Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Power of Routine

In adult life, it may seem like we are on a never ending treadmill of work, house keeping, child care and back to sleep to start the routine all over.  Only the weekend interrupts for laundry or shopping so that we may go back to square one.
An oft lamented phrase I hear at my job is that "Life stinks . . .  it's Monday again!"
I hear phrases like this all too much at work.  On a 'Monday' everyone is sad, and by 'Friday' people are jubilant that the weekend has come; only to be back in a dour mood on Monday again.  I considered this long and hard, and realized much like Solomon, that "All is vanity"

Now, to be honest, I wish I had his wisdom, and his money, but only one of the two is profitable in this life!

The vanity I speak of is not seizing the moment of what we do in the midst of the routine.  Some view work  as a type of punishment from God due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.  If we really look at the Biblical text, even before the fall, Adam and Eve had the job of tending to the garden to ". . . dress and keep it"  so the idea of  getting out of work for the purpose of indolence is far from our original mission as possible.

With this being said, should we not look for some value or profit in work (Proverbs 14:23)   Here is an important idea:  Can we not find something in our daily work or job that we can walk away a little wiser rather than just glad the day is over?  Routine helps.

A person may say that punching a time clock day in and day out is drudgery.  I admit that this is very true, but perhaps we are looking at the scenario all wrong!  We have a calendar year with four distinct seasons and can find something of value and worth in all of them.  Winter brings Christmas and new years, or the Superbowl season.  Spring brings better weather and Baseball, and summer brings vacation time.  We never tire of the routine of the seasons, so can we not find good in all things that we do, even if it is work?

I personally think of the work week 24 hours in advance as a plan.

  • What can I gain in experience?
  • What can I gain in understanding people
  • What can I share with others.

Routine at work gives us freedom sometimes to get lost in our thoughts and ponder life.  Too many people mull in bad experiences or what someone said in the lunch room rather in something that is good and profitable (See Philippians 4:8)

This is just my Sunday Thought

Your Brother in Christ

And  Senpai in Karate 

Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day: Keeping the world safe from “ . . .isms”

Today marks a significant event that took place 70 years ago today.  That being, the allied invasion of Europe to free it from the tyranny of Nazism.   This is the first “ism I wish to discuss.   Most of us do not realize the sacrifices that took place and the grand scare of lives lost in this war.  It was estimate that over 26 million people died in the conflict that we call World War II.  Postmodern culture looks at World War II and sees it as old movies and big band music and a faraway war with almost meaningless results.  We have the 1960’s counter culture to thank for the disrespect of our brave veterans for this!

But let us consider for a moment the significant contribution of that generation to our postmodern society.  They stopped the spread of Nazism, which should better be remembered as National Socialism!  We were in a war to stop the spread of a political ideology and philosophy which hinders the freedom of ideas, choice and religion in humanity.  God has blessed this country with the ability to live in peace and comfort because we are / were a Christian nation.  Many have made sacrifices for our present way of life.  The ones we speak of today made the supreme sacrifice of their lives and are not even buried in their native soil!
This was to stop the spread of the ideologies of the National Socialist German Party.  This philosophy believed in racial purity, occultism, and blind faith in a leader that promised them hope, change and a restoration of national pride after an embarrassing loss in World War I.  Afterwards we faced an ideological battle with Communism, which purports to do the same damage to a free people.  How many made sacrifices to insure that free nations did not fall to the enchanting serpent of communism.  This is another “ism” which promises much and gives little.
In the final result, we should remember our veterans who gave their all to keep our nation free.  We have the right to choose our course of actions in life, and we also have the ability to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience.  This is all because of Divine providence and those willing to keep our nation free.  “Isms” will come and go, but God is our constant.

Let us remember this hallowed day with thankfulness and never forget those who gave their all!
I salute the World War II warriors.  God bless them all!
Your Brother in Christ
And  Senpai in Karate 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Biblical Church Part 8

We were discussing Doctrines' affect on the church last time.  What is Outreach ?

This is the point that took me a long time to understand.  Why do we have so many churches that seem to be all over the map with activities, services and outreach?  A friend put it best to me:  “Some churches have a specific ministry they are called to do”
That was the best piece of knowledge I received that year!  A church like the Salvation Army was an offshoot of the Methodist church in England.  Their primary goal was to help the poor and destitute with both the gospel and material needs.  Another way of putting it is “Put your money where your mouth is”         Faith without works isdead

 I personally have struggled with ministries that help the poor.  And the reason is because of my upbringing.  My parents were raised in the depression.  Their parents were proud independent people.  My mother didn’t believe in government assistance and once told me a story that my grandfather was so proud that they almost starved because he did not want a hand out.  In many ways this is good, because St Paul said that if any will not work, neither shall he eat.   Unfortunately, I have carried these teachings into adult life.  I have seen since my teenage years groups of people in Los Angeles that would milk the system and strangers for money and food simply because they “would not work”.  Please note that I stated would not work and not cannot.  They chose to find food by other than honorable means!  This philosophy left me jaded before I turned 25!  But, one day I realized when meditating on Jesus Miracles in John that some people sought him only for the

. . . loaves and fishes” and others followed him for less than genuine reasons (Read all of John ch 6 in context and compare with Matthew 8:18-22)

So, I have come to terms with the idea that if you have a helping ministry, you must be prepared to deal with the ungrateful, freeloaders, leeches and a segment of poor but covetous people as well! You will also need deep pockets; this is an important lesson! 

Where does this leave ministries?  

There has been a cry from some independent thinkers that we should have a first-century church model of house churches sharing the gospel.  This is fine, provided you have the same miracles of feeding the multitudes, sicknesses healed and the dead brought back to life.  If this is so, I’m all for it!  

When looking at the Biblical model we see three important things:
Our society is diverse and has different needs even within the same city.  A church in the inner city may conduct their service and behave differently from a Hispanic church in the same neighborhood.  The same goes for a church in the upper class suburbs.  It is just as important to reach the down and out as it is to reach the young upper class professionals.  How is it done?  Different ministries are employed, but the same gospel must be preached!  A Pastor once said that the sign of a healthy church was to have a strong Childrens program, Teens present, adult families and seniors.  A church that did not have youth, adults and seniors was a weak church. He considered it a barometer of church health.   Even in building, finance and manufacturing the lesson of having something structurally unsound or top-heavy is sure to fail.  The same goes with the church.  Now there are exceptions to this rule, because God is in charge,  and he sees and knows infinitely more than we do. 
Aside from this, does he not expect us to use come common sense?
There are a plethora of churches and ministries, but they don’t seem to fit into a Biblical model, where the Gospel is De-emphasized, or the name of Jesus isn’t preached at all!  This is dangerous, because Jesus is the gospel!  If new and old converts are not trained and taught, false doctrine can come in, and once again, anything can go on even to the extent of blasphemy and apostasy!  If we do not support the active propagation of the gospel, what will happen to churches and missionaries? 

Your Brother in Christ

And  Senpai in Karate