No, this email is not about Al Gore, Global Warming, or Big Al’s 2006 Oscar Award Winning Documentary on the subject.
But on an ironic side note to this topic.. In 2007 North Pole expedition meant to bring attention to global warming was called off after one of the explorers got frostbite. The explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen called off what was intended to be a 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment. read frostbitten
But for me the inconvenient truth that America does not like to hear is.. THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD! This is an inconvenient truth in a society that passionately respects all religions at the expense of compromising honor and worship due to the The God of our Bibles.
Believing in another god or no God is just as wrong as sincerely attempting to summit Mt. Everest while on any skill hill in Minnesota. Being sincere will not matter as YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE. :)
I do agree and respect everyone's right to believe what we do, but CONVENIENT or not 1+1 does not equal 3, I cannot stay out of debt by spending more money than I have, I cannot summit Mt. Everest while in Minnesota, and there is only one God.
In the pursuit of God I do not believe evidence points to Buddha, Zeus, Sister Sun, Mother Moon, or any New Age / Oprah Winfrey wild haired scheme found on a Hollywood Astrology Hotline. I believe the creator of this world is the God of our Bibles, and all glory and honor is His and His alone. Convenient or Not, to believe anything else would make me wrong.
So let's celebrate and share this INCONVENIENT TRUTH to a secular world determined on being equally inclusive to all other religions while fitting the concept of a God in a nice little one size fits all 'religion box'. And let's share this most important truth always with respect and love.
May God bless our lives with TRUTH.. purpose, and one that demonstrates our love for Him above all else. May this be the source of happiness and contentment and purpose like never before.
LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS.. leave the rest as details.
Before Felix and Oscar in Neil Simon’s ‘The Odd Couple’ there were the Shepherds and Angels that first Christmas Night. Never has there been a starker contrast between major players in any significant moment in history. Not since Almighty God himself walked through the Garden of Eden with the underdressed for the occassion fig leaf clad Adam & Eve have there been such high society folk mixing with blue collar / red necked joe and joe-ettes.
Think of it… The Angels from the Realms of Glory wing their flight over all the Earth, while the shepherds snack on ‘sheep jerky’ playing pull my finger jokes around the camp fire dressed and smelling like.. sheep.
The Angel Choirs sing Hark.. and Glory to the new born king, while The Shepherds are in need of a SHEEP-PS (sheep positioning system) just to find this same baby Jesus.
Of course that was then.. this is now. Meaning, CHURCH is still such a strange collection of odd couples.
Pentecostals, Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, and ... those like me who ‘claim’ to be non-denominational.. aka denominational mutts. So if Angels and Shepherds could unite in worship 2000+ years ago that first Christmas night, I think all Christians from the Holy Rollers to Baptists in need of Bran should celebrate the birth of Jesus this year.
If you are a high church kind of guy or gal, or if you call dressing up wearing a clip on tie on your best flannel shirt. If you raise your hands in worship, dance in the aisles, speak in tongues, baptize in an ocean, have bingo in the church basement.. we are all a part of the same church body.
May we unite our intentions and energies to bring Glory be to God this Christmas season!
Love God, and care for others this Christmas.. the rest is just details.
Like an ugly ornament that I cannot bear to throw away so is my retelling of a Christmas Concert from just a few years ago.
In December of 2007 my wife and I went on a Christmas date to get the season started off right, but it did not end up like anything 'dreamed of' by Bing Crosby singing White Christmas.
We started the evening off with a nice dinner at a local steak house in front of a roaring (gas/fake) fireplace as the weather outside was as the Christmas classic described accurately as frightful. After dinner we were off to downtown Minneapolis to the Pantages Theatre to listen to an A Cappella group called the Blenders for their Christmas concert.
Once downtown we soon learn parking on a friday night during the holiday season would not be a picnic. There was also a Christmas parade in progress near the theatre so we began driving in a slow moving car conga line consisting of a series of one-way right hand turns for about 30 minutes resulting in us parking about 5 city blocks from the theatre.
Once parked we began our Frozen Mecca to the Pantages Theatre where the air temp was about 2 below zero and wind chill 14 below. Oh by the way we were walking into this wind not with it. To complicate things for poor little ol me I was not wearing a hat, and my coat was was not a great coat for MinneFROZEta.
Along our walk we passed by several downtown establishments.One was a gay bar and then we passed a club advertising topless girls, with the words.. hot, hot, hot over the topless ad.
Now this is where I was tempted.. not to see topless girls.. but I asked my wife since they were hot maybe we could go in for a moment and warm ourselves by the heat. Ok, honestly there was no temptation here for me, just an excuse for me to share another bad pun with my wife so she could roll her now frozen eyes at me.
Pantages here we go.. We finally arrive about 15 minutes before the concert began. Shivering and frozen we bought a $3 cup of coffee from the cash bar in the lobby which my wife and I took turns holding it to keep warm. When another couple entered the theatre and sat next to us visibly cold too, I offered to let them hold my coffee for $1 apiece. They both laughed, but I did not see what was so funny.
Let the Show Begin.. So inside we go and the concert begins. The Blenders are very good and for me, one evening with an A Cappella group is enough... enough for my lifetime. The Blenders are 4 guys I would guess their mid to late 30s in suits with choreographed movements like four Caucasian Temptations.
To add to the atmosphere there was a group of well dressed professionals filling a large block of seats in front of us. I am guessing they were part of a company holiday party dressed up in suits and dresses looking and ACTING the part of Type-A schmoozers. Kind of loud notice me types, that were .. not my type. Then during intermission they all stood in front of my wife making FULL use of the cash bar in the lobby and there was also one young good looking guy passing a flask with something that I am pretty sure was stronger than 7-Up.
After two hours of listening to A Capella Christmas croonings, were retraced to our frozen steps to our car and then headed back to our warm home free of anyone in my living room passing a flask and standing in front of my TV.
So to sum it all up .. We had dinner in front of a fake fire, participated in downtown traffic jams, crowded parking ramps, snow, ice, passed by topless & gay bars, all to sit behind loud drinking young professionals while being entertained by .. Minnesota Night with the Pips?..
While I do take pot shots at this Friday outing it is becoming simply.. I am Christian who SMIRKS. I did have a good time with my wife.. I was cold.. but to be with the woman I love and to take time to be with her and appreciate her was a great way to start Christmas.
The next night.. was more low key Larson type of Christmas which we spent with our son Nate and his then girlfriend Kendra, and our daughter Erin with her boyfriend. We listened to Christmas music, made gingerbread cookies, and played the protestant approved card game.. Rook. It was a great evening which included a mini-fight with flour while making cookies.
IF by chance anyone from that corporate America party in 2007 reads this email about my great Saturday night making cookies you can thank God instead for your night out sipping from your flask, with NO gingerbread cookies, flour prints on your $300 suit, or gingerbread crumbs stuck in your cleavage while donning a black backless & low cut dress that you bought special for this occasion and certainly NOT from the local JC Penney.
Merry Christmas Blessings
The BUZZ Around The Coffee Maker... IT'S A SIMPLE PLAN
Often in the traditional workplace the coffee maker is the common place for socializing with coworkers. While pouring a cup of caffienated fuel there is talk about the big football game on Sunday, sharing vacation plans, some are brave enough to discuss politics and/or religion and have lived to tell the tale (not recommended), and of course the ever popular grumbling about the boss (the emperor who has no clothes) in hushed tones.
So imagine the buzz around the coffee maker in Heaven a little over 2000 years ago when God's plan for ‘saving’ mankind was revealed?
Setting: It was just another day at the 'office' when Larry and Betty meet at 'Heaven's Coffee Maker' for their morning cup of coffee.
Larry the Angel: "Hey Betty, did you hear the latest about the plan the boss has for saving the world?"
Betty The Angel: "No, so what's up?"
Larry the Angel: "Well rumor has it, Jesus Christ will come to earth as a child born of a virgin in a barn and sleep in a feeding trough for animals. His birth will not be proclaimed to the world, but to .. get this.. shepherds." And a few guys from the east
Betty The Angel: "Shepherds? .. right."
Larry the Angel: "No really it's true. , and Jesus will be raised by a common carpenter and his wife" and for the next almost 30 years Jesus will work as a carpenter, in rural Israel.
Betty The Angel: " Good one Larry, and so being a carpenter.. he will then build his father's kingdom." LOL
Larry the Angel: "I know this sounds bizarre, but I heard it all from a very reliable source. And that's not all. Next, Jesus will choose 12 men to assist him as key members of his kingdom
Betty The Angel: "You mean like a presidential cabinet of sorts? Made up I imagine of priests, rabbis, maybe a few influential politicians, and some sort of minister of defense would seem
Larry the Angel: "No, .. they are mostly fishermen."
Betty The Angel: "I see.. fishermen... So far we have Jesus born in a barn in obscurity except to shepherds, his critical years of development to be the King and Savior are spent as a carpenter instead of seminary? Yes, yes.. this makes 'boat loads' of sense.... NOT!"
Larry the Angel: "I know, I know.. but that's not all. Next Jesus will take on the established religious community. He will challenge, and mock their rules and their motives.. which of course flies like a politically incorrect Lead Balloon."
Betty The Angel: "Well if this is true, then what else could they expect. Now who is it you said you heard this all from? You were not talking to Cliffy from the mail room again were you? I know this is Heaven, but Cliff is full of it."
Larry the Angel: "No Betty it wasn't Cliff, it was from a very reliable source. Now be quiet for a minute and let me finish.. then you can let your jaw drop to the floor... because there is more."
Betty The Angel: [ Betty motions that she is zipping her lip and smiles.. in silence ]
Larry the Angel: "All of this leads to a final week when the salvation message is realized. Jesus in this unconventional plan lulls the leaders of the day into .. falsely arresting him, mocking him, he is beaten and whipped to the point of death. Then to a jeering crowd he is lead up to a hill where he is crucified as a common criminal while being rejected by the people he came to save... JUST THE WAY HE PLANNED IT ALL ALONG."
Larry the Angel: Of course Jesus will not stay dead. He will rise from the dead, but not everyone will witness this.. and so believing in Jesus, and accepting his free gift of salvation will be a matter of choice and it will require a personal faith in things not seen.
Betty The Angel: [still silent, Betty stands with her arms crossed]
Larry the Angel: "That's it Betty, believe me or not.. that is the God's honest truth (no pun intended)." <pause> "Ok, now you can speak."
Betty The Angel: I don't know who put you up to this.. but I would tell these wild tales to anyone else... This is all CRAZY TALK.. and I have better things to do with my time. Next time you learn anymore 'Revelations' .. get it in writing on God's very own BLESSED executive stationary!! Next time.. you should consider your sources before swallowing it all hook line and sinker. You are just soooo gullable."
Betty walks away shaking her head. Larry refills his coffee cup and heads back to work perplexed why Betty did not believe him.
Ok maybe it was not quite like this, and I don't think this would have been a script in Hollywood. Kings, and great rulers would be scripted to be more spectacular than a poor carpenter boy who ticks off the establishment and is ultimately crucified as a criminal. Then again.. Hollywood's vision of drama, 'passion' or anything with a salvation message of sorts is typically a bit.. WACKED.
Have a great day.. and may the great news of God's plan for our salvation and for a happy life here on Earth be realized in each of your lives.
aka.. The Good Samaritan of Northern Wisconsin
On the roads of ice and snow near Hayward Wisconsin in December 2001 a young mother with her preschool children were heading home to the near by town of Drummond when along the road she spots an older man with the hood up on his car.
This was a typical bitter cold December day, but though she has her young children with her she is impressed to stop and see if she can help.
As she pulls over the old man approaches her car. She cautiously locks her doors and rolls down her window slightly to ask if she can help. The old man does not speak, and tries to open the door, then reaches inside his coat.. making her all the more uneasy.
The old man pulls out a small keyboard from his jacket and types a short message explaining he has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) so he can not speak, and would appreciate a ride home in Hayward. The young woman opens her car to the old man and drives him home.
This old man was my father Walter Larson, and the young woman was Jen Herricks. Jen was the theGood Samaritan of Northern Wisconsin 2001. I wonder how macho northwoods guys in their 4x4 trucks were too busy to assist this old man in need on a bitter cold winter day? Maybe none, but maybe too many. But no matter, my dad was cared for by someone with a family car, and a kind heart.
Jen later explained to my mom that she thought my dad was an angel. There are a few explanations for this observation but no one before this would have described my dad as an angel. A good man? Yes. An angel.. hmmm, that would be a reach. But maybe there was an angel standing alongside my dad that cold December day. Maybe it was the peace my dad demonstrated in his life just months before passing on to Heaven. Either way there was certainly a divine appointment with an angel that day. What I know was that this day God impressed on the heart of a kind woman to be real Christianity.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress (and old men brokedown on winter roads) and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
So Jen gives my dad a ride home. He offers her money, she refuses, and they go their separate ways.
Nice story, but it's not over.. A few weeks later my folks receive a Christmas card from Jen wishing and praying the best for them. This was nice touch too, but...
The story is not over.. My dad passed away from his battle with ALS just a couple months after this 'chance' December encounter. The funeral is a celebration of my dad and the good man he was, and a celebration of his life now in Heaven. In the mean time, Jen and her family began attending my parent’s home church in Cable Wisconsin not knowing yet the connection.
A short time later it becomes clear to Jen that my mom was a long time member of this church. So Jen reaches out again and contacts my mom. This began a friendship that continues today 14+ after my dad’s passing.
Now that my mom is 87 with limited mobility, Jen still visits my mom with her kids probably 8-12 times a year even though my mome moved 150 miles west to an assisted living home in Osseo Minnesota. When Jen comes to visit mom it is with hugs and kisses that are reserved for family, and her kids call her Grandma Nell.
Also.. With this friendship God has provided Jen the friendship of a ‘seasoned’ Christian woman to talk and confide in. My mom does not replace Jen’s real mom, nor does Jen replace my sister or myself, BUT this is to me an amazing example again of God answering prayers that we did not even know how to ask.
So on that cold December road in 2001 God provided my dad a ride, and ever since then He has provided the love and friendship of Jen and her family. This 'chance' meeting in my opinion was one of God's subtle miracles that he does so well.
I am thankful for that divine appointment with an angel in December 2001. Jen thought the angel was my dad, but maybe .. she was the angel.
May each of us slow down at times to realize God’s divine appointments with angels in our lives.
My wife Mary and I have several nativity sets that we put on display each Christmas season. And in the month of December 2004 was a Christmas season like most all the others, EXCEPT.. our dog Baylie who was about a year and a half old at the time still liked to chew on things that were not her designated chew toys.
One of those items is my kneaded eraser which I use when I am drawing my cartoons, and it looks like a lump of clay. Well Baylie would sneak it off my desk, and chew it up but never swallow it. Leaving a mangled pile of eraser fragments on the family room floor. I push the crumbs back together, and continue to use it. I know, I know.. Ewwwww!! But she cleans the pencil lead out of it and dog drool seems to be an active agent in making the eraser .. erase. BUT I DIGRESS..
Back to the Larson Nativity sets. One afternoon in December 2014 my wife and I came home to what looked like a Nativity Mob Kill scene. The wooden cart from the stable was in pieces, a shepherd laying face down on the coffee table, and a baby sheep took a fall off the table and onto the living room carpet. I can’t imagine the horror in eyes of the 3 wisemen who traveled so far only to see Baylie walk off with Baby Jesus in the clutches of her jaw.
The question remained why? Maybe Baylie wanted Jesus in her heart, and thought swallowing him would be closeto her heart. Stomach? Heart?.. good enough. BUT THEN she maybe did not like the texture of the ceramic Jesus figurine.
OR MAYBE an audible voice from the Heavens yelled “Baylie.. This is my beloved son.. DONT EAT HIM!” Only Baylie and the figurines from the nativity set know for sure.
Good News: Only a short time later the 'baby Jesus hostage crisis was over. The son God in ceramic form was returned to ceramic parents Mary & Joseph who were besides themselves with worry. And good news for Baylie was God did not strike her with lightning which was within his right. But just a couple weeks later Baylie was shocked when she chewed the lights on our Christmas tree.
Moral of the story. If you really love Jesus don’t risk God revoking your ticket to Heaven just because your nativity sets are low enough for Baby Jesus to be mauled by the family dog. AND.. just like Baylie could not get Jesus in her heart by eating a figurine, neither can any of us have Jesus in our hearts just by going to church.
May this Christmas be a peaceful season of adoration and personal faith where Jesus is in our hearts and not just in our nativity sets.
There is the saying going around 'God is not a republican or a democrat.' I look at front runners for the upcoming presidential election Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and I go YUP, you nailed that one on the head. Trump, I don't like. Hillary, I don't trust.
No offense intended for those of you who like either of these frontrunners but just 'blurting' my opinion.
The real issue of the day is there are too many issues. So many news headlines with more opinions regarding these headlines. THEN the politicians weigh in, and since there is an election coming up, their political views are loud and bold and often extremely partisan. In my opinion Politicians are like tax laws there are too many, they don't make sense, they are not fair, and they never go away.
Then turn on your TV to catch up on the current events by watching the evening news. Bad idea :( In reality the evening news is the evening news SHOW where ratings are king and serious topics of the day are reduced to video clips and news bites. Like a bad appetizer that leaves you bloated and not a bit hungry for the main course. These evening news appetizers are a high calorie with little nutritional value bites seasoned with a strong political bias. AND the only positive note in the evening news SHOW is after 27 minutes of gloom and doom there is a 3 minute segment inserted about a lost dog who came home. Oh gee, I feel so much better now.. NOT!
So what's a sincere believer to do? Turn to a 58 year old cartoonist for advice? I would be flattered, but probably not such a great idea.
But if you want snarky answers to complex problems I am available. :) note: I am NOT Archie Bunker reincarnated.
The good news is .. the answers we are looking for our found in our bibles. Even simplify it more, Love God and care for others... the rest is details. (my paraphrase of Matthew 22:36-40). I know, I know these details are so very important, but not so important that we lose sight of these two greatest commandments.
These scriptures are not broad-brush answers for our hurting world. Seriously, what chance does our nation have if we cannot even obey God's two greatest commandments? What real chance does the world have in addressing the Syrian Refugee crisis, terrorism, racism, hunger, sickness, and war if you don't truly love God and care for others in the moments of our days, and maybe next year with our vote.
I pray that these words encourage each of you to love God, and others like never before. Be true to God and His word in all that you do.
Jeff (politicizing in the Back Pew) Larson
MY POLITICAL PROFILE EXPOSED: (Read at your own risk)
1. Gun Control - I don't own a gun, but believe in the right to bear arms.
2. I believe Black lives Matter - but also believe blue (the police) lives matter. And let's all try something novel .. Obey the Laws, and Show Respect. Assuming guilt is poison.
3. Planned Parenthood is federally funded abortion clinic, nothing more, nothing less. I am tired about hearing about the mother's right to choose OVER the mother's responsibility to her unborn child.
4. Syrian Refugees need compassion and a home, but logistics need to be discussed in this climate of terror. I am not in favor of bringing in 10,000 refugees to the US, but this neither makes me uncaring, or paranoid.
5. I believe the government should enable the church to care of the poor, hungry, and in need. I do not believe in the government should provide this care as anything the government touches becomes a bureaucratic inefficient nightmare. Kind of a Reverse Midas Touch :(
6. I believe Gay Marriage and the gay lifestyle is wrong. This does not mean I hate because I don't hate. I have family and friends that are gay. But, I believe the words of our bibles and common sense are clear the gay lifestyle is wrong. I believe we should be able to discuss this topic rationally without being labeled a bigot.
7. I am not sorry I was born white. BUT, if I was black I would not be sorry for being black. We need less talk about how we are different and more discussion about how we are all God's children.
I shared these thoughts a while back, but if only for myself I need to share them again.
Simply put I deserve the BEST. I deserve all that life can offer, and more! I deserve a wonderful wife, kids that make me smile, dogs that don’t eat food off my kitchen counter, and a cat that does NOT hack up hair balls. I deserve true friends, a healthy family, a rich church heritage, and I deserve HEAVEN.
You may be wondering if have been sippin’ on the ‘Name It, Claim It’ koolaid. Hmmm maybe I have… and maybe I am a ‘Prosperity Gospel’ believer too. I have never spoke in tongues, but who knows.. I might give it a whirl.
So while I have never been on TV, and I live a quiet existence on the frozen tundra of Roseville Mn. But.. I want to get what I deserve!
I do work hard though I continue to make mistakes daily.. maybe on the hour, BUT I DESERVE God’s grace and blessings in my life in a way that are BEYOND MY DREAMS. This means I don’t have to live in regret of past mistakes, and what the devil (there really is one) plans for bad in my life… God can use and bless in ways that I never saw coming.
I deserve God’s grace because He says I do, and because He is good and kind, and PERFECT.. my sins are forgiven and are only the past, and the past should be a memory free from pain that can now encourage me about this complete forgiveness, and this grace realized for myself and others.
No more hiding of sins.. no more hiding my faults.. I DESERVE better than this. So when I fall, and I might just fall again this very hour.. I will get up.. I will do my best, and I will trust in God while motivated by my desire to Love God with all my soul, heart, and mind, and to love others as I love myself.
You see I DESERVE a life uncluttered by thoughts and worries focused on me. I DESERVE a life free from guilt, and not reluctant to ask for forgiveness.
I DESERVE the very best in life.. PROSPERITY measured in service.. HAPPINESS uncluttered by circumstances, a CLEAR CONSCIENCE because of God’s limitless grace.
Now most of you probably do not let your mind wander in circles like mine obviously does like a hamster in a wheel, but for those who are tired, depressed, sick, burdened with the weight of the world.. YOU DESERVE MORE. You deserve the best that God has to offer. His best for you may or
may not be fame and fortune, health and adventure… but HIS BEST which you deserve is the peace and perspective that passes all understanding or any circumstance.
They say money can’t buy you happiness, but it helps calm the nerves… BUT whether rich or poor, famous or obscure, fat or skinny, or any other nook or cranny of this world’s class system.. we can be content… and living unafraid, and enjoying the lives we have in ways that are beyond what we
have yet to experience.
I forget (ironically) but there was some study (or urban legend) that says we use 10% of our brain.. well I believe we as believers experience only a fraction of the blessings God wants us to experience… and only a fraction of the blessings WE DESERVE as his children.
May God bless each of us with lives blessed by God in ways that are NEVER limited by our abilities, but are truly BLESSED BEYOND OUR DREAMS and as God intends, and what WE DESERVE as his children.
note: I do realize all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags Isaiah 64:6. The point of sharing 'getting what i deserve' is not a focus on my relative goodness, but instead on God's Grace and love that is greater than all my sins. Romans 5:20
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson