Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

"The Son of God became a Son of man so the sons of man can be called children of God!" 
- C.S. Lewis

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; 
he is the Messiah, the Lord." (Luke 2:11)

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. 

The blog will be back in January.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Surprises and Talking Boats!

1. WestJest Christmas Miracle - (via YouTube)

2. The Talking Boat - (via YouTube)

3. Teaching Your Kids To Pray - (via Bullet Point Dad)
  • Teach your kids that praying is easy.
  • Each day…have them thank God for one thing…anything.
  • Each day…have them ask God to help them with one thing…anything.
  • Pray out loud in front of them for these two things.
4. Swinging, the way it should be done - (via YouTube)

5. An unexpected X-Factor Audition - (via YouTube)

**If you can't watch all of it, fast forward to the 2 minute mark

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Time over time.

I ran across an article about preparing for a rainy day. This isn't an article about saving for college or a broken furnace. It's about planning ahead to make art that will only work when it rains. It's actually very cool. The link that shows you how to do it is right here. Basically, you prepare something fun for the family to see, but you don't get the payoff until it rains sometime down the road. It works because we know it will rain someday. Rain is inevitable.  

It made me think about life and how time is fleeting. We live in an instant gratification culture that seeks the payoff now. Buy Now - Pay later allows us to get the car now! Why wait when you can get what you want now? Unfortunately, this mindset leaks over into our family lives as well, doesn't it? You plan big trips or family dinners in hopes that it will fix whatever your "thing" is or whatever "issue" is pulling your child away from you. The problem is that instant gratification doesn't work in the context of relationships. Relationships take time. Relationships take intentionality. 

The problem is that intentionality takes time and time is fleeting!
Psalm 90:12 says "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Rainy days will come in the lives of the people we care about most. What we do today can shape the results of that rainy day. To begin, we have to understand that making a difference in the life of someone else doesn't happen instantly, in one conversation, one moment together. We are making history now. The problem is, when you are making history, you usually don't know it. Our vision gets foggy past today. 

You can help someone, your child, your friend, learn something with time that you never could in a moment. God models this with us, as His children. He modeled it throughout the history of His people. God knows something about us that we haven't seemed to understand: relationships take time over time. What kind of history are you writing right now? Are you ok with the history you're writing in the lives of your children? Rain will come. I want those who are dearest to me to see the bigger picture when the rain comes. I want them to be able to make wise decisions when the rain comes. I want them to choose the right friends when I'm not there with them. I want them to remain faithful to God when those around them are not. Those are things that aren't learned with words, but time and intentionality. Maybe with time and intentionality, we can change the life at a time. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Did you know?

Today is the 45th anniversary of the first computer mouse! Who knew they'd been around that long? As a confirmed computer geek that is worth mentioning. I can't imagine life without a computer mouse.

However, that's not what Monday's Mentions are about. I try to highlight some of the "wins" within Campbellsville Christian Church. Last night at our monthly board meeting I asked our church Elders and Deacons about some of the wins* they've witnessed this month. Here's what they highlighted:

  • All of the Micah 6:8 service projects coming out of 40 Days in the Word.
    • Operation Baby Rescue raising more than $14,000
    • Support for shelters in Taylor and Marion counties
    • Local School backpack programs that supply food to children over the weekends.
  • 17 of our P-5th graders memorized the verse of the month in November - Proverbs 8:10 "Choose my teaching instead of silver. Choose knowledge rather than fine gold." (NIrV)
  • Completion of the church directories especially Lynn & Nancy Farmer and Jennifer Clark
  • Gail Godsey's leadership in the Hearts 2 Help fundraiser supporting the local homeless shelter (and being chosen as this years Kiwanis "Santa's Helper" award - quite an honor in recognition of her service of the community)
What about you? What are some "wins" you've spotted recently?

*A win is defined as evidence that a person or group of people are becoming "rooted in God's love." For more information about becoming "rooted," click here to be directed to our church website "rooted" page.

Book Review: Clear Winter Nights by Trevin Wax

Clear Winter Nights by Trevin Wax is a short novel about a young Christian grappling with his faith, his family, his past, and his future. While the author does write a compelling short story with a plot that is easy to follow and characters anyone can relate to, this story has more than one layer. 

What I found to be even more valuable was that as the main character, Chris, grappled with some challenging issues I, as the reader, was allowed to grapple with them as well and receive some sound advice as well. I would recommend this easy read book to anyone who has ever doubted their faith or the relevance of the church or wanted to help someone who was. 

**I promise book reviews won't become a regular feature of my blog, but from time to time I might let you know what I think about a book I've been reading. Recently, as I've been working on my Masters degree I haven't had much time to read anything other than textbooks. I'm in between classes now. And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. However, I would never recommend a resource to you unless it were, in my opinion, worth your while and useful for your spiritual growth.

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's been a while. Nice to see you again.

I've been much less consistent in blogging recently. For that, I apologize. Grad school has been taking its toll recently. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you this Friday morning, so here you go:

1. 3 One Liners That Make A Difference in Our Marriage - (via Married People)
Three simple statements that revolutionize your marriage: "We have rich people problems." "Do you want me to fix it or feel it?" "We know tragedy and this isn't it." Click here to get the full story.

2. Children's Media Use in America, 2013 - (via Common Sense Media)
3/4 of all (American) kids have access to mobile devices at home. What are they doing with them? 

3. Leftover Food is Good But Leftover You is Bad - (via Bullet Point Dad)
A new favorite blog of mine. He writes short, bullet pointed thoughts about fatherhood. Check it out here.  
4. This isn't a photograph of Morgan Freeman - (via Relevant Magazine)
It was painted on an iPad. Get the story here

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Book Review: The Global War on Christians

Well, that's an evocative title, isn't it? There's a "war" on everything in recent years: we've got wars on terror, wars on education, wars on poverty, and we've even managed to have a war on Christmas! So what about this title, "The Global War on Christians?" It's a bit overkill, isn't it? There's not really a war with Christians as their target. Christians get asked to keep quiet in political situations. We might be the butt of a joke on television from time to time, but there's really not a "war" on Christians. 

Author John L. Allen, s senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and Vatican analyst for CNN thinks otherwise. He writes,
 "The United States, with roughly 225 million Christians is conventionally described as the largest Christian nation in the world. Yet the United States represents only 10% of the 2.2 billion Christians in the world, which means 90% of the Christians on the planet aren't necessarily like Americans." (284)

Allen reminds us of something that we, as American Christians, often forget: we are the exception, not the rule.

The International Society of Human Rights (Germany-based nongovernmental organization founded in 1972) estimates that 80% of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today is directed at Christians. (33)

Allen tells story after story of Christian persecution throughout the global South: Africa, Asia, Latin America as well as the Middle East and Eastern Europe. 

Former U.S. Senator Hiram Warren Johnson said, "The first casualty when war comes is truth." Allen seeks to bring some of the myths related to the global persecution of Christians to light as he devotes a chapter to breaking some of the most commonly accepted myths. The myth:

  • that Christians are at risk only where they are a minority
  • that no one saw this coming
  • that it's all about Islam (it's really not, despite what media outlets might want us to think)
  • that it's only persecution if the motives are religious
  • that anti-Christian persecution is a political issue
Though numbers are nearly impossible to assimilate, numbers from various advocacy groups vary slightly, it is estimated that there are between 100,000 to 150,000 new Christian martyrs every year. STOP. Go back and re-read this again.

Unlike so many other writers, Allen's approach is not a gloom and doom story. He proposes several effective ways to take action on behalf of our brothers and sister in Christ around the world. 

Allen recounts a story from Rwanda:
After the genocide began in Rwanda in 1994, Munzihirwa (a Catholic missionary ultimately killed for his resistance to the injustices of his nation) became an outspoken protector of the Hutu refugees who flooded his diocese. His martyrdom was not unexpected, at least not to him. Munzihirwa had written in an Easter meditation: "Despite anguish and suffering, the Christian who is persecuted for the cause of justice finds spiritual peace in total and profound assent to God, in accord with a vocation that can lead even to death."
Why have we not stopped and paid attention? Why is no one listening? 

At Munzihirwa's funeral someone recalled his favorite saying: "There are things that can be seen only with eyes that have cried." (49)

John Allen's eyes cry for us so that we cab a glimpse of this global war on Christians. 

Find out more about The Global War on Christians here:

** In the spirit of full disclosure, I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. However, I would never recommend a resource to you unless it were, in my opinion, worth your while and useful for your spiritual growth.