As the official Christian Cartoon Curmudgeon of the Back Pew I often lament (aka whine) this world where SIN is just a mouse or tv remote click away. This 24/7 ENTERTAIN/TEMPT me self indulgent society often compromises my Christian ideals.
BUT.. then I realize.. HEY my glass is actually half full.. Jesus is everywhere!
In this world of countless ways to go to 'heck in a handbasket' I realize I am also presented with a 24/7 FILL/BLESS me self indulgence for the spirit. Just a click away are bibles, studies, prayers, sermons, support groups, ministries, and worship music serving up God's Truth in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
What the Internet meant for evil against me; God meant for good, to bring God's Truth to this high tech, high speed world. Genesis 50:20 (paraphrased for all who browse the web).
I love using Google to enter a scripture phrase or topic and I am just a mouse click away from the links, references, and/or rescources I was seeking. This is priceless for my spirit and in turn supports my involvement in church and community. Also I have my bible and all the other internet resources with me pretty much 24/7 in the wonder of my smartphone. And what would it look like if Facebook and social media shared the gospel message and supported the Christian journey more instead of inundating us with political ads, personal gripes, and i love my cat videos.
So take a look for yourself. Jesus and the gospel message of salvation is everywhere. Even in the glass half empty (void of God) world of technology there is a glass half full where God's Truth is shared to a world that needs Jesus.
May God bless your life journey and your browsing habits. May you find God's truth and personal growth 'even' in the wonders of this modern world.
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6:5
This was the report card for mankind by God just before He commanded Noah to build an ark. The letter grade for having the inclinations of your heart being only evil all the time got them a.. F! They failed! Mankind did not even show up for class or open a book (figuratively speaking). There was no extenuating circumstances to consider so get ready, and be sure to update your flood insurance policy cuz it's gonna rain.
Evil all the time.. what does that even look like.? I would guess there would be your garden variety envy, greed, racism, and hatred fueled by a self indulgent 'hell bent' looking for the next high' attitude in drink, sex, and/or any other means imaginable. Evil all the time.. folk are gluttons for all forms of pleasure with no boundaries. Their motto was something like .. 'What happens in Genesis 6:5, stays in Genesis 6:5.'.
Now fast forward to our modern lives. I cannot imagine a society where evil all the time is there every inclination. <insert reflective pause> Unless.. I turn on the evening news. Then I might declare .. 'whoomp there it is.'
Maybe 'evil all the time' is an unfair assessment life today, but we are exposed to a very secular 24/7 stimulus overload with very little time left over for worship of our God. This is not the road God intends for us.
Of course evil all the time is not a description of the church and God's people and outside the church just to be honest does not make someone evil.. BUT I see society as a whole being like 'frog in the boiling pot' unaware of how hot the water is. Cooked in his Jacuzzi while drinking a pitcher of margarettas.
Insert REVIVAL here!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
I know 2 Chronicles was also a very long time ago, but I believe the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 to restore any person, or nation who has fallen is true today.
So what if.. we had a revival and we loved and focused on God in a way that was contagious? What if every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only God all the time. Then God would hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and heal our land.
May God bless each of you today in our pursuit of God and for a revival that changes the world.
After being teased with a couple days of sunny weather with temps in the high 70s we have now returned to a few days of cooler temps, clouds and rain.
I am one of those strange people who likes a cool rainy day. There is a certain quiet and peacefulness to grey clouds and a gentle rain. But today is not one of those days as I want to see the sun and feel it's warmth. Even a glimpse of the sun when the clouds part is a nice prelude to what is to come.
This glimpse of the sun is very much the analogy of how I often view God. I am one of those strange folk who often ponders the meaning of life and the greatness of our God and it is mind boggling. As the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are God's ways than our ways, and His thoughts than my thought. Is 55:9.
This scripture provides for me perspective on life, and God. There is no way I can fully understand the ways of our creator, But.. now and then the clouds part, and I see a glimpse of God like the sun through the clouds on a rainy day. This glimpse of God's truth, and love speak deeply to me like the warmth of the sun. My shoulders relax and everything makes sense until the clouds (our modern world) return and this glimpse is gone. It is gone, but I remember the warmth and peace that came with that glimpse.
Note: The glimpse Saul (aka Apostle Paul) recieved on the road to Damasus was life changing. -- >
When I quiet myself and focus on God's Truth found in the pages of my bible, or maybe listen to worship music.. the glimpse of God returns. It is truly the 'peace that passes all understanding' Philippians 4:7
So no matter how cloudy your day is in this broken world. with sickness, conflicts, family issues, greed, racism, and/or POLITICS (please pass the bucket).. our God is the answer.
Rest in the truth of Psalm 23 as the Lord is our shepherd, and the live out Phil 4:8 dwelling on and pursuing what is good.
May God bless each of you this day with Glimpses of Him on cloudy days and the promise of what He will reveal to us fully someday.
Nobody goes to church anymore, and/or is excited about God. Ok, some of us do/are sometimes but the majority of Americans are most times doing something else. Maybe God is boring?
Let's start with SUNDAYS: You could spend several hours sitting on the 50 yard line cheering your team as they play their hated rivals on a beautiful fall day doubly blessed with vendors who for a few dollars deliver to you your favorite snacks and beverages.
IN CONTRAST.. You could spend several hours sitting on a hard wooden pew in church singing a hymn or three, listening to a sermon where the vendors are replaced with ushers who also take your money but there is NO FOOD FOR YOU!.. Advantage.. FOOTBALL
Next, Food Glorious Food: The world offers wonderful dining opporunities of all cuisines whether you dine out, drive through, or have your meal delivered right to your door. IN CONTRAST.. the church offers potluck dinners where there are more ways to fix a macaroni cassarole/hotdish than there are stars in the sky. Advantage: Dining out
Kim Kardashian v Mother Theresa: Reality TV Superstar Kim has over 20 million twitter followers. IN CONTRAST.. Mother Theresa ran hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens, dispensaries and mobile clinics; children's and family counselling programs; orphanages, and schools... BUT still no Twitter followers. So based on Twitter stats.. Advantage: Kim
Truth: The bible teaches God's never changing loving truth for mankind, and there is but one God. IN CONTRAST.. Society teaches truth is a relative state of being for progressive thinkers. Our world is polytheistic where there are many ways to find god and/or truth. Based on the appearance of inclusivness.. Advantage: Society
Cosmology v Theology: Cosmology is the science of the origin and development of the universe. With an annual budget for space exploration of around $18 billion in the US, Resources like the images from the Hubble Telescope are used to support their studies. IN CONTRAST.. Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious belief. Of course there is no annual US budget on Theology. Resources like the bible are used to support these studies. If money means anything.. Advantage: NASA
The above examples are both absurd but with a thread of truth. How can the church compete with the glitz & glam, the look & presentation, and budget found in our 24/7 self serve society?
What if part of the next year's $18 billion NASA budget was spent on understanding our creator rather than His creation? What if our very broken society honored the Truth of our bibles? What if we quit following the vanity tweets of Kim Kardashian, but instead emulated the selfless work of Mother Theresa? What if on Sunday we honored God with our worship with more passion than we show the Super Bowl?
God is not boring, but the little box we attempt to put him in is. What if there was a spiritual revival of our nation where we pursue God like a spiritual Hubble Telescope? I know one thing.. we would not be bored.
May God bless each of us today free from society's buffet for the senses, but instead pursue what is important. To love God and care for others (God's two greatest commandments Mt 22:36-40) is anything but boring!
Q: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God? <pause> A: Hmmm, maybe. What are we talking about, I mean I need some context here before I swear.
Ok, I do not believe this type of answer would fly well in a court of law. Truth is truth, and I should not be afraid of the truth. Right?
Well how about outside the court of law where I do not have to swear on a bible? Can I fudge or tweak the truth so it does not look so blessed incriminating? I mean to say.. that check is really in the mail.. almost. :)
What about when asked a question but I do not believe they really want to hear the truth? She asks: Are these pants too tight? He asks: How do I look?
For all of the above and more truth in love is a beautiful thing. Truth is not always convenient, and it may sting a little or A LOT, but avoiding the truth will not make it go away.
<insert reflective pause here>
What a horrible blog to share as we americans every year file our taxes. Of course paying taxes is an unavoidable truth, but claiming the IRS shares this truth in LOVE.. is oxymoronic.
This all brings me to the church who is called to share the good news (THE TRUTH) of Jesus Christ. To not share this perfect gospel message would be unloving to let others need to know this TRUTH.
A point of clarification: The church is not just us gathering together Sundays. Church truly is each of us in how we conduct our lives 24/7.
While the subject of truth, real deep down nook and crannies of our lives truth feels a bit intrusive it is a cornerstone to our faith. We should learn to embrace truth in love for ourselves and others. We should share truth as there is but one way to Heaven.
My prayer today is for us all to be truthful and loving in word and deed. Remember, 1 Corinthians 13 shares all is meaningless (including Truth) without love. To God be the glory.
On April 8th, 2016 the snow was falling here in Minnesota. The green grass was quickly covered, but with the temperature slightly above freezing my lawn will be green again soon.
I live in Minnesota so this type of April weather is nothing new. It could be 70 degree and sunny, but then the winds change, and the clouds come along witha good chance of icy rains, sleet, and/or snow.
Of course it could be worse as I remember in May 2013 over one foot of snow fell on Minnesota between May 1 and May 3.
A glass half full kinda person might be thinking "let's build a snowman." That's peachy, but I belong to another group of people tired of 5 months of winter and I am waiting for a southerly breeze to carry me into May with the promise of summer soon to follow. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?
I think a paraphrase of the trademark Tony Compolo sermon is appropriate here. It's April but June's coming!
May God bless each of you this day with the hope of summer and the promise of God's love in your lives. Seek him always when you are tired of the cold and sleety circumstances in your lives and when the sun is shining and all is well. No matter your circumstance, God is the answer, and to God be the Glory!
Note: image to the right is my tribute to March, but it seems to fit nicely today.
Note 2: In honor of the Minnesota Twins home opener, let me leave you with a few images from other ball fields of past Minnesota spring sports. -Play Ball-
The Good Wife is a popular TV show that my good wife and I got hooked on. Each week white lies, big lies, corruption, infedelities, indescretions, scandals, deceipt and other naughtiness found in politics, marriage, and in the court of law are crammed into one 60 minute Sunday night broadcast.
The Good Wife is just a TV show weaving together much of what is wrong with society for our entertainment value (not to mention they all drink A LOT A LOT) and not a model for a happy society. In contrast my wife is the Truly Good Wife!
A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Proverbs 31:10
My wife Mary in contrast may be armed with a honey do list and a disapproving glance at my Sunday choice of clothes, but I confess her honey do list prods me from my computer chair and I need her help regarding my wardrobe.
Mary is all about her faith, family and friends with special focus and love reserved for our children, and grandchildren. She also loves and affirms me no matter our circumstance. Her joy and laughter for life is infectious. I am blessed.
I would encourage everyone to read all of Proverbs 31. Your wife may shop at target instead of making her own clothes, and she wears jeans instead of fine linens. Your wife may work outside the home and not just exist as solely as the happy homemaker, but this proverb paints a great picture of A Good Wife. And it goes without saying was NOT a scripture passage referenced in creating a TV show called The Good Wife.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. 31 Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. Proverbs 31:30-31
Ha!.. Tell that to Julianna Margulies!
May God bless all of you good wives out there. I would add a blessing for you guys but.. let's explain again.. your wives are your blessing.
note: Things I have learned from watching the TV show The Good Wife
Some say television is just wasting time and turns our brains to mush, but look at what I have learned. :)
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson