Some Brothers...

So some brothers torture their sisters by popping their balloons, my son is different.

He ate his sister's balloon.

That's right, my daughter Zoe was playing with her pink balloon, O happy day! Everything was right in the world.

And then my son Zane, who is in the midst of an intense 'pretend I'm a cheetah' phase, pounces...

He ate that pretty pink balloon.

And today, we saw it again. Yes, that's right, the balloon made it out, a little worse for wear, but free again.

I'll let you blow it up...


Thank a Vet

No matter how you feel about it, your presence in America (and the rights and privileges that come with that) have been paid for by the blood, sweat, and tears of countless soldiers and their families.

In spite of how you feel about the current war, or war in general, say, "Thank you," to a veteran today.

"Thanks, Dad."

Go Cheryl!

If you are interested in hand crafted (and made to order) scarves, hats, shawls, and other items, then click the link above.

Our friend Cheryl Lewis has decided to pursue her dream of running her own small business selling her own hand-made items.

Just click on the title link!


Jesus the First Time Traveller

Don't worry, I promise we aren't starting a UFO cult! Just think on this...

Jesus comes to us from the future.

One of my favorite authors, NT Wright, says that looking to the future (in reading the biblical prophets) is like looking into a fog and describing what you see...

There is something there, but it is mysterious and the detail is hard to make out with any clarity.

...how if someone came walking to us out of the fog?

That someone is Jesus!

He Is from God's future redemption! The Age to Come is fully revealed in the life, death, and specifically, the Resurrection.

It bear's considering, if we were to meet someone 'from the future,' (think some ridiculous sci-fi 'B' movie) what would the attendant thoughts, emotions, questions, and experiences be? ...


In the opening verses of the letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes that he is a messenger or apostle "by the will of God." The Message has Paul saying he is "under God's plan." By way of an introduction to the series we will be doing on the letter to the Ephesian Church, we will be exploring this idea.

What is God's plan? ...God's will? How do we get 'under' it?

What is the letter to the Ephesians all about? The answer to this question dovetails nicely with the others above:

Ephesians is largely a letter that provides the 'big picture' of God's action in history, and provides insight into how we fit into that unfolding redemptive drama. This is, I believe, what Paul means by being 'under God's plan.'

So what do we see? Do we see God's action? Or are we consumed with our own needs and desires?

Do we see dry bones? Or Ezekiel's army? (Ezekiel 37)

Do we see the surrounding Arameans, or the chariots of fire? (2 Kings 6)

Acts 19-20 provide the account of Paul's time in Ephesus and the founding of the community of disciples in that city. It also goes a long way towards shaping our understanding of what it meant for Paul to be 'under God's plan,' how it was a guiding impetus to his life, illuminating a path for him. It was God's plan of salvation, and Paul's own specific purpose within that plan that gave Paul (revealed by the Holy Spirit and imbued with His power) his drive and stamina, his total willingness to pay any cost, as well as giving him direction and allowing him to make decisions about the course of his life.

So how do we make decisions?

How do we choose what to do with our time and energy?

How do we choose what to give our lives to?


When I Run...

(Check the Title link for an old post on a similar topic)

There is a scene in the popular movie Chariots of Fire where Eric Liddell is talking with his sister. She is concerned that his career as a runner (he was Scotland's first Olympic Medalist) will stand in the way of his career as a missionary to China. Eric responds with this line:

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."

There is something there that we need to grasp.


The God spoken of in Scripture is the God who invented pleasure of all kinds. We do well to remember this! The Psalmist says to God, "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

We can easily turn Jesus into a whip-toting, grimacing killjoy. Yet, even His enemies would dispute that point. The Pharisees accused Him of being a drunkard and friend of sinners, a party-going glutton. How could we ever confuse a Jesus who laughingly gave his friends nicknames with a morose religionist?


The Oval Office?

What would you think of a national religious figure who was referred to by his followers as the "Commander in Chief" and the "Leader of the Free World?" Who called his place of work the "Oval Office" and from there issued highly publicized speeches that were called "State of the Union" addresses? Who had appointed "Cabinet members" to help him accomplish his task and referred to his followers as "Citizens?"


The following terms:

prince of peace
(and many others)

All are terms that would be full of the same kinds of political significance as the "Oval Office" or "citizenship" are to our contemporary ears.

Gospel - the term used in the OT to refer to the coming of YHWH as king, setting things right for the nation of Israel in terms of justice, not least in terms of vanquishing the national enemies and oppressors. In the Roman world the term was used to refer to the official proclamations of the victory of Caesar's armies, the birth of Caesar's sons, and the acclamation of Caesar's deity.

Church - the term used in the Greco-Roman world to refer to the body of citizens called together.

Kingdom - a common term used by both Jews and Romans to refer to... a "kingdom!"

Twelve - the symbol for the nation of Israel, the twelve tribes.

Temple - the symbol of national pride, the place that declared to the world the primacy of Israel over other nations.

Christ - Literally, "the One who has had oil poured on him," the term for the King of the Jewish people.

Savior, Lord, Prince of Peace - Titles specifically ascribed to Caesar. All Roman subjects were required once a year to officially proclaim, "Caesar is Lord;" to which Christians responded, "Jesus is Lord."


Certainly blurs the line of distinction between politics and spirituality, doesn't it?

So what does God think about politics? What were Jesus aims?

What are His desires for our lives?


Judgment and Theodicy

The voices crying foul about sin and evil in the world (claiming it proves God's non-existence) are the same voices crying foul about God's judgment on sin and evil (claiming the doctrines of hell and judgment are themselves evil).

They seem to vacillate back and forth between the belief that human concepts about justice and evil are valid ways of understanding the universe; (this is the basis upon which they pronounce their judgments upon the Creator of such a wicked Universe as ours) and the belief that evil is a fiction, and the only real evil is to believe in human concepts of justice and evil (these concepts, they claim, are merely religious attempts to control others and prevent them from having a good time)!

I say, choose either one or the other...