Friday, February 29, 2008

American Idol

An interesting thing hit me the other night as my wife and kids were watching American Idol. I do catch bits and pieces (especially if I like the song they’re singing), but I cannot say I’m an avid fan.

Anyway, what I was thinking about is which of the “judges” is the most credible?

While Randy can be pretty up front, he usually sugar coats his critique a bit. I’m convinced Paula’s up there just to make everyone feel better (even those who can’t sing at all). And the man everyone loves to hate – Simon – is probably also the one whose opinion matters the most. Why?

Because he tells it like it is. I think he can be over the top and doesn’t always know when enough is enough, but the bottom line is, what Simon says (ha, that’s punny) really does carry the most weight.

So, what’s my point? Those who just lay it out there will usually have the most influence. As per my last post, I think we can “lay it out there” in a loving way, but lay it out there we must (if we want people to truly hear us).

I’d much rather deal with a few barbs from someone who I know will shoot straight with me, then be with someone who I never really know what they’re thinking (that gets really frustrating). Personally, I need to find the courage to just speak the truth and make sure my motives are pure so I can do it in love.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Speaking the Truth in Love

So, what does it mean to speak the truth in love? I thought I knew what this meant, but now I’m not so sure. We use terms like “tough love” to explain when we have to say or do difficult things that we know others won’t like. Of course, we do them because we truly care. If we didn’t care, we certainly wouldn’t do things to cause “trouble” (at least people like me who avoid conflict wouldn’t do it).

But what happens when we’re struck with a realization that something’s wrong? Do we stand up and say so? Do we beat around the bush and hope others figure out what we really mean? Do we only say the nice things in hopes the errors will correct themselves?

Or does real love call us to point out what we see and let the chips fall where they may? Who knows, we may come to realize we misunderstood or did not have the full picture – and then we can correct our view. Or, we may be the catalyst that was needed to really get things going in the right direction.

Okay, people, let me hear from you! [Post your thoughts by clicking the comments area below - you can use the Anonymous options to post without a Blogger account]


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Did God Create His Own Religion - Discussion

Well, we only got one comment on the “Did God Create His Own Religion” question – I was hoping for a little more interaction. Here are my thoughts…

God gave us the 10 Commandments, so if “religion” is following a set of rules and/or beliefs, then God did provide us with a religion.

We also recognized that none of us has kept the 10 Commandments; so, their purpose must be more than just God giving us rules to follow. These rules reveal to us that we are not perfect (darn!).

So, let’s jump to the New Testament to see how we should apply God’s “religion” to our lives. I’m reminded of three things:

One, 1 John 4 tells us that God is love.

Two, James 1:27 tells us the religion that is good in God’s sight is the one that takes care of the widows and orphans (note how these are people who have lost a personal relationship in their lives and God wants us to help restore relationships in their lives).

And, three, in Matthew 22 Jesus boils it all down to love God with everything you are and love others.

So, did God create His own religion? Yes! His religion is LOVE (love we return to Him and show to others).

Critical question: How well are you loving God and others? If you’re not feeling too good about that answer – what will you do about it this week?

For me, it seems so simple – just love the God who has provided everything in my life and love the others He has created. But, it’s not that simple. I do love God, but I often take Him for granted. I need to work on spending quality time with Him where I slow down enough to allow Him to “speak” to me. I had been blocking out a day a week for this (call it a Sabbath if you like), but I’ve become very inconsistent with this and I know my relationship with God has suffered. And, the whole loving people part… well, that will have to wait for another day. Let’s just say, for me, that’s the tougher of the two.

Pray for me that I will take time this week to just be with God.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Say what you mean and mean what you say

I have a friend who likes that saying “say what you mean and mean what you say,” but what if the words we use have two opposite meanings? A couple of years ago a friend corrected me when I stated that I perused something quickly. He told me the word means to study thoroughly; therefore, I could not peruse something quickly. I’ve shared that with others since then and was about to do this with my seminary professor when I decided I would confirm this definition. Here’s what I found in the Encarta Dictionary: English (North American) – this is the one that comes with Microsoft Word so you can look it up for yourself:

Peruse [pe·ruse]

1. Read something carefully - to read or examine something, usually in a careful and thorough way or taking time to do it

2. Read something quickly - to read through or scan something quickly

What?? Is this like eating your cake and having it to?

So, next time someone tells you to mean what you say and say what you mean – you can now have a meaningful discussion about the nuances of (read “how messed up is”) the English language.


Thursday, February 14, 2008


Holy crap! [said in Jeff Dunham's Dead Terrorist voice]

My profile says I'm 40. This was always a great song by U2, but I never thought I'd be it. Okay, I guess I thought I'd be it, I just didn't think about it often.

Wow, this was random, but it shocked me when I saw it in print :-).

By the way, check out the lyrics to that U2 song -


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Living in the "Now"

A friend gave me the movie The Peaceful Warrior to watch. It’s a good movie. Whenever people start talking about finding the truth “inside you” I always get leery of New Age thinking. And while there is a hint of this, for the most part there is a lot of truth in the movie’s point.
Essentially, the focus is on living in the “now”. The Bible confirms this thinking. Two verses jump out at me:

Paul writes in Philippians 3:13 – “…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”

Jesus says in Matthew 6:43 – “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

There you have it! Yesterday is done – learn what you need to learn and move on. Tomorrow isn’t here yet – so deal with what you have to deal with today and don’t worry about the future. Of course, this is much easier said then done, but I believe we spend way too much time and energy thinking about things that are totally out of our control. This has no benefit to our lives whatsoever.

Live in the “now”. Enjoy the journey – or as another friend’s t-shirt for a white-water rafting company says – “The journey is the destination!”

By the way, we have one comment on the last post regarding God's religion. I'm waiting for a couple more before I respond, so post your thoughts.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Did God create His own religion?

That was the question that came up at our house church this weekend. I have some thoughts, but I'd like to read your thoughts first. So, reply on the "Comments" below.

Remember you can use the Anonymous button to reply without having a Blogger account.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday

Well, Super Tuesday has come and gone. I’m not nearly as political as I used to be. I do care and I am thankful that I live in a country that allows us to pick our leaders. I do believe that everyone who is allowed to vote has a responsibility to do so – it’s a privilege that many do not enjoy.

Yet, I do not believe we can legislate morality. I get a bit annoyed with those who believe if we just elect the right candidate our country will be saved. I just don’t see that in the Bible. In fact, throughout the Bible I see many political leaders creating more problems than good. And yet, God’s truth and love marches on.

So, should we vote? Of course. Should we expect our country to be “saved” by a candidate? That’s crazy. If we want to see real change, towards good and caring, the answer is very simple (and yet apparently very difficult to accomplish). We simply need to follow the Golden rule – treat others the way you want to be treated. It starts with each of us choosing to put other’s needs above our own.

Too simplistic? Maybe, but why not give it a try and see what happens? After all, it is what Jesus said the whole Bible was about.

Let’s make every day super – by finding ways to improve someone else’s day.


Monday, February 04, 2008

How About those Giants?!

As a Cowboys fan, I have to admit rooting for the Giants was like kissing my sister (I don't have a sister, but let's not let details get in the way of a good cliché), but I had to pull for the NFC East.

It really was a great game. What I found interesting was how many people were not so much cheering for the Giants, but against the Patriots (I must admit I felt a bit of this). Why?

Is it that we don’t like to see others reach "perfection" because we know we are so far from it? Do we not like to see others succeed? Or was it that we did not like some of the personalities on that team – the coaches or some of the players?

I’m not sure why I felt this way. I’m not a big fan of their coach – he seems gruff and short with people – not a real “people person”. But it does bother me that I had this negative reason to cheer for someone else. Of course, I feel this every time the Redskins play, but as a Cowboys fan that just comes with the territory. :-)


Saturday, February 02, 2008

True Friends?

I was reading Proverbs and verse 18 in chapter 18 caught my attention; it reads “It’s harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city.”

The first thing that popped into my mind was some strained relationships I have in my life and I thought, “Yeah, that’s true.” I think the reason it’s hard is because with friends we develop a bond, a closeness – trust. And when things fall apart, well, we have that much farther to fall and feel the hurt that much deeper.

But then I had another thought; “Wait a minute; if we’re friends shouldn’t we be able to work through the difficult times? Shouldn’t the closeness and the trust be an asset to resolving our differences?”

As I think about the times I have failed others I now must wonder; were we really friends or were we just going through the motions?

If you’ve been hurt by a friend (and maybe that friend was me) may I encourage you to NOT be a “fortified city”. Relationships are so fragile; and they take so much effort to form to begin with; let’s not just throw them away like yesterdays trash. After all – aren’t we supposed to be loving God and loving people?


Great Thoughts

While I've been blogging for a while, these latest posts seem to have finally generated some "conversations". I invite you all to take some time and go back to the old posts and read the additional comments & join the conversations.

Remember, if you type your comments and then click on the "Anonymous" cirlce below where you put your comments you do not have to have a Blogger account to comment. And, you're welcome to put your name in the post (or not) - don't you just love choices!