Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Got this from a friend today - makes you think.
Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read
"Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed. Once in the restaurant my
server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed as he had given away
his political preference--just imagine the coincidence. When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight. I went outside, gave the homeless guy $5 and told him to thank the server inside as I've decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful. At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient needed money more. I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I got an e-mail from a precious friend that honestly wanted to know what God was teaching me today. My first thought was to tell her what I was reading, what sermons I listened to lately or about the great sermon I heard on Psalm 27 yesterday preached by Phil Covert at Carolina Pres. But instead I allowed my mind to simply bring up random things I have learned in the last couple of weeks - or have been reminded of. So her are 12 thoughts. I want to challenge you to make a comment on this blog and at least list 6 things you are learning. I am not into tagging people but if that provokes you to make a comment consider yourself tagged.
1. What am I learning? That when God humbles someone, those around them are affected too. It happens all the time. So be careful who you get into a boat with - some sailors found that out with Jonah.2. We are always in transition - will be until we get to glory.
3. Real friends are precious
4. Not all real friends know how to be friends
5. It is easy to withdraw but harder to return to the land of the living.
6. It is easier to doubt when you are on the sidelines
7. There is no quick fixes to sanctification - it is a marathon
8. God is using a lot of people for his glory - we tend to only see a few.
9. Time moves the same for all of us (that is the theory) it seems to move quicker when you relax.
10. Good fellowship is precious - enjoy it when you have it - it can change overnight.
11. Family is so important -
12. I am insignificant.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
(2) Alabama 29, Tennessee 9
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do.
The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.
'Since you are all such good customers,' he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.' Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
I guess the bartender ate the remaining dollar but it is not really germane to the outcome
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
'I only got a dollar out of the $20 declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, 'but he got $10!'
'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'
'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'
'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money among all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Georgia
More from my reading in the deer stand: A Mighty Fortress by T. M.Moore
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.
In these days before the election, stocks tanking, people losing their homes due to losing their jobs - this passage from the book reminded me that there is not situation that is hopeless for God’s children. He can reverse any situation for His glory. So, before you go on read this passage 2 Kings 19:32-37.
Isaiah prophesied during a time of great uncertainty and instability in Judah. The Assyrian threat was never very far away, although God would graciously and miraculously spare His people under Hezekiah’s leadership. Just when all seemed lost and Jerusalem appeared ready to succumb to an Assyrian siege. God sent an angel of death among the invaders, causing them to retire in humiliation and defeat. Bryon powerfully captured this event in his poem, The Destruction of Sennachrib (1815):
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold.
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold. (not LSU)
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown,
That host on the marrow lay wither’d and strown.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he pass’d
And the eyes of the sleepers wax’d deadly and chill,
And their hearts bot once heaved, and forever grew still.
And there lay the steed with his nostrils all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, and the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their walls,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal:
And the might of the Gentile unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!
If you read a little longer in 2 Kings you will be delighted to see how God notices our tears and is more than willing to answer the prayers of his people! Be encouraged - God is still on the throne even when we feel or actually are surrounded by an army much stronger than we ever thought. Be encouraged!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The last week has been a good week with the family. We have had two bonfires in the fire pit given me by good friends. I have worn clothes a good friend bought for me at the coalition in SP. I admire a special paddle in my room carved for me to look like the elven paddles of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Carved with love by a good friend. I caught a fish with a rod and reel that a good friend gave me 20 years ago. I have pictures in my bedroom of good friends that asked me the perform their weddings. I have an architectural picture drawn by a friend that initially designed the building for the church I pastored. Facebook helps keep in touch with those that have reached out to me - but ...
Monday, October 20, 2008
What an adventure it has been here in Columbia, SC! Katie and I moved to Columbia this past August as many of you heard in our previous posting. The opportunity to attend Columbia International University is what initially brought us here. But since then God has revealed his omnipotence again and again. Sure, He has blessed Katie and I with great places to work, run, and live, but so did He before we moved here. So, why did God brings us to Columbia? Well, Katie and I are quickly learning that it’s more than Seminary.
THE RELATIONSHIPS! One in particular is our church family. Shortly after coming to Columbia, an older couple from church took us under their wings as mentioned in the previous posting (Dow & Travine). I believe this relationship to be the initial/on-going hug for what God has for us here. We have also had the privilege to get to know two couples our age who attend our church and previously graduated from CIU (Robby & Lauren; Micah & Kim). And just recently, our dear friends Sven and Morgan have joined our church family as well.
Sven, originally from Norway, lived several years in Ethiopia before coming to the United States for college/graduate school. Morgan, a native of Charlotte, met Sven during their senior year of high school in Ethiopia and married him soon afterwards. Along with meeting our spouses in Ethiopia, we have so much more in common. We love what God is doing through our friendship; ha, we’ve already planned a ski trip to Snowshoe Mountain. But as much as I would love to talk about this particular friendship, it wouldn’t be fair to all the many more God has blessed us with.
Recently I’ve come to realize that God has been involved with what is currently happening way before we moved here; way before Katie and I even knew one anther. All along, God has been forming and molding us to the relationships we currently share; our God is great! But the greatest relationship that I have come to truly love is the one I share with Katie (God’s bride for me). “Truly speaking” (as my Nigerian friend John would say), God is teaching me daily how to love His bride as He loves His church. Again, God has been forming and Molding Katie and I even before we existed; however, humbly I confess that he is still molding me, but sometimes it takes a pretty big tool (use your imagination).
The greatest gift God has ever given me is Katie. One that I will never deserve, just as the salvation Christ has given me. And through Katie I receive the clearest reflection of Christ and His love for me. But only by accepting Christ’s love for me do I know how to love Katie; a love that I must learn by sitting at His feet and worshipping Him. And yes, I have been called to reach the un-reached, but there is no higher calling on my life than growing intimate with God and loving Katie as Christ loves His church. Everything else takes a distant third. So please pray that we will exemplify this in our marriage.
So, why come to Columbia to sit at His feet? I’m learning that God’s purpose for us coming here is far more than our expectations. But one thing I know for certain, His way has brought us here, where He is preparing us through the relationships that He has blessed us with and through our relationship that we have with Him. For God has made the way, He is leading us, and we’re loving it! We love our church (church), the jobs that we have (My job; Katie's Job), the trails that we run (Addis's Favorite), the place we live (Our Apartment Complex), the awesome school we attend (CIU), our family (They're everywhere), and.... Most of all, on our one year anniversary, I thank God for sharing His princess, Katie. I love her!
We are so thrilled that the calendars of both colleges aligned to allow some family times! On Thursday after meetings in Charlotte I picked up Oliver after a Cross-country race - I was suppose to watch it but underestimated Charlotte traffic. We took off for Chattanooga. Following dinner, a flat tire and 6 hours driving we stopped at 2 PM to sleep. Picked up Margaret at 9:30 AM on Friday and drove through the Mts of TN & NC on the way home. Here are a few pictures.
Karen went to her first Homecoming "Soccer Game" at her new High School. She want with her new friend Allison who is also a pastor's kid.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Most of the family was home and CBS had the game on the internet. Not as nice as TV but you do what you can do.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Last week when I was up in a tree deer hunting - I read a little book called, "A Mighty Fortress" by T. M. Moore. It was quite good and since I cannot brag about the deer I took - I will publish a few posts with short passages that spoke to my heart as I redeemed the time while hunting.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Read it here or below.
I had the privilege to preach the gospel to myself and the congregation of NORTHCROSS Church in Cornelius, NC on September 28th. My good friend Matt Furby, shared his "Profile of God's Grace" with us. Matt did a great job.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Rebekah, my 12 year old, remarked today that we have been married more than 1/2 of Lynn's age. (26 out of 50!).
Saturday, October 4, 2008
In an article in USATODAY the recently released tax returns of Sarah Palin were discussed. Here are a few paragraphs:
"The Palins gave $3,325 to charity last year, or about 2% of their income. In 2006, they donated $4,880, or 3.8% of their income. Those donations included clothing and household items given to the Salvation Army in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, the tax returns show. Comella said the Palins also gave money to local churches.
Biden and his wife, by comparison, gave $995 to charity last year, or about 0.3% of their income, and averaged charitable gifts of $369 over the past decade, his tax returns show."
As a long time pastor, I know that many treasurers struggle with knowing what people give to the church. If they are not spiritually strong they become bitter when they see what people drive and where they live and then see what they give. (A note to myself - "Make sure the next treasurer is closer to the Lord and know that Christian folk have many areas of immaturity, giving is one of them.) Someone has to know, IRS knows, the giver knows, but bottom line
- God knows. There is an interesting episode from Christ's life, (Mark 12, Luke 21) actually about 2 weeks before he w
ent tot he cross to turn away the wrath of his Father from those who would believe on to himself. He is watching what people give at the temple offering "plate".
close enough to see what the rich gave, the middle class but he mentioned a widow giving, the lower tier of the socioeconomic ladder.
A secular view of this would either be this is an invasion of privacy or that the poor should not pay taxes, especially "Church taxes". But a secular mind does not know the pleasure of giving to someone that has given us everything. These minds miss the difference between a steward and and owner. A steward never owns and really neither does an owner unless you know the owner is God Himself!
This reminds me of a joke about an IRS agent that called a church to verify that a parishioner had given a large amount of money. The pastor who answered the phone said - if he hasn't - he will soon!
I wonder if all of the TAX returns of church members were put in the USATODAY or the local paper if giving would go up! It probably would - but it would be giving from pride or prestige - and that is not the reason Jesus talked about the wid
When I picture the widow in my sanctified imagination, I see a happy lady, who is trusting in more that her bank account!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
So then, whom could you marry? A long time ago we came up with something we called "Esolen's Rules." They're only half facetious. But they are an attempt to get at the normal:
1. Don't marry a woman who likes cats but does not like dogs. You may marry a woman who doesn't like either, or whose reason for not liking dogs is that one of them bit her when she was a toddler. But a woman who likes cats but does not like dogs will be a Joan Crawford or Jane Wyman. Ronald Reagan married Jane Wyman, and look how sorry he was about that.
2. Don't marry a man who is neater than you are. You may, however, marry a man who polishes his tools and puts them away after use....
3. Don't marry anybody, man or woman, who says, "I'm going to call you at eight," and then leaves you waiting by the phone for an hour. Exceptions can be made for people who are kidnapped by Arabs, or who have epileptic seizures.
4. Don't marry anybody who insists on a separate bank account, bed, bathroom, vacation, or zip code. It makes no sense to be one flesh and two wallets.
5. Don't marry a woman who spends more on makeup than she does on food. In general, don't marry a woman who engages in the sin of reverse gluttony.
6. Don't marry a man who does not like dogs. Such men do not like children. Don't marry a man who does not like children. On the other hand, I have known at least one excellent man who thought he didn't like children, until he had some; seven, I think, at last count. Perhaps the rule may be rephrased: Don't marry a man whom you cannot imagine rolling on the ground in a wrestling hold, with a Labrador retriever or three children, or hollering on a ferris wheel, with a Labrador retriever or three children.
7. Don't marry a woman who exercises so frequently that you cannot tell if she is a woman or a very strange looking 13-year-old boy. I'm going out on a line here, but the real purpose of the rule is to determine whether she will mind getting fat, as happens when you are going to have a child. In other words, don't marry a woman whom you cannot imagine having a child. Do not marry a woman who does not like children.
8. Do not marry a man who treats his mother or his sisters discourteously. As he treats his mother, so will he treat you. But by all means do not marry a man who takes his direction from his mother, or who is ruled by his mother's ambitions. Mama's boys are unhappy, and they make their wives unhappy too. So are the mothers of mama's boys, come to think of it. Unhappy days are here again.
9. Do not marry a woman who sneers at innocent male pastimes, such as football. Such women do not really enjoy the company of men, and after a period soon reached, do not enjoy the company of their own husbands. They are also the most ignorant of what men are really like. You may marry a tomboy, so long as she's a girlish tomboy and doesn't take the sport with dreadful seriousness. You may marry a Daddy's girl, so long as she is not spoiled when it comes to money.
10. Never marry anyone who is secretive about money. Such people are also secretive about sex.
11. Never marry a man who lets you take the initiative in everything. You want a jellyfish, maybe? You want Burt Lancaster instead.
12. Never marry a woman who never lets you take the initiative in anything. You want a porcupine, maybe? You want Maureen O'Hara instead.
13. Never marry a woman who does not laugh at your jokes or your buffoonery. That is one of the nicest ways in which men "serve" women, and women respond by taking delight in the antics. That is why God made impersonators of Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, and Homer Simpson. It may in fact be the principal justification for the existence of Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, and Homer Simpson. This rule is simply an instance of the more general rule that you should never marry a woman who does not genuinely admire you, nor should a woman marry a man whom she does not admire.
14. Never marry anyone who delights in "exposing" you in public. Teasing does not count; in fact, never marry a man who cannot be teased. You can marry a woman who cannot be teased.
15. Never marry a man who is not admired by respectable male friends. The people in the world who know a man best are the men he works and plays with. They know well if he is a cheat, a thug, a loser. You may marry a man who does not have female friends. If anything, you should be suspicious of a man whose friends are principally female. The men may be avoiding him, and there is a reason for that.
16. Never marry anyone who is not interested in looking at your fourth-grade yearbook. This means: never marry anyone who seems unaware that he or she is marrying also a family, a hometown, a past, silly friends, comedies and tragedies. Never marry anyone who does not want to meet your father and mother. If your sister doesn't like him, dump him. If your sister doesn't like her, dump her. That is why God created sisters. Their approval, however, is not a sufficient condition; they will occasionally like losers, but they almost never detest good marrying material.
17. Never marry a feminist of either sex. That would be as bad as marrying someone with the soul (not the occupation, but the soul) of a lawyer.
18. Never marry anyone whom you catch in a lie, even a little one. Trust us on this one. People in love are about the most gullible creatures on God's green earth. In fact, beside the dictionary entry on "gullible" there's a picture of a woman in love, eyes looking dreamily upward, hands holding her chin; and a picture of an indignant young man defending the honor of his beloved, who would never do such a thing, no sir!
19. Never marry a woman who does not like to feed people, or a man who does not like to help out with the removal of a junked car, regardless of how much he knows about junked cars. By all means marry a woman who enjoys seeing men eat, or a man who looks at a mudslide and says, "I can make a really fine wall out of that."
20. Never marry anyone, man or woman, who scoffs at virtue, who reduces "good" and "evil" to arbitrary counters in the war of all against all, whose humor is flippancy, who looks down upon janitors and maids, who cannot delight in making simple things (like a batting T or a thank-you note), who thinks tradition is old and shopworn (such people are followers of every fad that comes), and who is never, ever, just relaxed, grateful for a shady seat under the maple tree in fall. That is another way of saying that you should never marry anyone who does not know who God is.