New Year – New Me?

The year is now 2020, a New Year (as well as a new decade) which frequently signifies the proverbial fresh start. This new beginning presents a chance to modify one’s behavior, an opportunity to “turn over a new leaf” or begin again (by establishing new habits, resolving to eat healthier, exercise more, reduce screen time, etc.). Many of us find we’re captive to at least one bad habit and we’re anxious to exchange that bad habit for a new – and preferable habit, am I right?

In this New Year, there’s also a subtle reference to sight. Think about the common term for visual acuity – 20/20 – which widens the opportunity for reflection. In my view, 2020 is more than a particular year on our calendar; it’s an invitation to embrace the year ahead with clear-eyed thinking … and doing. Continue reading “New Year – New Me?”

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Singing for Joy

Wassailing … this traditional English practice of singing Christmas carols from house to house and door to door reflected the Joy of the season as expressed through song. Singers bade the hearers another year of good health. Hearers were equally festive, sharing a cup or two of spiced wine from their wassail bowls.

Lyrics of this old song repeat the words:  “Love and joy come to you and … God bless you and send you a Happy New Year.” From our door to yours, from our house to yours, we greet you with warm wishes for a very Merry Christmas 2019 as well as good health and God’s blessings in 2020.

Ultimate Authority

When we attended church yesterday, one of the first items presented to the attendees was a statement from our elders concerning last week’s Supreme Court decision redefining marriage. This was an important and necessary statement. (I’ve captured an image of the statement below.)FBC-NWA

After the statement was read by an elder, the audience stood up and applauded … loudly and long. As with our family, people who have chosen to attend this church want to be reassured that the church stands firmly on the Word of God – no matter what the uncertainties of the culture. The applause clearly reflected the congregation’s relief that there’d be no wavering from our commitment to Scripture. Continue reading “Ultimate Authority”

Jonah’s World

Heavy-hearted today. Writer Marvin Olasky has posted a sobering article on the World Magazine site titled Blindsided. It’s a post that won’t show up in print until their July 11, 2015 edition. The article was posted early this morning (1 a.m.) prior to the Supreme Court announcement.World-1Olasky shares the heart-wrenching details of a San Francisco church congregation that was established in 1997. City Church began with about 30 people and a pastor whose vision it was to be salt and light in a community that has been compared to the ancient (and evil) city of Nineveh where God sent Jonah, the Old Testament prophet. Continue reading “Jonah’s World”

Mighty To Save

Everyone needs compassion
A love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me

Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

The lyrics above are the first stanza to a song written by award-winning lyricist and contemporary Christian vocalist Laura Story. The song is titled Mighty To Save.power-of-forgiveness_tListening today to the statements of family members in South Carolina addressing the young man who murdered their loved ones during a Wednesday evening Bible study, I heard these people express willing forgiveness for the murderer and a steadfast refusal to be consumed with the kind of hate the perpetrator’s deed demonstrated. Continue reading “Mighty To Save”

Captive Culture

For some, it’s been called The Culture Wars. For others, it’s simply life in the 21st Century. Whichever your particular point of view, unless you’re under 20 years of age, the world is quite different from the one into which you were born. At its most basic level, the phrase defines two competing ideologies or sets of values, each seeking preeminence in the public square.300357

Some observers pose the rivalry as Red States versus Blue States or Democrats versus Republicans or Progressives versus Conservatives. While each description has its merits, I prefer to think about The Culture Wars in terms less political. I think such categories hamper a clear view of the landscape and foster polarization. Continue reading “Captive Culture”

Imperfect Family-hood

Children are known for acting foolishly. Teenagers are notorious offenders, sometimes showing reckless regard or on other occasions failing to weigh the risks. As one example, we’ve all read the tales of teens driving and texting. Not every teen ends up slamming into a tree because of his or her poor judgment, but some do. (The statistics are sufficiently troubling.) Because children (especially teens) believe they’re invincible, they rarely spend time considering possible unintended consequences.

Since children don’t always have the maturity necessary to make good decisions, we give them the benefit of the doubt. When a child has a run-in with the law, his or her records are usually sealed and sometimes expunged after a certain period of time. Today, I’ve mused several times how different the world would look if the records of all juvenile lawbreakers were unsealed and open to public scrutiny. The media frenzy surrounding Josh Duggar’s admission of “inexcusable” behavior in his early teens is a case in point. Continue reading “Imperfect Family-hood”

In Chains For Christ

Two months ago, I posted about the plight of Pastor Saeed Abedini, a Christian man who has been detained in an Iranian prison while his wife and two children continue to plead for his release. When I last posted about this situation, Abedini’s wife and young son had spoken directly with President Obama, in hopes Abedini could be home in time to celebrate the boy’s birthday. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.Saeed 1

This week, the United States Senate took up the banner, calling for the immediate release of American detainees including Pastor Abedini. The 90-0 Senate vote reflected a firm resolve to keep this matter in the forefront during nuclear negotiations with Iran. Continue reading “In Chains For Christ”

The Principal Thing

There’s a website that offers an entertaining variety of top ten lists, one of which is the Top 10 Smartest People in History. Topped by Albert Einstein, the list provides food for thought. There’s no prologue to explain how the author determined the basis for inclusion on the list. I was amused to see Jesus Christ at number 5, with Tesla, DaVinci and Isaac Newton rounding out the top 5. I’ve never thought before about the brain-power of Jesus – Son of God, the Creator! Is it even possible – in His humanity – He was not the smartest guy in the galaxy?!Wisdom-Words-of-wisdom-book

Differentiating smarts from wisdom would be a challenge. On the top ten list mentioned above, I have to wonder how many of the individuals listed possessed significant brain-power but lacked the sagacity one would hope goes with it. But just to be certain they’ve covered the bases, there’s also a Top Ten Dumbest People In History. (Adolf Hitler lands on both lists.) Continue reading “The Principal Thing”

Draw A Poem Day

After the weekend’s events in Garland TX, we’ve had an ongoing and vehement discussion about things including the concept of “hate speech.” With a $10,000 prize drawing people to the Mohammed Art Exhibit and Contest at a Garland civic center, two gunmen arrived from Arizona ready to commit violence and mayhem. Instead, they were quickly killed.Rockwell-Muhammad

Criticisms of the Garland event haven’t fallen along predictable lines; people from both right and left have railed at the event organizers. Words like “incendiary” and “hate-monger” and “nutty” and “vile” abound as descriptors for organizer Pamela Geller. Speaker Geert Wilders is similarly lambasted for his outspokenness. Both have received numerous death threats. Continue reading “Draw A Poem Day”