Saturday, January 25, 2014

Why God? – The Right Place To Start!

Cross-Posted From:
Cry out to God

It seems more commonplace to hear the impassioned question “Why God?!” than to hear the more intellectual inquiry “Why God?” The former, typically, comes with crying out over hearing of some horrendously evil act in the world or a natural disaster or a friend’s life-threatening illness or a family member’s untimely death or some other form of suffering; whereas the latter, usually, comes from just wanting to gain understanding. On a personal level, I’ve been hearing quite a bit of the former lately and that’s caused me to consider the appropriateness of asking God either form of this question.

I have to admit that, when I consider asking God, The Creator of all, any question, my instincts tell me that doing so would be impertinent and my first thought is, “Who do you think you are?!” Next, I think, “Even if it is OK for me to ask God ‘Why?’, what makes me think He owes me any explanation.” But, when you rely on the natural to discern the supernatural, you’re likely to miss the mark. A devotional I came across, by Pastor Greg Laurie, also entitled “Why God?”, has helped me to recognize that my instincts have been off target with this. Pastor Greg says,

“I don’t think it is ever a bad thing to ask God why. Some people will say that we should never question God. But I question God all the time. I don’t mean that I doubt His existence. But I do say, ‘Lord, I don’t understand why you have done (thus and so). . . . Why, Lord?’
As you read the psalms, you see that many times the psalmist cried out, in essence, ‘Why, God? Why have You allowed this in my life?’
And Jesus Himself asked, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ (Matthew 27:45–47).
So don’t think it is wrong to ask, ‘Why, God?’ It isn’t wrong. But let me add this: don’t expect an answer, necessarily. You can ask all you want. And maybe the Lord will give you an answer. But in most cases, He won’t. Quite frankly, I think that if He did, we wouldn’t understand it anyway.”

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sizing People Up

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A few months ago, I heard Pastor Dave Rolph start his Sunday morning teaching on Matthew 7-1:6 with an anecdote about people watching. Comments in his opening remarks included: “People watching. It’s fun. It’s really easy to read people and categorize them. But sometimes you can be really wrong.” To illustrate this, he told the following story:

One Sunday morning, when he was an Assistant Pastor at another church and he was with a group of Pastors who had gathered to count the Offering, he started talking about, Pastor Don, a widower on staff who had a new girlfriend. Other Pastors talked about how beautiful she was but Dave said, “Yeah, you know, but there’s something weird about her. The way she looks at you is kind of strange. You ever notice they always sit on the front row, like they just want to be seen? But the creepiest thing is, you guys, if you notice, when you’re up there praying at the pulpit, she starts to bow her head and then she just stares at you. She’s like obsessed with you the whole time you’re praying and then, right at the end of the prayer, she bows her head like she had her head bowed the whole time. That’s just weird.” Then, a couple of the other Pastors joined in agreement, saying, “Yeah, that’s strange!” Shortly after that, Pastor Don arrived to help with the counting. Of course, the other Pastors changed the subject and as they did that, Don mentioned, “My girlfriend, Leslie, because she’s deaf, …” With that, of course, the gossiping Pastors realized, as Pastor Dave said, “She sits on the front row because she reads lips! She stares at you while you’re praying because she’s reading your lips and she looks kind of funny because she’s just intently reading what it is that you’re trying to say.”

Thursday, January 16, 2014

All Are Precious In His Sight

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This past week, I got to spend a little time with a First Grade Teacher who is also one of my very favorite people. She was teaching our class to join her class in singing and signing a song called The World Is A Rainbow. This was in preparation for an assembly that, I assumed, was related to the upcoming Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Although it would be an oversimplification (and somewhat outdated) for me to say that her purpose in this was to teach racial harmony, that was certainly a part of what she had in mind.
My first lesson in racial harmony came when I was First-Grade-aged or younger and it took place in church, not in school. Then, the song we sang was entitled Jesus Loves The Little Children. As I thought of these differences in experiences between the kids of today and the kids of my day, that led me to consider the ramifications.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Above Reproach

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This past Thursday, in addressing a scandal in his administration, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie conducted himself in a way I’d like to see emulated by every government official. Not surprisingly, political pundits are weighing in with their views on various ramifications of this crisis. The impact of this on Christie’s potential 2016 run for U.S. President seems to be chief among these observations. I believe it’s thanks to this mentality, fomented by the press and how this influences government officials (especially the elected ones), that forthright behavior, like this example of Governor Christie’s, has become so rare in our public office holders.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Lookin’ For Hate In All The Wrong Places

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In the recent controversy related to Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty, there were two major learning opportunities (one for each of the opposing sides on this issue) that seemed to be completely overlooked. I know, considering the Second-Coming-level of attention this was given, it’s hard to believe that even the slightest detail could have been missed. However, particularly with the reactions I got to my stated position on the matter, I did see a couple of openings for teachable moments that I thought, if utilized, could result in a very meaningful silver lining coming out of this brouhaha. So, now that A&E has reversed their original decision, before the dust completely settles, I want to explore these learning opportunities, in hopes of capturing the gain they may hold.