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Gulf Oil Spill

June 4, 2010

 

The gulf oil spill is a disaster and getting worse. I read a report last evening that said the oil has the potential to reach the Atlantic Coast as far north as North Carolina. The quest to place blame has been in full gear for weeks now. BP and the Federal Government are trying to make sure everyone understands that someone else is responsible. Lawyers are chomping at the bit! Right now the focus should be on trying to stop the oil. How many days has it been?
In the coming weeks, months, years, and even decades we will still be seeing the effects of this man-made disaster. The Exxon Valdeze tanker spilled 257,000 barrels of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989. BP estimates that already the Gulf well has spilled between 450,000 and 750,000 barrels. In Alaska, over twenty years later, you can still find oil washing up on shore.
Psalm 24:1 (NIV)
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.


God created the earth for His glory. We are not the owner’s of the earth and we do not worship the earth. We worship the Creator, the Sovereign God of this world. He has entrusted us to manage His creation. We have failed.


As Christians we need to pray:
*Pray that the leaders of BP and our Government will have wisdom to stop the oil
* Pray for the families who lost husbands and fathers in the explosion
*Pray for the clean-up efforts in the Gulf and that the damage will not be as bad as predicted
*Pray for those who have lost their jobs because of the destruction
*Pray that we all will repent of our greed

The rig exploded on April 20th! It is June. And, the oil keeps flowing.

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May 28, 2010

 

Memorial Day

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Those who long enjoy such privileges that we enjoy forget in time that others have died to win them.”

Memorial Day is uniquely an American experience. We set aside a day to remember those who have sacrificed to protect our freedom and liberty. Because men and women have died for this country, we have the right to worship, to live at peace in our homes, to pursue our dreams, and to have great opportunities.

For many Memorial Day is a day off. A cook-out. A camping trip. But for those who have lost someone because of war or military action, it means much more than a day off.

We live in a time described as the “Me Generation.” Yet, we can pause this weekend to reflect and give thanks for some who were willing to give all they had for a worthy cause. We also can spend time rejoicing knowing that one day the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, will come again and end the tragedy of war and the suffering it brings.

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NEWS

April 2, 2010

If there is anything the world needs it is good news. I feel like I am suffering from bad news overload. The cable news channels love to get their hands on bad news. Earlier this year I thought  my life was over along with millions of other poor souls when the pandemic was making its rounds. Have you noticed how everything now is breaking news? It used to be that only major events like the explosion of the Space Shuttle or the shooting of President Reagan was breaking news. Now, everything is breaking news. Breaking news…It’s April! Breaking news…eating quarter pounders makes you gain weight! Breaking news…the Sun is hot.

I am tired of the news. Everything is a big deal, everything is bad, everything is exploited, and everything is overblown. In fact, I wish that during the Lenten season I would have decided to give up listening or reading the news. That would have done wonders for my soul.

The ironic part is that all of the bad news doesn’t really impact me  because I have been exposed to so much. The starving children in the Sudan…the Aids epidemic in Africa…the orphans in Haiti…the death in Chile. Why does this unbelievable suffering not bother me more? I can watch the news about the orphans in Haiti and the next minute go outside with my kids like I have never heard the news. I can eat dinner and never even think about the 7 year old child in the Sudan that has not eaten for a week. After seeing the news, how can I as a follower of Jesus not care more than I do?

1 Peter 2:23-25 (New International Version)
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

It is Good Friday. Finally, I hear some good news. By the wounds of Jesus we are healed. I hope that this will be news that changes what I do.

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Public Apology

February 22, 2010

Tiger Woods got caught. His private life did not match the public image that his sponsors were paying him millions to project to the world. Since last Thanksgiving, and the public outing of his infidelity, the media, fans, and a lot of curious people have waited to hear from Tiger. At last, Tiger finally appeared to the world last week and gave his “public apology.” As I watched and listened to the commentary several things came to mind.

First, Tiger didn’t need to apologize to me. I still think Tiger is a great golfer. I enjoy watching him hit a golf ball. I never once looked to Tiger as a model to build my marriage and values. Certainly, an apology to his wife was in store. Seeking forgiveness from God was necessary. Adultery is a sin that is prevalent in our culture. It is wrong. But, he didn’t owe me anything. The media seems to love drama and they created a lot of drama around a golfer.

Second, there was a big debate around the question of whether Tiger was sincere or not. Does he really feel sorry for his behavior? I don’t think you can answer that question after one 13 minute speech probably written by a paid professional to try and keep the endorsement money coming. Repentance is only sincere when you go in a different direction. If Tiger’s behavior changes and goes in a different direction then he was sincere. In our culture where it seems like a public figure is apologizing weekly for their “indiscretions,” talk has become cheap. Confession and repentance are more than just writing a script and saying the words “I am sorry.”

Finally, Tiger talked about being centered. And, I really believe that is the most pressing question. What is the center of your life? The answer to that question will determine the direction of your life. Tiger asked the public (especially the sponsors) to “believe in him again.” That kind of thinking is what got Tiger into trouble to begin with. The question is not should we believe in Tiger, the real question is what does Tiger believe in? What is at the center of his life will determine whether his life is significant or just successful. Although many disagree, I believe Brit Hume got it right. He said,

“Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a     very open question, and it’s a tragic situation for him. I think he’s lost his family, it’s not  clear to me if he’ll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal — the extent to which he can  recover — seems to me to depend on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist; I don’t think  that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’”     (Brit Hume)

Turning to Jesus. Now that would be a hole in one.

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Decommit?

February 4, 2010

This week was an important week for High School football players. Student-athletes all across America signed athletic scholarships with thier college choice. For months college football programs have recruited players to sign and play for their school. During these months the players would “commit” to a school. In my world that would mean they have made a commitment to play football for that school and will sign their scholarship papers on national signing day. The recruiting process has become a closely followed and daily reported on event in America. There seems to be a fascination with what player is going where and will that player become a star. I noticed, what appears to me as a new word, began to emerge during the coverage of this event. Decommit. A player would give his word to a coach that he was coming to thier school, then later change his mind or as it was reported “decommit.” Is that a word? Is that possible? I remember a time when the whole idea of decommitting would be referred to as lying. You gave your word. I can’t place all the blame on the players. Because, the coaches and schools do thier share of lying as well. Many promises are made to the players (NFL, playing time, become a star) all in an effort to get that kid to play football for them. Forget about integrity, getting an education, being a better citizen,  or learning responsibility. Just score touchdowns or make a tackle and life will be great. Decommit. It seems like a fitting word to describe our culture. Decommit. If I don’t like something, if I find a better deal, a better wife, a better church, a better friend, a better god, then I decommit.

I am reminded of the Old Testament verse found in II Chronicles 16:9 (NIV)

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully commited to him.

I am thankful that even though He could, and probably should, God doesn’t ever say to me, “Stan, I found something better. I decommit.”

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Snow on Sunday?

February 1, 2010

I have been a pastor for 17 years. In those 17 years I have weathered a lot of snow storms, ice storms, water issues, and even a few floods. But, this week I did something that I don’t believe I had ever done…cancel Sunday morning worship. It was a disappointing decision, but one that had to be made. I wondered why does God let it snow on Sunday? You would think that God would not want anything to happen that would stop people from going to church and doing what He asked all of us to do. If God asks us to do something, does He not have the responsibility to make it easy? Actually, no. In fact, doing the right thing is often the hard thing. I would suggest that doing the right thing is rarely convenient or comfortable, but we  think God is being unfair if it is not.

I was in a discussion with my 8 year old son about this topic in our Sunday morning devotion. I mentioned that only when we get to heaven will everything be perfect and life will be without problems. To which he responded, “in heaven there will be one section with snow and another section with a beach.” I like how he thinks.

So, why does God allow it to snow on Sunday? Isaiah 55:8-11 (NIV) says:

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

I am not sure why God allows it to snow on Sunday. But, I do know that His ways are not my ways, and that in the end God will always accomplish His purpose for my life and His church. And, if my life is uncomfortable or inconvenient then maybe I should spend a little more time focusing on the children of Haiti, the poverty in the Sudan, or the genocide victims in Rwanda. Or, maybe God let it snow this Sunday so that I could slow down and remember that the cross was rather uncomfortable and inconvenient but Jesus didn’t complain in his suffering. He did it willingly so that I could have snow and a beach in heaven!

Have fun sledding.

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February 1, 2010

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