Archive for November, 2008

Thank God!

Posted in Christianity, Faith, God, Jesus, Religion on November 26, 2008 by Scott

Great column on Thanksgiving from Leonard Pitts, Jr., who writes for the Miami Herald:

I was crammed into a middle seat. The guy in front was practically in my lap, and I had my arms drawn in tightly as I pecked furiously on the keyboard. God glanced over. ”What are you working on?” He asked.

”A column,” I said. “About you, in fact.”

He lifted an eyebrow. “Oh? What did I do now?”

”Well, not you per se,” I admitted. ‘It’s about this atheist group, the American Humanist Association. They stirred up folks in Washington, D.C., recently by running a billboard on the buses. It said, `Why believe in a god?’ ”

God was curious, so I passed Him the computer. Just then, the plane lurched violently. The guy next to me spilled his drink and muttered a curse. God paid no attention. When He finished reading, He passed the computer back. ”That’s not about me,” He said. “It’s about defending their right to free speech.”

”Sure,” I said. “What else would I do?”

God shrugged. “Why not just answer their question?”

“What do you mean?”

”Well you know,” He said, “you’ve got that Thanksgiving holiday coming. Might be appropriate to remind people of whom they’re thankful to.”

I considered it. ”That could be a good idea,” I said.

He gave me a look. ”OK, OK,” I said, “all your ideas are good. But you know, proving you exist is a heavy-duty philosophical chore. I suppose I could go with the complexity-of-life argument, talk about how if people see something as unremarkable as a cardboard box they assume it had a maker, but if they see something as intricately designed as a person — or heck, an amoeba — some folks say, Oh, it just . . . happened.”

God was unimpressed. ”I don’t need you to prove I exist,” He said. ”I am the great I am, remember? Besides, that billboard doesn’t ask for proof of my existence. It asks, why believe? Isn’t that a fair question?” He gave me an expectant look.

I see, I believe

I looked past Him, out the window. We floated above a deck of clouds, the sun falling toward the horizon, the whole world the color of gold. It was like poetry in midair. I said, “I believe because I’ve seen you. And because I’ve heard you.”

The plane jolted again. Two rows behind, a baby started shrieking, hitting notes I’d have sworn were impossible for a human larynx. The man ahead of me shifted heavily in his seat. My tray table pressed hard against my stomach.

God gave a smile that I couldn’t read.

”It’s not all poetry in the sky,” He said. “Where you see poetry, somebody else sees only a flaming ball of gas circling the earth, light refracted through crystals of ice and pollution in the air. Where you see eternity, someone else sees an ocean. Where you hear my voice, someone else hears thunder.”

”What are you getting at?” I asked.

”What do you see then?” He said. “What do you hear when no one else sees or hears? When you walk in places where no one knows your name? When you curse the brokenness of your own life? When flood and famine strike the wretched and the vulnerable? When the diagnosis is cancer? Do you see me then? Do you hear me then?”

It took me a moment. ”Sometimes,” I said finally. ”Not always.” I thought about it a second, then added: “But I’m always trying.”

”Why?” asked God.

I looked past Him. The sun seemed to be sinking into the clouds. The sky was growing dark. ”Because nothing else makes sense to me,” I said.

God smiled.

The captain announced that we were about to land. We were asked to shut down and stow our electrical equipment. The guy in front returned his seat to its full upright and locked position. The baby kept squalling. Moments later, the plane touched the tarmac. It had been an awful flight, and I was glad to be home.

”Thank God,” I whispered.

”You’re welcome,” He said.

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Forgiveness

Posted in Christianity, Faith, Relationships, Religion on November 25, 2008 by Scott

warrickdunnWarrick Dunn’s mother, Baton Rouge police corporal Betty Smothers, was killed on the morning of January 7, 1993, in an ambush at a local bank.

Two years later, the man who killed her, Kevan Brumfield, was sentenced to die.

In October 2007 Dunn visited Angola State Prison and spoke with Brumfield about a moment that changed his life like no other.

“I didn’t kill your mother. They got the wrong guy.”

He listened to Brumfield explain how, because of the life he had lived, he would have probably been dead by now if he hadn’t been arrested for this crime that he now claims he didn’t do … but to which he confessed.

After listening to Brumfield for a while longer, he  decided he wanted to tell him how that night changed his life.

Tears started to well in his eyes when he realized that he was laying it all on the line for a guy who had killed his mom. As he looked around the room, he realized everyone else in the room had tears in their eyes, too — Brumfield included.

“If you didn’t do it, I don’t know why you are here today, but I know why I am here today. I am here because I need to forgive somebody… It is time for me to forgive…”

Dunn realized that rather than seeking the answers to all of the questions he had for years, it was time to forgive.

What a great story….sometimes we don’t need to the answers, we just need to forgive.

When No One is Watching

Posted in Christianity, Church, Faith, God, Jesus, Religion on November 24, 2008 by Scott

watchingThey say the test of character is who you are when no one is watching.

PGA golfer JP Hayes proves that there is still honesty and integrity in sports.

During the second stage of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament last week, Hayes discovered that he had unwittingly used a prototype golf ball not approved by the United States Golf Association.

No one would have known. But Hayes, honoring the tradition of a game where the players police themselves, turned himself in and was disqualified.

On his 12th hole of the first round, Hayes’ caddie reached into his golf bag and tossed a ball to Hayes, who played two shots — a tee and a chip onto the green — and marked his ball. At that point he realized the ball he was playing was not the same model with which he started the round — by rule, a two-stroke penalty.

“I realized there was a penalty and I called an official over,” Hayes said, according to the newspaper. “He said the penalty was two shots and that I had to finish the hole with that ball and then change back to the original ball.”

On Thursday night, Hayes realized that the errant golf ball might not have been on the approved list.

Hayes had a choice: He could have said nothing and kept playing, with no one aware of his mistake. Or he could turn himself in and let his mistake cost him a 2009 PGA Tour card. He chose the latter.

Hayes, 43, is refusing to blame his caddie for the error, saying he should have spotted the errant ball because it did not have a model name on the seam.

Had Hayes kept the error to himself he likely would have gained millions…at least hundreds of thousands.  His take on the error?  Now he can spend more time with his family.

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of being known for being against things we stood for honesty, integrity, character, personal accountability, love and caring about others more than ourselves?

What if we realized that there is one who is always watching? Maybe then we would behave differently.

Fanatics

Posted in Christianity, Church, Evangelism, Faith, God, Jesus, Religion on November 23, 2008 by Scott

How about this?  85,000+ fanatics screaming and jumping as the Sooners beat Texas Tech.

Imagine if we got that excited about spreading the Gospel, serving others, and following God.  What kind of difference could we make then?

The Church of Starbucks

Posted in Christianity, Church, God, Megachurch, Religion on November 20, 2008 by Scott

A couple of years ago many churches were looking to emulate the Starbucks culture and retail atmosphere.

Turning the tables, Beyond Relevance shared this great video that shows what might happen if Starbucks decided to emulate a church.

I loved the locked doors, the greeters standing around talking to each other, and the first time visitors.  And what about the lesson on giving? Classic.

Coffee is good – all the time…and all the time – coffee is good!

This would be funnier if there wasn’t some truth to it.

Get Up and Dance

Posted in Christian Music, Christianity, Jesus, Religion on November 19, 2008 by Scott

Who would have thought that God would give his one and only son
Taking a stand upon the cross to show His perfect love
So wont you break wont you break free
Get up and dance in his love
So wont you break wont you break free
Get up and dance in his love
His love never ending

There’s no escaping the truth
There’s no mistaking it’s You
God forever we’ll
Get up and dance,
Get up and dance
And praise You

I have to admit that sometimes I sing “Shutup and dance…” primarily because I think sometimes we should just shutup and do something, instead of sitting around talking.

Really, Really Long Prayer Guy

Posted in Christianity, Church, God, Prayer, Religion on November 18, 2008 by Scott

Every church has one.  If you don’t think so, look in the mirror.