, May 23, 2013|
Time out for some buzzkilll. As in, I'd like to kill a buzz word...or at least reduce its heavy usage. Call me a skeptic or cynic if you will, but I strongly reject the stampede toward bizz babble. You know—expressions like....
“Tee it up”
“Over the Wall”
“grabbing the low hanging fruit” or...
“get together and blue sky”
“getting the right people in the right seats on the bus.”
Now some of those are older expressions, for sure. But one I've been seeing a lot of lately is “reach out.” America is now practically daily overdosing on “reach out.”
Internal emails invite us to “reach out” with any questions about corporate policies. Public service announcements on TV implore us to “reach out” and express our compassion. Junk mail is full of offers imploring us to “reach out” and get the help or goods we need (ur...for a price, that is). With all the “reaching out” that's going on, it's a wonder we all don't bang arms merely moving down the hallway, as we “reach out”--whether at work or at home. And don’t forget about church—where board meetings and committees now invite us to “reach out” with our thoughts.
Now is it just me or are more and more people sucked into the expanding world of meaningless corporate speak? Even in churches and ministries? I suspect the answer is yes.
People are so desperate to “fit in” they'll happily take up the language of biz-babble. But why must we be like a herd of mindless elephants ….? Why must we all use the same trendy talk? Why can't we learn to express ourselves uniquely? You almost pick up on a “Hey, bro—I really get you” kind of look that passes between brethren and sistern who insist on speaking biz-babble.
In a world of wars and woes, I suppose my complaint is a small one. Yet...please...could we all just STOP reaching out....and simply say what we mean?
I wouldn't try to build a theology on it, but I can't help wondering if Jesus' advice in Matthew 5:37 is something we ought to consider in our corporate—and ministry-- dialogue: “Let your yes be yes…and your no be no.”
Thanks for letting me...ur...reach out ...with that thought! :-)
|Our Tower Has Gone Wobbly!
|Thursday, May 16, 2013|
If you've never played Jenga, you ought to give it a shot. This challenging game starts you off with a tower of wooden planks. Each layer is made up of three planks that lay right against each other. So it's a loose—but solid—tower to start with. Plenty strong.
|Thursday, May 09, 2013|
Are we sure we're doing church right?
Let me cut to the chase. I'm uncomfortable with the way we've divvied up the typical church service. In an average 75 minute service, we American evangelicals typically do 5 minutes of announcements, at least 20 minutes of singing, 30-40 or more minutes of preaching. Throw in the offering, a greeting time and benediction... and that leaves about 5 minutes for a pastoral prayer and two minutes for a closing payer. Meaning we spend about as much time on announcements as we do on prayer.
Does that strike you as out of whack? Don't answer until I respectfully remind you that I Thessalonians 5:17 urges us to “Pray without ceasing.” Philippians 4:6 instructs us that “in everything by prayer and supplication” we ought to seek God. Could I further gently add that despite our modern penchant for worship music, Jesus never said, “My house shall be a house of singing.” But Jesus DID say, “My house shall be a house of prayer.”
Let me take in a breath...possibly freak you out...and suggest that we need to do less singing—perhaps even drop a few illustrations from the message—and do more praying in church.
There's only so much space in a given church service. And if we've assigned so much of it to music that it squeezes out prayer, we're out of biblical balance. Search the book of Acts—the most complete blueprint we have for doing church—and you'll find a heavy emphasis on prayer, on breaking bread, on fellowship, on instruction in the Word. But what you DON'T see is a huge emphasis on music.
That's not to say we shouldn't sing…or have sermon illustrations. Of course the biblical precedent for worship music is clearly there. And illustrations provide a window into understanding God's Word. But not to the extent that they upstage significant prayer.
Truth is, it's tough to honestly study Scripture and disagree with the conclusion that in general, we're not praying enough.
It's time we gave prayer in our Sunday assembly the same emphasis the Bible gives it. A given church service has only so many slots...so many minutes. It's time our church services emphasized more of what the Bible emphasizes more of: prayer.
|A View from the Portico
|Thursday, May 02, 2013|
As I write this, the nation’s third largest city is under siege. Or, perhaps more accurately, under sieve. To use the adjective, “rainy” is to describe the sun as merely warm.
Schools are closed. Streets are clogged. And announcers on radio and television beg us to “Please stay home!” But crises large and small have a way of yielding defining snapshots. I saw one the other day.
As gallon-sized drops of rain blasted the army of downtown commuters, we besieged soldiers bolted the last steps of our maneuvers toward the train station portico. Safely under the cover of stone and cement, our soggy platoon holstered weapons of defense—umbrellas dripping impressive rivers of their own.
Only then did I notice our ranks had been infiltrated. The peddlers and beggars who normally position themselves on high-traffic corners just outside the station had come inside the station.
The guy with the cardboard sign asking for help to—quote—“keep my place”…he was there. Then I saw the young blind man who jangles his cup on the corner. The familiar cast of panhandlers was all present and accounted for.
The scene was mildly humorous and profoundly telling. Here were bankers and lawyers and high flying business folks of every stripe with hair and clothes as matted and soggy as…the homeless people who shared their space.
For the briefest of moments, the labels and assumptions and baggage were stripped away. There under that merciful portico, we were all just survivors. Human beings equally wet—and more equal than the proudest of us cared to know. What a picture of our moral standing before God:
For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
There is NO one righteous…not even one.
Yet there it stands: the portico of God’s grace—shielding, protecting and—best of all--open to beggars of every kind: the earthly poor, as well as rich folks who know just how impoverished they really are…apart from Christ.
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