Showing posts from March, 2015

Choosing Death or Life - Deuteronomy 30:11-20

So, would you choose death or life?
I overheard some colleagues talking about it one day about a year ago and figured I wanted to check it out.I couldn’t really believe that there was a song out there, and if it was, it had to be one of those tongue-in-cheek country-western songs, maybe something by Ray Stevens.So I checked, and sure enough, the song was out there, and it wasn’t by Ray Stevens, it was by an Australian group known only as Tangerine Kitty.I would show the video, but some of it can be a little graphic and some not very appropriate, but here’s a sample of the lyrics:
Set fire to your hair/Poke a stick at a grizzly bear

Get your toast out with a fork/Do your own electrical work
Teach yourself how to fly/Eat a two week old unrefrigerated pie

Keep a rattlesnake as a pet/Sell both kidneys on the internet
Eat a tube of superglue/“I wonder what’s this red button due?”
The refrain throughout the song goes:
Dumb ways to die, so many dumb ways to die
It is not until you get to the final …

Who Are We Doing It For? - Matthew 16:25; 22:34-40

I wish I could always say that I have done the right thing for the right reason.Unfortunately, that has not always been the case, in fact as recently as November it was not the case.I have donated blood since I was old enough in high school.I began donating because I saw it as an important way I could give of myself to help someone in need.I used to have it marked down to almost the day when I could donate again.However, since I have struggled the last thirteen years with atrial fibrillation, I have had to pick and choose when I felt good enough to donate.It had been quite a while since had donated, and then one day this past November I saw a notice that with a blood donation at the hospital, each donor would be given two passes to Carousel Cinema—and since there were a couple of movies I wanted to see that were coming out in December, I was determined that regardless of how I felt, I would feel good enough that day to make a donation…and I did, and after giving the blood I happily co…

Lenten Reflection on Regret

I know it has happened more than once in our twenty-two years of marriage…it probably happens more than once a month.I know it happened yesterday.Sometimes it happens when I am tired.Sometimes it happens when I am frustrated with something I am working on.Sometimes it just happens because I’m a man.Anita and I are talking, and I open my mouth and say something, and I immediately wish that I could take those words back.I love Anita dearly, and yet sometimes I find myself saying things that are hurtful or cutting or simply uncaring.It’s not that I say them because I am intentionally trying to be mean or hurt her, I immediately regret saying them.I completely understand what Paul is talking about when he tells the church in Rome, “I do not understand my own actions.For I do not do what I want, but I the very thing I hate…For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.”[i]Most of the time I am immediately trying to follow those thoughtless words or comments with …

Lenten Reflection on Envy

He is probably one of the “most popular” Conference youth leaders in the North Carolina Annual Conference.I often watch as youth holler out his name…laugh at his jokes…get excited when they are in one of his groups…and would line up to be in his “movie group.”I would see how easily he would act wild and crazy and cut up, not caring one bit whether the youth or other staff might think him a fool.Ideas seem to flow out of him like water of Niagara Falls.Everybody loves him, I mean they even named a Conference youth dance after him that everyone gets excited about when we prepare to dance it at Pilgrimage during one of the breaks.I have to confess that I cannot tell you how many times that I have sat quietly in the back of the room as staff are introduced or simply while he is on stage in the midst of a skit or monologue and think, “I wish I was like him.Why didn’t God gift me to be like that?”
How many times do something like that?How many times do we look at how well someone sings and d…

Why We Are Who We Are - 1st Peter 2:9-10

In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest ends up as a private in the Vietnam War.During one of the Vietnam scenes, Forrest’s unit is ambushed.Everyone in the unit, save Forrest, is either injured or killed.We watch as Forrest searches frantically for his best friend, Bubba, and in the process hauls every injured comrade, including his Lieutenant, Dan Taylor to safety.He brings them all out of the jungle to a rescue helicopter before being shot himself.After their evacuation, the next scene shows Forrest and Lieutenant Taylor in the medical hospital, with Taylor questioning what he is supposed to do now that Forrest has rescued him.
We’ve been on this journey for several weeks now, letting Peter remind us of who we are.He’s reminded us that we are a chosen race—those chosen by God across ethnic lines to be His people and because God has chosen us, we know that God loves us, God sees value in us, and God has a purpose for us.Peter’s reminded us that we are a royal priesthood…and as such we ar…

Who Are We? God's Own People - 1st Peter 2:1-9

It is probably one of my favorite parts of the movie Finding Nemo.It is the scene where in which the seagulls crying out “mine, mine, mine, mine, mine” as they fight over Marlin and Dory.Nigel the pelican rescues them and flees with the seagulls in a massive pursuit.
We are nearing the end of our reflection on “Who Are We,” as we use 1st Peter 2:9-10 to remind us of who we are:“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”Next week, as we will conclude the series, we will replace the “Who” with a “Why,” however today we come to the last of Peter’s statements of who we are.We began by discovering that we are a chosen race, not due to skin color, the language we speak, or any other aspect of ethnicity, but simply because we…