Dec 28, 2007

A Course in Humility?

Ever experience a day where you just know something is going to go wrong? Not wrong in the manner that things don't go the way you desire them to, but wrong in the manner that something bad is going to happen, and it just gets worse. That's a slight hint of how it felt this morning. The twist? It was as if everything was gonna be just fine, then the comfort is shattered by the thought of it being way too good to be true.

Today was an exception to the rule, be prepared for anything. Being a fast-food manager you tend to think on the fly, and sometimes react in ways you had no idea you were capable. There is also a laundry list of things that I could rattle off that would attribute to what went wrong, but I'd rather focus on what went right.

At approximately 10:45 this morning the crew at work were preparing for the lunch rush. There was instruction from the store supervisor to check the plug on one of the grill units that were malfunctioning before spending the money on a service call. Well, doing this was just not a smart decision amidst all the chaos of switching from breakfast to lunch and dealing with all the other intangibles that were beginning to accumulate. Somewhere in all that confusion, the supervisor's decision resulted in the breaking of a "gas connector" in the back of the grill. I smelled gas in the front of the store service area and went to see if I could "assist" in remedying the problem. As I reconnected the gas hose and assured it was properly fastened, I turned the gas back on and flipped the switch on the grill.

Well, you may have guessed by now, but if you haven't, the excess gas ignited. As I was lying on my side with my head and arm underneath said grill unit a humongous fireball careened down the back of the grill, rushed underneath it, and just merely flirted with my face and skin. The moment I seen and felt the heat and flame rush toward me I somehow managed to accept it for what it was, and didn't sense any real imminent threat. In that split second of insanity as the flames retreated away from my face and back up the rear of the grill, I rolled out from underneath looked up at the crew and told everyone to immediately vacate. I don't think I've ever seen my crew move that fast. That was amazing. Everyone got out safely and the emergency fire suppression system functioned as it was supposed to.

The irony in all of this is the mere idea that when people in a drive-thru witness the store's crew running out of it, they sit there waiting for their food. Some of them, even when told to hurry and leave resorted to asking "why". I'm not sure if the panicked tone in my voice conveyed the necessity of urgency or not, but they sure didn't get it. When the fire and police arrived on scene and made sure all was alright we gathered in the parking lot to await clearance from the fire Marshall to re-enter the building. Customers continued to pull into the parking lot and to the drive-thru despite the two firetrucks, three squad cars, and an ambulance. The best part is that they kept asking me as I sat at the driveway instructing them to keep moving if we were open.

Nevertheless, the lack of concern by the upper management, the half-hearted apology by the owner, and the neglected maintenance and upkeep of the store are all issues that kind of added injury to insult. A few straggling customers asked if we were ok, but generally, everyone cared more about their big macs and French-fries more than whether the store was on fire or not. Let alone whether the crew were all o.k..

I find the comment "It's a miracle" by all those who count my lack of injury good fortune slightly humorous. But its assuring to know that it really isn't a miracle at all. Is it? His vast mercy and Grace shown to those whom He knows are His is the miracle. Jesus Christ was merely doing what He does everyday. The thought that if I were to die on the floor this morning was not troubling at all. I actually cracked a smile a majority of the time I pondered it. While slightly shaken and angered at the injustice of my "employer" and their policies, I count it joy to be in Christ Jesus and that I would've gone home to glory.

This whole experience really causes me to reflect on the notion that mankind is completely ignorant and blinded by his own sin and rebelliousness. We can observe anything when involves the end result of our own treatment or pleasure being affected, but when it comes to the observation of the true nature of this world system and the nature of its evil they turn a blind eye to it. If hindsight is 20/20 and we can only see truth when we look upon it in the past tense, then I rejoice in the truth of the Lord's word. He has eradicated any tense being placed upon His truth as it is eternal. He has revealed the truth needed to free mankind from his self-made prison and reveal the true love and knowledge of reconciliation with our creator. A flaming fire-ball to the face has nothing on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ! PRAISE HIM!

I am humbled by His majesty and His mercy. Today could've been it for me. Not too often do you come face to face with something so destructive and inhuman as this and walk away with true knowledge of its purpose. The Lord is glorified in all things, and in all things, I seek to give Him what is due Him. Today I will heed this lesson. I thank Him for it. Pray for those who are blind to the truth in Christ Jesus today. Pray they understand the truth in Him revealed through creation and His word.

And remember,

(Rom 1:20) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

They have been given the warning, the truth, and the necessary information to draw a conclusion. The question really is, do they really hear it?

Dec 25, 2007

My Sovereign Lord

(if you have dial-up please press pause to speed up page loading)

Almighty God,

Thank You for the redemption of those whom you have known before the foundations of the earth. Thank you for remembering me, that day, that hour, that moment you shattered the hardness of my heart and gave me faith to repent and trust you as my Lord! My Lord and my God. Thank you doesn't describe the grace and mercy you have shown someone as undeserving as I. To see my life in light of the life you have provided causes me to shudder at the thought that you could even begin to Love me. My works and deeds of a past life rendered useless to my redemption but encompassed in the work of your hands wrought out in the plan for my salvation.

Can I ever begin to dishonor you of with such a thought that I could repay such a debt. What a burden it would be to attempt to give back something so vast and wide as your mercy. Should it be that I may even fall short in thinking I could ever ponder such a feeble, unrealistic thought?

Lord. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your mercy.

I would like to add, that although I love my family very much, I can't help but resist the sick feeling in my stomach when I witness the children consumed with greed, selfishness, conceit, hostility, and a total lack of understanding and teaching of what Christmas means. Thank you america for creating a nation of monsters, but ever so slightly reinforcing the truths of scripture and the truth that we are all completely and utterly wicked and depraved. I need not include much more detail as I'm sure many of you reading this have witnessed the stubborn, disobedient, and repulsive nature of a child that isn't getting their way and have resolved to viewing a spectacle created and nurtured by parents of a materialistic, godless, consumer holiday called Xmas. And if that description offends you, I'm sorry, holidays.

Because here is what Christmas is really about...

Luk 2:8-14
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.
And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

While this may be a repetitive citation of a neglected passage, let me remind you this....

(Rom 1:16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.


Dec 16, 2007

Quick Thought: Snow

(after being pounded by a huge snowstorm, the mid-west is buried. The news is full of tragedy, shoveling tips, and plenty of empathy for those who are snowed in)

When I suited up this morning, donned my snowsuit, gloves, beanie, and boots I joyfully trudged out the door and off the porch. In the past my reaction was always, "MAN SNOW! RATS!" Now as I stood knee deep in wet, white, snow drifts, I was able to crack a huge smile and rejoice in knowing the Lord is sovereign. Even amidst the dangerous inconveniences and mayhem that snow brings, I can't help but observe that the reason our reaction and ability to adapt to so much snow falling and creating catastrophe is always with much reluctance because we have created so many things to suit ourselves in the environment instead suiting ourselves to the environment. We've created a society based on industrialization, mass production, and abuse of the natural environment that occurs around us. This society in turn requires an abnormal amount of change to occur in the areas we settle in that when the snow does fall, it's a major disaster because it does what? It impedes our comings and goings. The pace of our lifestyles are all but halted, panic sets in, and sometimes, the power goes out. Then what? Rely on what? Watch what TV? Surf what internet? Now something that is ever so natural, part of the earth and it's age old cycle of weather, and an occurrence we can do absolutely nothing about becomes chaos. The finger is pointed at global warming, or the effect humans have on the ecosystem and their "carbon footprints" or whatever they are called.

Maybe, just maybe, we can stop and think that the reason disasters are so disastrous is because they inconvenience us and slow us down. The big picture is the halting of human progress and his ever obvious desire for conquest and power. Either way, I look at the snow, and I see His Glory manifest in the earth. In joy, sorrow, strife, pain, happiness, or misery His Glory. It is all His, and the earth is filled with it.


Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
(Luk 21:32-35)(ESV)

P.s. Michigan is the Winter Wonderland right?

(photo is credit of: Dan Lassiter, AP/The Janesville Gazette)

Dec 7, 2007

The Paradigm of Christian Living

John 15:18-20 says,

18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

Can we rightfully examine ourselves against these scriptures? Is it possible that our minds tell us we do not have to adhere to this because it is entirely too difficult to be a Christian in today’s society? Can we imagine what it must have been like to walk with Jesus himself and be a light in a dark world? Do we speak of righteousness, love, and Christian living to the extent that we are mocked, scoffed, and sometimes even threatened for the things we stand for? Have you ever experienced co-workers, family, friends, or strangers avoiding you purposely because of the light you do shine? If this is not outwardly and inwardly a characteristic of your Christian walk, we must ask if we are Christian or a Hypocrite.

I John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

What causes Christian living to become even more difficult than persecution? Let’s reflect on the aspect that non-believers, the lost, unsaved, and other pagan religions are constantly casting their eyes upon us to watch us fall. What are some of the most efficient ways to make us fall in this world? Being of the world, loving our materialistic possessions, bank accounts, self-righteousness, ego, pride, and participating in the God-less culture of our nation is condemned by violating the Second Commandment.

Exodus 20:4-6 4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Worldly desires, thoughts, and living are indicative of either the narrow path or the broad path. Satan delights in the ease of steering believers off the path to the Kingdom. How is it that we can allow such trivial, minor things to consume our social patterns, habits, and language to the extent of eradicating the light within? Is serving the Father too painstaking? Is it shameful to proclaim the Gospel to the world? Is it too difficult to trade in the old life for the new? Is it not that being born again brings about new life, desires, and a clean, pure heart? If we are not walking in the ways of the Lord but of the world than we must examine ourselves against the scripture and we must dedicate our lives to the Lord.

Philippians 2:12-18

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. 17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

He laid down his life so that we may have everlasting life. Does the Lord not deserve every soul for which he gave his life on the cross for? Is your soul one of those souls? Are you like Jesus and accused of being a friend to sinners? We are called to share the love gift of Jesus Christ, not withhold it treasure it as if it were a secret only we know. Jesus Christ proved his love for us by dying on the cross 2000 years ago. We can prove our love for him by taking the Gospel to the world. We must bare our cross and die to self, the world, and our life must be resurrected with the Savior and reflect his light upon the world.

John 12:25

25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

In conclusion I urge you to look in the mirror of the Lord. Does your reflection shine back his grace and love? Or does it reflect an outward appearance of faith that contains an inward reflection of disbelief?

I John 2:28-29

28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

Dec 5, 2007

December Giveaway from

December DVD Giveaway

This is going to be the last of the “Great Giveaways” for 2007. Over the past four months I’ve been able to give away books, Bibles, CDs and all sorts of good things. We’ll be closing out the year on a high note here, with giving away the Modern Parables DVD set.

The Sponsor

modern_parables.jpgThis month’s sponsor is Modern Parables. Modern Parables is “an original Bible study curriculum designed for people who like movies. It is the first in a planned series of film-driven studies on the parables. The films are uniquely designed to parallel the original parable and thereby drive the viewer back toward the Biblical text. The 12-lesson study (with 6 additional lessons on cinema and theology) uses short dramatic films that explain Jesus’ parables using the particular strength of the cinematic medium. In other words, just watching the films helps teach the historical, grammatical, contextual and interpretive elements in the parables.”

Earlier this month I posted a review of their DVDs (read it here) and concluded “I’m grateful for this series of films, a series which I learned about only recently. I am thrilled to know that it is only the first in what is intended to be a set. I’m going to watch these films often and am certain I’ll enjoy watching them again with my children. I hope I will other opportunities to use them. And I’ll wait impatiently for Volume II.”

Here is just one of the previews for the series of films:

This series is ideal for Sunday School classes, Youth Groups, Small Group Bible Studies, Community Outreach/Evangelism, Middle and High School Bible Classes and Home School Curriculum.

To learn more, click here

The Prizes

  • First prize: Modern Parables box set which includes all the DVDs, a member book and a leader book, six movie posters (one for each parable…posters measure 11”x17”) and ten student books (a value of over $250!).
  • Second prize: Modern Parables box set and six movie posters.
  • Third Prize: Modern Parables box set.

Small Print

As with previous giveaways, you can increase your chances of winning by referring others. Details and other smallish print is available in the contest area. I recommend you read it. Last time a potential winner forfeited the prize because he did not join the mailing list!

Enter the Draw

You can enter the draw here (Please read the instructions carefully!):

Please Click This Link To Enter