"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, August 30, 2010

“A Perfect…Forgiver?”

Two outs, bottom of the ninth, one batter away from making history. It’s the IDEAL plot for any pitcher, and on Sunday, August 8th, Toronto Blue Jays’ pitcher Brandon Morrow was embedded in the scene. He threw a four seam fastball to Evan Longoria, who hit a sharp groundball between the second baseman and short stop. Toronto Blue Jays’ second baseman, Aaron Hill, dove powerfully for the ball, but the ball trickled off his glove into centerfield. The “No Hitter” was No More! How did Brandon Morrow handle the heartbreak? He regained his composure, and then he struck out the next batter to earn the first “Shut Out” of his career. Interestingly enough, Morrow never blamed his second baseman for missing the play. In fact, he told reporters, “He did the best that he could. That’s just part of the game.”

It’s been a very interesting season in the world of Major League Baseball. Several “No Hitters” and “Perfect Games” have been thrown which is HIGHLY unusual. But what is even MORE odd? It was the second time this season these amazing achievements have been lost in the LAST out of the game! Earlier in June, Armando Galarraga, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, was robbed from a “Perfect Game” because of a blown call by the first base umpire. Replays show without any discrepancies that the throw beat the runner to first base. Even after the Detroit Tigers challenged the call with the Commissioner, the call stood, and Galarraga did not receive the “Perfect Game” he EARNED! How did Galarraga handle his heartbreak? He publicly forgave the umpire and said, “Being an umpire isn’t easy. They have hard calls to make all the time. We all make mistakes!”

It seems like our society is quick to place professional athletes and celebrities on pedestals that only few can reach. And most of the time, professional athletes have nothing to offer beyond the world of sports! However, it appears like Brandon Morrow and Armando Galarraga are men of different caliber. Even with all of the glamour and fame of professional baseball, they remembered one of the most important facets of life, forgiveness!

Surely as people who have been FORGIVEN by the blood of Jesus Christ, we can FORGIVE others! How much healthier would our families be if we chose to forgive? How much happier would our relationships be if we always forgave? How much stronger would the church be if it favored forgiveness? Instead of us “dreaming” what it would be like, why don’t we find out? “...Forgive as the LORD forgave YOU.” (Colossians 3: 13)

Monday, August 23, 2010

“Preaching with a Paper”

We're living in a day and age where the church is viewed as irrelevant, boring, and useless. Many ask the usual 21st century question, "What's the point?" For any student of the Bible, this question is heartbreaking! Even a quick study of the text will show that the church is vitally important to God, and it should be vitally important to followers of Jesus Christ! What do you think about this story?

A church-goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.

He said, "I've gone to church for 30 years now, and I have heard probably 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So I think I'm wasting my time and preachers are wasting theirs preaching sermons to me."

Well, this started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" section of the paper. With the interest this one letter stirred up, the letters flew back and forth for weeks, much to the delight of the editor. Then one day, someone wrote the clincher letter. He said: "I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this...they have nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today."

Even coming from a Preacher, I admit that I couldn't have said it better! So let's thank God for His foresight in planning for our spiritual nourishment to happen in worship every Sunday! And you know, if you aren’t there whenever you have the opportunity, you might be slowly dying!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tragic Typos?

As the “First day of School” fever is gearing up around the nation, there is one story that I can’t help but share. High Schools all around the country have been waiting for the school year to officially begin. Athletic teams have been running “Two a Days” in the scorching sun, bands and drum lines have been practicing like professionals for the “Friday Night Light” stage, and even School Administrations are preparing properly by getting necessary maintenance completed. A High School in North Carolina contracted with a Road Painter to paint the word “SCHOOL” on a new road leading into the campus. Look at the picture very closely! Here is something to make your old English teacher gasp in horror! Other companies have offered to correct the “typo” with a moderate $1.7 billion dollar bid.

But even in the church, we are guilty of making “tragic typos!” In school, our teachers always told us to “check over our work” before we submitted the final copy. Why don’t we try “checking over our work” in these areas?

1) In what we Say (We are so unbelievably talented at criticism! But before we show everyone our “talent”, why don’t we consider how it will make them feel?)

2) In what we Show (Sure, we can’t ALWAYS worry about what other people will think. But before we make any “questionable” decision, why don’t we consider how that choice will affect our influence for Jesus Christ?)

3) In what we Sanction (It’s never fun to be that “guy” who always makes every moment dull because we “disapprove” of what’s going on. However, sometimes if we don’t even say a word, it’s worse than ruining the “excitement” of the evening!)

Remember, some “typos” can’t ever be fixed; they will sear people’s hearts and memories forever. “Check over your Work!” Sometimes, you can’t afford the “tragedy” of “typos!”

Monday, August 9, 2010

Psychological Purchases?

This past month, the Real Estate “gurus” conducted some very interesting studies. After a few years of Real Estate depravity, many feel like Real Estate sales are getting stronger. With optimistic hopes for a competitive market to re-surface, Real Estate companies wanted to know what their client’s psyches were preaching. The studies produced some interesting statistics, but here are two stats to remember.

1) Choose Your Words Carefully! (A study was just conducted in the great state of Texas. This study showed homes that advertise new paint jobs, new carpet, and roof work, on average sold for less money than another home of equal value which did not advertise these “updates.” What made this happen? Real Estate experts say a new coat of paint or a new color of carpet won’t “fool” the serious buyer that the house is still full of problems. I guess it’s like putting lipstick on a pig! But even if there’s nothing wrong with the house, calling attention to updates could set off alarms in people’s minds. )

2) Welcome “Out of Towners!” (Another study in Arizona showed that out of towners will give anywhere from 5-10% more than in-state buyers. This is particularly true when out-of-state buyers are used to paying more for equal Real Estate in “higher markets.” Therefore, advertise in ALL adjoining states and on ALL Real Estate Internet sites.)

I don’t know if you’re trying to sell or purchase a home, but if you are, you might want to tuck these tips in the back of your mind.

Are there psychological effects on Christians when they consider their eternal home? Well, the good news is that we don’t have to worry about Heaven needing “repairs.” From what we read in scripture, this home was built by the hands of God, and even HE is pretty proud of it! But that second statistic still holds true; when we get to Heaven, ALL of us will be “Out of Towners!” Heaven will be a home prepared for us, but it will be home that none of us have ever seen! Therefore, how much will you give to make that home yours? There’s no competition, but the price is non-negotioable! It will cost you everything!

Dig into the “wallet” of your life. Ask Jesus to get you approved at the bank—God is a reasonable loan officer, and Jesus has A LOT of pull! Remember, the home called “Heaven” has a tremendous cost and the down payment is your life, but the “housing” is UNREAL! It’s not a “Psychological Purchase,” but a “Palpable Procure!”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Has Your House Been Cleaned Lately?

Children hate to hear their mothers say, “It’s time to clean house!” This means that the toys must be put up, beds made, food put in the fridge, carpets vacuumed, and all the furniture and desks must be dusted. But this “cleaning period” is a double-edged sword. It also means that company is on the way!

Long ago, Hezekiah king of Judah had visitors from Babylon. Hezekiah was eager to give them a tour of his palace. He arrogantly showed them his silver, gold, spices, fine oil, armory, and his other treasures.

Later, the great prophet Isaiah asked Hezekiah, “What did these men see in your palace?” Hezekiah proudly replied, “There is nothing among my treasures I did not show them.” Isaiah then prophesied, “Hear the word of the Lord: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord” (2 Kings 20:17). This prophecy predicted the “Babylonian Captivity” that Judah would soon experience. Hezekiah’s grand tour of his palace proved to be his undoing!

Now that’s ancient history, but we aren’t always proud to give a tour of our homes. At least we aren’t eager to give a tour if we haven’t cleaned first! In fact, we might be ashamed of the things we don’t want our company to see. Whenever we have people into our homes, do we clean more than just the daily dusting? What drinks do we “hide” in our refrigerators? What magazines do we desperately “sweep” off our coffee tables? What secret possessions do we “bury” among our clothes? What questionable items do we hastily “push” under our beds? Like Hezekiah, showing everything in our homes might be our undoing!

The Lord sees all! We may be able to “clean house” before our guests arrive, but we will never be able to hide our secrets and baggage from our omnipotent Father!

Let’s resolve that there will be nothing in our homes that we aren’t willing to show!