Saturday, May 23, 2009

When the Baby Cries....

Today at a high school graduation I heard an unhappy baby cry out. Even though there was a large crowd present, the baby's voice could be plainly heard due to the acoustics of the building. As I sat there I thought of all the various responses to that cry. Read on and see what your response may have been.

All the young, single folks were like..."I wish somebody would get that cranky, squalling brat out of here and stop it from ruining our party. The parents in the room, especially the mothers were feeling the 'poor baby' syndrom. The moms in the crowd were attempting to get a remedy in their minds...."wonder if the baby is wet?"...."must have cholic and needs some gas-x"....or "if they would get those uncomfortable clothes off that baby she would be quiet." The third group in the crowd was the grandparents and people who have been in such a predicament. They were thinking, 'poor mom'....'I hope someone will help that lady with the baby'......'Where is the dad in this scenario?'

Perhaps you can add your own thoughts to the above situation. If you live long enough, you may feel all the emotions above. One thing is sure...when something happens everybody sees it through the lens of their own experiences. I remembered that when the baby cried.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happiness in a Jon Boat

My wife and I had a rare but very enjoyable get a way recently. Each May we take a couple of days to unwind a little. We always escape to a place where there is a very simple cabin...I take a simple jon boat...we eat simple meals....I think you are getting the picture. It is about simple.

One day we were fishing on Lake Leatherwood, a small impoundment in the mountains. We were catching fish with night crawlers. The sun was out and the lake was beautiful. There were geese swimming at the water's edge and I realized there was something in that simple, aluminum boat that was missing in many of the ritziest places in the world....that being happiness.

Happiness is not wrapped up in the things a man may possess. We all know there are plenty of rich folk who are extremely miserable....some miserable to the point of suicide. Some have fame...looks...and the apparent trappings of all that is supposed to make one happy.

I have discovered happiness in the simple things of life. You don't have to go on a luxury cruise to find happiness. You may never receive an inheritance check, but you can still be happy. Happiness is a discovery of the little moments of life that are special. When we come to the end of our lives, we will one day realize that every moment in some way is ....special.

I hope you will quit waiting for your ship to come in...thinking it will hold all the joy you need. I have found that happiness can be in the simplicity of a jon boat and a few perch.

Have a Happy Day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Most Humbling Experience

Perhaps the most humbling experience I have had in life is to teach those who taught me. Let me explain. Recently I had a Bible Study in my home concerning Biblical Salvation. There were approximately 30 people who showed up to study. In that group were my parents, my aunt and uncle and my grandmother who is 88 years old.

The aforementioned people, like myself, were part of a faith family who held to one particular verse of scripture (Acts 2:38) to the complete omission of many other salvational scriptures. I had the same feeling about their plan of salvation as I had about their 'standards', better understood as rules, or legalistic works. None of their practices withstood the rigorous scrutiny of objective scriptural criticism.

I had to study it out for myself. So over the past 4 years, amidst much difficulty, I continued to pray, study, consult with other men of God and come to a better, more complete understanding of the Word. The pattern of scripture is very clear...we are saved by grace through faith. (Eph2:8). John preached it, Jesus taught it and practiced it, the disciples believed it, Peter preached it (by the way he preached at least 4 sermons in Acts...all of them carrying as much weight as Acts 2), Paul preached it, and we are handed the job and opportunity of preaching the same thing. The just shall live by faith! You do not have to ignore Romans 10:9-10, John 3:16 and a host of other 'necessary' scriptural texts my former faith family ignored.

With this information and a certainty in my heart and spirit, I taught this bible study. I handed out study notes...about 15 pages worth, so they could take it home, review it and hold my feet to the fire as it were. What a relief to know in my spirit we do not have to have people 'tarry' for the Holy Spirit...nor do we have to do the Norweigan Shake at the altar to know a powerful salvational experience. We sing, Jesus paid it all..but often we didn't believe it. The work necessary for salvation occurred at the cross!

That evening, as folks were leaving, my grandmother came by and thanked me for the Bible Study. She understood it. My parents understand it. My mother commented about how she had wondered why we left out so much of God's Word. My friends, these are some of the most humbling moments I will ever live.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Facebook and Life

I am trying to figure out how to get around on Facebook. I am in elementary mode right now. How amazing that the world has shrunk to the point we can all connect via internet. It has been enjoyable to meet old friends again. Some of the people I have not heard from in years. One can see how life has transformed them and I am sure they see it in me. Funny how you don't see it so much in yourself as you do in other people...or a least we don't want to admit it. That's life!

See ya in the funny papers.


Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm No Stranger to the Rain

If you listen to a little country music, you may recognize my blog title as the title of a popular tune. I thought of it because of the tremendous amounts of rain we have been having. It's beautiful really! But in life it is not so fun...although it causes us to grow.

Should you want to do some research about troubles in life, start with your Bible. When you open it and begin to read, you will discover that every character in it, especially those greatly used by God, were no strangers to the rain either. The more I live the more I know we are all in need of much grace as the umbrella to cover us during life's storms. Eve, ate the fruit...Abraham, lied...Moses, got so mad he broke the commandments of God, not to mention his sheer disobedience of striking a rock he was told to speak to....Samson, fell prey to a stalking woman losing sight of his strength....David, committed adultery with Bathsheba...Elijah got so depressed he begged to die.....Thomas doubted to the point he let his mind out think the reality of those who had seen the risen Lord....Peter, cursed, fought, mouthed off, quit, pouted, questioned, got naked (I'm not making it your Bible!)....on and on the story of men and women and their tragic lives of love, loss, pain, depression. The amazing thing is, virtually every one of these Bible heros faced their own failures...failures which resulted from the rains of life that turned into a flood.

I have zero tolerance for hypocritical dupes who point their proud, egotistical noses upward and act like they have never seen a day of drizzle in their lives. Failure is part and parcel to the human frame! If we were perfect, we wouldn't need a Savior! But we desperately need a Savior, one who will come out in the downpour (a place very uncomfortable for those with their noses in the air) and drag us, yes, even carry us to a place of safety. We all have sin. I place myself at the head of the list. But I refuse to believe I am the only one on the list. Rain doesn't just come down in my back yard. It rains on the just and the unjust. The good, the bad, the pretty and the ugly get rained on. We look in the mirror to discover poop on our faces! Hopefully you make it to the mirror before some smug 'ultra religious biggot' comes along and gladly points it out for you.

You know, the church has to be a place to invite people in out of the rain. We don't ignore the rain, nor the fact that most folks are soaked with it. We just want to help dry them off, prevent sickness and cold which hurts all the way to the bone. Yes, it rains on us all! I certainly am no stranger to it. Are you?