Just Be Glad It’s Not a Pumpkin

I don’t know where this story originated. If you are the author, let me know and I’ll give you proper credit. I heard it years ago and was reminded of it again today. It may seem a bit corny, but lately I’ve been in a corny mood.

Sometimes we are tempted to question God. I think that’s okay…I even did a whole sermon about that yesterday. I’ll post it later on this blog. In the end, however, we have to realize that God has answers we do not have.

This cute little story illustrates that principle well:

One time a farmer’s son came back from college…
He thought he was pretty smart…

He and his father went out in the yard…
The boy said, “Dad, I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been gone”
“God’s not as smart as you always told me He was”
“Did you know God made some mistakes?”

“Really”, his dad asked, “Like what?”

“Look at that oak tree….with those little tiny acorns…”, the boy confidently explained,
“And, look at those pumpkins over there, on that small vine”
“God made a mistake…”
“He should have put the pumpkin on that oak tree and the acorn on that vine”

About that time an acorn fell out of the oak tree on to the boy’s head.
“Ouch”, he said.

The wise farmer exclaimed, “Just thank God it wasn’t a pumpkin”

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)

What’s going on in your life these days that’s causing you to question God’s wisdom? Could it be He sees some things you cannot see?

The Speed of Light

How great is God–beyond our understanding! The number of His years is past finding out. Job 36:26

I remember some time ago reading that a scientist believes they have actually sent light faster than the “speed of light”…or …at least what they thought to be the speed of light. I read the article and I have to admit, although I didn’t understand it completely, I was impressed with their research.

Do you know, however, what the story didn’t tell me? It didn’t tell me who made the light! It didn’t tell me who marks off the light in the sky or who separates light from darkness. There was no mention of containing light; holding it for another day.

You see, I know someone who manufactures light.  ‘m not talking about with flashlights or other instruments, I mean from scratch; the old fashioned way!

While I really am excited for the new potential discovery, although I haven’t figured out a practical application for it (and the article stated the scientists haven’t either). Perhaps it is simply good to know that something can travel faster than 186,000 miles per second.

What I know is that scientist will never understand the real basis of light; at least not in a laboratory. They will never fully understand the God who is not confined by time or space or distance or speed.

Real discovery; real truth, is found, not in the elements of this world, but in its Maker; our Lord and Savior…Have you discovered Him?

Does science help you or hinder you in your belief in God? I’d love to hear from you.

7 Funniest Verses in the Bible (Plus One)

I have often chuckled when I’ve read the following verses. I’m not trying to be irreverent and hope this is not offensive, but sometimes I read the stories in the Bible and I see the humanity of people. I can hear myself making some of these statements. It brings a smile to my face and I can’t help but laugh.

Here are 7 of the funniest verses I have read in Scripture:

Matthew 15:12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” (They sounded like a group who didn’t know Jesus very well at this point.)

1 Samuel 1:8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” (I can’t believe he was dumb enough to say it…actually yes I can…but he evidently said it multiple times.)

Luke 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” (Imagine you get an audience with Jesus…you’ve got your one chance…He’s been teaching not to worry…what do you ask Him?)

Mark 9:28 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet and he stood up. (The disciples had tried everything they knew how to do…except prayer. Some things are just not possible apart from God’s hand upon the situation.)

Mark 9:34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. (The humanity…they knew Jesus wouldn’t be pleased, but they couldn’t help but compare.)

Esther 1:20 Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest. (How has that law worked so far?)

Exodus 16:14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.(And we are told elsewhere they were honey flavored. Frosted Flakes were the first cereal! They’rrre Greeaatt!)

And the bonus one:
Exodus 16:36 (An omer is one-tenth of an ephah.) (You’ve got to love a clear explanation!)

Which do you think is funny? Can you think of any you would you add to the list?

Was I Thinking Of You This Morning?

I was thinking about you this morning. Maybe not you specifically, but I was thinking of someone like you…that is if you are someone who is sitting on the sidelines afraid to pursue your God-given dreams, watching the world pass you by.  Was I thinking of you?

Maybe it’s because I encounter many people at their point of desperation…when they are tempted to give up…

It could be because I’m wired to dream big dreams…or because I’ve been sidelined for a time…watching everyone else pursuing their dreams except me…

But, for whatever the reason, I continually sense the need to encourage people to move forward with their dreams and aspirations.

Have you thought lately about the legacy you are leaving? Will you leave a legacy of having followed the dreams you had for your life?

If that’s your desire for a legacy…you may have to:

  • Take a risk…
  • Face the fear of the unknown…
  • Resist the temptations to give up…
  • Ignore the negative voices in your life…
  • Say yes again to God’s call on your life…
  • Release the guilt of the past by receiving God’s forgiveness…

What is your dream?
What is holding you back?
What legacy are you aiming to leave behind?

What will you allow to be the greatest pull on your heart?

Go for your dream…get started today!

The Summit, by Eric Alexander: A Book To Challenge and Inspire

What are you afraid of?

Do you have a dream you haven’t tackled out of fear?

Have you allowed your weaknesses, even your disabilities to hold you back from all God would have for you?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you MUST read this book.  Buy it HERE now.

The Summit, by Eric Alexander, retells the story of Eric’s powerful story and his unique life journey of guiding people with disabilities to the most perilous places of the world, including Mount Everest’s first blind ascent. In The Summit: Faith Beyond Everest’s Death Zone you will follow in their historic footsteps, and learn about faith, trust, prayer, depending on God, as well as the perseverance needed during these climbs and in your own life. Be inspired and motivated by Eric’s insight, not simply to survive but to thrive every day in God’s grace.

You can even read the first two chapters free HERE. Can’t pass that up!

Be inspired, be challenged, be moved…Read this book! There is also a Kindle edition at Amazon, which is what I purchased.

Watch this video:

What is the one fear you want to conquer? Share it here!

Don’t Shy Away from the Word Balance

Over the years, I’ve heard differing opinions on the use of the word balance. I’ve learned there are many who actually hate the use of the word. For example, some say the life of a Christian is never balanced because God wants all of our lives. I couldn’t agree more. Others say it’s impossible to balance between work and home because one of them deserves our greatest energy (our home), and yet the two extremes will always compete for our best time and energy. I completely agree. In those contexts, I agree balance should not be our goal. We should prioritize our life around the extremes of life, ensuring that those things we value most receive our greatest attention.

Balance, however, doesn’t always mean things are equal. I prefer to use the term balance to describe how a person responds to the extremes of life. Balance to me means a person learns to stand up…keep their equilibrium, even when things in life are not equal…out of balance. When life is crazy, which it often is, the person of balance learns to juggle each area where over time none of them has to suffer. A balanced person prioritizes his or her life around what is most important, for me, that means first my relationship with God, then my family, then my work and my service to others, and then organizes life in a way where each area receives adequate attention for success.

I realize much of this discussion is semantics, but i believe it has importance in principle also. People who want to achieve success in all areas of their life must find ways to give adequate attention to each area, without neglecting those things/people of greatest importance in life. That requires balance. (The Proverbs 31 woman had balance.) I met with a new father recently and he’s having to learn how to balance marriage, parenting, and his work life, while attempting to be successful in each part of his life. He’s learning balance.

The leaders and people I respect most in life are those I see learning to balance success in all areas of their life…at home…at work…and in the world.

Don’t shy away from the word balance. Just learn to use it well. Gaining a sense of balance is a process that often takes years and even a few stumbling moments to accomplish, but it’s worth the challenge.

What does the term balance mean to you? In what area of your life are you most out of balance?

Friday Discussion: The Christian’s Role in Politics

Thanks for being a part of Friday discussion. You can now check out the past Friday discussions in a newly created category HERE. Continue to add your thoughts on those subjects.

For today, let’s discuss politics. You aren’t afraid of that, are you?

So let me jump in quick: I grew up in a church environment where to be a “good Christian” you had to belong to the “right” party. It was an easy decision who to vote for, because most everyone around me, or at least the vocal crowd, were Republicans. And, you weren’t just any Republican, you were a very conservative, James Dobson Republican. I’m not trying to be offensive, but that was the environment in which I lived.

In my church today, and among many of the younger generation with whom I minister, that seems to have changed. They seem far less concerned about parties (much as they are far less concerned about denominations), than they are about causes and issues.

Do you see a change? Let’s discuss politics today. Consider these specific questions. You can answer all, certain ones, or give a general answer regarding politics today and the role of the believer in the process.

Do Christians have a party of choice today? Does it matter as much to you whether someone is a Democrat or a Republican?

Can or should a Christian run for office…be involved in the political process….vote?

What about a pastor? Could a pastor serve in an elected office in your opinion?

Would you be more inclined, less inclined, or neutral on voting for a person if you heard he or she was also a Christian?

Where are we today in this culture and where is a Christian’s involvement going?

Share your thoughts…discuss…(But be kind)

Let’s talk politics…

Addressing a Porn Generation

When I was a teenager, if I wanted to view porn, I would have had to find a magazine. Honestly, even though I may have wanted to, I never had or found a “stash” of porn. I knew everyone in stores where I might have bought some and if my friends had their own stash of pictures, they never shared them with me.

I did some babysitting as a teenager in addition to my grocery store work and I found some magazines at one of the houses where I worked late one night (after the kids had gone to bed). I wasn’t really snooping. They were in the magazine rack, next to the recliner, which I thumbed through while watching Saturday Night Live. (In the golden years of SNL!) Anyway, those images are still with me today. As much as pornography was probably a part of my generation, it wasn’t that accessible to me.

My boys have grown up in a different generation. Since they have been old enough to be curious about such things, access to porn has been readily available if they wanted to look. No, I’ve never had a stash hidden around the house, and we always monitored their activities closely, but our house has always been connected to the Internet and, because of that, pornography has been programmed into their culture. Today’s generation has been saturated with opportunities to experience pornography.  In fact, all of us now have equal opportunity in this area of temptation.

I wish I could tell you this change doesn’t matter, but having sat with dozens of couples whose marriage is falling apart because of an addiction to pornography by one spouse, I have to speak against this part of our culture. Pornography is seldom talked about, but it is rampant and is destroying people and marriages. I consistently talk with young men who have been addicted since an early age. I’m certain that is true for women also, but I mostly have dealt with men about the issue. Pornography causes them to view their wives differently and cheapens the value of sex in their marriage, not to mention the emotional damage it does to the wife, forcing her to question her worth and her husband’s commitment to her and the marriage.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t think legalism is the answer, but I believe the church must address this issue.

If this is your issue, before it ruins your life, let me offer a few points of encouragement:

1. Know there is a way out of the hold pornography has on your life if you are willing to find it.

2. Recognize that the consequences of pornography are huge and get help. It’s never too late for God’s grace to rescue you.

3. Get accountability now. You will be embarrassed, but you are not alone in this struggle. (1 Cor 10:13)

4. Ultimately you’ll want to learn to refocus that same passion and attention towards Christ. He is the answer for everything that ails us. Then you can begin to love your spouse as he or she deserves to be loved.

The sooner you start some of these steps, the sooner you’ll break free from the hold pornography has on your heart….and you know you want to be free!

Have you faced this battle? How do you guard your heart here? What should the church be doing with this issue? What suggestions do you have for those in this battle?

YouVersion Changes Lives

If you have a smart phone or a computer, you never have to leave home again without your Bible!

I love what the team at LifeChurch.tv has done to encourage Bible reading through their work with YouVersion. Our church uses the live version each Sunday (sign up HERE) and it has started to catch on with people. YouVersion continues to improve their offerings for churches. Consider these additions:

Free Bible Pages

Desiring to help people from every walk of life spend time with God’s Word, they are offering “Free Bible pages” that your denomination, organization, or individual church can use to connect people to the life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit as they engage in Scripture.

For no cost, they will create two Free Bible pages: one that is optimized for mobile devices and another on YouVersion.com. Both will feature your logo and a personal message from your organization. Then, very simply, anyone can download the free Bible App and start reading the Bible, thanks to you!

Reading Plans

More than 20 Reading Plans are helping people actively engage in Scripture with YouVersion. Countless users have let us know that their lives have changed because they are spending more time reading the Bible with one of these plans. They are customizable, sharable, and free. And YouVersion allows you to share what you are reading and learning through social media connections like Twitter and Facebook.

YouVersion Live

YouVersion Live allows people to interact with church services on their phone. Using their mobile device or any computer with an Internet connection, individuals can vote on a poll and see the results live, ask questions anonymously, follow along with message outlines and take notes, see Bible verses from the sermon in context, give a tithe or offering, and request prayer.

Have you downloaded YouVersion to your phone or computer? Is it helping you read the Bible more?