Category: current culture


basketball_4

Ecclessiastes 3:4 band a time to dance!

Not too long ago numerous teams were waiting and watching for the completion of conference championship games to see if they would be in or out of the magical amoebic “bubble,”…seemingly constantly changing shape and course. Those questions were answered and we now have eight teams poised to “play their way in” to the big dance….March Madness.

We in Christianity often find ourselves on the bubble, as it were, in the lives of our non-christian friends. Many are comparing our RPI, our records, our “history or tradition” as told by other unchurhed people to see if we have “earned” our way in to their lives.  And then comes that first real “talk”, the longer than normal conversation as we make our way through life. We are now officially a “play-in” team. If we win this “conversation” we are in the big dance….invited to be involved in the employee’s life. Now succeeding games/conversations will occur, and with each “win” we move up the ladder…Sweet 16, Elite 8, and the Final Four! Each succeeding win moves us closer to gaining permission to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in a non-threatening manner.

At last we reach the Championship game, when everything is on the line. That moment, that place, where we encourage, challenge, invite, or perhaps please for this employee to come to the conclusion to ask Jesus into their lives, to become their Lord and Savior, to come in and reside within their life.

But just like the 64 teams that will be watched by multitudes over the next couple of weeks…it all began with 1 game, the first day of the season, preceded by weeks of practice in the basic skills of the game.

And so it begins with us Christians…the first time we weep for the lost, and a nudge from God to speak to this person about faith. Preceded, of course, by practicing what we would say, going thru the 4 Spiritual Laws or the Roman’s Road. Praying for the lost  and having a genuine love for the game (people), and a pursuit to “play it” well.

Play your way in, enjoy the dance, bask in the limelight of His glory as people are winners in the game of eternity and receive Him into their lives!

 

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What is the simple message? What is the nutshell of Billy Grahams’ last message? Here is a very nicely done video synopsis of his message….

https://youtu.be/b4TMuee7Ir8

 

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I had a plan. Visiting one of my locations at 5:30 am, getting to the YMCA around 630am, running 4 miles, taking the car for a oil change appointment at 9:00am, and then driving to another location for a retirement celebration for a 42-year tenured employee. During my run I decide only 3 miles..and then I decide to take my car early and see if they would take it now..they did. So now I had extra time…what to do, what to do? I decided to go visit Sam’s club, just walk around and kill some time.

As I parked..skipping spaces in one row and going to the next…I heard a short sound of a siren. As I started walking to the Sam’s entrance directly in front of me was a fire truck, parked in the middle of the lane. The firemen were working to get into a SUV, trying to “pop the lock.” A policeman was also present. As I passed by the SUV, I spoke to a woman standing next to the SUV. “I’ve never seen fireman try to open a car for someone”, I said. “Is there a baby inside?”, I inquired. Yes, she said..I kept walking. It was obvious the situation was not yet critical because they were taking time to unlock the door. First responders were present, a window could be broken easily if needed. As I walked away I looked back and noticed the dealership was near, where the SUV had been purchased from. I called to see if perhaps a master key was available, gave them the VIN, but sadly no key was available.

I also noticed though the rear-view mirror…it was an On-Star mirror. I asked the owner if she had On-Star…she stated it had lapsed last year. I decided to call On-Star anyway. The operator had me read the VIN to her…she asked for a PIN…the owner gave me one that worked. The On-Star operator said for no one to touch the door handles. All this time the fireman had continued to try to “jimmy” the door to no avail.

I followed the operator’s lead and yelled out, “everyone stop, On-Star is going to unlock the lock.” Looking somewhat confused, they yet complied. One could hear the lock pop-up, the door was opened and the child was free. One of the fireman said, “Thanks man.”

To be clear, I didn’t save a life that day, but I did change the atmosphere of a situation. It was fearful and upsetting for the grandmother and mother of the baby. It was tense. When the door opened it was like letting the air out of a “tension balloon.”

Lessons:

Sometimes the solution is easier than it seems…

Don’t be afraid to speak into a situation…

You can change atmospheres….

Ask..the answer might be “yes”…..

You can make a difference…

I will wonder what happens the next time the first responders are called out to a vehicle with a child recently locked in a car…not critical life and death…but where there is time to get the child out safely. Will they look at the mirror? Will they call On-Star…will they look for a simpler solution? I hope so.

I walked away, after the mom and grandmother game me a hug, just giddy. Giddy that the Lord had directed my steps that morning. Running 3 miles instead of 4, having Toyota service my car an hour early, having me decide to go to Sam’s Club…..allowing me to notice a mirror, make a phone call, and to change the atmosphere of a situation!!

Proverbs 16:9, “A person may plan his own journey, but the Lord directs his steps.”

“Operating Temperature”

 

I live across the street from a car dealer. I have lived here a while now and just recently I was able to “label” an observation I have made numerous times over the years I have lived here.

Not infrequently when getting in my car to go to work or somewhere, or walking to the mailbox, or cranking the lawn mower on a Saturday, I hear the sound of an engine. My neighbor, being a car dealer,  has an affinity for cars, especially a couple of sports cars he owns, or drives. What I was able to label the other day is this…he warms the engines up on these cars before he jumps in and drives them anywhere!  I know we mostly “know” we should do this, but he actually does it!! 

Now think about life. Many, if not most of us, “jump up out of bed and grab a comb across our head…” (Beatles reference)….rarely do we assume operating temperature before starting our days. What is the purpose of warming up that engine?? It allows for the oil to flow to critical areas before putting a strain on the engine to enter interstate speed traffic, it gives opportunity for things to expand as the temperature rises in the engine. Failing to allow for this warm-up can cause engine failure if too much is required of the engine, too soon!!

As we enter our day we need to be “lubricated” before the first strain of the day comes..it might be  person, a situation, or an unplanned event. And, we might find ourselves “heating up” before we have had a opportunity to prepare for such change. Given too much of a strain, too soon, we might find ourselves in our own “engine failure.”

In 2017, will you take time to “warm up to operating temperature” before jumping into your world for the day? If you aren’t a morning person, try preparing for tomorrow the night before, just before going to bed. This will allow your preparation to “marinate” while you sleep, perhaps give you better dreams and sleep.

Here are a few possible options to help you achieve “operating temperature”….

     1. Psalms, read 5 Psalms per day. January 1 (Psalms 1-5), January 2 (Psalms 6-10)..thru the end of each month. 150 Psalms in 30 days. Warning- Psalm 119 is really long, give extra time! 😉

     2. Proverbs, read the Proverb that corresponds to the day of the week.                                 January 1 (Proverbs 1), January 2 (Proverbs 2) etc……….

     3. ANYTHING in RED. The teachings of Jesus are a treasure trove of life-giving words for you!

Need to start this New year new?? read here:

http://chaplain.org/forgivemenow/

 

 

 

Demons111

FB asks me, “What is on your mind, Mike?”
As I watch the coverage of the Dallas Police shootings I am concerned that a spiritual door from hell has been pried open in this country. Every police shooting has to be weighed out. The one in Minnesota is likely to be found a “bad shoot.” Baton Rouge I don’t know how that will fall. But the shooting now of 11 (4 dead as of 11:20pm cst) officers, regardless of who did the shooting, has ratcheted up everything.
Some have laughed when I have said something like, “Don’t be surprised if they are reasons for Marshall Law in the fall…putting off the election. Many voices have said this, it isn’t really original to me. Some have referenced the summer of 68. I was only 10 years old, I don’t remember much…riots and violence on the news I do recall.
Demons are laughing, Satan is gloating.
The Lord weeps, the Spirit mourns.
The “church”, for the most part – unprepared.
How long, O lord, will you tarry?
How long, Spirit, will you wait for us to turn?
How long, Father, before you chastise?
It isn’t black, it isn’t white — it is all about the heart.
What lives inside it, what do we feed it —
Hate, prejudice, superiority, more hate?
All that successfully tears down the color walls is – One
One who lives forever
One who died so we can live
One who cleanses, changes, and renews the heart
One who knows what it is to be
discriminated, hated, profiled and entrapped
One who lays down his life, his power, his heritage
to identify with those who have none of the above
How long, O lord, will you tarry?
How long, Spirit, will you wait for us to turn?
How long, Father, before you chastise?
Do you know the One?
Have you allowed Him to affect your heart
Have you invited him to make you “color-blind?”
Have you begun the journey of change?
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word for the week 07173
When news of yesterday’s attack in Chattanooga occurred I thought of our chaplains in that area and wondered how any of their employees would be effected. Little did I know then that I would learn late last night that one of the people I have the privilege of serving knew one of the Marines and that her daughter actually went to High School with him in another state. Our world is small.
Today, if you don’t have a relationship with God, start one.
Today, if you had a fight /argument with your spouse or child, make it right.
Today, harden not your heart for we are not guaranteed tomorrow.
To our newest heroes for the country:
Their Anthem:

Musings on leaf burning

Musings from Leaf Burning:

A good, safe leaf burn has the leaves just smoldering – lots of smoke, no flame. It only takes an imperceptibly small amount of wind to cause the leaves to ignite into flame. And then the fire grows and begins to consume the pile of leaves.  Just as amazingly, it takes only a very little amount of water to dampen the fire down back to a smolder.
All it takes to create the fire is the right fuel, aided by the wind.
The Holy Spirit blows across the land, looking for a person, a church, a city that waiting for that imperceptible breath of God to cause the flame to ignite. Igniting to consume, to set aflame, to spread the flame.

And yet, just a little water will dampen the whole pile. “Quench not the Holy Spirit.” How prepared, how desirous are we for that imperceptible breath of God to set us aflame in revival?

Join me for this  January event

http://www.fuelingmissions.com/apps/blog/

something to ponder…

isis 2          isis

Psalm 2 : 1 You are wondering: What has provoked the nations to embrace anger and chaos?[a]
    Why are the people making plans to pursue their own vacant and empty greatness?

While yet not experiencing ISIS events in this country, at least known to the general public, the Middle East is on fire with ISIS. This cross-cultural, multi-country terror group is leaving bodies, heads, and lifeless children across Iraq and Syria. They are targeting Nazarenes, or Christians — people who follow the Nazarene (Jesus). Much like FEMA marking houses after a storm as having been searched and found empty or with bodies present, ISIS marks homes with :

Arabic-Nazarene If people are found, they are tortured and killed.

Exodus 15 :26 …..then I will not bring on you any of the plagues that I did on the Egyptians,

for I am the Eternal, your Healer. (The Voice)

Ebola virus                            Ebola-outbreak-graphic

Disease, sickness, and plagues. As of this date it appears we have “dodged” a bullet. It has been 21 days since the gentleman from Liberia died from Ebola and to our knowledge no one in the family has contracted the disease. As far as we know, only the 2 nurses have contracted the disease. Something that could have insidiously affected this country seems to have been held “at bay.” Not so many years ago “Aids” came across the Atlantic to threaten this Western country in a similar way.

Word for the Week 09112014               HIV               Katrina

Over 30 states have legalized “same-sex” marriage. Over 55,712,000 abortions since the 1973 legalization of this act. In 1963 “formal” prayer was removed from schools. Another significant event occurred in the 90’s…note this quote :

“One week before Katrina made landfall, Israel carried out the evacuation of 9,500 residents from Gush Katif and four Samaria communities. Residents were forced from their homes by Israeli troops, some dragged away kicking and screaming and placed on buses that took them from the area.”
(Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2005/09/32196/#Fp8BFWGfjtUbUbGy.99)
I believe a ring of God’s protection was withdrawn on 9/11, a significant ring of protection. Psalm 2:10-11 reads,
10 So leaders, kings, and judges,
    be wise, and be warned.
11 There is only one God, the Eternal;
    worship Him with respect and awe;
    take delight in Him and tremble.
As a country we have lost worship, respect and awe…nor do we delight in Him and we certainly do not have any healthy respect of Him. We are laughing at Him, as He laughs at the evil ones (Psalm 2 , verse 4,  At first, the Power of heaven laughs at their silliness. The Eternal mocks their ignorant selfishness.) Will we awake? Will we respond? Or will greater rings of protection need to be removed to cause us to turn toward him? Will there need to be beheadings on our soil ?
Lastly we find a promise in verse 12 of Psalm 2:
12 Bow down before God’s son.
    If you don’t, you will face His anger and retribution,
And you won’t stand a chance.
    For it doesn’t take long to kindle royal wrath,

But blessings await all who trust in Him.
    They will find God a gentle refuge.

Lord, help us to find your gentle refuge…..