Monthly Archives: July 2015

Woo Hoo, We Lost…And Sometimes That’s A Win!

Sometimes a loss is a win. It can be hard to know what that means if you have never lived through it. But as Garth Brooks once put it, “sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers!”

This week, Boston residents understand the idea of a loss-win very clearly. The loss was the 2024 Olympics; the win was the financial stability of the city. And most Boston residents are celebrating the loss.

You see, Boston has been locked in a battle between those who wanted to host the 2024 Olympics and those who fought it. The opposition won by proving that Boston had neither the infrastructure nor the financial capability to guarantee the cost overage that the Olympic Committee requires of host cities. Just see the overage at Sochi as an example of what Bostonians couldn’t afford in tax liability.

So most folks in Boston are saying they won…by losing.

Loss-wins are not new. Consider the greatest loss ever, the beating and crucifixion of the Son of God. How could that possibly be a win? At the end of that horrible day, it looked like Jesus 0, Satan 1. But that was Friday.

By Sunday, the story had changed. What looked like a terrible loss was really the greatest victory ever! It was a loss that was a win for everyone who ever lived…the opportunity to be reconciled to God by the blood of His perfect sacrifice.

Paul understood perfectly. All that he had lost, he considered a victory in Christ.

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,” (Philippians 3:8).

What about you? Do you have unanswered prayers today? Do you wonder how God could turn a loss in your life into a great victory for His glory? Consider this: if He worked out Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, don’t you think He can help bring home a win for you too?

Google Says Humans Are To Blame!

google carWhen it comes to driving, Google has finally figured out the glitch – YOU! That’s right…you are the problem. According to press releases regarding recent accidents involving Google’s driverless vehicles, Google says humans are to blame for running into their cars every single time.

So Google says: “The clear theme is human error and inattention.”

Interesting, isn’t it? I mean, take the emotion out of it for a moment and just reflect on what Google is proposing. The least reliable piece of equipment in the car, they say, is you – the driver. So what is the solution? Remove the driver, of course!

As a preacher, I’ll admit that the thought piqued my interest. I mean, what if God had the same idea? After all, aren’t we the problem when it comes to perfectly following His plan? Aren’t we the ones who miss the mark (sin) time after time? Don’t the accidents we get into cause damage to others and create unsafe roadways of life?

God wrote the operating parameters of a proper life. He gave us the perfect example in His Son. And he gave us an opportunity to drive the roads of life directing our own paths. And we make a mess of it.

It is called life. And according to Romans 3:23, we are all bad drivers. Every single one of us has had a fender bender or will have a fender bender as soon as we get our license (reach the age of accountability as we call it in the church).

What if God, though, had reached the same solution as Google: remove the drivers? We couldn’t blame Him, right? We keep getting in wrecks, we are unsafe, we endanger others, and we are often inattentive and irresponsible as we drive our lives down the road.

But God, in His amazing love, allows us to keep driving. Why? Because He doesn’t want robot drivers! Now, I don’t mean on the highways. Maybe computer drivers are, in fact, better. But in real life…well, He wants us to have free will.

In other words, God isn’t looking for robots who do only what they are programmed to do. Rather, He wants us to do right and be good drivers because we love Him and choose His way. He wants us to pay attention to the laws; He wants responsible drivers!

I run into a lot of people who ask why God doesn’t just fix everything. But have you considered what that means? “Fixing” the glitch would mean getting rid of you and me…the ones who make a mess of His perfect road!

But God loves us so much, He allows us to make mistakes, learn how to do better, and get back out there on the road of life. And I, for one, am grateful He hasn’t revoked my license. And I hope, with a few years of wisdom under my belt, I’m a better driver today than I used to be. How about you?

Exuberant for A Plutonic Heaven?

plutoAfter almost 10 years and ~$800 million dollars, the New Horizons spacecraft is finally passing Pluto and beginning to send back images and data about the farthest objects in the Kuiper Belt. And scientists are really, really excited. And understandably so; after all, Pluto gets a lot of attention.

Ever since being discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, and having been named by 11-year-old Venetia Burney, Pluto has captured the fascination of the world. In 2006, Pluto was “downgraded” to a dwarf planet, giving it even more interest. And now, though neither Burney nor Tombaugh are alive to see it, the first real analysis of the dwarf planet and the Kuiper Belt are coming to earth.

But what I find so interesting is that the statements I’ve been reading lately could very easily have been taken from my last sermon on heaven. Consider the following:

  • This will be a “really high stakes moment.”
  • “Almost certainly there will be some surprises”
  • Sometimes _________ seems like a far frontier, this unreachable goal, this unreachable place…”
  • This is a “really exciting time” to be a ____________.
  • “We are awestruck at how amazing _________ looks.”

Only, those statements didn’t come from a sermon on heaven. Rather, they came from the scientists discussing the New Horizons Pluto mission!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Space and solar system exploration is interesting. And I appreciate all that has gone into making this mission happen. But I can’t help seeing a few points that are worthy of our consideration.

  1. Consider the excitement the scientists get by looking to the heavens to reach their goal. Early Christians had this kind of desire, looking for Christ’s imminent return. If we have, over the past ~1900 years, lost our fervent expectation, we should take note (Luke 21:34-36).
  2. Consider the anticipation of something great. Christians have an incredible reward. Far greater than pictures of Pluto, Heaven will be an amazing reward that Jesus has prepared for us (Matthew 5:12; Revelation 21:4,15-27, John 14:2-3). 
  3. Consider the investment. Our government was willing to invest about $800 million in the building of New Horizons. Additionally, they launched it, despite the delayed gratification of a decade to reach its first goal. Some Christians want God’s grace, mercy, and blessings, but only if they come today. Remember, we are called to endure in faith until death (Revelation 2:10). What investment of your time and resources do you put into your eternity?

So, yes, the Pluto exploration is exciting. Or, at least, I think so. But is the pursuit of heaven and His Kingdom even greater? Absolutely! Give it some thought this week and let me know if you have questions.

Twisted Sharks

Jonathan Davis was indignant. In 2013, as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Orleans, he had been tracking bull shark activity in Lake Pontchartrain. So he was excited when the Discovery Channel wanted to film his work. Unfortunately, Davis’ joy ended when he saw the final product.

He was horrified to find that his work had been misappropriated to boost ratings for “Shark Week,” – a smear campaign against sharks that made him look like a voodoo shark hunter. Since then, several other researchers have denounced editors for their misuse of interviews and filming to ignite controversy in the aquatic world.

At the heart of the problem, is the same old issue: no one likes it when people twist and pervert their words. Most of us get upset when someone takes our work and misuses it to teach something opposite of our beliefs.

And people do it all the time. Even with inspirational material. Take for example, the inspirational calendar which quotes Luke 4:7, “if you worship me, all will be yours.” But the passage was a temptation of Christ by Satan, not words to live by for the Christian!

Imagine, therefore, how God feels about those who would twist and pervert His Word and work for their own glory.

If you have made a decision not to follow God’s Word, or if you don’t believe that God exists at all, that is certainly your decision to make. And no matter how foolish I might think that decision is, it is your right. God gives us all the freedom to choose whether to follow Him or not.

But why? Why oh why, would you try to convince others and yourselves that the Bible doesn’t say what it clearly says? I might suggest that the effort tells us much about the nature of humans.

Why not say, “who cares what God thinks!” I’ll tell you why. Because there are far too many obvious features of this world that prove there was a beginning, a beginner, and an intelligent design to life. Everything else is foolish when put in the light of, “who cares what that infinite being who made everything thinks.”

Rather, if we admit what nature clearly teaches, and if we acknowledge that the Bible is worthy of being followed, then we must cease to pervert His Word to justify our sins. Those who do say are like the “untaught and unstable” men who distort Paul’s words, “as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).

Don’t be fooled! God is not mocked. Quit trying to find loopholes! He will not eternally allow His Word to be twisted and perverted by evil men with evil plans. Make your decision to adhere to the Word and live eternally in His glory!