Monthly Archives: April 2017

Yahoo! We Get A Golden Parachute!

When the Yahoo sale to Verizon closes, pending shareholder approval, Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, will make $186 million in cash and benefits. You may be thinking, “wow, she must have done something great to deserve that!” Well, not really.

In fact, Mayer pretty much failed as CEO of Yahoo in every way. Of course, in all fairness, Yahoo wasn’t in great shape when she was hired. But dwindling ad revenue, two major security breaches, and a number of failed goals later, Mayer gets a $168m reward. That is in addition to the $200 million in salary and bonuses she was paid over the last five years.

Now, most of us can’t even imagine earning that kind of money. In fact, I’m not sure “earn” is the right word. Does any CEO really do anything to truly earn a multiple of hundreds or thousands over smaller company CEO’s? Or have they helped the company that much more than a worker earning $15/hour?

Does it make you upset to see big golden parachutes for CEO’s? Now…remember that anger for just a moment.

Because guess what? If you are a Christian, you’re just like Mayer. You might not appreciate the analogy, but it is pretty fair anyway.

Let’s pretend that you are the CEO of YOU Inc., because you are. And imagine you are being judged for every mistake, every time you didn’t follow God’s rules, and all the consequences that come from those mistakes – because you will be. We call those sins.

But in a buy-out, God purchased you with the blood of Jesus, and you get a golden parachute of eternal proportions. Seem fair? Still angry? Do you see that we have received the greatest payout ever despite all our mistakes?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the golden parachutes major CEO’s get after wrecking companies any more than you do. But it is a great reminder. I ran company GREG into the ground; failed miserably to save myself through my efforts.

So you can try to get to heaven by your works, but I’ll gladly take the buy-out!

Healing…Where You Might Not Expect It

The old adage, “she had to kiss a few frogs before finding her prince” comes from the fairy tale of a princess who kissed a frog to remove a curse and reveal her prince. The moral of the story is that there might be something beautiful in someone that isn’t immediately recognizable, until they are treated with kindness. It turns out, though, that kissing a frog might heal us more than the frog! Well, sort of…

Researchers at Emory have been studying frogs. Their findings show that, “Some frog mucus contains antimicrobial peptides, which are immune system molecules that can neutralize bacteria, viruses, and fungi.” So…frog mucus can be antibacterial. In fact, mucus from the skin of a frog in southern India kills the H1 flu!

I know…”ewww!”

Interestingly enough, anti-bacterial frog skin mucus isn’t a new idea. In ancient Russia, Russian Brown Frogs were dropped into milk to keep it from going sour. Apparently, the frogs secreted peptides that were antibacterial. Again, “ewww,” but interesting.

You might be thinking, “I’d rather have the flu than kiss a frog.” You aren’t alone. Many people actually would choose a sickness rather than taking the prescribed medicine, no matter how simple the solution is.

Spit is kind of gross too. Truthfully, I can’t imagine being happy about someone spitting in my eyes. But that is exactly what it took for a blind man to see!

In Mark 8:23, Jesus spits on a blind man’s eyes and healed him. In John 9:6, Jesus heals a blind man by spitting on the dirt and rubbing the mud in the eyes of the blind man. In Mark 7:33, Jesus put His fingers in a man’s ears, spit on his finger, and put his finger on the man’s tongue to heal him.

These practices seem strange today, and a little gross. But would you refuse treatment just because you don’t understand it? Many people do. Some refuse baptism, being washed clean by the blood of the lamb, because it seems strange.

As uncomfortable or strange as it may seem, we begin our walk in faith, by being immersed, baptized for the forgiveness of our sins. In doing so, we submit to His will. We show a willingness to be spiritually healed – as God designed it.

So, frog mucus? I’ll have to give it some thought. But don’t miss out on being healed by Christ just because the treatment doesn’t fit your preconceived notions of healing. Be baptized for the forgiveness of sin and enter into the body of Christ, the church, those who are being saved.

Conflict Free Zone?

Another April article? Well, she is a special giraffe, but…

Last time we visited April the Giraffe, we talked about “watchful living.” As I noted, fans were growing impatient and dissatisfied with all the waiting. Since then, the number of “the dissatisfied” increased significantly.

Negative comments are pouring in from those who are upset that they are getting charged to know the gender of the baby. Also, people who paid for early warning alerts at the birth are complaining. Add those comments to the impatient people and the conspiracy folks who say the whole thing is a publicity scam, and viola…conflict!

The problem? The site says it is a “conflict free zone!” Silly giraffe, those don’t exist; at least not where humans are involved.

“Conflict free” zones on the Internet are a bit utopian and naïve. When people post with anonymity, their best side doesn’t exactly come out. Even a simple giraffe birth has caused conflict.

So here’s a question: how about the church? Does it have an example to offer? After all, it is made up of people. Are churches “conflict free zones?” Not if people are involved!

Nevertheless, we strive for something greater in the church. But if we rely on human nature, we will never achieve it. True freedom from conflict is in the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control.

There are hundreds of verses that teach us to rid conflict from among us. Why hundreds? Because our fleshly desires put self ahead of others. The battle is to overcome those thoughts. Resolving conflict is, as Jesus put it, a blessing to “the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

So…“conflict free” giraffes? Maybe. “Conflict free” church? Definitely! But only when His people submit to the Spirit of Truth!

IXTHUS Is More Than A Fish

I had the privilege of speaking to my daughters’ co-op this week. They have been studying the Greek and Roman era, and the teachers asked me to come speak on the Early Church experience in that era. As always, I find that speaking with the kids helps remind me of what is most important… more than anything I teach them, I’m sure!

We closed the lesson by making an IXTHUS, or fish, in plaster. Now, as far as many today know, the fish is just an emblem on the back of a car. If you know a little more about it, you know it is a sign of Christianity. And if you know a little more, you know that early Christians used the Greek word for fish (IXTHUS) as an acronym for the words “Jesus, Christ, God’s Son, Savior.”

Of course, an old joke comes to mind. A police officer stops a driver and wants to see his license and registration. The driver shows it to him, and the officer is about to let him go. Before going, the driver asks what that was all about. The officer replies, “I saw you screaming at that other driver and honking your horn, but I saw the fish emblem on the car, so I assumed the car was stolen.”

Two thoughts come to mind: 1) Christianity is more than simply placing a symbol on our cars, and 2) There is a radical difference in how the fish symbol is used today vs. the early church. You see, the fish symbol wasn’t boldly placed in the open…rather, it was a private sign to believers to know where to safely meet to worship.

Many Christians today are serious about their faith. They have changed their lives, radically, in order to serve Christ. They are doing what they can to live in the faith. I don’t want to downplay that at all.

But, if you are like me, you can’t help but be impressed, and a little overwhelmed, with the faith of those in the early church. At best, they had trouble working and feeding their families because they wouldn’t sacrifice to the Greek & Roman gods. At worst, they were burned, beaten, crucified, and fed to lions.

So when I teach Christianity in the early church, and I teach the fish symbol, it gives me pause. Do I have any understanding, in the freedom of America, of what it means to worship as the early church did? And, without persecution, have we lapsed in our awe and reverence? And, would we be faithful if challenged at that level in our faith?

As the disciples cried out in Luke 17:5, “increase our faith,” Lord!