Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dumb dads part I

I was driving around the other day and this song from the band Kansas came on the radio...

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

Now that you have the tune in your head....


Carry on my wayward son.... keep doing what you are doing.... and will there really be peace when you are done?

I have an idea I will get to after church...

Friday, August 15, 2008

A new post

As requested I decided to post a little thing before bed....

A few weeks ago a friend of mine was talking about when Moses was up on the mountain and Aaron and Israelites were at the bottom of the mountain. The scripture reference is Exodus 31 and 32. The Israelites thought that Moses died up on the mountain and so turned to Aaron to make them a god they could worship. So Aaron asked for their gold and be made a calf and then Aaron saw that the people were pretty happy about this so he built an alter in front of the calf and told them all that the next day they would feast before the LORD! THE LORD?! Actually the calf was an in imitation of the Egyptian god Typho, who they Egyptians actually didn’t like because Typho was the enemy of Osiris. Anyway, they build this alter and then work up early the next day to worship before it. They brought burnt offerings and peace offerings and then it says that the Israelites rose up to play. Some think that this means they were lewd and committed fornication.
Isn’t this the same people who in the same place heard the voice of God in the fire, got so scared that they sent Moses up to deal with Him? And was Aaron take part in bringing the plagues on the Egyptians? I guess in his defense maybe Aaron was thinking that the people wouldn’t give up their gold and thereby wouldn’t have to make a god for them.
Actually, upon further thought… maybe that just shows an even greater weakness.

Anyway, they start worshipping and God takes notice. This is greatly comforting to me. He does cares. Really. But God gets very mad here and even though He tells Moses that he wants to wipe the whole lot of them out because of it he holds back. Moses makes a good argument and God’s wrath subsides but he sends Moses to deal with it. Moses grabs the two tables that the finger of God writes and goes down and gets mad. I’d like to think that part of Moses’ anger was actually the wrath of God flowing through Moses. In any case God’s wrath burned in Moses.

On the way down, Joshua said it sound like there is war in the camp. Unfortunately he seems more like a side note here. Well, there was but the people caved and the battle was already over. Moses says no, it is singing and I don’t think it is a good sign. As soon as they see the people dancing and carrying on be gets mad and throws the tables that God had written on down at the foot of the mountain. I think this got their attention because the very next verse says Moses grabbed the golden calf, burned it, ground it into powder, put it in the water and made the people drink it. That is mad. This wasn’t a slow process. He had to build a fire, melt it down, let it cool, grind it to powder (!!!) and then put it in the water and make them drink it. Man, that is mad. And what were the people thinking when he was doing this? And what was Moses saying? Was he muttering under his breath? Was he completely silent?

Now don’t forget this is the same guy who just a few months earlier, argued with God because he felt like he couldn’t even speak right or well. And here he is grinding a golden image into powder to make the people drink. What was the difference? I think he remembered what God had done, sure. But he had also just sent more than a month communing with God on the mountain top.

Moses looks to his right hand man and asks what did these people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them? Immediately, Aaron starts making excuses… you know these people are set on evil … and my favorite…. I threw the gold in the fire and out popped this calf. Really. I don’t buy it and I don’t think Moses did either, nor would any rational man. Was it a miracle? He makes it sound like he threw the gold in and a real live golden calf jumps out of the fire. He makes no mention of his engraving it, or making it. I think that this was not an appropriate apology neither to Moses nor God. In fact God said in Duet. 9:20 that his anger burned against Aaron, but Moses prayed for him.

So now we get to the point…. Moses feeds the people the gold then stand at the edge of the camp and says whoever is on the Lord’s side come to my side. All the sons of Levi came to his side. What a father this Levi must have been. All of his sons. I want that. Even though I realize Levi wasn’t around… his descendents still choose well. How much more he is to be envied that only his descendents stood up and choose right.

Moses says put on your sword and go throughout the camp, from gate to gate and kill your brothers, your neighbors and your companions. That is serious business. but then he adds, today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord…

To be continued…..

Monday, May 12, 2008

Meditations on the world as seen today

Here is a doomsday meditation. We've all probably heard about the cyclone in Myanmar. There are about 100,000 dead already and now the government is likely going to be the cause of much more death than the storm itself. Of course the tornadoes over the weekend that killed several people on my back door steps. There was an earthquake in China and there are at least 7,600 dead at the time of this writing and then I heard on NPR (that bastion of liberal thought) that there is a volcano in Chile's remote Patagonia area is erupting.

I can't help but wonder if these are part of the birth pangs that Romans talks about or if it is just the earth groaning under the weight of humanity or if it is just the way things are...It does seem to me like these things go in cycles though... like there doesn't seem to be a whole lot going on in the way of disasters and then all of a sudden bam, bam, bam... three or four in a row.

Of course these are things out of our control, but other things like the food shortages and all the craziness involved with that is more a mismanagement issue I think, or a sin issue... call it what you will. Greed and the polluted heart of unregenerate man has caused this one.

Still, there is a whole out there full of despair that seldom touches me. Even when I see it on tv or hear about it on the radio or the latest missionary tale of some third world country... it doesn't sink in often that they are talking about real people. God help me.

Anyway, today I feel a little more overwhelmed by it all. It is like God has spread my heart open a little and let me feel a minute part of what he feels. And there is a rising urgency to be more vocal, to be more active, to make sure that I am doing what I can and am supposed to... making sure that when I get to the end and meet my father face to face he isn't disappointed.

So this is today... the only one like it... the only one.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Evaluate yourself, your marriage, your Christianity. Where are you? What do you see? How are things?
Are you a Christian? Do you believe in the Word of God, the Ways of God? Do you believe that outside the Ways of God you are doomed to fail?
What if God said something you didn’t like? What if he said you needed to quit your job to spend more time with your family? What if he told you to sell your house and change your lifestyle so the wife in the house could stay home and raise your children? What if he was telling you to home school your children?
Are the things of this world, the things in this life more important that the things of God? Do the things of this world carry more weight than the things of God? Do you give them more credibility? Do you submit to the world system, church system or do you submit to the system the creator of the universe has established?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A friend of mine...

Well it is Sunday so I guess that means I need to write something... why is it only on Sundays? Maybe I should have called this Sunday Night Meanderings...

Anyway, today a friend of mine was talking about how we carry around burdens that we weren't meant to carry. He said that it is God's responsibility to do what he said he would do and not our responsibility to do what God said he was going to do.

He used the example of Abraham. God told Abraham that he would be the Father of many, before he was the Father of any. But Abraham got a little anxious and took on a burden to do what God said he would do and we get Ishmael. God wasn't too happy about it and we are still dealing with Abraham thinking he knew how God wanted to do what he wanted to do instead of letting God do it.

I am not doing it justice, but he was very articulate and it was impactive to me.

Anyway, I was thinking about this in relation to a lot of things in life. The latest series on missions for one. I think it is pretty clear that we get worked up about being a voice in the world, but that is because we are taking on God's burden. Our part is to be obedient God, to what we know is right and what we hear the Spirit saying but he is the one who changes a persons heart. We don't.

Another is this whole thing about prophetic words, which we talked about a little bit at homegroup. I've gotten a lot of prophetic words about this or that but my take on it is that God will do what he said he would do and if I try to do something God said he would do before it is time, or in a way other than what God has planned than I have an Ishmael and believe me, I don't want to deal with that for years to come... frankly I have enough of my goofiness to deal with. So... I don't get real worked up about it.

Anyway, one of the things that I think would help a lot of people is if they just relaxed. I am not saying be lazy but we get so worked up about things that I think it is counter productive. I mean clearly we have to do our part, but our part isn't to do God's part.

I realize this post is a little rough, but for the few you read this I hope I made sense.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Anyway, just thinking...

I've been thinking lately about our rewards... or should I say meditating on the idea of rewards... or maybe God has been talking to me about rewards.

Anyway, in the First Book of Samuel David said, The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness,(1Sa 26:23)He said this right after he DIDN'T kill Saul, even though he could have.

Then in Hebrews it says that without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb 11:6)

Just based on these two scriptures it seems that our rewards are tied directly to us responding to God and not much else.

There are things that I want... not selfish things... kingdom things. There are things that I would consider to be great rewards, things outside of myself but I am thinking that it is predicated on these scriptures and on what Jesus says in the Book of Matthew... seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mat 6:33)

So now comes the real questions, the real focus of my meditations... do I believe he rewards those who seek him, am I seeking him, am I being faithful, am I being righteous, am I drawing near to God, am I wanting Him more than the reward?

I guess if I am focusing on the reward than I would be focusing on the wrong thing. These scriptures seem to say that our focus needs to be on the rewarder not the reward and that the reward is simply the natural outflowing of a Good Father loving on his child. Again, it comes back to intimacy with Father, always, it returns to this.

I like these versus out of Matthew again where Jesus makes it clear the Father's heart toward his children... Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Mat 7:7-11)

Here again though it talks of relationship. A father to his child. Not a stranger to another. If God is a stranger to us... yikes! I guess there are bigger problems than a reward.

So the ending thought is this... maybe the true reward is having an intimate relationship with our Father in Heaven. Maybe He is the only reward we need.

Anyway, just thinking...

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Here is something to think about...

Sleep is the ultimate form of trust.

-- from Sweden

Monday, March 10, 2008

A quote

Here is a quote that I am meditating on... more or less... ok, a little less than more but still, I am thinking about what I think about this:

In the end, everything is OK.

If everything is not OK then it is not the end.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Notes and Thoughts from Joe on Sunday 03-09-2008 Missions

I posted this on my home group blog and thought that it deserved repeating here.

This week Doug talked about ... missions... and how it really comes from abiding in Christ.

No fruit will come if there is no root in Christ... without the root, there is no fruit.

“Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”

This statement is reflected in the individuals prayer closet. If we don’t have an active prayer life, we are doing something apart from Him and it will bear no fruit.

If we try to have intimacy without abiding we end up living in principle without the person of Christ which is a fancy way to say we are Pharisees.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17
Apostolic Ministry
2:14 But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession26 in Christ27 and who makes known28 through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place. 2:15 For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing – 2:16 to the latter an odor29 from death to death, but to the former a fragrance from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?30 2:17 For we are not like so many others, hucksters who peddle the word of God for profit,31 but we are speaking in Christ before32 God as persons of sincerity,33 as persons sent from God.

Intimacy will never really happen where there is no love of God.

Here is an interesting verse. 1 Corinthians 16:22 says, Let anyone who has no love for the Lord be accursed (anathema). Our Lord, come!

Pronunciation: an-ath'-em-ah
1) a thing set up or laid by in order to be kept
1a) specifically, an offering resulting from a vow, which after being consecrated to a god was hung upon the walls or columns of the temple, or put in some other conspicuous place
2) a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and if ananimal, to be slain; therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction
2a) a curse
2b) a man accursed, devoted to the direst of woes

Definition 2a is particularly sobering... to think that you can be devoted to God without the hope of redemption.... yikes!

2 Samuel 6

This is the story of Uzzah and Ahio. These were sons of Abinadab, whose house contained the ark for 20 years.

So as David was bringing the ark back …
2 Samuel 6:6 says, "When they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and grabbed hold of 13 the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 6:7 The Lord was so furious with Uzzah, he killed him on the spot for his negligence. He died right there beside the ark of God.

These two sons knew how to treat the ark. But they grew to accustomed to the presence not being in it’s rightful place. And out of irreverence they steadied the ark and were smote (nice word... smote). Obviously, today there is Christ and things are a little different. BUT, we are still the same and too often irreverent and used to the presence of God not being in it’s rightful place in our lives.

They lost the love and respect of God and it caused them to take it for granted and not reverence it. The lack of respect and reverence is just as common today. It becomes intellectual, principle-oriented and not intimate reliance on God.

We get cold and act like we don’t need mercy any more; that somehow we are better off than we think we are, that somehow we have enough of God. But Jesus said if you have broken one commandment, you have broken all of them. We love little because we think we have been forgiven little, but in reality, we all have been forgiven much.
We need to be grateful, which is being warmly, deeply appreciative of his kindness.

Isaiah 12
12:1 At that time you will say:
“I praise you, O Lord,
for even though you were angry with me,
your anger subsided, and you consoled me.
12:2 Look, God is my deliverer!
I will trust in him and not fear.
For the Lord gives me strength and protects me;
he has become my deliverer.”
12:3 Joyfully you will draw water
from the springs of deliverance.
12:4 At that time you will say:
“Praise the Lord!
Ask him for help!
Publicize his mighty acts among the nations!
Make it known that he is unique!
12:5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done magnificent things,
let this be known throughout the earth!
12:6 Cry out and shout for joy, O citizens of Zion,
for the Holy One of Israel acts mightily among you!”

It won’t be Good news to others, if it is not Good news to you.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Meditations on Matthew 4 and Hebrews 12 (Follow the Links - It's FUN!!)

Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

I think in meditating on Scripture I think it is important to pray it, say it aloud and think about it.

Anyway, in Hebrews 12 it says That we should see to it that no one becomes an immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that later when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance, although he sought the blessing with tears.

I think in some way this has always bothered me because he sought repentance with tears and yet he couldn't find it and was rejected.

Then you have someone like David who commits adultery and murders a guy, which most people would consider a little worse on the human sin scale, and he can find repentance and even favor with God.

My meditation on repenting this brought me to thoughts on humility. It seems to me that Esau couldn't find repentance because he wasn't humble and sought restoration for the wrong reasons. He wanted what was coming to him even though it meant so little to him before. He tears were more for himself than for denouncing his heritage and the name of his father.

David on the other hand humbled himself before his heavenly father. Even though he had done despicable things to other people David says to God said in Psalm 51 Against you and you alone have I sinned. Later David goes so far as to ask God for words to say to make things right. You see very little of David's pride here and a lot of his humility.

Proverbs 24 says that by humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life.

As long as my feet walk this earth, as long as God continues to see fit to give me the gift of one more day, I choose humility and life or arrogance and death.

Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


So, I am trying to take up meditation, which is harder than one might think.

Wikipedia says.. Meditation is a discipline in which the mind is focused on an object of thought or awareness. It usually involves turning attention to a single point of reference. The practice may engender a higher state of consciousness. Meditation is recognized as a component of almost all religions, and has been practice for over 5,000 years.

The word meditation comes from the Latin meditatio, which originally indicted every type of physical or intellectual exercise, then later evolved into the more specific meaning “contemplation.”

I don’t think it is something that is done in mindless repetition of sayings or sounds, but more the contemplation of an idea or thought.

In the Book of Isaiah it says, …My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

I read recently that the secret of effective meditation is quoting Scripture back to God with the spirit rather than the mind. This means that rather than trying to intellectually understand God’s truth, we discern it by His Spirit speaking to our spirit. In the Book of First Corinthians it says that “the things of the Spirit of God … are spiritually discerned”

That is my point. Not that I can attain the understanding of God’s thoughts… I mean I know that if I meditate on God, or Scriptures with my mind I would undoubtedly become proud and “puffed up”. BUT if I meditate on God or Scripture with my spirit and in my heart, then God or Scripture evaluates me and my heart. In that way I am humbled.

So, I am trying to meditate on a verse a week. The verse I have been mediating on this week is out of Matthew 4 where Jesus begins his ministry with “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”


for the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven is near.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Innocence Lost

It seems to me that one of the most valuable things in this life is our innocence. This isn’t an argument for or against original sin or original glory. It is simply a statement on how I am raising my three sons.

I remember years of try to experience everything in life. That was my goal… to experience everything… and for the most part I did a good job. But, really what I experienced was heartache, disappointment, loneliness and loss.

I was left to my own devises at an early age and too often made my own, usually immature decisions.

But as I grow older I am seeing the innocence in my children and am dying everyday to protect it. The television is on less, the video games are played less, the internet is surfed less. Although, there is still television, video games, internet, et cetera, I am seeing more and more the value of less and less of it all.

Why does my 9-year-old need to learn about beer and bras from television, or how to use a sniper rifle from Call of Duty, or the debauchery found in most every nook and cranny of the internet. One of my 9-year-olds son’s friends found his way to nude pictures of one the stars from High School Musical. Ugh. Is this a conversation I need to be having with my son at this point in his life? What is wrong with maintaining his innocence as long as possible?

A good friend of mine said that he doesn’t mind his son seeing so much of the world at such a young age. His theory is twofold. First, he was raised worldly-wise and second, it will better prepare his son for dealing with the world.

I won’t call it a bad way to raise a child... that is between him, God, his wife and his children. However, I have to ask what is wrong with waiting? I say, let’s teach them what Truth is and then walk with them through this corrupt world system. Let’s not simply deploy them into it and hope for the best. Instead of doing it like it was done, let’s do it better. Let’s fight for innocence. It really is one of the only things we can never get back.

Genesis 2:4 says that the man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed. I think at least part of the term “naked” here means innocence.

There is no fear of exploitation, no sense of vulnerability. Not vulnerability in the sense of weakness like a delicate flower or a baby chick, but a vulnerability that comes from strength of character and integrity like a great warrior. But after the fall of mankind, nakedness takes on a negative sense. Innocence is lost and shame is found. There is a sense of weakness, exploitation, and exposure. There is no peace, there is always struggle.

So, I diligently fight for the innocence and purity of my children’s hearts. I am not perfect, but like Josie Wales once said, I “endeavor to persevere” for their souls sake.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bloggin, understandin and puddin

This is the place where I will work through the thoughts and things that are swimming around in my head.

Someone relatively famous once said that it is only by talking or writing our thoughts out that they begin to make sense. (When I remember who I will edit this post.) As I battle through this post-modern landscape I want nothing more than to make sense.

A friend I had in college said once that the only way to be understood is to make yourself understood. It isn't the fault of others if they don't "get" or "understand" you.

By the way, it isn't pudding... its puddin'