Thursday, October 29, 2009

All Politics are Local

Reports and studies indicate that Christians vote at an actual lower percentage than the population does as a whole. This is nuts. In a democracy we can vote our will and we are allowing non-believers to dictate policies which we have to live under.

What's worse is the percentage of people who vote in local elections and on local policies. It hovers somewhere around 3% - 4%. We allow a small minority of the local population to dictate how we shall live. This is even nuttier when one contemplates that these people (still) have more effect on our lives than even the federal government. Apathy and democracy do not go well hand in hand.

There is an election coming up on November 3rd, and I'm not talking about 2010. I'm talking about this November and there are some very important amendments to the Texas Constitution that are coming up for vote on the ballad. Things like how the local governments can appraise your house and whether Texas government has a right to buy your land without your approval and make you move. I'm not going to tell you how to vote, I'm going to give you a link that list every proposed amendment and the pro's and con's of each and then you can decide. Here is the link:

2009 Voters Guide Constitutional Amendments

Read it, take it to the polls with you and vote. If you don't, I don't want to hear you complain.

See you at the polls.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Teaching Children

Last week I met with Jody Reynolds, the wonderful dynamic Shoreline Kids Church director whom I've had the privilege of working under and with for the last seven years or so. She is one of the most dynamic and energetic person I've ever had the honor of knowing. She is a blessing to Shoreline and gift from God to our children.

During our lunch we begin to discuss what traits Sunday school teachers have in common. One that stood out is we tend to view things in black and white; there is very little gray. I think our poor spouses would attest to this fact. This also probably why we are shocked when they perform evil acts as they are the last people we expect such things from. Sunday school teachers are still seen as moral lighthouses in a dark world.

Which is interesting if you really think it through as it pretty much flies in the face of the worlds conventional wisdom. The world is trying to teach children to have open minds and not to draw conclusions. Sunday school teachers are teaching children that God's word is absolute and anything that contradicts it is wrong. We are teaching them that the ten commandments is non-negotiable, that God's version of history is the correct one and that God became flesh, died for our sins and was seen alive, walking around, eating and talking three days after he died. We are teaching them many things contrary to what they are learning in the public school system. For some, unfortunately, even the home but that is a topic for separate discussion. My brother-in-law says I am brain washing the children and my response is, 'Yes I am. I am washing their brain with the word of God'.

Children have a natural built in truth detector that is only corrupted as they get older. Teaching children can be difficult; if you are not one hundred percent authentic and really believe in what you are presenting you will be sniffed out quickly and thereafter effectively ignored. You may fill their heads with hogwash, but as those of you in my age group remember watching the Berlin Wall fall in one day, they will eventually stop believing it when they hear the truth. When you tell children the wonderful heroes and stories of the Old and New Testament they have no trouble believing it; they even embrace it.

What happens to us as Adults? I don't know. Somewhere along the way we become jaded. Maybe it's the grind of daily living, maybe it's getting hurt over and over again. Maybe we grow weary in doing good. Maybe it's all of these things. But it's wrong that we do this and not because this old Sunday school teacher is telling you; it's wrong because Jesus told us it was wrong.

Picture this; Jesus is doing his thing and his disciples show up with a single question, "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?". Now it is highly probable that they were all debating which of them had done more for the Kingdom. I can even see Peter snorting, "I walked on water." Then one of them gets the bright idea, 'Hey, let's ask the master.' Why they think this is a good idea is beyond me as every time they have tried this it backfires. This one is no exception.

Jesus grabs a child and sits him on his lap. "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 18:3) Wow. There it is.We must be converted as children or we won't even be able to enter into the Kingdom.

Yea, but what does that mean?

It doesn't mean you can be silly and irresponsible. I know, I've tried and I didn't get away with it. It doesn't meant that you can be innocent and gullible either. ""Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." (Matt 10:16). That doesn't sound like Jesus is telling us to be ignorant to the ways of the world, in fact just the opposite.

What Jesus is saying is that we must believe. We must believe and trust God like children. Now I find this interesting because for those who have children you know, like myself, that does not mean blind faith. The first word children learn is 'NO'. The second word children seem to learn is 'Why?'. Children are constantly asking questions about why things are the way they are. I don't buy this theory that we are suppose to be seen and not heard (nor children). Jesus never treated his disciples that way, in fact he seemed to relish engaging them in conversations that would blow their minds (and still does ours). There are some things children will never understand until they experience it, but that doesn't mean we don't tell them the reason why. With Jesus, there are some things we will never understand and must take on faith, but that does not mean we don't ask questions.

I think what Jesus is saying is we must believe the way children do. When children really believe in something they have this annoying tendency to actually act on it. This is why many a mother has talked a child off a roof in a Superman or Batman outfit. The child really believes that if he wears his Superman outfit he can fly. Children get it in there head that something is true it can be very difficult to change their minds.

We must believe like children to enter into God's glorious Kingdom in the resurrection. We need to believe God's word over the world, prayer over what our eyes see, God's promises over our circumstances. We need to believe God all the way to our grave and when the grim reaper comes for us our Superman costumes are on (the image of Christ) and we are ready to jump off the roof.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Welcome to Aletheia, My Midlife Therapy


The problem with our midlife is that we lie to ourselves, rather convincingly, of when it actually occurs. Average life expectancy in the United States presently sits at 77.5 year of age as of 2006 according to the CDC. So I have bad news for all you 50 year old men and women telling everyone that you are still young and are middle aged; that actually started when you were 38 years old. You are twelve years into your midlife which puts you....I will let you draw that conclusion. You have my sympathy. I turned 42 years old today.

 Since I am happily married to the most sexy woman in the entire world that rules out an affair with an 18 year old Swedish girl (and since I am not wealthy there is no chance of that happening anyway as my wife is quick to remind me). Having a homemaker for a wife and two teenagers also rules out the sports car I have been coveting although if I keep growing my business I hope to be in position to by one when the kids are off to college. Yea, right; let me keep some of my fantasies please.

So I've decided to opine with this blog. I chose the name carefully. My biggest beef with the modern Church (and I mean Church as in the body of Christ, not the four walls and the steeple) is we do extremely well with the big Truth (Jesus) and not so well with little truth (wisdom). Wisdom seems be lacking in the Church at all levels; relationships, money (my personal issue), sex, marriage, raising our children, work, business. We are great at evangelizing the Gospel but terrible at applying it to our daily lives. We have allowed our culture to effect our actions and we seem to be no influence and no use to anyone.

Now before you think I am being harsh let me list my credentials. I have been in the same Church for nearly 20 years. I have been married to same and only woman for 18 years. We married pure. I have taught Sunday School every Sunday at Shoreline for the last year and a half to the 5 - 11 age group. I have a 15 year old boy and a 11 year old girl who love God and each other (most days). I have served in the Shoreline Children's ministry for 12 years, every Sunday for 9 of them.

My personal disclaimer is my finances. They are a mess. I have not been a good steward with the resources God has given me. My wife and I are aggressively reducing our debt and our plan is to be debt free by the end of next year, Lord will it. The one plus is we have no credit card debt. But we still have too much. The other disclaimer is my weight. I simply got obese. No excuses, just ate too much and sat on my butt too long. Good news is I have lost nearly 90 lbs in the last three years, over 30 of it in the last five months. Now you know my weaknesses.

What this blog will not be is a religious overview of what you need to do to be Holy. Christianity is not a set of rules that you must obey. It is a relationship with Jesus. 'For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast.' (Eph 2:8-9) Grace and works are a one way street, grace leads to works but works will never lead to grace.

Having said that, what grace does not do is remove us from the consequences of sin and bad choices here on this Earth. That is why we desperately need wisdom. 'Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?' (Prov 8:1).Wisdom does not lead to salvation. However, wisdom does allow us to avoid pain and allow us to live the highest life possible in a fallen world.

Wisdom is acquired two ways. First, it is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of all wisdom.'The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.'. Secondly, wisdom is acquired by discipline. Correction is not a popular subject in the church; it is not well received.

As Christians in a secular culture we have a choice. We can love Jesus and ignore discipline and knowledge resulting in lives that are ineffectual and a mess. Or we can love Jesus and through discipline channeled in Love we can be a light that shines bright in a dark and fallen world.

I have decided to spare my far too friends and my poor family from having to listen to my constant rants and raves and post them here. Nobody may read it. Maybe just a few. But I know my friends and family will appreciate the new outlet :). I will discuss a variety of topics. Politics will only be discussed in the light of the Gospel. You will sometimes agree, you will sometimes not. You will probably think I'm an idiot at one point. You may opine but keep them brief and be prepared to back up what you say. Extreme foul language will not be tolerated. Do not make it personal, that will not be allowed either.

So this is my therapy. You may need some after you read some of my posts. I will promise you the same thing I promised my wife on our wedding day; I will be faithful (to the spirit of this blog) and I will keep it interesting.

Happy birthday to me!