Thursday, January 28, 2010
That’s understandable. Anger can be a big time motivator towards action. Apparently, anger at the Bush years swept Obama into power and anger in the last year has put this new president on his heels. The emotion of anger also makes for good television. That’s why the news media will always cover those shouting the loudest. To hear the media tell it, America these days, on the left and on the right, is one giant cauldron of boiling rage.
I’m not sure what percentage of Americans is actually angry, but I have a suggestion for those who are: Take a mission trip. Get out and serve the less fortunate. See if you can stay angry (at least stay angry in a self-righteous or self-focused sort of way). Last night, five of the teenagers in our church reported on a recent trip to Gora, Ethiopia. There they encountered people who truly live day to day, some on as little as $700 a year. The teenagers were surprised both by the poverty but also by the joy they discovered in the people who lived on so little. “Maybe we don’t need everything we think we need,” seemed to be a common lesson learned.
Interestingly, last night, there was not an ounce of teenage angst in that room. Instead, these young souls abounded in gratefulness. Yes, they had a renewed sense of thanksgiving for all the things in their life that they once took for granted. But you got the sense that their new found gratefulness went well beyond that. In fact, you could sense a great discomfort about how much they each owned compared to their new friends a world away. No, their gratefulness seemed to reach beyond the stuff they possessed to a deeper understanding of their purposes in the world. They were ultimately grateful to discover that God had invited them to participate in bringing about his coming Kingdom of love and grace, a Kingdom in which everyone has seat at the table and enough on their plate.
Angry, today? Try joining God on his mission of love and mercy.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love – Psalm 103:8
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The first goal is to increase the number of children participating in summer feeding programs. Did you know that in Texas 9.3 million children receive free or reduced meals at school? In the summertime, that number drops to 1.9 million children. That leaves 7.4 million children food insecure during the summer months. In San Angelo, 8,000 students are fed during the school year while only 2,500 are fed during the summer months. What would it take to feed the other 5,500 children this summer?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it – Psalm 24:1
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Bible Possibly Written Centuries Earlier, Text Suggests - Sphere News
Thursday, January 14, 2010
The parable, upon first reading, may seem to indicate that God is like the unjust judge or the reluctant state Senate. We may mistakenly think we must pester God into action. But Jesus makes plain, God is not like the unjust judge. He will give justice to those who request it (maybe not on a time frame we’re comfortable with – but he will not forsake us – he will one day set all things right!). The point of the parable, then, isn’t about the judge’s faithfulness, but the widow’s. Like Andy at Shawshank, she is to be commended for the fact that she never gave up on justice even in the face of tremendous odds. She never conceded that injustice is simply the way the world works. She remained steadfast on the side of what is right even if steadfastness only meant keeping up her protest (which must at times have grown old even for her) against the evil judge. The widow becomes an example of faithfulness to God’s mission of justice in our world.
Jesus concludes the parable with both a promise and a question. He promises that God will indeed bring justice about for the oppressed at Christ’s return, but asks, “Will God find faith on the earth?” That is, will we still be looking for justice when the Almighty finally shows up? Will we still be calling for God to act, for God to save, even if our prayers seem to go unheard for years? Even if the systems of the world continue to promote injustice for the poor and the oppressed? In the face of great tragedies like the one in Haiti, or the particular injustices and catastrophes of our own communities, will we still be on the lookout for Christ’s coming in our world? Long after the headlines of this week’s tragedy have passed, will we still be asking, and knocking, and seeking God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven? Like the widow, will we be faithful to pray and not give up? Lord, I pray it may be so.
The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern – Proverbs 29:7.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
There is a story of a Hasidic rabbi whose child used to wander off to
spend time alone in a forest. Concerned and curious, one day the rabbi pulled
his boy aside to ask him what he was doing.
"I go to the forest to find God," said the boy.
"That's wonderful," replied his father. "But you need not go to the forest
to find God. Don't you know that God is the same everywhere?"
"God is," the boy answered, "but I'm not."
Monday, January 4, 2010
Do you hate throwing out all the Christmas cards people have sent you but don't know what to do with them? My wife, Alyson, found this tip - keep them in a basket near your kitchen table. Then, each night, as you eat dinner, pull one out and say a prayer for the person(s) who sent it. We've done this for a few nights now - here are some of the immediate benefits.
- It's engaged the kids in family devotional time. We take turns choosing the card from the basket - each child relishing his or her time to "pick the card."
- It's given Alyson and I a way to share some of our history with our children. We have fun explaining the connection between the sender's family and our own to our kids. These conversations have already led to some pretty funny questions as my kids try to figure out their parents life B.C. (Before Children).
- Praying for our friends and family by name at the supper table is proving to be a tremendous blessing. It causes me to grow in thanksgiving as I recall all the ways these friends have blessed us through the years. The prayers remind me of God's faithfulness through the years and his hand of provision in the present in my life and in the lives of others.
All in all a wonderful addition to our family devotional time. Thanks to my wife for leading us to do it. You ought to try it out this week - I think it will be a great blessing for you, as well.