Monday, November 29, 2010

I Find This Disturbing

From HotSpots:

United States (Country threat level - 2): A Somali-born youth was arrested on 26 November 2010 after attempting to detonate what he believed was a live car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting event in Portland, Oregon. The FBI had reportedly been tracking the youth since mid-2009, when communications between him and militant elements in Pakistan were intercepted. An undercover operation followed, and the naturalized U.S. citizen believed that the FBI agents he became involved with were also militant elements; the teenager was supplied with a vehicle filled with five 55-gallon drums connected with wires that he believed to be a live explosive device. He then attempted to use a cell phone to activate the dummy bomb, at which time he was arrested. The youth has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. U.S. officials stated that the operation was being coordinated through the FBI and that the public was at no time in real danger.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Angry People

Over the past week, I've encountered several angry people.  Some of them have seemingly been angered by things I've written; others have been angry over things I don't have anything to do with.

Those who have expressed their displeasure with me, have done so because I've simply expressed the Truth of God in a way that wasn't directed at anyone and goes against the so-called "political correctness."

Those who have expressed their displeasure with someone besides me, but whom I had the "opportunity" to hear out, seem to be angry with organizations or institutions.

What I've seen in common, at least with these people in the past couple of weeks, is that they are so angry, they aren't being reasonable.  Instead of responding in a thoughtful manner, they react like a shotgun going off in a crowd.

One person who was angry with something I wrote, wasn't able to respond immediately and wrote a note several days later.  I was expecting a measured rational response, but instead, I got a litany of criticism, attacking me personally, instead of the Truth of what I had written.

99% of the time, it doesn't bother me.  I realize that, many times, people are convicted by God's Truth and are rebelling against God, not me. 

I honestly don't mind being politically incorrect if it means that I am pleasing God.  But I'm not going to be be politically incorrect just for the fun of it.  If I'm not standing on the side of God's Truth, then it just isn't worth it; especially when it comes to hurting friends. 

Some of these angry people's ramblings, however, are worthy of some sort of creative writing award.  Completely ignoring facts and Truth, they spew ridiculous statements that only enforce their perverted and/or skewed perspectives.  Something along the lines of "Professing to be wise, they became as fools." (Romans 1:22)

I wouldn't intentionally write something targeting anyone; that doesn't make sense.  But I'm not going to compromise God's Truth, either.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmas Lights

There is a cold front supposed to arrive next week, so I took the opportunity to put up the outside lights today.

Emily Helped

It was her first time up high on a ladder!

View from the church

Front yard with Christmas tree in the front window



Putting up the tree

Audrey and Emily busy

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November Rose

click to enlarge

Veterans Day in Wagoner, OK

The ceremony started a few moments after 10 am.  The general of the local VFW had us salute the flag and led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

A retired pastor, also a veteran, led an opening prayer and wasn't ashamed nor afraid to pray "in Jesus' Name."

Several people, including the Blue Star Mothers, gave speeches honoring our veterans.  The Wagoner Chief of Police, Terry Hornbuckle, gave an impromptu speech after he had already said what he planned to say.  It was the most heart touching of any of the prepared speeches.

As the ceremony was coming to an end, one of the WWII vets stood up and asked to address the assembled.  He led us in a spontaneous singing of "God Bless America."  It was truly touching.

The veteran's left the courthouse and went down the street to come back in the parade.  A school one block away, let all of its students out and they came equipped with flags and hand-made signs to honor the veterans.  They cheered and waved when the veterans came by.

The Wagoner High School Marching Band also participated.

My older daughter, Audrey, played the cymbals in the band.

I am really glad to know that people take time to appreciate our veterans. 

God Bless America!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A Beautiful Picture

My friend, Marty Duren, took this picture and posted it on Facebook this morning.  Personally, I think it is one of the prettiest pictures I've ever seen and wanted to share it with you.

click to enlarge
 Marty is the author of "The Generous Soul" which was published in October 2010.  You can purchase it from Amazon here.  You can actually download the introduction to the generous soul for free on Marty's website.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Lessons from a Dead Squirrel

Sunday morning, we noticed that there was the foul stench of death as we entered the church building, albeit very, very faint.  I used some Febreeze and it seemed to cover it up pretty good.  Since the weather was nice, we kept the lobby door open.  Even by the evening service, it wasn't bad.

Tuesday was a whole other story.  There was no getting around it; we had a dead animal somewhere in the attic of the foyer.

I honestly figured someone would do something about it, but no one did.

By the time Wednesday evening came around, the odor was nearly unbearable.  One woman held her nose; one man had the dry heaves.

Our normal Wednesday evening service is in the fellowship hall, which is just off the foyer.  I suggested that we move to the sanctuary, where we were safe from the smell.

We've been studying Philippians and were up to chapter 2 verses 14-18.  So many people camp out on verse 14, "do all things without grumbling or disputing", but verse 15 is what we took a longer look at:

...prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

As we were discussing about being "lights in the world", someone mentioned that "lights don't appear to shine as bright in the light, but when you bring light into the darkness, that's when it really shows up!"

We all thought that insight was profound.  We talked about how we, as believers, instead of shining bright, often "turn off" our lights so we don't stand out.  We talked about how those who are in the darkness, never want to return to the dark, but once we are in the light, we seem to miss the darkness and want to go back there.

I mentioned that as crazy as that sounds, it is even worse.  As the light represents life, the dark represents death.

We talked about how a dead animal, probably a squirrel, which is quite small, moved a group of human adults away from its decaying body.  We talked about how small it was, but how it influenced all of us that night.  We talked about how if we could smell sin, it would smell so much worse than the dead animal.  We were repulsed by the stench of death, but we embrace our favorite sin as "not so bad."

Something else that I thought about while typing this is the fact that we used candles and air fresheners to cover up the stench, it wasn't until we actually removed the dead squirrel from the ceiling that the smell went away.  No matter how we try to hide our sin, cover it up, or ignore it, it doesn't go away until it is completely removed.  And only Jesus can do that.

Oh that we could actually smell sin!  How we would be repulsed by it!  How we would flee from it!  How we would do anything to avoid it!

Are YOU being light in the darkness?  Does YOUR light shine?  Are YOU trying to hide, cover-up or ignore your sin?