Helen Keller is credited as saying, “Life is either a great adventure, or it is nothing at all.” Whether Ms Keller was the source of that statement or not, it is certainly profound.
Far too many of us are addicted to mediocrity. We are stuck in a daily grind or routine that leaves us exhausted, but unfulfilled. We are overworked yet under exercised. We are over fed yet under nourished. We make more money than our parents and grandparents combined yet we are tonsil deep in debt. Our relationships are fractured and our nerves are shot. We take more medication for stress and anxiety than any previous generation. There is a reason it’s called, ‘The Rat Race.’
Here’s some good news, we can get out of the rut and out of the race and live lives that are full of meaning and adventure. In fact, we were designed to do just that. Jesus said, “I came that you might have life to the full.”
What a novel idea. Most of us would love to live life to the full instead of just being busy, but we don’t know where to begin. Here’s a crazy notion; the best way to start transforming your life from a rat race to an adventure is to slow down. That’s right, slow down, refocus and reprioritize.
I want to invite you to join me for a few minutes each week to look at God’s love letter to the human race. By taking a few minutes to read (or sometimes listen to) this space, you’re going to find a whole new world will open up to you. The Bible is not at all what you think it is. It’s not nearly as complicated as it’s been made out to be and in its pages you will discover the Adventure you’ve always wanted to be a part of.
Even if you’re a skeptic, stay with me for about 6 weeks and see what happens. After that, if you want to drop out, it’s a free country. Deal?
The first thing you’re going to need is a Bible, specifically a New Testament. We are going to go through two books of the Bible together. First, we’re going to examine the Gospel of Luke. That’s the third book in the New Testament. That Book has 24 chapters and it will help us solve a huge mystery; who is Jesus of Nazareth, really?
Luke was a medical doctor who lived in the first century a.d. and was an early convert to Christianity. He was also a meticulous historian who researched the life of Jesus and wrote down his discoveries in a letter to a friend he calls, ‘Theophilus’. Because of Luke’s thorough research, I thought it would be a great place to begin our adventure.
After we finish Luke, we will look at the 5th book of the New Testament, called, Acts or The Acts of the Apostles. Acts was also written by Dr. Luke to Theophilus as a sequel to his first book. In the Gospel of Luke, he tells us who Jesus is, and in Acts he tells us what to do about it.
Acts is the only book in the Bible that tells how people became Christians, how Churches were formed and how Christianity started its worldwide advance.
There are 28 chapters in Acts. If you do the math you’ll see that 24 chapters plus 28 chapters = 52 chapters. That will give us one full year of Bible Study. Some weeks I’ll probably add bonus posts on subjects that I think need extra explanation or are just too much fun for me to pass up.
If you don’t have a Bible, they are easy to get. You can buy them in stores and online. There are lots of free ones online that you can download to your pc, laptop or mobile device. Be careful though, as not all translations are created equal. Some are much better than others. Find one you like and stick with it. If you have a question about a translation please feel free to send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org and ask away. I will primarily be using The English Standard Version (ESV) and The Voice Bible. Somewhere along the way, I’ll take time and explain why there are so many different translations and why that’s a good thing. For now, though, let the adventure begin.
I just noticed that I have not updated this space since December. It’s no wonder I don’t have any readers. I’m committed to making some changes to my consistency and content.
1. I’m going to do my best to avoid political posts. It won’t be easy, but political blogging is not my area. This space is supposed to be about Faith, Finances and Food. And I’m going to stick to that. I will not be taking down my political posts, but will only address political issues as they directly impact one of the three core areas this blog is about.
2. I am going to make every effort to update this blog at least weekly.
3. I am launching a new study series in the Faith section called, “The Great Adventure”. Look for the first installment either over the weekend or early next week.
Finally, please forgive me for my negligence of this site. Some of the issues have been health related, but mostly, I’ve just allowed life to crowd out my writing.
By now, thanks to multiple repostings, most of America knows that CNN personality, Piers Morgan is neither a fan of the U.S. Constitution nor the Bible. Morgan has used his microphone to complain that both documents are ‘inherently flawed’ and need to be amended. He demands the Bible be rewritten to make it supportive of Gay Marriage and the Constitution should be redone to eliminate the 2nd amendment. His vitriolic attacks were made on his little watched CNN program.
It’s really hard to take this guy seriously. Integrity questions have surrounded him for over a decade. Morgan was once the editor of Britain’s “News of the World”; a tabloid not known for its particularly high level of journalism. He was fired as editor of the Daily Mirror due to publishing fraudulent photos that implied British Soldiers in Iraq were torturing prisoners. He was also implicated in an insider trading scandal. Though never convicted or even charged, the circumstantial evidence haunts him to this day.
CNN did not hire Mr. Morgan as a journalist, but as a ‘shock jock’, betting that since Americans are suckers for British accents that he would boost them in the ratings war. Oops, guess that one didn’t work out so well.
Headline aside, my intent with this rant is not to rebut Piers Morgan. His arguments don’t have enough meat to be worthy of a steak knife, much less a scalpel. They are his opinions and he is entitled to his them, even when they are only so much hot air and BBC English.
No, my beef is really with the outlets that give life to his ramblings. If “The Blaze”, “Drudge Report”, “Breitbart” and “World Net Daily” would stop publishing material about his diatribes, the nonsense would go away. No one watches his show. He gets more exposure in one day on the websites mentioned here than he gets from his own show in at least a week, maybe more.
In my opinion, reasoned, sensible liberals like Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Juan Williams are demeaned by the rantings of Morgan and his ilk. Piers Morgan is in the same category as Westboro Baptist Church in my book. If the media would cut of their air(time) supply, the beast would suffocate. And, darn it, even I am guilty now. Rats!
Originally, I determined NOT to enter into the white hot discussions surrounding gun control in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shootings. This is a time of grieving. We should all be focused on serving, loving and supporting the dozens of hurting families in the Sandy Hook (New Town) community.
The best thing to do would be to have a cooling off period and allow the focus be on the victims, their families and the survivors. There would be plenty of time in the future to point fingers and politicize, but some among us just can’t do that.
Certain celebrities, politicians and academics were unable to pass up the opportunity to seize on the emotions of the moment to launch into anti-gun rhetoric. They were able to fire up their base and get plenty of sympathetic airtime, print space and petition signatures. For many in the media and in government, this is the perfect time to try and drive home their agenda.
I say it’s time for cooler heads to rise. Everyone who has a heart, has had it shredded by this event. I won’t call it a tragedy. It is far worse than that. A train wreck or a house fire is a tragedy. This was an act of demented evil. It was diabolical to its core.
Nearly every family in America has been holding our loved ones a bit closer, offering up prayers and expressions of sympathy for the families of the victims and the family of the perpetrator. We are asking, “Why?”
All this is natural. It’s even natural that the anti-gun crowd would be inspired by this atrocity, but to try and push through decisions or legislation based on emotional vulnerability, that will affect all Americans for generations to come, is an act of manipulation and willful opportunism that reeks of its own kind of evil.
The problem with discussing gun control is that many people aren’t interested in the truth. Facts are less important that perception. The perception of the anti-gun crowd is that if we eliminate access to guns, we will be safer. The facts tell another story.
1. Mass shootings are actually on the decrease. Even the less than conservative Associated Press acknowledges that fact.
2. Mass shootings tend to happen where there is little or no opportunity for the shooter to encounter armed resistance, e.g. schools, malls, Post Office. Mass shooters are, on the whole, cowards. I read just yesterday that the Oregon mall shooter turned his gun on himself the minute he saw an armed citizen (former security guard), take up a position to confront him.
3. Mass murders don’t require guns. The worst ever school massacre in the USA was performed with dynamite. Timothy McVeigh used explosives. The 911 hijackers used box cutters and airplanes to kill thousands.
Legislation will never prevent, or even inhibit, evil. Legislation can, however limit our freedom and our ability to defend ourselves and our loved ones. When our hearts are broken, and our anger at ruthless, psychotic evil is at fever pitch, we want to find something to blame. The weapon of the hour is an easy target. We also, look to authority ie. Government, rather than to ourselves or local communities for solutions. And, in those moments of emotional fervor, we are often prepared to sacrifice freedom for a feeling of (even if it’s a false feeling) security, e.g. The Patriot Act.
Even as I type this opinion, the town of Paragould, Arkansas is under Martial Law. Police officers in SWAT gear are patrolling the streets and have the authority to stop anyone and everyone to ask for I.D. and query whether or not they have a legitimate reason to be out on the streets. This draconian behavior is in response to a recent crime wave. You can read about it here. So much for probable cause. This appears to me to be a clear violation of the 4th amendment to the Constitution and many are outraged. Many more, though, are prepared to suffer this loss of freedom for the sense of security it brings them.
Please allow me to use this example above as a segue to the related topic of banning specific weapons, particularly so called assault rifles. Military spec weapons are always the first to be targeted by the antis. They are scary looking, they are very powerful and they are frequently used by mass shooters. All the above are true. It is this very power and versatility that makes accessibility by the common man a must.
I refer you to a little regarded document called the Constitution of the United States. It is obviously not available in Paragould, Arkansas, and apparently not read in the Congress of the United States nor respected by many citizens. We only want to enforce the parts we like.
The 2nd amendment to the Constitution reads, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The clear language of the amendment answers the anti-gun rights criticism that ‘there is no sporting use for so called assault rifles’. (At this time I will avoid discussing the valid use of assault rifles in terrorizing innocent citizens of Paragould, Arkansas. We’ll save it for another day).
While I could easily demonstrate the benefit of these guns in hunting destructive animals like feral pigs, I will simply concede the point. Let’s say there is no legitimate sporting use. The 2nd amendment is not about sports. It’s about defending our liberties against all enemies both foreign and domestic.
Since at least the days of the Philistine oppression of the Israelites, a common tactic of conquerors and oppressors is to disarm the conquered. If an enemy or a subject is unarmed, he/she/they will be much easier to control.
The 18th century English were famous for it. When they put down the Jacobite rebellion in 1746, for example, the English confiscated every gun, cannon and sharp sword they could find in Scotland. Sure, they left behind a few rusted out claymore swords and ancient guns, but took away every threat of future rebellion. The American colonists were very aware of this tactic and sought to preempt their own successors from ever subjugating the Free American people in this way. So, in 1791 the right to keep and bear arms was codified in the Constitution of these United States.
This right was designed to protect American Citizens from a future oppressive regime. They knew the time might come when we would have to protect ourselves from an invasion or from a Government that had grown too large, too intrusive, too restrictive and was over stepping it’s bounds.
Our handguns, squirrel guns and deer rifles are fine for protecting ourselves against burglars, muggers and home invaders, but they could never, alone, be enough to provide the ‘security of a free state’ from a ‘well regulated’ (equipped) oppressor. Even President Obama understood this when he said, in 2008, “…We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded (as the U.S. Military).”
In order to be ‘well regulated’ we need access to the best arms available and we need to know how to use them.
Having said all this, I return to my premise that as sound as this logic might be, there are millions in this country who don’t care about facts, logic or truth. The merely want what they want and are willing to sacrifice freedom forever.
The recent atrocity in Connecticut is a great dark blot in American history. Let us not make hasty, emotional, foolish decisions that could blot out America herself.
America has spoken. We have endured two years of hard campaigning, incessant rhetoric, name calling from pundits, threats from extremists and propaganda galore. Yesterday we voted. We had our say.
Nationally, we didn’t say much. On the surface, it looks like we voted the status quo. Mr. Obama is still President, the Democrats still have the Senate and the Republicans still have the House. Ho Hum.
Digging in a little deeper, two or three State specific decisions stand out to me as quite telling. First, popular conservative, Allen West, lost his seat in Florida. Two States voted to legalize same sex marriage and two more voted to legalize recreational marijuana usage.
To my poor, simple mind, I think all these results suggest that America is no longer a center right country. We look a little more center left to me. This may be a phase, it may be the start of a long term move, I can’t tell. Either way, it is clearly the world we live in right now.
I make a lot of noise about running for political office, and sometimes I am tempted, because I want to make a difference. I am flattered by the support I get from friends and family. It’s great to know that I’d get at least SOME votes if I ran.
The simple fact is, though, my calling is not a political one, it is a spiritual one. My task, my purpose, my passion, is not to call America to the voting booth, but to call the Church to the prayer closet and to call the world to Christ.
America’s political shifts are fascinating to me. I truly love the cut and thrust of politics. It’s challenging and fun, but it is a superficial thing, and can be a distraction. When my candidate wins, I can become overly content, even smug. When my chosen candidate loses, I can despair and grieve. I am so easily drawn in to giving way too much importance to temporal things.
My foundational document is not the Constitution, but the Scriptures. My true allegiance is not to the flag, but to the Gospel. My hope is not in America, but in Christ. I am more interested in tithes than taxes. There is more promise in prayer than in politics. I need a Savior more than I need a Senator. The world needs the Great Physician more than we need health care. We need pulpits more than we need political stumps. We need deliverance more than Democrats and we need revival more than we need Republicans. It is by His stripes rather than the stars and stripes that we are healed.
Yesterday, I voted. I cast my ballot for some winners and some losers. Oh, well. Yesterday (and today), I also prayed. I cast my cares on the One who cares for me. My vote will stand for 4 years. My prayers will stand forever. My life is in His hands.
I believe the world can change. I believe we can become more loving, more giving, more secure, more free, more just, more peaceful, more holy, more neighborly, more content, more balanced, more united than we ever imagined. And I not only believe it, I know the Way. I think I’ll spend the next four years, point it, er, Him, out.
It would appear that some one thousand Pastors have banded together and committed to use their pulpits on Sunday, October 7 to preach politics in an effort to tempt the IRS into a court case over the issue.
I literally wept when I read the article. My heart broke when I realized how far we have fallen. We are, at the very least, Revelation’s Church in Ephesus, having lost our ‘first love’. To our shame, we have mingled the blood of Christ with the platforms and agendas of America’s political parties.
While millions are dying, hurting and broken, we are stumping for our candidates of choice. May God have mercy on our souls.
The October plan seems to be mostly conservative and Evangelical, but liberal congregations and those espousing “Liberation Theology” are also guilty of reducing Christ’s pulpit to a political stump.
I poured out my emotions in a Facebook update yesterday when I said:
“To all the Pastors out there, regardless of your political alliances, I beg you from the bottom of my heart, the marrow in my bones and the depth of my soul, please do not reduce God’s pulpit to a campaign stump. Follow Paul’s example to the Corinthians when he said he came to them with only “Christ, and Him crucified”. He commanded Timothy to “Preach the Word”, he said nothing about preaching the party. With tears on my face I’m begging, “Lift high the cross and don’t let earth bound things dilute God’s Good News”.
I would like to take a minute and suggest some planks in the only political platform worthy of the Kingdom of God.
Foreign Policy: For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. “Therefore go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you, and surely I will be with your always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19.20
Social Policy: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matthew 22:39. “Do unto others and you would have them do unto you.” Luke 6:31. “Pure religion and undefiled is this: taking care of widows and orphans.” James 1:27
Taxation: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s” Mark 12:17.
Immigration: “My Kingdom is not of this world”. John 18:36. “For our citizenship is in Heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there.” Philippians 3:20.
Healthcare: “I was sick and in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25:36. “Heal the sick.” Luke 10:9.
Social Welfare: “Leave the edges of the fields for the poor and the alien.” Leviticus 23:22. “If a man won’t work, he shouldn’t eat”. 2Thessalonians 3:10.
These matters are fit subjects for the pulpit. The affairs of Republicans and Democrats are better left outside the worship center. Elections and politics matter, but only for this world. Our High Calling in the Church is to worship the King and Creator of all that is, to point humanity to Christ, to enable them to live and serve to their fullest potential here and to prepare them for eternity.
Here is stand. I care not a whit whether your politics are left or right, if you use God’s pulpit to promote your political agenda then I stand against you. I rebuke you and I call you to ‘remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first. Otherwise, He will return and remove your ‘lampstand’.