from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Archive for the category “Life”

The Cycle of LIFE

A study of history reveals a definite cycle of human spiritual behavior. From the ups and downs of God’s chosen people in the Bible to American history even prior to the Revolution, we have experienced times of closeness to God and times of rebellion.

I have a personal dream to be part of a revival in our country. I read about previous great awakenings and wonder what it must have been like and then visualize one happening today – what effect it would have on our government and daily lives. It’s exciting but also disheartening when I realize how short-lived all the previous ones were. Some even debate if what took place in the 1960s and 70s actually qualifies as a great awakening.

The occurrence of these ups and downs throughout history, I believe, have been significant in delaying God’s decision to rapture the Church. And I have to admit, there are times when I’m not so sure I want to delay him. Regardless of eschatological views on whether we’re in the millennial or the tribulation, or neither, it’s doubtful that Christ will return in the midst of a revival. Prophecy seems to point to things not being so good when that happens.

This leaves us with a conundrum of experiencing a national (or better still, international) revival and theoretically delaying “the rapture,” or continuing in our societal downfall ushering in the end. What do you think?

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Life Lesson: If It Ain’t Broke, You Can Still Make It Better

English: A bored person

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” bears a lot of truth, but we shouldn’t use it to remain in the status quo. Just because something is still working doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon – made more efficient, more durable, more economical, or more interesting. It’s the only way to stay on top and ahead of the game.

 

I’m not advocating change for the sake of change…but then again I am in some situations. Take a church service for example. It’s probably the most predictable program format ever. While one church may slightly differ from another, it’s very easy to get stuck in a routine week after week. That goes for our daily lives too.

 

At the very least, change can bring an element of freshness to anything that has become routine. This is even more important today with our easily bored culture. So don’t wait til it breaks.

 

24/7 News Channels Have Corrupted Quality of News Reporting

Wikinews Breaking News orange

With all the recent “Breaking News” stories so far this year, I’ve come to realize that competition is not always a good thing. When CNN began to broadcast as the first 24/7 news channel, it was wonderful to be able to catch up on  what was happening around the world whenever we wanted.

 

Now we have several big name news networks and lots of wannabes. Lots of competition. Lots of hours in the day to fill with programming. Lots of opinions filling our minds. What was once factual news reporting is now a sensationalized production to see who can get the most viewers. The line between entertainment and news reporting is becoming quite blurry.

 

Sure we get tons of information quicker than ever, more and more live as it happens. But how good is that info? How many people’s lives are affected negatively by erroneous reporting in the rush to be frist? How do we know what to believe? And perhaps most importantly, how are these sensationalized stories and so-called expert opinions being spouted off throughout the programming day shaping our country?

 

Is it political propaganda in its most modern (to date) form?

 

Is It Possible to be An Accidental Racist?

BRAD PAISLEY  CONCERT IN CENTRAL PARK  2011   ...

 

By now you’ve probably heard the Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song Accidental Racist and probably the controversy it has stirred up. I’ve listened to the song and the two artists’ comments on the song. I find it to be thought provoking and largely accurate.

 

 

 

Obviously a lot of people don’t. You can read some commentary here. Hopefully Paisley and LL have learned humans love to criticize and stir up stink, especially on such a topic. Is it possible to be accidentally racist? I think it is entirely possible to accidentally offend someone. Whether that is racist may be a matter of opinion.

 

 

 

The saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” can be very true, but intentions also speak to the heart. A true racist doesn’t care; an “accidental” racist does. So is it possible to not know blacks are offended by confederate flags? If I hadn’t explained that to my kids, at least one of them still wouldn’t know.

 

 

 

Teaching about the past and living in it are two very different things, and  I guess I’ll never understand why some people insist on living in the past and constantly dragging up the pain associated with it. It only keeps the hate alive on both sides. I think that’s part of what the song is trying to address.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Called Counting Your Blessings

I recently added LifeHacker to my Flipboard reading collection so I can catch the articles more often. I ran across this one the other day:  “Write Down Three Positive Things About Each Day, Every Day.

It’s good advice. Just like the old hymn Count Your Blessings tells us to “name them one by one,” It can definitely wrap up your day on a positive note and maybe even help you sleep better.

Weekly Link-Ups

Some other folks’ stuff from around the web.

8 Great Reasons for Using Twitter in Church Communications

6 Exercises for Maximum Mobility

25 Lessons in Office Etiquette from Michael Scott

9 Brilliant Inventions Made by Mistake

3 Tips to Make Creativity a Habit

Defining Waste

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being wasteful is a personal thing. Most of us have been guilty of it more often than we’re willing to admit. But it is a personal thing. What is extravagant for one person is necessary for another. Of course we all have our definitions of what is necessary too.

It’s understood that even the average American is wealthy when compared to the population of the world at large.

I read an article recently about Martha Stewart’s three iPads, two Blackberrys, one iPhone, and two Cannon cameras. It seems ridiculous when you read it. She carries an iPhone just to take pictures? That may or may not be totally accurate, and she may actually need all eight of those electronic devices.

It’s probably not a bad idea for all of us to take inventory of our stuff from time to time, and instead of coming up with our own definition of waste or excess, ask God to define it for us.

What I’d like to know, is what kind of bag does Martha Stewart carry all that in?

I Have a Confession

I received some good news yesterday morning. A change in a situation that I had not expected. A situation I didn’t feel the powers that be would even consider a problem much less make a change. My confession is that I failed to realize God is really the Power that be.

While my prayers focused on dealing with and living with the situation, obviously others whom my family had shared the issue with prayed for a change. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t consider God stepping in at the last-minute and removing the problem.

I’m thankful for those who prayed bigger than I did. Nothing is too hard for the Power that be.

Waiting for a Plan to Come Together

I’ve lived much of my adult life by these verses like these (among others) and have waited patiently (and sometimes not) for plans I felt God had revealed to me for my life.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 20:11

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Then I happen upon this old post by Donald Miller about God’s plan, or the lack thereof, for our lives. Here are some quotes to give you the gist of his thoughts.

“God does have a general desire for everybody, for them to be reunited with the Trinity through Christ,and for them to have food and shelter and relationships, but I don’t believe God has mapped out a plan for your every day, or even for your every year.”

“If God has something specific for you, you’ll know, I promise. But if He is setting a box of crayons down in front of you (a box of crayons called life) then by all means draw. He’s taught you right from wrong, good from bad, beautiful from profane, so draw. He will be with you, proud of you, cheering you on, so draw.”

Read the full article and be sure to read the comments section too.

There is an aspect of liberation in Miller’s opinion. Quit worrying about catching the train or missing the train and just live. But regardless of whether I agree entirely with Miller or not, I suppose I’ve shifted in that direction over time and circumstances. And I can’t deny a bit of a let down. It’s exciting to think God has specific and special plans for your life.

But in the end, God himself is enough to get excited about. What do you think?

Enjoy Your Weaknesses

I was commending our bass player the other night flexibility and willing to play whatever instrument was needed. He’s played acoustic guitar for years, but this year he’s also played electric, bass, and percussion. Sometimes not knowing which until late in the week.

Posture to counteract weakness and enhance blo...

He commented about being a jack of all trades but not knowing any of them very well. I replied that that described me. I know a little about a lot of things, but not a lot about anything. That tends to get me a lot of responsibility and in over my head sometimes.

I have learned to take pleasure in pulling off things I don’t really know how to do. It’s actually fun to watch God make things happen that I can’t do myself. Whether it’s something with a sound system, a computer, web code, or a person, the first thing I do when I hit a snag is pray.

I don’t mean it to sound like a magic formula. There are things I never figure out and have to get help or find some other way to do it, but God has helped my more times than I can even begin to count in situations where I’m just not good enough on my own. And I like it that way.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul says, speaking of his weakness, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul’s weakness is believed by most to be a physical ailment that God never healed him of, but there is application here for each of us everyday.

We all have to do things beyond our capabilities from time to time. Enjoy your weakness, and let God help get you through.

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