Get the book here

Friday, May 30, 2008

But I Didn't Pray for Patience!


I try to read Colossians a few times a week. It is so Jesus-focused, gospel-focused, it has for a long time been my "favorite" book in the Word.

So yesterday I'm reading and two words jumped out and slapped me.

As you probably know, we are leaving for Missouri and a new position (Midland Ministries) as soon as we sell our house. The market is not exactly booming. It only takes one, and God is bigger than the economy..yeah, yeah, we know that...but, being human, we get a tad, well, impatient. We know God has perfect timing, is sovereign, and all that...but...

So I'm reading along and come to verse 11 of chapter one:

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.

Those two words, "with joy," are tough for me at this present moment.

But if I want to be strengthened with His power and might, I gotta take the "with joy" part too. Thomas Jefferson cut out parts of the Word he didn't like, but I'm not that dumb.

I'm reminded that it is the "joy of the Lord" that is my strength. Not "my" joy; but His joy! After all, "for the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross."

So I rejoice in the Lord...yeah, gritting my teeth a bit...always. And I pray the Lord would send the buyer...soon...and in the interim I'll be thanking Him for providing the buyer at exactly the right time, and in His own way.

A side note - Ben Patterson writes, "Perhaps one reason God delays His answers to our prayers is because He knows we need to be with Him far more than we need the things we ask of Him."

Narnia Music Video-Only Grace

If you're not familiar with the story line of the first movie (or, better, the book) this won't be as meaningful; but, wow.

Come on, You really believe there is only ONE way?

Got 7 minutes? Watch and listen as R C Sproul clearly communicates...great stuff!

"Emergent" - Another Meaningless Word


"Emergent", to me, is like "baptist," it doesn't mean much anymore. If someone says they are or are not "emergent" you need to ask them to define the term...but these two borrowed posts are hysterical and pretty revealing...(the links are from where I obtained them)


http://krusekronicle.typepad.com/kruse_kronicle/2008/05/why-did-the-eme.html

Why did the Emergent Chicken Cross the Road?

Why did the Emergent Chicken cross the road? Here are my top ten reasons in no particular order:

  • The Chicken was drawn to the candles and incense on the other side of the road.
  • There was a Hauerwas discussion group at the coffee shop on the other side of the road.
  • The idea to cross the road emerged from the chicken's generative cohort.
  • It was more "post" on the other side of the road. (i.e, postmodern, post-evangelical, post-colonial, post-institutional, post-post, etc. Pick your favorite "post.")
  • D. A. Carson showed up on the chicken's side of the road.
  • Obama was on the other side of the road.
  • To demonstrate that it is more environmentally sustainable to walk across the road than to drive across the road.
  • Bono said crossing the road would save Africa.
  • The chicken was seeking change. Everything must change!
  • The question is merely a foundationalist modernist attempt to distill complex realities down to a single proposition in accordance with some metanarrative.

The Kruse Kronicle wrote a brilliantly funny post about why the emerging chicken did cross the road, so I thought that I would write why the emerger did not cross the road.

10. Because he did not want to be labeled.

9. Because he was not absolutely certain that he could cross since in order to get to the other side, you would have to go half way, and in order to go half way, you would have to go half way to the half way, and in order to go half way to the half way, you would have to go half way, ad infinitum.

8. Because it was not a labyrinth shaped road.

7. Because only arrogant people cross roads.

6. The liquor store was on his side. ( :) Come on, lighten up!)

5. Because they don't ordain women or homosexuals to street preaching on the other side.

4. Because everyone crosses the road, it must be wrong.

3. Because to cross the road you have to go West.

2. Because it was a one-way street.

1. Because he did not want to be accused of J-Mac-ing.


By the way, this is a great book:


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Embraced by Love


Ever feel like Alexander in the horrible, terrible, no good day? Are you human enough to get "down" occasionally? Here's a timely reminder from a Puritan author:

Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God - to be the son, the
spouse, the love, the delight of the King of glory? Christian, believe
this, and think about it: you will be eternally embraced in the arms of
the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting - of
the love which brought the Son of God's love from heaven to earth, from
earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory
- that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged,
buffeted, spat upon, crucified, pierced - which fasted, prayed, taught,
healed, wept, sweated, bled, died. That love will eternally embrace you.

Richard Baxter

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Maria Sue Chapman Memorial Service - News Coverage

No words from me. Just prayers for them.

They ARE Watching

Okay, I admit it, I'm not a HUGE country fan; but country really isn't "country" as I remember it...anyway, this is a bit old, but if you've not seen it (or if it has been a while) it serves as a good reminder...as parents our kids are watching us; but of equal importance...if we wear shirts with Christian messages, or have bumper stickers that allude to our faith...or ever say anything about our Lord...people are watching and listening...and we need to be mindful that the world expects more of Christ-followers than most Christians do.
It's not a matter of legalism; it is a matter of considering how our words, actions, attitude reflect on our Savior.
Enjoy the song!

One Crab is okay, a few are alright...but...YIKES

Okay, I'm a literalist in that "in the beginning" God created EVERYthing. But this is pretty whacked out stuff!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Keith Green - Make My Life A Prayer To You (live)

His songs rarely made you feel "good", and certainly never "comfortable." The focus was Jesus, holiness, discipleship, sacrifice, obedience.
This is one of my most favorite Green songs. My oldest son, Josiah, was born in 1984, not too long after Keith was killed in a plane crash along with several others - to include his toddler son, Josiah.
Play the video, and listen - really listen - to the words. When the song is done listen and watch at how he closes it out...

And, if Keith is new to you...find some of his stuff (to include his books and tracts) and be helped in your desire to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Here's a great start, musically:


The Down Side of Following God



For 21 years I've been on staff with Family Life Ministries in NY. Now we are following the Lord's leading to Midland Ministries in St. Joseph, Mo...the only "thing" holding us back is the sale of our house (yeah, you can pray if you haven't!)

Family Life is a wonderful ministry...and therefore this parting is bittersweet.

I especially will miss, though, the Bible quizzers that I've had the privilege of working with for the past couple decades.

The photos are part of our last Nationals trip together last month. Thankfully I'll be able to see some of these students annually as Midland also participates in the Bible Quiz Fellowship (www.biblequizfellowship.org) which facilitates the National Tournament.

In fact, part of my "job description" is writing a manual on our style of quizzing; and helping existing geographical areas grow and helping start new programs.

If you can, pray that the transition to new (if, perhaps interim) leadership for the quiz program in NY goes smoothly and in such a way that the quiz program not only survives, but thrives.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What Makes You Cry?


I am using the English Standard Version (which I heartily recommend) Daily Reading Bible (also highly recommended).

This morning I rode my bike to the Bath National Cemetery (see photos of Jacob taken there Saturday in the previous entry) to read, reflect, pray.

I read Psalm 119.136 "My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep Your law."

Then I turned to Philippians and read, "For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ (3.18)."

So I thought...do I just get furious/judgmental at those who do not keep God's law? Do professing Christians who buy into the world's system raise my blood pressure, or cause me to shed tears?

I wasn't too impressed with my answers. So I'm (again) asking the Spirit of God to soften my heart and be grieved, not simply peeved, at the things that break God's heart...

What about you? Feel free (am I begging to see if any one is reading?...close) to leave your comments!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Remembering With Jacob




My youngest, Jacob (6), and I spent part of the morning walking through the Bath VA/National Cemetery. Though a little chilly; the sun was shining; and since the past week has been nice weather - for October; we enjoyed the relative warmth.

There is only one Hager buried here, and, coincidentally, he was a Jacob also. The VA computer says he served with Company F of the 149th Infantry as a "reconstruction aide." I assume that means he took part in the post-surrender work of reconciliation etc...but "reconstruction aide" is not a bad title for a follower of Christ, is it?

Found one headstone of a soldier who was awarded the Medal of Honor during the Civil War.

Tried to emphasize to Jacob what Memorial Day is supposed to signify...as opposed to just another three-day-weekend, the unofficial kick-off to summer, time to plant, etc. Not sure how much he took in.

As we looked over the almost 14,000 graves...it was sobering to realize that there is nothing but bodies in the ground...14,000 "whosoevers" are one of two places...

"Against" What? or "Against" Who?


Forty years ago I was in Vietnam, attached to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Forty? Good grief! What is such a young guy doing in such an old body???

I was not a follower of Christ. I was into a lot of garbage. Vietnam was a lot like my subsequent years in prison - I learned a lot there, but I don't wanna go back.

And though it was a different war against a different enemy, it gives empathy to our troops serving in warzones today.

And I am thankful - once again - that the people who are "against" the current wars are, in large part, not "against" the warriors.

It's not unlike being "against" sin, but not "against" sinners.

And I encourage you to ponder that last sentence, examine what (who?) you are "against," and leave some thoughts in the comment section.

And...of course...even as we celebrate memorial day...let us never cease to wonder at the memory of the One who loved us so much He would rather die than be without us...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Prince Caspian Thoughts


Okay, confession time. I've read most of C. S. Lewis' stuff, but not Chronicles...not for any reason, just haven't.

But I did take Janelle and Jacob to see the newer Narnia movie yesterday...and absolutely loved it, as did they. (there was one brief scene toward the end that gave six-year-old Jacob a fright, but not badly...just a caveat to those with smaller children)

A much "bigger" movie to me than the first; and even at over two hours wrapped us into the story and the scenes from the start.

I recommend it highly, and, unless you have a big screen tv at home, better to be seen in a theater than to wait for the dvd.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Praying for SC Squared


Steven Curtis Chapman has blazed a trail for quality, fresh, and contemporary Christian music.

Now tragedy has struck as his daughter was hit and killed by one of his sons.

He doesn't know me from Adam, but I had the opportunity to share a meal with Steven, Casting Crowns, and several others a couple years ago. I was impressed that he wasn't impressed with himself, but was blessed to be able to do what he does so well.

As I pray for him and his family (particularly the son) I specifically ask the Lord to enable them to remember the lyrics and meaning of his songs; and that they uniquely comfort them as they have comforted, challenged, and changed so many. It is his turn now.

Yes, the Christian life is a "Great Adventure." But, as in war, the adventure often springs horrifying events on us. We may have "Great Expectations," and we certainly have a loving Abba, and in the midst of trials and tribulations "His Strength is Perfect."

"When You Are A Soldier" in the army of God there is not "your best life now." (that's coming...his daughter is now experiencing her "best life") After all, there is "More to This Life."

"Let Us Pray" for the entire family, trusting the Lord will get them through this horrific time. In the midst of tears, anguish, and questions, may they be undergirded by the truth "My Redeemer is Faithful and True."

And, if not now, eventually, may they be able to see "The Fingerprints of God." And may he one day be able to again sing "Cinderella."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pertinent Info from a Puritan


Thomas Brooks lived from 1608-1680. I betcha he really lived, as opposed to existed. Here is a very important reminder:

Remember, it is not hasty reading, but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that make them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee’s touching of the flower that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower that draws out the sweet. It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian.

Lord, I Need Light - A Little Will Do!


Chuck Swindoll is so good! His devotional book, from which I copied this post, is phenomenal in case you are looking for something to supplement (NOT take the place of) your Bible reading.
If you are in need of some direction, and wonder if God is concerned...draw encouragement from this:

PENETRATING THE DARKNESS
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read 2 Samuel 22:1--51

Are times hard? Are days of trouble upon you? When times are tough, the Lord is our only security. David assures us in his song that the Lord delights in us; He sees and cares about what is happening in our lives, this very moment.

The Lord is our support. In tough times He is our most reliable security. He rescues us because He delights in us. What encouragement that brings as the battle endures and exhausts us. David's song of triumph begins on this easily forgotten theme. I am thankful he reminds us of it.

For You are my lamp, O LORD;
And the L
ORD illumines my darkness. (2 Samuel 22:29)

That reminds me of a scene from my boyhood days. When I was just a lad, my dad and I used to go floundering, a popular pastime on the Texas Gulf Coast. We'd carry a lantern in one hand and a two-pronged spear in the other (called a gig) as we walked along, knee-deep in the shallow water along the shore. As we walked, we'd swing the lantern back and forth as we searched the soft sand for the flounder that came up close to the shore in the evening to eat the shrimp and the mullet. The little lantern provided just enough light to reveal the fish down on the sand beneath the shallow water . . . and just enough so that we could see a few feet ahead as we waded through the water. Actually, it was all the light we needed. It penetrated just enough of the darkness so that we could see where to walk, but not much beyond that.

The same is true of the light we receive from God. At times we flounder along, trying to peer too far into the darkness ahead. Yet He gives us just enough light so that we can see to take the next step. That's all the light He gives and, in reality, that's all we need.

Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Editorially Speaking


So there is this fellow in Bath, NY who writes scathing letters to the editor of the local, weekly paper. Years ago he put up a big sign on the top of his house that he keeps updated with things of local and national "interest."

For months he flew an American flag - upside down - until it was removed by others. Not sure of the circumstances.

For months he has placed a "hanging bush" above his sign (barely visible in the photo, upper right) that really infuriates me.

For a while he had, on his sign, something like "Warning to Iran...international terrorists are about to attack you."

Two weeks ago he had published in the paper another of his rants, in which he stated, again, that President Bush should be tried and executed; and also referred to "ex-military thugs" who allegedly took his flag.

I had to write.

And did. Here is what the paper published, and the photo is what he now has on his sign.

How about something positive?

To the editor:

Has Larry D. Cook ever had anything positive to say about anything?

I have to drive by his signboard at least twice a day...and confess each time I wish, mostly tongue-in-cheek, that I had a grenade launcher to take out said sign.

His hanging bush, with it's message confirmed in his letter published in the May 11 issue in which he not-veryslyly implies our sitting President should be tried and hung, causes me intense anger; not simply because I am supportive of President Bush, but because I am called, as a citizen, to support any sitting President. Cook's reference to the alleged theft of his upside-down flag by "three exmilitary thugs" implies that all ex-military men and women are "thugs."

As a Vietnam veteran, an evangelical Christian, and a person who appreciates the United States of America I'm certain I fall into many categories that Cook would call moronic.

I consider being denounced by Cook an honor.

Cook decries the editor for not publishing all of his tired tirades. He complains of your editing his contributions; apparently the guidelines are for everyone except him?

Perhaps he could sell his sign and purchase ads to publish his opinions?

After twenty years of living in the area I am moving; and will miss so very much about Bath and its surroundings. But I, and my blood pressure, will certainly not miss the rants of Mr. Cook, whether published or placed on his freedom-of-speech sign.

Sincerely,

Jack Hager Bath

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tolerance Can Be Treachery


There is a toleration which is treachery. There is a peace which issues in paralysis. There are hours when the Church must say NO to those who should ask communion with her, in the doing of her work, upon the basis of compromise. Such standing aloof may produce ostracism and
persecution; but it will maintain power and influence...The reason why men do not look to the Church today is that she has destroyed her own
influence by compromise.

G. Campbell Morgan

Strange "Stage"Fellows...But...Wow!

Betcha it's been a while since you've heard a combination like this...two legendary singers, sultry backup vocalists, and an incredible orchestra! (don't forget to turn off my music, left side, before playing)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wise Reminder of our Wickedness/Righteousness

“The gospel of justifying faith means that while Christians are, in themselves still sinful and sinning, yet in Christ, in God’s sight, they are accepted and righteous. So we can say that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope — at the very same time.

This creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth. It means that the more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears to you. But on the other hand, the more aware you are of God’s grace and acceptance in Christ, the more able you are to drop your denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions and character of your sin.”

- Timothy Keller, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: Living in Line with the Truth of the Gospel (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2003), 2.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Why "Bad Words" Are Bad


I wish I were articulate enough to write the following...If you've not read James Emery White you should treat yourself to googling his name and reading his stuff...Here's his latest:

Bad Words?

A new church had a trailer, full of church supplies and equipment, stolen. In a unique reaction, they rented billboards throughout their city to communicate to the perpetrators. I would assume the goal was a unique marketing opportunity, the chance for some sympathetic financial support, and the offer of forgiveness and reconciliation with the perpetrator.

But the church may have gotten more than they bargained for, particularly from one billboard in particular:

CHURCH TRAILER THIEF,

Stealing from God…Ballsy.

From this, the church received more attention for their vocabulary than their plight.

Which may, of course, been their intent.

Regardless of where you stand on the church’s chosen use of words, it would have been difficult to have imagined any church using such a word in its marketing even ten years ago - no matter how edgy or hip they may have attempted to be.

Yet it is surely part of a larger coarsening of language in general. Consider the recent slip of Sue Simmons, a news anchor on WNBC-TV, who, while trying to get the attention of longtime partner, Chuck Scarborough, asked “What are you doing?”

Only she did not realize they were live on the air.

And she did not say “What are you doing?”

She inserted two words between “what” and “are” – and one of those was “the.”

I’ll let you do the math.

In commenting on the slip, Clyde Haberman of the New York Times writes that the most surprising thing about Simmons’ unbleeped blooper is that anyone even noticed. “The reality is that this word has been tossed about with such abandon in public for so many years that…the word is no longer shocking, just tedious.” The station certainly did not seem to mind. “She’ll continue to be on the air,” said WNBC spokeswoman Susan Kiel.

It would seem, notes sociolinguist John V. Singler of New York University, that the only remaining taboo words “have to do…with race.” And even those, he notes, depend on who’s saying them.

I don’t know that I’ve ever reflected on profanity, or even vulgar language, before. At least in terms of what makes it vulgar or profane. The words themselves have a wide variety of referents, many of them perfectly acceptable in the proper contexts, including place, religion, physical anatomy, and bodily functions.

The danger, of course, is what the use of such words – particularly to the point of numbness – does to our world.

Haberman writes of a street argument between two men. Finally, one of them shouted at the other, “I’ve only got two words to say to you.” And then he said four. Two of them were sandwiched between “shut” and “up.” You can probably surmise the missing phrase.

The point is that the man truly thought he was using only two words. And that is the problem of vulgar language:

We lose our sense of what it means to be vulgar.

James Emery White

He took the Hit for ME!


Regardless of how trendy and popular it may be to say that the Cross, understood Biblically, demonstrates "child abuse" - (usually by people who seem to make a characteristic of their faith by cigars and brew) here is a significant and crystal-clear reminder:

“It is Christ set forth in His blood who is a propitiation; that is, it is Christ who died. In dying, as St. Paul conceived it, He made our sin His own; He took it on Himself as the reality which it is in God’s sight and to God’s law: He became sin, became a curse for us. It is this which gives His death a propitiatory character and power; in other words, which makes it possible for God to be at once righteous and a God who accepts as righteous those who believe in Jesus. . . . I do not know any word which conveys the truth of this if ‘vicarious’ or ’substitutionary’ does not, nor do I know any interpretation of Christ’s death which enables us to regard it as a demonstration of love to sinners, if this vicarious or substitutionary character is denied.”

- James Denney, quoted by J.I. Packer in “What Did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution” reprinted in In My Place Condemned He Stood (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008), 75.

Is This Okay for Me?


It is imperative to realize that some activities can be "okay" for one follower of Christ and dead wrong for another. Here's a good test from an incredible woman of the past:

If you would judge of the lawfulness or the unlawfulness of pleasure,
then take this simple rule: Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the
tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, and takes off
the relish of spiritual things - that to you is sin.

Susannah Wesley

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Am I A Servant?


"A good way to determine if you are a servant is how you act when you are treated like one." - Source Unknown

Monday, May 12, 2008

Truth is Truth - Regardless of Who Says or Sings It

Turn off my music on the left hand column and click on this. The singer is Ferras, the song title "Hollywood's Not America."
Probably some will be offended that I put a "secular" song here...but you can betcha bottom dollar that students are hearing this at school, at Pizza Hut and, yes, on their own ipods etc.
Perhaps there is some merit to following the example of the apostle Paul - using stuff from the current culture to serve as a jumping off point to the gospel?
Besides...the message of this song...just the basic message without spiritualizing or tweaking...is so necessary to hear and understand.

That Narnia Guy Was One Smart Dude!


I have a standard phrase - "I hate money, and I hate music; because no matter what you do, you are wrong."

Keep in mind that for thirty years I've been "on support," meaning no source of income other than those people who see value in the ministry the Lord has called me to and come alongside in prayer and finance. Also, for twenty years I've been on staff of a ministry that has a radio network. So the "standard phrase" was birthed out of hard-bought experience.

Of course music is a tad controversial within the framework of the local church, and Christianity-at-large.

Here's a brief but powerful observation from one of our favorite authors (and thus written over fifty years ago):

"The first and most solid conclusion which (for me) emerges is that both musical parties, the High Brows and the Low, assume far too easily the spiritual value of the music they want. Neither the greatest excellence of a trained performance from the choir, nor the heartiest and most enthusiastic bellowing from the pews, must be taken to signify that any specifically religious activity is going on. It may be so, or it may not."

(Clive Staples) C. S. Lewis

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Fantastically Rich Sentence and Definition!


"Redemption is God saving us from our 'whoops' and restoring back to us our original 'wow.'"


- John Ensore

Friday, May 9, 2008

In Honor of Moms

Turn off my music (left hand column) and then click on this. If you've seen it, enjoy it again; if not, it is clever, accurate, and hilarious!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Zürich Chamber Orchestra | Roller Coaster

Turn off my music (left hand column) and press play - worth a minute of your time...clever stuff

Dead People Can't Do Nothing!


Here is one of the most profound things I've read in weeks:

"God is eager to share his take on you. Here it is.

Mess Up.

Definitely.

Deeply Loved.

Anyway.

Both are true and both things set him in motion shaping history with a story fueled by unstoppable grace. You see, God was not shut down by our failure. Nor did the consequences of our rebellion dim His beautiful heart of love. No, we were the ones shut down when sin caused our souls to die. And die we did. It’s bad news, death.

Because dead people can’t see. Can’t breathe. Can’t help themselves. Dead people can’t do anything.

That is why they call Him Savior. When we were dead and could not touch God, Jesus came down and touched us.

It is the most phenomenal thing that has or will ever happen to you and me. Divinity rushing into humanity. God in skin marching steadily to the beat of His own love. And nothing and no one could alter His course.”

- Louie Giglio, “Remembering the Silence

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Heaven's Surprises


My son Jacob, 6, is adopted (as is my daughter Janelle, 13). His biological/birth mom just lost a baby 8 months into her pregnancy.

Sadly this is her fourth pregnancy. Her first was "terminated" in her early teens; her second was Jacob, a third miscarried, and now this.

I shared this with some friends, and there were questions as to her relationship with the Lord. Some were fairly candid in voicing their opinion that obviously she needed to be "saved" since she was continuing in sin.

I don't pretend to "know" her spiritual condition. When she is around (very infrequently) she talks-the-talk; and appears to have a real desire to grow in Christ.

My concern is for those who categorize sexual sin in a different way than other sin (most notably theirs...and mine). I recognize that Scripture speaks strongly about the ramifications of sexual sin; but the fact that this young woman is sleeping around...at least occasionally...does not allow us the privilege of "assuming" she is not "in Christ."

For my money, the most terrifying verses in all of the Word are in Matthew 7 where Jesus declares "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven."

The older I get the more convinced I am that half-of-heaven is going to involve looking at people and thinking, "How did they get in?" while the other half will be spent wondering "Where is so-and-so (people I thought were Christians who in fact were not?"

Is Jacob's birth mom saved? I certainly pray so...and have frequently prayed the Lord to invade her life if she is not "in Christ," and to provoke her to purity if, in fact, she is my sister-in-Christ.

But to "assume" she is not a Christian because she has had pregnancies out of wedlock is not "righteous judgment."

What thinkest thou?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Superb Example of Sportsmanship

In case you've not seen or heard of this; worth watching. Remember to turn "off" my music on the left side of the page...

"I homeschool" "I public school" "I private school" Divisiveness

Good words from Josh Harris on the need for unity among those who educate children differently...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Father Son "Date"

Got to spend some one-on-one time with Jacob last Friday and Saturday as we got out of Mom's way as she recuperates from surgery. Went to a nature center on Friday, and then to a civil war reenactment on Saturday. Here are some fotos of that priceless time:








7

Bless Those Who Persecute You


Last Wednesday, while Jane was in recovery following her surgery, I walked outside the hospital to a nearby cemetery. I knew Mark Twain was buried there, but my walk took an unexpected turn when I saw a marker for the grace of John W. Jones.

I had no idea who he was. But I read a plaque by his headstone, was intrigued and blessed; and did a bit of research that I share here:

John W. Jones was born June 21, 1817 into slavery in Virginia. In June of 1844 he fled north and ended up in Elmira, NY. In 1847 he was appointed the caretaker of the First Baptist Church. In 1854 he married the sister of Stephen Swailes, who became a lieutenant in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the all-black unit depicted in the excellent movie "Glory."

Jones was active in the Underground Railroad, and helped over 800 slaves escape to freedom.

On July 6, 1864 the Elmira Prison Camp opened. Conditions were deplorable, and the camp was shut down on July 10, 1865...but not before almost 3,000 prisoners died.

John W. Jones, the ex-slave, took responsibility and supervised the burial of 2,973 Confederate soldiers. He kept diligent records, and marked each grave with a small cross. Washington accepted his records and paid him $2.50 for each burial.

Jones was active in his church; and I hope to meet him in glory.

What a depiction of loving those who persecute us.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Memory Maker



Our good friend and coworker Jennee "babysat" Janelle and Jacob on the day of Jane's surgery...but Jennee did far above the call of duty!

First she had the kids guess where they were going (on a mystery trip!)- resulting in the perplexed looks.

She took them on a day trip to the Science Center in Ithaca, where a grand time was had by all.

Thus their minds were off the "mysteries" of Mom's surgery; and a memory was made.

Babysitters cost a bit of money, memory makers are priceless.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Clear Communication, Please


My wife had surgery yesterday. She came home today. Doing very well - amazingly well.

A friend said, "God was really with her."

I said, "Yes." I thought "duh."

I know he meant well. He probably meant something like, "God really answered the prayers of a lot of people by giving Jane a good surgeon, a rapid surgery, and what appears to be a quick recovery."

Because I'm sure he knows that God promises to be "with us always." I think "always" means "always."

And - God forbid - if something had gone wrong in the operation is the implication that God wasn't "with her"?

Lots of people (apparently) read this blog and my facebook; and over 300 are signed up for the "Praying for the Jack Hager" group on facebook...so many prayed and heard the good report.

What if they overheard my friend saying "God was really with Jane"? And what if some of those very people, upon hearing that, immediately thought of a friend or relative who died during surgery? Would they somehow think that God had taken some time off? That God said "oops"?

Again, I'm not hammering my friend.

But I am convinced we (note - we; not "you", but "we") need to be careful in our use of words..and make the time to say what we mean.

It's sort of like that cliche, "God be with you." What, pray tell, does that mean? If He is with us "always," why pray for Him to be with us?

Is it a shortcut for saying, "I pray the Lord protects you from harm during this trip...during this surgery...I pray the Lord gives you a good interview...etc etc etc.

If so...why not say what we mean?

Reminds me, in an odd way, of that great line from the great movie "The Princess Bride" - "I do not think that word means what you think it means."

By the way...not many comment on these posts as they did on xanga...I'm not going back to xanga land, but it would be nice to know you are reading...drop a comment if you would...only takes a sec

No/None/Zip Condemnation!!!


“Because of the gospel’s power, you can be completely free of all condemnation.

Not mostly free; completely free.

Don’t buy the lie that cultivating condemnation and wallowing in your shame is somehow pleasing to God, or that a constant, low-grade guilt will somehow promote holiness and spiritual maturity.

It’s just the opposite! God is glorified when we believe with all our hearts that those who trust in Christ can never be condemned. It’s only when we receive his free gift of grace and live in the good of total forgiveness that we’re able to turn from old, sinful ways of living and walk in grace-motivated obedience.”

- C.J. Mahaney, The Cross Centered Life (available to order on my booklist, left...truly one of the best books to read, reread, ponder, apply)