Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Few Great Travel Tips

Holiday travel can be a hassle. Here in the Charlotte area, travelers tried desperately yesterday to get to the airport, but traffic was backed up for miles. People left their cars and ran a mile or two with luggage, often only to find delayed or cancelled flights!

One way to avoid hours of trouble is to listen to travel tips. I recently read the following tips and was struck by how similar they are to the lessons God gives for getting to heaven. Give these some thought…

1)      Prepare for trouble. This one might be obvious if travelling in a winter storm, but Christians often seem surprised when life is tough. The road of life will be difficult if you live according to His way, but the reward is worth the trouble (John 15:18).

2)      Get to the airport 2 hours in advance. You don’t have to get to church that early, but it is far greater to make your decision to follow God now rather than later. Why not enjoy the peace that God offers to those who know their destination (Matthew 6:33).

3)      Travel is easier without a lot of baggage. While we all bring “baggage” to church, shedding the weight of past mistakes and travelling “lighter” are freedoms offered by the gospel (Matthew 11:28-30).

4)      Call an agent at the first sign of trouble. Amen! People tend to wait until addictions are entrenched, finances are ruined, or family issues are extensive. We would be so much better off if we would seek help at the first signs of trouble (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).

5)      If you miss your flight call the airline ASAP. If you miss your flight, you wouldn’t just give up on getting to Grandma’s! You would say, “I messed up. Please help me get where I need to go!” If you sin (“miss the mark”), ask God for forgiveness and get back on your path to heaven (1 John 1:9).

Just don’t miss the last flight because you never got a ticket. The price was paid in Jesus’ blood. Accept His sacrifice today, be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, and enjoy the peace God offers His children.

A Wonderful Life Remake: It’s A Terrible Life?

It's A Wonderful Life Sequel Is In The Works imageWhat do you do if you are a Hollywood producer and no new ideas come across your desk? You just remake someone else’s movie and change the ending in some perverse, shocking way, of course! The latest film to fall “victim” to the world of remakes is none other than Frank Capra’s classic film from 1946, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But this time Hollywood might be “moving the boundary stones” too far.

You probably remember that the point of the original is that the town would have been much worse off if Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey, had never been born. But the challenge for the remake is, “how do you improve Capra’s classic?”

The new film’s writers and producers are betting against Capra’s positive message that one man can make a real difference in people’s lives. Instead, in this postmodern, cynical twist, George Bailey’s grandson gets a visit from an angel to tell him that the town would have been better off if he had never been born! In other words, the plan is to bring something good out of saying, “the world would be better off without you.” Good luck.

Thankfully, by 80% to 20%, the online community has responded with a collective, “Terrible idea. Leave well enough alone.” I pray that this response means that people still have hope that one person can make a difference. And I especially pray that the world knows (or will know) that one person already has.

The fictional George Bailey helps teach that one person can make a difference. We probably shouldn’t tamper with that story. But scripture tells us that one person truly has made a difference. And we definitely shouldn’t tamper with the true record of the Bible!

Sin and death reigned in this world until Jesus came and made a difference. “God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many” because of the difference He made (Romans 5:15)! Praise God for the One who truly made a difference!

YOU ARE GROUNDED…to Siberia?

siberia_220Raising kids can be tough. And sometimes kids cross the line. In response, parents devise punishments to curb bad behavior: take cell phones, impose curfews, tell them they are grounded, etc. The worst threat is to send them away to some place like Siberia…and sometimes they do!

Well, probably not. But that is exactly what happened when, according to one source, Sofia Roberts, “the then 15-year-old crossed the line in her posh Virginia town.” Her parents “sent her thousands of miles away…to Siberia.” Wow…“you’re grounded!”

Don’t call the airlines just yet, parents. It isn’t easy to send your kid to Siberia. There are laws. But Sofia was born in Russia and her father still lives there. So thanks to legal loopholes, Sofia’s was sent to “cool out” for a while. But since she still hasn’t repented, and with her 18th birthday approaching, Sofia might lose her American citizenship and become a permanent resident of Siberia!

Yes, parenting can be tough. Sometimes, parents threaten crazy things to scare kids into good behavior, threats like, “I’ll send you to Siberia!” Truth is though, most of us would have trouble sending our kids away as punishment for even a night. But did you know that God has tried “Siberia-like” punishment to alter the behavior of His children? It is hard for Him too.

In the days of Noah, God was grieved that  every thought of His children was sin, and the punishment was severe. In the days of Moses, His children wandered in a “Siberia-like” punishment for almost 40 years as a generation learned discipline. God even punished His only begotten Son, who had done no wrong, so He could demonstrate His long-suffering love for us. God wants each of us to put away our teenage rebellion and turn back to Him today.

I don’t know what Sofia’s fate will be, but you don’t have to be “grounded” when we rise up to meet Christ in the air! Eternal separation from God is far worse than a few years in Siberia. Ask forgiveness for past mistakes and be welcomed home into His forgiving arms today!

Clowns Aren’t Like That!

Mexico can be a tough place to live and work. Peaceful citizens and businesses are often victims of gangs, drug cartels, and kidnapping. Recently, another group has fallen victim to the violence: the clowns. That’s right! I mean honest, hardworking, red-nosed, flower-squirting clowns.

A couple of weeks ago, the news in Mexico City reported that a gunman in a clown costume killed the oldest brother of one of Mexico’s most notorious drug trafficking families. And clowns in Mexico are horn-honking mad! In a show of solidarity, over 500 clowns gathered for a convention in Mexico City saying that they were “saddened that a killer disguised himself as a clown” and they insisted “no true member of their profession would have committed the crime.”

One leader of the clowns said, “The people who do that, they’re not clowns. I can swear on my mother’s grave it wasn’t a clown.” He continued, “we are not like that … we are nonviolent.”

Now I ask you, “Would you react the same way about a Christian accused of wrong doing?” Would you know, immediately, that a member of your congregation would never do the crime of which they were being accused? What about Christians in your city? State? Country? I don’t know whether this clown’s faith in his fellow baggy-clothed, frizzy-haired, big-shoe friends is accurate or not. But I can say that his confidence impressed me !

The Christian ought to live in such a way that if a crime were committed, the church would be the last place anyone would look. But our call is even greater than just having a good name. Scripture tells us that the salvation of those who are watching is on the line…

Peter writes, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Because of our behavior, people might become Christians and be saved in the day Christ returns!

Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from a clown’s confidence. Honk Honk!