If…

This poem by Rudyard Kipling was what the pastor at the church we attended this morning opened with.  I’ve heard the first part re-done many ways, but I’d forgotten what an excellent poem it is.  Enjoy!

If…

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: Continue reading “If…”

The Auspices of Ordination

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away … no, wait: wrong story.  Let’s try “Once upon a time”, when I was in my 20’s, shortly after I had accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, I was studying under a dynamic young Preacher named Dennis.  He was the first formally educated preacher I’d encountered in my adult(ish) life and he impressed me so much with his knowledge of the Bible that it ignited a fire in me.  Dennis thought I showed promise and encouraged me to seek ordination by attending a local seminary.  Dennis gave me a letter of recommendation and I filled out the admission paperwork and waited for the enrollment period to come around.

While I was waiting, the church Deacons discovered that Dennis was having an affair with the church secretary and sent him packing.  When they announced this to the congregation, I felt personally betrayed by my mentor.  Anger over this betrayal sent me off into a time I call my “prodigal period” where I shelved my faith for a while, including abandoning my plans for Christian education and ordination. Continue reading “The Auspices of Ordination”

When Christians Die

The pastor of the church my wife and I attend passed away this afternoon.  This possibility was a prime topic of discussion at this morning’s services.  There were many teary eyes.  But as we contemplate the death of a Christian brother or sister, are tears appropriate?

Why Do We Grieve?

no more deathGrief is a natural reaction anytime someone close to us passes away.  We grieve mostly because we miss that person.  Depending on the relationship between us, that feeling of loss can have devastating results in our life — if we let it.

Generally speaking, we grieve because *we* feel loss; making the feelings self-centered.  There are a myriad of circumstances that make that statement less fitting: Continue reading “When Christians Die”

Points to Ponder On the Prodigal Son

In Luke chapter 15 Jesus tells three parables involving the loss and recovery of precious items.  One of those is the story we know as the parable of the prodigal son.  Before we begin it is important to understand something about servants in the Jewish household in the time of Jesus.

There were three types of servants employed by Jewish estates.  The first was a bondservant: which was treated like a family member, they ate with the family, dressed well, and were given responsibility to conduct the affairs of the estate.  Bondservants hired household servants, who also lived in the home, but ate separately and were not treated as family members.  Household servants  were the cooks, maids, personal attendants, gardeners, etc for the family; doing the bulk of the day-to-day work of the estate.   Hired servants or hired men, were per-Diem workers brought in on an as-needed basis and paid their days wages at the end of each day.   Typically a full-day worker would be fed at mid-day.  These workers helped at harvest time or to accomplish some major task.  They were disposable workers.

Although most Bible translations do not use the word “prodigal” (which means “reckless or wild spending”) this title has become common for this parable.  Whether we refer to him as the prodigal son or the lost son, it is unfortunate that we look to the younger son as being the topic of this story; for indeed Jesus intended it to be about the gracious and forgiving father.  He was using the parable to illustrate why He was associating and eating with sinners, a practice that incensed the Pharisees.

A rich man had two sons.  The younger son demanded his share of the family wealth.  This was an audacious demand!  He was, in effect, telling his father “I wish you were dead”, because family fortunes were not normally distributed until the father was dead or close to it.  This one was very much alive.  This had to hurt the father. Continue reading “Points to Ponder On the Prodigal Son”

Was There A Mustang Wagon?

What could be more cool than a Mustang Sport Wagon?  Unfortunately a factory built Mustang wagon is, like the popularized vision of a unicorn, a myth.  But that does not stop some people from owning one!

Mustang WagonThe first one came about when Barney Clark; an executive with J. Walter Thompson, Ford’s advertising agency, along with designer Robert Cumberford, and car enthusiast Jim Licata, envisioned a station wagon version of the brand new Mustang.   They sent a 1965 289-powered hardtop Mustang across the Atlantic to Turin, Italy: home of Construzione Automobili Intermeccanica.   It took 11 months to build. Continue reading “Was There A Mustang Wagon?”

Counting the Cost of Discipleship

In Luke 14: 26-33  Jesus is telling the throng of people who were following Him around to count the cost of discipleship.  They were claiming to be devoted to Him but He knew their motivation.

By this time the crowds had seen Him heal many hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who had been diseased, crippled, or demon possessed.  He had raised a child from the dead.  He had fed thousands of people from what amounted to a sack lunch.  And He stood up to, and confounded, the Pharisees and Scribes.  There was talk among the people that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, was their long awaited Messiah: the one who would, according to their tradition, throw off the manacles of Rome and restore Israel as the preeminent nation of the world.  But He would soon dissuade them of that notion.  Continue reading “Counting the Cost of Discipleship”

Apple 1: A Home-brew Computer

Here’s an interesting bit of computer history: the Apple 1 home computer.  This was the brain child of Steve Wozniac, who later became the co-founder of the Apple Computer Company.  But that came later.

Steve Jobs (left in image above) and Steve Wozniak both worked for Atari at the time and met in a friend’s garage in the late 1960s.  The two of them bonded over their shared interest in electronics and practical jokes.  Wozniak was a wizard at designing compact, efficient circuitry.  Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs debuted their prototype Apple 1 at the Homebrew Computer Club in 1976. Continue reading “Apple 1: A Home-brew Computer”

When Led Into the Wilderness

Sometimes life as a Christian is a mountain-top experience: life is going our way and it is easy to be content and at peace.  Other times we encounter difficulties and we may ask God, “Why am I going through this?”  We may wonder if we are being tested or even punished.

Does God Test His People?

Personally, I have a hard time accepting that God needs to test us to see if we are ready to move to another level.  God is omniscient: meaning He see’s everything, not just now but past and future as well.  As such, He knows us better than we know ourselves.  Why would He need to test us?  Further, I cannot find anything in the Bible that says we are being “tested”, as in an examination to determine our knowledge of a subject or proficiency in a sport, when we encounter difficulties.  But that does not mean there is not a purpose behind it.  For in fact, even God’s own Son was subjected to trial. Continue reading “When Led Into the Wilderness”

The Language of Jesus

I have, on occasion, been taken to task by someone who claims that the King James Version of the Bible is the only valid Bible; that the modern language translations are, at best, erroneous and, at worst, heresy.  They claim that the KJV is written as Jesus spoke, we HAVE to stay with that version.  To which I must reply, “Are you nuts?”  Here is why I must ask that: Continue reading “The Language of Jesus”

Whitewashed Tombs

whitewashed tombsIn Matthew 23 Jesus launches into a verbal assault on the Pharisees and scribes: the religious leaders and lawyers (interpreters of The Law) of the nation of Israel.  He calls them hypocrites (several times) and blind guides, saying they would strain out a gnat and swallow a camel: meaning that they pick at details but ignore the main concept of faith.  His most striking analogy, however was to call them ” whitewashed tombs “: painted and pleasing to the eye on the outside, but full of death and decay on the inside. Continue reading “Whitewashed Tombs”