Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My How Time Flies...

Hi so soon,

By golly, I'm making good on yesterday's promise to write more often on my blog. I'm turning over a new leaf, as they say. Actually I know what that expression means and it has nothing to do with the leaves that fall off of the darned maple trees in my backyard. It refers to leaves of paper, which we more commonly call "pages." To "turn over a new leaf" means to make a fresh start, to turn the page of your book or of your diary to begin writing on a fresh surface. That's what I'm doing.

I recently came across something that I found very interesting yet ominously disturbing at the same time. We all know that the world is changing around us very quickly. We sense that technology is moving faster than we are. We buy a new gadget and before we manage to work our way through the owner's manual the darned thing is already a dinosaur on the market. Or perhaps you invested the time/energy/brains to take a course to learn a new software program for work. But now, after a short time, the software has been deemed obsolete and has already been replaced. Now the boss wants you to take another class to learn the new program.

Watch this video and then I'll have some comments about it on the other side.

What does all of this mean? First of all it means that our world is changing faster than we are. By that I'm saying that humans per se have not changed at all since the beginning. Our bodies still work the same way, with the same strengths and limitations. Oh we have gotten a little bigger/taller because of nutrition, but that is offset by the fact that we have also gotten fatter and are more likely to die of diabetes and/or heart disease than our forefathers. Our brains are about the same size as Adam's though we store much more trivial information in ours than he did in his. We aren't smarter, it's just that we know different stuff.

Human nature hasn't changed either. Humankind is still plagued by the sins of greed, anger, covetousness, idolatry, sexual perversion, etc. etc. There may be more of us today on this planet but we still ain't worth much, if you get my drift.

From a ministry standpoint we are still dealing with the same issues. People still need Jesus. They still need a Savior. With all our fast-paced living and all our accumulation of useless factoids, people are still afraid of death, still haunted by their past, still screwed-up by lousy families and broken relationships.

After I watched this video I wanted to scream, "Stop the world! I want to get off!" But we can't do that. The world will keep spinning. Intimidating new technologies will continue to show up. Wars will increase and nations will rise up against one another. Millions of new babies will be born to parents who have no clue how to raise them in this crazy world. We will continue to be bombarded with messages to "BUY! BUY! BUY!"

And... God's promises will still be valid, Jesus will still be seeking lost sheep who need saving, the Bible will still be true, churches will still be needed to "rescue the perishing and care for the dying" as the old hymn puts it, and those who know Christ will still be eternally saved.

It seems to me there are two possible responses...
*(1) We can become overwhelmed with the mind-blowing changes going on around us and slip into despair and isolationism, simply holding the fort until Jesus comes back. Or...
*(2) We can recognize that we are living in exciting times with unique challenges yet with all the power of Heaven at our disposal to carry out our God-ordained mission of preaching the Gospel and making disciples while there is still yet time.

The Bible makes it clear that in the last days there will be an escalation of learning and knowledge, yet without insight or godly wisdom. Sin will increase rather than decrease. Men will become more violent rather than less. The world will get worse, not better. Check out Paul's words to Timothy about the end of days (I Timothy 4:1-5; II Timothy 3:1-9).

I don't know what the future holds but I know that God, His Word, His Kingdom, His love, His promises always trump anything the world comes up with. Man, with all of his technology will never outgrow his need for God. I call that job security :).

Yours truly,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shame, Embarrassment, and Deepest Apologies

Hello fellow crazies,

I'm embarrassed when I see how long it's been since my last posting.  I apologize to both of you who occasionally read this rag.  My Aunt Fern tells me that she reads it sometimes, and a guy named Jeff B. has checked it out a few times.  Other than them I can't figure out who the other 1,860+ hits to the site might be.  Probably people who clicked accidentally while looking for something else.  Oh well. Writing is mainly therapeutic anyway.

To be perfectly honest I don't have any burning issues driving me back here to write again, that is except for feelings of guilt for having started a blog and then pooping out on it.  Why do I find it so hard to maintain consistency?  I'm certainly not the first one to have asked that question. It seems like most of us humans are great starters but not so good at following through.

Permit me to offer some examples.  All full of vim and vinegar we start diets, intent upon losing those ugly pounds.  For the first two days or so things go smoothly, but then we start to lose our resolve.  We look in the mirror and tell ourselves that it's not that big of a deal.  First it's a bowl of ice cream, then a big meal out with friends, then a complete leap off the wagon.

We make a New Year's resolution to have personal devotions every day.  We do all right for about a week, then we miss a couple of days.  Now we are out of sync with our One Year Bible reading plan.  To get back on course would mean reading all those extra chapters that we missed, which would take more time than we have right now.  So... we set it aside thinking we'll catch up later.

Or how about this one?  Our doctor says that we need exercise so we decide to start walking for a half hour every day.  That works out for the first few days but then some bad weather rolls in and we rationalize that we wouldn't want to pick up a nasty cold or sore throat so we beg off from the daily stroll.

Does any of this sound familiar?  We humans are great starters but our sticktoitiveness is often in short supply.  I think this problem manifests itself in some other ways too.  Marriages fail because people find it easier to jump into a new relationship than to take the time and trouble to fix the old one.  People choose to leave their flawed church rather than invest in making it into the ideal church they've always dreamed of being a part of.  It's about commitment.

Being aware of the problem puts us on the path toward a solution.  I'm back to walking regularly again, and I plan to be more regular at posting to my blog.  I will try to offer things worth reading, or things that will brighten your day.

Finally back in the blogger saddle,

P.S. If you read this leave a comment to let me know.  My goal is to provide a dialogue place where we can share thoughts and ideas.  Besides that I am pathetically dependent upon your feedback to keep me going.