Life again reminds me we are all so very busy with days filled and choices to be made. Sometimes I feel like a contestant on the Price is Right TV show and I randomly choose door number #3 today.. and hope for the best.
So to help guide our life decisions I would like to suggest the Closed Fist and Open Hand approach.
But.. a serious dilemma occurs when we mix our Open Hand and Closed Fist views. Just think if an alcoholic who continues to drink, a marriage without fidelity, or if I decide not to pay my bills on time.. or pay them at all. All are a recipe for disaster.
Of course, Open Hand and Closed Fist views are rubbed in our faces when we turn on the evening news where Washington is filled with Closed Fists ready to punch political opponents in the nose.. or lower. I guess this is what Washington calls 'reaching across the aisle'.
Now finally, how's the old Open Hand v Closed Fist working with God's people? From my vantage point, not so good. Just a glance on my Twitter account I could imagine..
Seriously, the church can be a prickly place. Not just your basic Predestined v Free Will, eternal security, or are Infant Baptisms ok debates? There are more serious divisions where when we do not agree on the interpretation of a passage of scriptures then someone must be a HERETIC... when maybe we really don't know and simply disagree. But then to be fair again.. some teachings are heresy.
God save us! No really, GOD SAVE US!
Now take it with a grain of salt that you are reading a blog from 'a grownup' who draws cartoons, but the following is my exhaustive (or exhausting) guide to Closed Fist and Open Hands in the Church.
The reason for writing today's blog was fueled by ongoing battles among well known evangelicals, and then watching the 'Christian' media and 'Christian' social media fanning the flames that divide us.
Of course I do believe in addressing sin and true heresy in the church. BUT.. I pray for a biblical approach.
Sigh.. Maybe from time to time I will just open my clenched fist and slap myself.
I am not positive today's blog is helpful, but the spirit of it is on my heart. May God use my fumbling words to speak truth or the desire for us all to seek truth.
May God bless you in your busy lives. Be true to God, stand for Him, know your Bibles, have good friends, and eat all your veggies. :)
Jeff ( in between a slap, tickle, & a fist fight) Larson
While I do not believe in any monkey ancestry kind of evolution I do believe life certainly evolves.
Let me share 'my' scientific findings from my exhaustive study here at the Back Pew Institute for Common Sense.
Don't roll your eyes at me.. this is SCIENCE!
Exhibit A (Valentines Day)
THEN: On February 14, 1984 I bought my wife an engagement ring, flowers and proposed marriage. Good news for me Mary was very excited about spending the rest of her life with ME! Til death do us part.. thank you very much.
NOW: On February 13th 2016 my wife informed me she was going to pick up some flowers for my 86 year old mom for Valentines Day. I replied "Great, and while you're at it, pick up something nice for yourself from me.. cuz I like ya."
Exhibit B (Romance)
THEN: Mary and I were married in August 1984. The newlywed excitement of starting our lives together, holding hands, the excitement of the kiss, and all the other 'fringe benefits' of being married were truly wonderful.
NOW: Just the few years ago I remember trying to kiss my wife Mary on the lips before I headed out the door to work. But she turned her head at the last moment offering me only to her cheek to kiss. So I said to my bride "I noticed you turned away", and she replied matter of factly.. "yes I did not want you to wreck my lips." Wreck her lips? I was her husband wanting a simple kiss, not a zombie wanting to eat her lips.
Exhibit C (Sports)
THEN: March Madness Year 1 was a simple game where dunking was not possible as the hunched over Neanderthal players had little to no vertical jump compounded by using a ball which technically was a medium sized boulder.
NOW: The game now is fast, the players tall and athletic, the action is high flying, and the courts are free of dinosaur droppings.
Exhibit D (Me)
THEN: When I was a kid I could spend hours drawing cartoons.
NOW: Hmmm, never mind that is still what I like to do.
Exhibits E-Z (God)
THEN & NOW: Outside of all the above 'scientific' examples of evolution and in the spiritual realm let's be clear.. our God does not evolve nor does He need to. God is timeless, and so are his truths.
Our growingly secular society has chosen to travel down a progressive road of self-enlightenment at 90mph in a Woodstock like hippy van mind set while smoking doobies. While believing they are evolving, they are in fact de-volving.
Ironically this secular world judges Christians as judgmental, and God's timeless loving truths (The Bible) as outdated needing to be tweaked.. BUT.. in reality truth is ONLY found in our 'never-needing-to-evolve God'. His perfect love and grace are our hope, and He is the solid rock we can count on. Please share this often with this ever changing/evolving tumultuous doubting world.
Jeff (Mr. Science) Larson
Lukewarm Coffee (LWC) exists in a land between hot and cold where room temperature is king. Welcome to the Twilight Zone of brews. LWCs most often was once a well intended piping hot cup of coffee but then was forgotten or ignored. They are the 'stale donuts' of the beverage world.
And last I checked, neither Starbucks or Dunn Brothers feature lukewarm coffee. GO FIGURE! Not not even for a niche target market of very plain boring people dressed in old sweats, bed hair, and a 2 day beard eating plain white bread from the bag while demanding their LWC.
No one wants lukewarm coffee, and I believe the only acceptable use for it is .. when I have a splitting headache with two Excedrin in my hand and I spot a cup of LWC near me to help wash down the meds before my head explodes.
Of course our Bibles speak often on the topic of coffee (ie Hebrews hahaha), and even tackles the specific topic of LWC in Revelations 3:15-16 where the angel of the church of Laodicea speaks out.. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (like a cup of lukewarm generic instant decaf coffee with non-dairy creamer and a sweetener substitute).
note: If you did not guess, the part in parenthesis was not from 'The Message'.. I added it myself to emphasize my LWC point.
But there is a very sobering interpretation of this scripture. Being a LWC believer (even with sweetener added) is not a safe place to be. Will lukewarm get me to Heaven? Well, the whole God spitting me out of His mouth is a pretty clear NO... IMO.
God is not amused by half-hearted devotion. In fact God sounds frustrated, dare I say disgusted in Revelations 3:15-16 when we are only playing church.
So I read this passage and look at my life. I am a good guy, no major ( or minor ) crimes, I go to church most every week. I love God, my family, and have good friends making this life good.. for ME, BUT.. am I actually living a lukewarm cup of decaf and a stale donut communion lifestyle? I like to think not, but it is an honest question.
What if honestly my thoughts, and passions revolve around ME?.. What if my resources, and my prayers feature ME?.. What if the movie of my life stars ME? and I attend church not with worship in my heart and mind but instead it has become my weekly good deed ritual for pretty good guys . Then maybe I am a LWC believer.
So in my 'Spiritual Coffee Analogy' how would an angel of God describe you? Hot, cold, or a 3 day old LWC brew with cream curdling at the top? I am NOT saying being anything less than the next Billy Graham or Mother Theresa is lukewarm.. but please DO NOT be indifferent about the creator of this world or others in need.
My prayer today is God will bless and speak to each of you. May we listen to His voice and serve Him like never before in a way that is anything but lukewarm.
Jeff (aspiring to be a Grande Latte) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson