Archive for January, 2010

Feed On Him

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Although I try to eat healthy – vegetables, chicken, turkey, whole foods, and ample water, there are times when I allow busyness to take me prisoner and lead me to the seductively beautiful town of “Snackdom.” My typical pattern is busyness leads to imbalance, and imbalance leads to unhealthy eating habits. I resort to eating fast food, junk food, and food that has no nutritional value at all. In doing so, I gain weight, I become sluggish and easily fatigued, I increase my chances of diseases, and I believe I speed up the process of death. In essence, unhealthy eating habits can and will decrease my quality of life. I know this and could do better.

Not only can busyness cause imbalance, unhealthy eating habits and decrease the quality of our life physically, but it also can cause unhealthy eating habits spiritually and decrease the quality of our spiritual life. We resort to feeding off the fast foods of self-sufficiency and yesterday’s blessings, and the junk food of sin, disobedience, spiritual cliches and misinterpreted and misapplied texts from God word.

Jesus is calling us to slow down, minimize the distractions, and develop healthy eating habits, the habit of feeding on him – his words, his life, his thinking.   In feeding on him, we lose the weights of the sins that so easily entangles us, we are energized with his resurrection power, and we respond to life like he would. In Jesus are all the nutrients of real life and living.

My present spiritual eating habit is the “Gospels in 30.” I am reading through the Gospels in 30 days here and journaling about what junk foods of disobedience need to be taken out of my diet and what healthy foods of Jesus’ life need to be added.

What are your present spiritual eating habits? What needs to be taken out of your diet and what needs to be added?

Popularity: 8% [?]

When Tragedy Strikes

Friday, January 15th, 2010

As the global community has been deployed to provide relief to the people and land of Haiti, we still wrestle with troubling questions regarding this calamity. The fact is, we respond to world tragedies with deep, unsettling questions, don’t we? The earthquake in Haiti caused my kids to ask questions like these: Why do mind-staggering tragedies like this happen? If God is strong and powerful and loving and close, couldn’t he have prevented the devastation in Haiti? Is God punishing the people of Haiti in some way? Are the people in Haiti more unrighteous than thousands of murderers, rapists and thieves in the world, that something like this would happen to them? These questions are legitimate, but they inch me and all of us away from an appropriate personal response to world tragedy. I think I can respond appropriately to world tragedies by answering several important personal questions that Luke 13:1-9 raises – questions of mortality, eternity, and productivity.

The first question is a question of Mortality: How close am I to the end of my life?

Luke chronicles two historical events to show how indiscriminate death is. One event accounts for the evil of one man can exact on another human being. Pilate had some Galileans killed while they worshiped.  These people died at the hands of an evil man. Evil people do evil things to innocent people.

The other event (which has greater relevance to the tragedy in Haiti) shows how death can happen naturally. A tower in Siloam fell and killed 18 people. Many were caught beneath the rubble, hoping and praying for someone would intervene and bring relief and rescue. Our fallen world is filled with such tragedies that break our hearts over and over again. Tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes are natural catastrophes that snatch lives out of this world each year and destroy miles and miles of valuable property. This event was so unlikely, but it happened. It was a natural disaster. Haiti has experienced one natural disaster after another. That one nation can experience so much natural disaster seems unlikely, but it has happened. This was a natural disaster. People die in natural disasters all the time, but it does not make them more sinful than anyone else.

The issue here is not the timing of death or even the cause of death. The issue is that we are mortal beings and we will all die.  We love to talk about others’ deaths and tragedies just as long as it doesn’t get too personal. World tragedy is a prime opportunity for us to discuss our own mortality. Nothing is so certain as death, and nothing is so uncertain as the hour of our death. We will die, either by some horrific calamity, evil plot, cancer, car accident, or some natural cause.  Most of us are not afraid to die; we just don’t want to be there when it happens. In light of this world tragedy, let us consider the question of our own mortality – How close am I to the end of my life?

If death was the end, then I think we could possibly live with that. I mean, we have lived a decent life, made a little money, enjoyed family and friends, and had some good times. But the question of Mortality causes me to consider a second question (next post) – a question of Eternity.

Popularity: 11% [?]

Do Something!

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

HAITI GIRL 1558332c1 300x187 Do Something!

As I got news yesterday about the earthquake in Haiti and eventually saw images and heard reports about the casualties, my heart was paralyzed. I mean, I thought about . . . .

The devastation

The rubble

The bodies

The blood

The fear in people’s eyes

The poverty

The absence of food, water and shelter

The uncertainty that comes with nightfall

The staggering number and volume of the loss of life

What could I do amidst so much death and disaster? Maybe you feel the same way. You know, feeling paralyzed because the situation seems so hopeless,  and you wonder how can your little contribution help the situation. This is often the case when tragedy strikes, and it is so overwhelming that we don’t know what to do. In not knowing what to do, we settle for doing nothing and idle hearts and hands can only make things worse. Well, I don’t want you to let emotional paralysis prevent you from doing something. Do something! What Haiti needs now is our prayers and monetary resources.

Here is a list of legitimate organizations to which you can give. Also, my good friend Milan Ford is donating a percentage of the proceeds from his recently published best-selling book. Purchase a copy for the thought-provoking content, but also because your purchase will help bring relief to the devastation in Haiti.

Here are some other things you can do:

  1. Fast during lunch, breakfast or dinner (or all three meals), and spend that time praying for the people in Haiti.
  2. Take a portion of the money you would have spent on clothes, a new tech toy, or groceries and donate it to one of the organizations listed
  3. Turn your next small group, elders or management team meeting into a call to action
  4. Pray with and for Haitian-born U.S. citizens
  5. Pray for wisdom and strength for pastors, priest and missionaries who are attempting for serve and comfort
  6. Talk with your kids about the devastation and have them pray for the kids in Haiti
  7. Volunteer to go and be part of the ground relief team (I’m thinking and praying about that and talking it over with Tonia)

Don’t let this moment pass without you and your family engaging. God is near the brokenhearted and he comes near them through us.

Do something!

What are some other ways you can help bring comfort and relief to the people and land of Haiti?

Popularity: 13% [?]

Lessons From USC

Monday, January 4th, 2010

USC is imposing sanctions on its Men’s Basketball Team for violating NCAA rules involving former player O. J. Mayo. The university submitted to an internal investigation and found rules were violated during Mayo’s one season with the Trojans in 2007-08. The severe self-imposed sanctions include: 1) One year ban on postseason play, 2) a loss of one scholarship for this season and 2010-11 season, 3) a loss of one coach permitted to engage in off campus recruiting during the summer of 2010, 4) twenty less recruiting days allowed during the 2010-11 academic year, 5) vacation of its 21 victories during the 2007-08 season when Mayo competed, and 6) returning to the NCAA tournament money it received through the PAC-10 in 2008.

Athletic Director, Mike Garrett, said: “When we’ve done something wrong, we have an obligation to do something about it, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here.” I think it is commendable that USC was willing to suffer embarrassment and loss in order to maintain the integrity of its school and basketball program.

I wonder how different your life, my life, and our churches would be if we were that radical in maintaining the integrity and purity of our hearts before God and others. The way USC has handled these violations has caused me to ask several questions about when I violate God’s standards and when the integrity of my heart is at stake:

1. Am I willing to submit my life to a spiritual investigation by the Holy Spirit and God’s word?

2. Am I willing to acknowledge and confess the sins that God’s investigation reveals?

3. Am I willing to change my mind about that sin(s) and realign my behavior to meet God’s standards?

4. What radical inward and outward actions am I willing to take to prove my repentance?

5. What am I willing to lose to prove my repentance and to maintain the integrity and purity of my heart?

What other lessons can we learn from the USC saga? Are there other questions that we can ask to help us maintain integrity and purity of heart before God and others?

Popularity: 7% [?]