Photo credit: Dave Knickerbocker (as you could probably guess by the lack of quality)
This little guy looks pretty good for being around for so long. He’s an M&M (duh) from the Christmas tree lights I insisted on buying. It was for our first Christmas tree after getting engaged over 17 years ago. He’s been through a lot. For the first couple years, at the end of the season I would meticulously re-insert green and the colorful friends from his light strip neighborhood into the plastic case they had come in. My hope was that they would remain in mint condition for years.
Then the kids started coming. When Jess got tall enough to be able to liberate them from their coniferous cage to live out the rest of their days with Barney and a few Disney princesses, I was forced to adjust. I reassigned the plastic candy that hadn’t been claimed by a Knickerbocker toddler to the top of our plastic tree. Also, with more kids came more decorations and more frustration packing and repacking them every year. It took several years, but eventually I resorted to winding them up like any other set of lights and tossing them in the box.
Perhaps it wasn’t the smartest idea. I introduced the question posed in the title of this post to the young adult Bible study at Evangel Baptist Church for one of the first studies I led for them. The look on Brian Barth’s face – a young man who studies the word and is faithful to it – was priceless! He didn’t know me yet and was deeply concerned that I was bringing some kook teaching into the lives of our young adults. We can laugh about it now, right Brian (tee-hee)?
But, it’s a question that is valid. Hebrews 5:8-9 says, “Son though [Jesus] was, he learned obedience from what he sufferedand, once madeperfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. (NIV)”
Lest you think it’s a mistake, the Biblical author says it again in Hebrews 7:28, “For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. (NIV, too)”Continue reading →
And as a Christian, I’m even looking forward to it.
As the title of this post suggests, I haven’t seen the movie that opens today. So this isn’t a critique. I’m writing my four reasons to see the movie, before I actually see it, because now is the best time to say what I have to say, which has nothing to do with my estimation movie’s quality or possible lack of Biblical integrity.
My first reason: the trailers look awesome. Russell Crowe and the rest of the cast have been in their fair share of great movies. This one looks like it will measure up. I really enjoy movies and stories about people having courage to stand up for what is right, especially when so much is on the line. Yes, my first reason is that basic.
Secondly: historical fiction is a widely accepted genre. It’s when creative people make up stories set around real historical figures and events. And if some people have a problem with this movie because it’s fiction based on holy writ, why don’t they have a problem with Christians who do just that – and whose efforts we laud – like with books by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (John’s Story, the entire Left Behind Series) and Tosca Lee (Iscariot).Continue reading →
I’m definitely an Ohio boy. Having lived in the New York City and Philadelphia areas, one of the things I like about being in the mid west is how much nicer people are to strangers. Don’t get me wrong, people in New York and Philly can be very nice and mid-westerners can be rude. But there’s so much crowding and rushing around back east that people are more short-tempered with strangers sharing in their frantic lifestyle, or at least they are less likely to be courteous to them.
That’s why this clip of Steve Hartman’s On The Road segment of CBS News was so interesting to me. It reminds me of the WWI Christmas eve story where British and Germans who had been engaged in a treacherous trench warfare suddenly called an impromptu, temporary cease-fire. Their superiors heard about it and became indignant that the men cease the frivolities. Continue reading →
Photo credit: Blind Hen ⁑ Blind Höna / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
I’ve admitted to you that I’m a fan of Downton Abbey, so when a personality test based on the characters of that appeared on facebook I couldn’t resist. Strangely, I was pleased to discover that I’m like Mr. Carson, the stoic, deep-voiced Butler full of honor and a strong sense of duty to the family. But, he’s a softy when it comes down to it. He’s a strong leader of the large staff and stubbornly protects the family and principles that give his life meaning.
Then there’s the Star Wars one where my personality best resembles Princess Leia. Sadly, this one is probably more accurate because it’s based on my Myers Briggs results (ENTJ). But don’t worry, I’m not going to start wearing my hair like two jumbo-sized ear muffs and sing “Swing low, sweet chariot” in my Death Star prison cell (Oh wait, that last part was the princess from Spaceballs. Sorry.)
People can’t make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them. That’s a concept that has helped people who struggle with poor self-esteem to develop a healthy outlook about themselves.
What if the reverse of that concept could be useful as well? I don’t mean that I can only make someone else feel bad if they let me do it (though that is true). But what if it’s true to say that other people can’t make you feel good about yourself unless you let them?
Guilt is a powerful emotion that is unnecessary for Christians. When you were saved you were freed from all the burdens of sin, including this one.
By far, the most injuries I’ve had in my life revolve around sports. I’ve had two root canals because of an accident during a High School baseball game. I’ve torn ligaments in both ankles numerous times playing basketball in my younger years. One of my teeth that had participated in the aforementioned baseball accident was knocked out playing football a few years later at camp, and I just kept playing.
That beauty you see in the picture above is the result of a basketball encounter from Monday night. When it happened I had a feeling there’d be a mark. Kept playing. It wasn’t that I felt pressure to look like a man in front of the other guys. Okay, there was some of that. But, my major motivation was simply that I didn’t want to stop playing.
There were basically two kinds of reactions in this clip: those who looked first and those who ran and then looked. The woman with the white jacket at the beginning stood still and looked for the accident as four people around her dove for cover. But some people jumped for cover even when they didn’t know where the danger was coming from. My favorite is the older gentlemen towards the end who keeps right on going, gently hurdling minor obstacles as he made his way a safe distance from the perceived disaster.
It’s an interesting example of how people react to danger that isn’t real, and I think it has New Year’s implications.
A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph Tidemand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jesus, I’m sorry. I’m sorry because I continually make the same mistake in my spiritual journey – and it throws me off. But it’s so easy to do! Especially during the Christmas season.
Sadly, nostalgia is waning in this great country. But Christmas has remained a great theater for remembrances of the good ol’ days. Is that by your design? We are drawn to Christmas, perhaps subtly, by more than an excuse for extravagant spending. I think that maybe adults still have a child in them who desires, whether they know it or not, for these great gifts than only you can give to them.
Let’s face it, the reason most of us came to Christ was because our lives were so screwed up. And that’s not a bad thing. After all, lots of people came to Jesus because they had oppressive circumstances that only he could alleviate. God has a habit of using our rough times to direct our attention his way.
However, continuing with that M.O. makes for a shallow Christianity.
Though I know better, I still hope for a premature happily ever after experience. Maybe we love the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament) because those salvation stories seem to end at the same place in the fairy tale where the slipper fits and Cinderella ends up marrying the prince. I think it’s Les and Leslie Parrot who write about how that fantasy doesn’t take into account the difficult road Cinderella will have learning how to be a princess, having servants instead of being one and, of course, being married to a guy she hardly knows. We want to be saved and slide right into our hunky-dory Christian experience.