Monthly Archives: September 2015

An Unusual Mortality Event

whales-are-washing-upA few weeks ago, my oldest daughter was given a school assignment to find a story in the news about a beached whale and write a report about it. She found one involving dozens of whales washing ashore in Alaska. Now, her story was on the whales, but what caught my attention was a little phrase they used to describe the beachings: “unusual mortality event.”

An “unusual mortality event,” (UME) is defined as, “a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response.” UME is a term that allows the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to go into immediate action to investigate problems with oceanic mammals.

“Unusual” mammal deaths seem to catch our attention and tug at our heartstrings. And that is understandable. We have a deep desire to know “why” and to fix the problem.

But an even greater tragedy occurs en masse today, and few people seem to care about fixing the problem these days…spiritual mortality events!

Millions of “beached souls” are lost every day unnecessarily. Ephesians 2:1-3 points out that sin caused us to lose something precious. We become the walking dead, sons of disobedience who live for the fleshly lusts of this world only. If we continue in our ways, we will spend eternity separated from God.

But, thankfully, an even greater death took place. The most unusual mortality event ever…a death that didn’t last!

It may just have seemed like just another crucifixion in a long stream of Roman brutality, but it was altogether different. The Son of God hung on the cross and died for our sins. And He conquered death for you and me. And that’s an unusual mortality event!

But His death requires immediate action! Are you a Christian? Don’t idly watch as soul after soul washes ashore on the beach of sin! Bring the message of life to those who are perishing.

And if you are living in sin today, please know that He died so you don’t have to die. Want more info? Get in touch…

It Ain’t Over…’till It’s Over!

yogi berraLawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, the famous Yankees catcher and manager, passed away Tuesday. He had 10 World Series rings, was a war hero, and had a fame that extended beyond baseball. But his “Yogisms” were what made him a part of the American lexicon forever.

Berra’s sayings, or, “Yogisms,” were paradoxes (contradictions or absurdities) and tautologies (redundancy and self-fulfilling truth) told in a witty way. Among the favorites were:

  • “90% of the game is half-mental.”
  • “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
  • “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
  • “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
  • “It’s déjà vu all over again”
  • “You can observe a lot by watching.”
  • “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.”

But perhaps the most widely known Yogism is “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.” In a season distraught by injuries and team issues, he held firm to hope. And that is a great message for all of us today.

We face many challenges: temptation, disease, pain, and death. There are days when we feel like giving up. You might think you have messed up too much or life is too hard. You may even be facing your greatest challenge in life, but it ain’t over!

We don’t have to face these challenges without hope. With God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27). God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Christ overcame death so that each of us can live eternally with the Father. Are you in Him? Or do you hope in your own works for salvation?

Another favorite Yogism was, “I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.” Methuselah lived 969 years…a record for sure! But Methuselah died and so will we. Then we will spend eternity separated from God or in His presence based on whether we were in Him or not…and eternity is a lot longer than 969 years.

Give it some thought. Live for Him while there is still a today (Hebrews 3:13). While we live, our ability to effect our eternity ain’t over…’till it’s over!

#Yogism

Is the “Dislike” Button The End of Your Friend List?

It’s a game-changer. It’s the #1 feature missing from Facebook, and it has been requested for years. Finally, the “dislike” button may soon be here!

Ok. Maybe it isn’t life altering. But Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement that Facebook is working on a “dislike” button has piqued a lot of interest. Why is it such a big deal? Currently, Facebookers can only “like” posts!

Facebook claims that the “dislike” button will be a way of showing empathy. But, one could always take time to comment, “I’m sorry you are______and let me know if I can help.” If that really is the only reason for the dislike button, then shame on lazy empathizers.

Personally, I think people just want to disagree with a simple click. And the “dislike” button spells disaster for many so-called “friendships.”

People are so used to the “like” only system, that “dislikes” will be a huge culture shock. And pseudo “friendships” probably won’t stand for “dislikes.” Few people want their posts “frowny-faced!”

Political statement? DISLIKE! Religious statement? DISLIKE! Cultural opinions? DISLIKE! You get the idea. Watch your “friend” counts disappear if you start disliking comments!

But that would be a mistake!

As the Bible points out, we all need a good “dislike” from a true friend. There is a huge difference between a pseudo-friend who stays only as long as you “like” everything they say, and a true friend who will “dislike” when needed. Consider the following examples:

  1. Proverbs 27:5-6 tells us, “Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”
  2. Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
  3. Proverbs 28:23, “He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue.”

What about you, friend? Do you listen only to those who “like” your comments? Are you willing to consider “dislikes?” Or would you drop a friend, leave the Church, or even dismiss God just because of a “dislike?” Give it some thought… and if you dislike, we’ll still be friends!

Cheap Shots or Total Breakdown?

cheap shot footballYou may have seen the video of two high school football players who took a couple of cheap shots in a game last week. Of course, cheap shots in a football game are nothing new. But these were different…they were on a referee!

The last thing I want to do is to take another cheap shot. The referee is considering pressing charges, and the courts will decide guilt. But watching that video, I can’t help but feel like that field is a microcosm of our country.

After all, recent headlines tell of police officers being ambushed in Las Vegas, Texas, and Florida, the Deputy General for Governor Cuomo being shot in Brooklyn, and any number of other needless “cheap shots” having taken place. Meanwhile, most of us hardly noticed. Of course, violence is nothing new. But it appears that there is a growing breakdown in society based on a lack of respect for authority.

In the Bible, the Hebrews writer teaches us that discipline is never joyful at the time, but that it works for our good. Today, many people have no respect for those who administer our discipline. But it wasn’t always the case.

Consider Hebrews 12:9, “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?” Did you catch that? The Hebrews writer assumes respect for those who discipline! How far we have come!

Is that progress? Are we better off for rejecting God’s Word and determining our own morality?

We all lose when football players level a referee for a call they don’t like, when angry citizens execute police officers, and when general mayhem causes shootings and stabbings on a daily occurrence. And teaching God’s Word is the only solution.

God loves us, and He wants the best for us. But judgment is in store if we don’t start accepting His correction (Hebrews 10:27). Let’s lead by example. As we are trained by His correction, perhaps others will see why discipline “yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).

#cheapshot, #discipline