Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's Not About the Bible - Pt 2

I guess we need to start with some definitions.

  • The Church is, biblically speaking, the body of Christ or the bride of Christ or the body of believers/those who belong to Christ. (See Eph 2:20-22; Col 1:18; Heb 3:6; 1Cor 12:12ff)
  • The Church is NOT the building. The Church CAN meet in a building. The building doesn't have to have a steeple. It doesn't even have to have pews.
  • For our discussion here, the term church is anything that embodies the idea of church, whether the building or the people in the building, or the things that go on inside the building, i.e. preaching, The Ten Commandments, formality implied by dress or structure of a "church service."
  • Unchurched. That's just another way of saying unsaved or non-Christians. (Some might even use the term pagan.)

Some--and I said SOME--churches today are doing everything they can to avoid looking "church." I've already chronicled some of the ways they accomplish that in my previous post. The argument is that they are being evangelistic by getting "unchurched" people (UP's) to come to venues/activities where they are more comfortable. This sounds like bait-and-switch to me. The new church planters say they are not changing the message, just the method. Sounds good, at first. But what are they really saying/doing?

So, the new church planters go and find out what turns people off about church and then build their church around the opposite of those things. The problem is they've missed the point. I said it before, and I'll say it again: It's not about the church. It's not about the Bible.

So what is it? It is about hatred for God. The UP's (at least the ones I've encountered) are looking for something that makes them feel good about the way they live now! They want to give themselves and/or their children a "spiritual foundation," but they don't want it to be "churchy." They don't want someone or anything telling them what to do. "Just tell me how to fell better about my marriage. Tell me how to get a better job. Help me find some new friends. AND DON'T TELL ME I'M A SINNER." Their God is themselves, their opinion, their own standard. That's a violation of the First and Second Commandments:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me (Exodus 20:3-5)

What the UP's need is for people to quit lying to them; quit trying to sucker them into church. They need to hear that God is love; but they also need to hear that He doesn't tolerate sin. They need to hear that He is a jealous God and that He will not "share" His rightful place with anyone or anything else. Don't sugar-coat it; don't down-play it. Just tell the Truth. Tell them ABOUT the Truth (John 14:6).

Here's the deal. Before God regenerates any of us--NONE of us want anything to do with God, church, the Bible, etc. Our hearts are dead to those things (1 Cor 2:14; Eph 2:5). We shouldn't be surprised that UP's "don't like church"--neither did we at one point. But God "made us alive," drew us to Himself and gave us the desire/ability to cry out to Him for salvation (Eph 2:8-9).

Our job IS NOT to try and make church appealing to UP's--because we already know it ISN'T!

So how do we reach the UP's with the Gospel? We take it to them--just like Jesus said: "Go out..." (Matthew 28:19-20) We take the Gospel to them in our words, our actions, our attitudes at work, etc. To quote Bill Hybels: "[Just] walk across the room."

The UP's are most certainly welcome in our worship services. We want them to come if they will, but that shouldn't change what we do because they might come. We want them to hear the glorious songs of praise to our Almighty God. We want them to hear the prayers for healing, for encouragement, for peace. We want them to hear the Word, unashamedly preached. We want them to feel welcomed. We want them come back. We want them to be saved. That's what church and the Bible are about.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's Not About the Bible - Pt 1

This may get a little long, but hang with me.

About three years ago, we left the church we were attending. The leadership had decided to go down the Purpose-Driven path, and we were not comfortable with that. So the search began, looking for a new church. This was no small quest, particularly since we had been part of the previous church for more than 16 years. We hated to leave for many reasons, but felt it was a necessary move.

First, I put together a list of potential churches, avoiding churches I knew we would not even consider (i.e. Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, Catholic). I included churches from denominations, as well as those that promoted themselves as "independent" or "Bible Church." I came up with a standard set of questions/criteria and began calling churches on the list. In many cases, I was greeted by a receptionist; on a couple of occasions, the Senior Pastor (for lack of a better term) answered the phone. The conversation would typically go something like this:

Me : My family and I are looking for a church home. Do you have time to answer a couple of questions?

Church Person (CP) : Oh, great! I'd love to tell you about our church. Do you have children? We have great "Children's" and "Youth" programs.

Me : Yes, we do; that's good to hear. Can you tell me a little bit about the church? What type or style of worship services do you have? How would you describe your pastor's/your preaching style? What makes you think your church would be a good church for us?

CP : Well, I've already mentioned the children/youth programs. We have some great adult Sunday School classes. Our pastor is WONDERFUL--he really preaches the Bible, but he makes it understandable/applicable. We have two worship services, one is contemporary, the other is traditional --OR-- We only have one service it's (contemporary/traditional/a blend of both, etc.

I think you get the idea.

I wasn't really surprised by the responses for the most part. Most of the churches seemed to be "cookie cutter" variety. Almost every one made it a point to tell me they had either been through The Purpose Driven Life or were preparing to do so. I crossed them off immediately. There were I couple I called that had some interesting responses. One CP told me (without prompting): "We're certainly NOT Calvinist! (I hadn't mentioned that, so it must have been something she felt she should make clear right up front.)

During most every conversations, the CP would ask: "What are you looking for in a church?" and I gave them all the same answer. "Well," I responded, "I'm looking for a church that has a high view of God and a high view of Scripture. I'd like a pastor that preaches pretty much verse-by-verse. I'm looking for a church that is more intersted in preaching and teaching than implementing programs. I'm looking for a Sunday School that is also Biblically sound, one that will teach me and my family and, at the same time, challenge us to live in a way that honors God." The majority responded: "You've described our church exactly!" (NOTE: We visited some of those churches. They didn't know what they were talking about.)

One pastor in particular made an interesting statement, which is where I'm headed here. The church was a new congregation in town. They didn't have a building yet, so they were meeting in a rented facility (I'll tie that back into my thoughts in a moment). After I introduced myself and told him the nature of my call he asked me the "what are you looking for" question and I answered exactly as I had answered the other CP's. There was a pause, and then he said: "We're probably not the church for you. We cater to the 20 to 35 [year-old] age group, typically unchurched." He went on to explain that their style of worship was very contemporary and that the sermons tended to be--although Biblically based--more positive talks or messages. They did not have a Sunday School.

Several thoughts came to my mind:
  • Why or how did he assume I was too old for his church. ( I never told him my age.)
  • I presume "unchurched" means non-Christian or unbeliever. The term strikes me as kinda funny, though. What happens once a person begins to regularly attend their meetings (church) and becomes "CHURCHED?" Are they allowed to continue attending, sense the focus group is the "unchurched."

Another thing that occured to me. That pastor was right--his church wasn't for us. Why? Well, it took me a while, but it finally hit me--and it's the same thing I see in lots of churches today. They're not about the Bible. In saying "we're focused on the unchurched," what I have discovered is these types of churches are trying to appeal to people that really DON'T LIKE church--traditional church. So in order to attract them, they have to make "church" NOT LOOK LIKE "church." How do they do it?" Robert Schueller and Rick Warren discovered the easiest way to figure this out was to poll the community; ask them what they don't like about church and then create a "church" (Warren refers to it as a "community") that doesn't look like the things they hate. AND IT WORKS!!! In no particular order:

  • Unchurched people (UP's) don't like a church to look like a church. Maybe it's because they can't afford a building right now--but I notice a lot of new churches, especially ones that are courting the unchurched, are meeting in movie theatres or other rented facilities--as long as they don't look like a church. UP's will come to a movie theatre.
  • UP's don't like hymns. The words don't make sense to them and they don't have a beat you can dance too. UP's like peppy, jazzy, sometimes loud, driving music--preferably with repetitive lyrics that are easy to learn.
  • UP's don't like "churchy" clothes. It's not that they can't afford nice clothes, they just don't want to feel like they are dressing to go to a funeral, wedding or the office (all way more formal events than going to church).
  • UP's DON'T like sermons. Sermons make them feel bad about themselves, especially ones that use negative words like "sin." UP's want to hear "encouraging talks" and "motivational discussions" about how to raise their children, find a better job, or have better sex.
  • UP's would prefer to have their Sundays free. A Saturday night service is best for them. Not because they have to work on Sunday--they just don't want to get up early. If they can go to church ("unchurch") on Saturday night and get that out of the way, then they can sleep in, go have brunch and do something fun on Sunday.

An individual said to me on another blog thread: "As I’ve read your blog post and your responses, I guess what keeps hitting me is that you have very little (if any) scriptural backing for the positions you have put forth in a rather forceful manner." You know--he may be right. It's not about the's all about looks that won't offend "unchurched" people.

Pt 2: What about "unchurched" people? How are we supposed to reach them?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Can't Help Myself!

EDIT 07.25.2007 : In an effort to maintain some symbolence of peace around here, I have removed the names of people and places from the post below. I still say, it wouldn't matter what this guy was selling, discussing, promoting, etc. He could be promoting worship, selling Amway or discussing wouldn't matter. I'm not taking him serious looking like that. If he had some type of deformity, etc. that would be one thing, but he did this on purpose!

When somebody lobs you a softball like this one, you just HAVE to wack the snot out of it!!!

One of the people pictured below is--from what I've been able to put together--an author of several books related to the emerging church (and no I haven't read any of them). It seems he is also looked to as an authority on worship--particularly in emerging churches. He recently appeared at a "church conference." I had never heard of this man before now. The only way I know about him is because of a this video on YouTube that was linked from another blog I frequent.

I didn't watch all of the video. I couldn't. I could not get past the hairdo!!! And I know--because it's already happened--that this man's fans will scream bloody murder over my comments (if they read them), but really now--WHAT DOES HE/THEY EXPECT?! How in the world does an ADULT walk out of the house looking like this and think: "Man, my 'do' is looking goooooood today!"

To the people that will see this and be offended, may I offer the following: If you REALLY want to be taken just a little bit serious...DO NOT WALK OUT OUT OF YOUR HOUSE LOOKING LIKE THIS!

Call me "mean", call me whatever you want, but I can't help myself on this one. One YouTube commentor said: "Oh for pity's sake, just put a gun to my head..." I feel your pain, brother!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Good Gravy!

Man, I really got some people's BVD's in a twist!!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Looking Back / Friday Photos

sign painterThere's somewhat of a danger in "reminiscing." I don't want to come across like the children of Israel--complaining, "we had it better in Egypt!", but every once in a while, I wonder how things might have been. Don't get me wrong, I love my wife and my two boys. I can't imagine life without them...actually I do imagine life without the boys--it's called RETIREMENT, but that's another topic. Anyhoooo...I love my church, my pastors, the people in our Sunday School class, etc. I wouldn't want to change any of that. What I wonder about is: what if I had gone into a different line of work?

Right now, I work for a company that builds refinery equipment. I am "in charge" of writing and reviewing all of the welding procedures used in fabrication. I also track the welding "consumables" (rods, wire, and flux) via a program I wrote and each month I report the amount of welding consumables in total pounds and dollar value used for each job in our shop (pretty exciting stuff, eh?) I began working here in the CAD Department (actually it was called "Drafting" when I started), went back to school and took some programming classes in FORTRAN, taught myself Visual Basic, AutoLISP, and Access databases--and through a chain of events--i.e. our welding engineer died--find myself in the position I currently have.

The irony of all this is that I have a diploma in Commercial Art. I use some, not much, of my training/education/art skills designing forms, applications, etc. I also maintain a very static website for our company, but all-in-all, the "artistic side" is just a hobby, when I have the time. I did own my own sign shop for a while, but that was 19 years ago. Once PC's took off, hand-lettering pretty became a thing of the past--I know there are still some sign-painters out there that do hand lettering, but they seem to be far and few between.

I bring all of this up because I actually had a couple of evenings last week where I didn't have something that just HAD to be done, so I broke out my sketch pad, the colored pencils and such, and sat down at the kitchen table. My inspiration was this photo I'd seen on Flickr a few days earlier. Below is the result.

Eagle Drawing

It was really relaxing just to sit and do something that I really love doing...something that just comes "naturally." People tell me: "man, you should be doing something with that!" or "what's stopping you from doing that again?!" Then I remember why I don't "do art" for a living. It became a "job"...I wasn't doing it for the pleasure it brought me; I couldn't. I had deadlines and gripey customers. It quit being fun and became a chore. SO, I guess that's the answer to answer the question: "what if I'd stayed with the art?" instead of doing what I do now. Looks like I'll stay right where I am...God must have put me here for a reason.

Friday Photos

My oldest son, Ryon, playing at a local coffee shop

Caution Sign
This is a sign on the back of an automatic drill in our shop. I liked the colors.

flickr: Friday Photo Group

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


You scored as Reformed Evangelical, You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God's Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical




Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox




Classical Liberal




Modern Liberal


Roman Catholic


What's your theological worldview?
created with

As if there was any doubt?

Gracious Words

The LORD answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words. So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, "Proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion...Therefore thus says the LORD, I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,' declares the LORD of hosts, 'and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.' Again, proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.'" --Zechariah 1:13-17 (NASB)

There are days that just seem impossible; nothing goes right; the best laid plans fall apart. One minute you're on top of the world and the next, your whole world comes crashing down. Sometimes, those days cannot be explained. "That's just the way things are," some will say. Sometimes though, "those kinds of days" are the result of our actions. We don't pay attention; we don't follow directions; and just maybe, some of those days are the result of our disobedience to God.

That's what happened to Judah--they disobeyed God and He punished them by allowing the Babylonians to take them into captivity. They had followed other gods, and desecrated the temple. They even became so bold as to say: "God won't punish us!" (Zephaniah 1:12) But God DID punish. The Babylonians destroyed all of Jerusalem, including the Temple--the symbol of God's prescence among His people. For 70 years, the the city and temple lay in ruins...but then...God spoke with gracious words, comforting words.

You see, God punishes, but He also loves. He loves His children and His ultimate desire is to bring them into fellowship with Him, to care for them, to protect and to bless them. That's what He did for Judah, because of the prophetic words spoken to them, they acknowledged their sin and repented. They "returned" to God, and He "returned" to them. He retuned to them with the promises that He would rebuild Jerusalem, that He would return to her with compassion/blessing. God would bless them beyond what they could imagine and the city would overflow with His goodness.

Those are "gracious words" for us as well. If we will obey God, repent, and return to Him, He will return to us. Gracious words..."amazing grace, how sweet the sound."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New Americans/Friday Photos

This past Wednesday, I witnessed the the swearing in of 34 "new Americans." They came from 18 different countries, including Bangladesh, Korea, Mexico, Germany, China, Jamaica, Bahamas, and the Phillippines. Jesus is a man from our church that has been working toward this day for several years. Last month he took "the test" and passed. Today was his -- and the other's -- day to take the oath of citizenship that would make him an American.

For the first part of the ceremony, each of the "applicants" for citizenship stood and stated their country of origin as their name was called. It was impressive to hear all of the different countries and dialects. One by one, they proudly stood, and one by one they uttered the name of their birth country--a country that, in only a few moments, they would "renounce." The judge then had them all stand and raise their right hand for the swearing in. They stood at attention as the judge read the following oath:

Do you hereby declare, on oath, that you absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which you have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that you will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that you will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that you will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that you will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that you take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
In unison, the applicants responded: "I do!" And with those two words, America gained 34 brand new citizens. Citizens in every way, having the same priviledges and rights as one born on this American soil.

It was an exciting day for Jesus and his family. I spoke with him right before the ceremony. "Are you excited?", I asked. "Yes.", he quickly replied, grinning from ear to ear. "Are you nervous?" Even more quickly, "YES!" Jesus doesn't say alot, but I could tell (even if you can't tell from the picture)...he was STOKED. Today, he would fulfill his dream. He would become an American. Welcome "home", Jesus.

Friday Photos


This is Jesus- one of America's newest citizens. He has the certificate and American flag to prove it.


This women was from the Phillippines. I shot this picture immediately after the group took the oath of citizenship. Her face says it all. I thought her scarf was a nice touch, also.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Five Questions

"Baxter" has tagged me with Five Questions. Here's my best shot.

What is your most cherished memory as a child? This isn't any one particular thing, but I remember early summer evenings--when it hadn't gotten warm enought to turn on the AC, we would open our bedroom windows at night and run the "attic fan (some people call them "whole house" fans). The droaning hum, the cool breeze coming through the windows and sometimes the smell of fresh-mown hay was a great way to fall asleep.

What is the most interesting thing you have ever done? I'm not sure how "interesting" this is, but I have (twice) ridden Oklahoma Freewheel, an annual week-long cross-state bicycle ride that happens each June. It's 400 to 450 miles, starting just across the Texas-Oklahoma state line and ending in Kansas. Approximately 1000 riders attend each year. We stayed overnight in small towns along the way, sleeping in tents, usually set up around the local high school. Two-thousand-eight is the 30th Anniversary...I should get my bike out and do it again. (I haven't ridden in years!)

If you could have or do one seemingly impossible thing, what would it be? I would give my wife "good health"; she suffers (almost daily) from headaches that seem to allude a doctor's diagnosis. She also has Interstitial Cystitis; learn more about it here. It can be quite painful, although right now she takes medication to "control" it--there is no cure. On top of the headaches, and IC, she also has high blood pressure and was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea. I just wish she could feel good...even if for just one day.

What is the most meaningful gift you have ever received? God gave me my "most meaningful gift": my wife. Like a lot of men, I don't show or tell her enough how much she means to me. I can't imagine my life without her. We've been married 27+ years.

What is the most difficult thing you have ever had to do? When our oldest son was five weeks old he almost died. His pediatrician misdiagnosed the fact that he had pyloric stinosis,, resulting in rapid weight loss and dehydration from nearly constant "projectile vomiting." Once his condition was correctly diagnosed, we had to wait almost two days while they fed him intrevenously to get him stablized and hydrated. Once that happened, doctors were able to perform the necessary surgery to correct the condition. The hardest thing was actually two-fold: (1) watching my wife sit by the clear "incubator" looking bed where Ryon lay, praying that he would be well enough for surgery and (2) realizing how much I had become attached to this little boy that had only been in our lives a mere five weeks. Extra tough for my wife: her first Mother's Day was spent in the PICU praying for the life of her little boy. (PS: God is good. Ryon is 19 years old and EATS! CONSTANTLY!!!)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Small Town - Part 2

I was talking with a gentleman this weekend that was my middle school principle back in the early 70's. We ran into each other at the funeral of a mutual friend (more on that in a minute). After the formalities of "How are you doing?" "You look the same!" "What have you been up to?", we settled into a brief conversation about our hometown and how "they just don't make 'em like that anymore."

marching band

"It was a great town. Almost like stepping into another time," he said. And I had to agree. Things were simplier in our town. Things moved a little slower. EVERYBODY went to the football games on Friday night. The Homecoming parade down Main Street was a big deal. Businesses were bascially closed on that Friday afternoon when the high school band led the parade of decorated cars and floats overflowing with cheerleaders, little league football players, kings, queens, and "attendents"...The "Band Boosters" sponsored a fundraiser dinner at the elementary school cafeteria right before the big Homecoming game. Seems like everyone went to that, too.

You had to arrive at the game at least an hour before kickoff or you didn't get a seat, but that didn't matter to the "old-timers"; they stood on one end of the field and hung on the fence surrounding the field while the kids played "tag" or football underneath the bleachers. The smell of popcorn, coffee, and hot chocolate from the "Junior Class Concession Stand" filled the crisp evening air of "football season."

As with any small town, we had our share of "characters/memorable folks"; some more memorable than others for various reasons. We had one fellow, "John", that pretty much stayed in a constant state of drunkenness. He would stand on the street corner and scream obscenities at the passing cars. Of course, being honery kids, we would drive by and provoke him! (There's really not a lot "to do" in a small town some days.)

Dr. GOne of the more memorable people from my small town was one of the local family physicians. I always called him "Doc." He looked like a "Doc". Doc had the C-O-L-D-E-S-T stethoscope in town! It didn't matter if the thing was hanging around his neck when he walked in the room---the danged thing was ICE COLD! I accused him of storing it in the freezer just to be annoying.

Doc was never in a hurry; he always had time to tell a story--he always had a story to tell. He would poke and press, all the while asking: "does that hurt?"; "how 'bout that, does that hurt?" He always looked in your ears--didn't matter what was wrong with you or what you said "hurt"...he always looked in your ears. Finally, he'd come up with a diagnosis; it was always the "right one." He would write out a prescription we could take to the "Rexall" drug and get filled. Then he would patiently sit and answer any questions you might have--never hurried. Always smiling. You were the only patient he had, or at least that's the way he treated you.

Doc had a daughter that was my age; we went to the same church; we ran around with the same group of kids. We graduated together--so I saw Doc when I was sick, and lots of times when I was well. That was 30+ years ago. Doc died last week. Friends and family gathered to honor his memory, to shed a few tears and LOTS of great stories. Doc lived a good life. He loved his family, his Lord and Savior...and I believe he loved his patients. We'll miss you, Doc.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


We're studying the Old Testament book of Haggai this morning in Sunday School. In a nutshell, God sent Haggai to confront the Jewsish leaders (and people) who had returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile to rebuild the temple. They started the project, but when they encountered opposition from surrounding nations/groups, they abondoned the temple, focused on their on "home remodeling projects" and basically became content with their own lives.

Life for the returning exiles very quickly took a turn for the worse:

Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, "Consider your ways! "You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes." -- (Haggai 1:5-6)
No matter how hard they tried, their crops failed, they never had enough to eat, they couldn't stay warm, or save money. Even their futile activities -- drinking -- failed to bring them pleasure/success. Why? "...declares the LORD of hosts, 'Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.'" (Haggai 1:9)

You see, the exiles had been given a job to to: to rebuild the temple. Solomon's temple had been utterly destroyed during the final Babylonian envasion (586 BC). Now, God in His providence had caused Cyrus to issue a decree that the people should go back and rebuild the temple and the Holy City. But instead of returning and doing the job they had been called to, they spent their time fixing up their own houses! While they were ignoring the temple and focusing on themselves, things were going badly for them. They had disobeyed God and now, they were reaping the consequences of that disobedience.

It happens in my own life; God gives me a task and I don't complete it. Then I wonder why things aren't going my way. And just as it was with the exiles, the solution is simple: obey. Notice what happened when they were confronted with their sin, they repented and returned to the work they had been given:

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the LORD. Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke by the commission of the LORD to the people saying, " 'I am with you,' declares the LORD." (Haggai 1:12-13 )

God not only forgives, He gives me the ability to accomplish the task. He never gives me more to do than I can accomplish. The important thing to remember is that it is HIM working in me that finishes/completes the task. I can't do anything on my own. Just like the exiles, when I don't obey God and trust in Him to supply all I need (Philippians 4:13), "the labor of my hands" (Haggai 1:11) is in vain.

Has God given you a job that you've not completed? Obey. He will be with you. He will help you complete it.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Photo

Friday Photo 07.06.07

It's been a busy, "jumbled" week. Two days at work; day off on the 4th; back at work for two days. I shot this picture at my in-laws--they have several "statues" around their pool.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

Today is Independence Day in America. Over 230 years ago, this country declared its independence from Great Britain, and in doing so, begain building what would become The United States of America. The preamble of that declaration begins:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain Inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
One of the things that makes American unique is its historically held belief/foundation that it is God who blesses ("endows") people with all they have. Sadly, that fact is lost on many today.

America--in spite of all that is wrong with her, and we won't go into that today--is a GREAT country. I am thankful and proud that I am an American. I am grateful for the vision our forefathers had for this country. I am thankful for the courage they had to declare independence, knowing that for some of them, it would mean loss of everything they had...including their own lives. At the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin is quoted as having stated: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately," a play on words indicating that failure to stay united and succeed would risk being tried and executed, individually, for treason. (Source- Wikipedia)

I believe the following is fairly accurate. It should give us something to think about this day. Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence:

  • Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
  • Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
  • Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
  • Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?

  • Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
  • Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
  • Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
  • Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
  • Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
  • At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
  • Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
  • John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

Freedom is never free. Thank God for these patriots; and thank God for those men and women who continue to protect the freedoms we enjoy. Have a safe and happy Fourth!