Sunday, June 18, 2023

Ordinance Oughta-Be’s

You may call it Holy Communion. It my be The Lord’s Supper to you, or maybe the Eucharist. You know, that part of church where we partake of the wine and the bread.  Whatever your congregation calls it, pretty much the entire New Testament church considers it an Ordinance of the Church. 

Another ordinance is water baptism.  In fact, while some churches have many ordinances, these two are pretty much universal. 

I think the reason they are considered ordinances is because Jesus ordered us to do them; ordained them if you will. 

But Jesus told us to do many other things too. So in following the logic that Jesus ordained it, I am hereby suggesting… yea, declaring some additional ordinances for the church.  

Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven. 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt,  and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. 

Well, I just realized it is going to take quite a while to get all these new ordinances listed. Maybe we should just add this one I found in Matthew 5, where Jesus was giving the Sermon on the Mount:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.

Whaddaya think?

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Corrupt Communication

 You know the word. It starts with an F. In fact, hundreds of words start with an F, perhaps millions more contain one. And yet if someone refers to “the F word”, you immediately know the reference, and you know what it means.   F-ing this and F-ing that!  But, as if we have not sufficiently perverted such a special gift from God, we now have a new acronym to be disgusted by, or to admire if that’s who you choose to be.  

A true student of the Bible understands that sex is indeed a gift from God; an amazing bond between a man and woman that may even transcend the physical, playing a part in creating that “one-flesh” union outlined in chapter 10 of the Gospel of Mark, where it says, “What GOD has joined together…”  

OK, you already know what the F stands for.  In case you don’t already know, the “A” stands for the word “as”. Just throw this combination of letters into your statement and you’ve expressed the full depth of your feeling on the situation. Easy AF, angry AF, happy AF.   

One of my favorite programs is an old black & white western that plays on Saturday mornings.  I look forward to it all week long.  But to enjoy my show I have to endure a local car lot telling me it's how easy it is to buy a car from them.  It's right there in their slogan, it's in their jingle, it's even on their website - Easy AF.  Auto Financing, they say.  I can only speculate as to whether they intend the double entendre they so proudly employ. 

One may think cursing is relegated to the lower class of society, gutter trash if you will.  But I have a friend who is a motivational speaker by trade.  He travels great distances to address groups of people who have come together to be inspired, to be motivated toward accomplishing greater things in their lives.  This man is highly intelligent and successful in his craft, and yet his writings are laced with this new catchphrase, AF.  

It has been said that to resort to cursing shows ignorance. Yet ignorance is just a lack of knowledge, which can be remedied with education. I have always considered it more a lack of class.  But in fact, you may be surprised to learn that some psychologists now say that swearing is a sign of honesty and intelligence; that it contributes to society in a positive way.  It may not surprise you that those psychologists did not reference the Holy Bible in their research.  The whole thing reminds me of that verse about calling evil good and good evil.  (Isaiah 5:20). 

 I hate this world!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The Great Puzzle

Picture if you will a giant jigsaw puzzle - several groups of people on all sides and every corner working on different sections.  A group on one side is working on the Faith section. A group in one corner is working on Prosperity.   Another group labors intently on Humility, while yet another focuses on Grace.  

There’s a big Pentecostal bunch putting together the Gifts of the Spirit section, while a group of Baptists across the table are getting the Fruits of the Spirit together nicely.  The Pentecostals run across a Fruits piece and toss it over to the Baptists.

One who works the puzzle alone may move from one section to another, and back again, until the picture in front of him starts to look like the picture on the front of the box.  

Sadly, Several groups are at the wrong table putting together the wrong puzzle headed toward the wrong result.  God help them.

But folks, even when we get the puzzle completed, we’ll still be able to see the lines. They’ll still be there because we will still be merely mortal men.  If we chose to focus on the lines that divide, the picture, though complete, will still appear blurred - fragmented if you will.   The pieces could still come apart leaving a gap in the picture.  

Let's focus on the beautiful picture, not on the lines that divide - until that glorious day comes and we no longer need the image, but are walking side by side with Him, on streets of gold. 

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Slingshots and Nuclear Options


Summer, circa 1963 - I was just a wee lad visiting my grandparents for a week or so, when I accompanied my grandmother to the market one day.  As she selected the ingredients for the evening meal I stood frozen in place, mesmerized by a spinning toy rack.   I had a quarter in my pocket, and they had a slingshot for sale at only 25 cents.  “Nanny, I want to buy this slingshot.  I have the money,” I declared.

“Why don’t you wait until we go to the five and dime store tomorrow, and I’ll give you some more money to get a better toy, maybe a model airplane,” was her sage advice.   But NO.  I wanted something NOW.  It wasn’t like I was even in the market for a slingshot.  But there it was, catching my eye.  And there I was with a windfall of pocket change.  Wait one day for a much better toy?  No way!  I bought the slingshot.  Regret showed its ugly face the very next day, as I was tired of shooting pebbles and wished I had an airplane to play with.

 I don’t know how long that slingshot lasted.  I don’t have it now.  But then, I probably wouldn’t still have the model airplane either.  What I do still have from that memorable day with my Nanny is the lesson I learned; that haste is foolish, but patience is a virtue that will produce a good result (and a better toy)!

 November 2013 – Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada was Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, and he was a man determined to confirm judges and other appointments made by President Obama.  The Republican minority had enough voices to throw a kink in the plan, using the senate filibuster rules.  See, the minority party could filibuster (talk on and on… and on) to stop a vote, and it took a 2/3rds majority to cease that and call the vote.  Reid didn’t have that 2/3rds, so he and his colleagues changed the rule so that a simple majority was all that was needed to close the debate and vote on the judges.  This action came to be known as the “nuclear option”.

 October 2020 – The Republicans are now the majority, and Reid’s decision came back to haunt his party, as the slim majority the Republicans now held was sufficient to use that nuclear option to confirm President Trump’s appointment of a new Justice to the U. S. Supreme Court.

 I know how Harry Reid felt.  I had the quarter, and wanted the slingshot.  He had the nuclear option and wanted the judges.  Of course, I was a small boy.  I’m not sure what his excuse is.  I do know what it cost him!

Photo: The Little Hunter, by by Karl Witkowski (in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Did God Whisper "Willie"?

We remember the years past for various reasons; some good, some bad.  For example, in the year 2000 I went through a divorce, lost a job and buried my father.   But in the year 2017 I met and married the love of my life!  2019 provided me one of the most radical changes of all my days on this Earth.  Now, it may not seem like much to you, but to me it is life changing.  I bought a guitar.

All my life I have envied the guy who could pick up a guitar and play.  Not so much the rock stars with their fame and fortune;  I was more in awe of the guy at the campfire that strummed little tunes while folks talked and laughed.  I remember youth camp in the snow-covered Rockies, where we sat in a circle while one of the locals played the Beetles song, Rocky Raccoon.  I was so jealous.

When I was in my 20s, I came into possession of a guitar.  A friend at church tried to teach me how to play, but with one 30-minute session once a week, frustration led to despair as I determined I just “didn’t have it”.  And 40 years passed.

So how did this life-changing event come to be?  Here’s the funny part of the story.  My company holds a costume contest every Halloween, and I join in the competition.  Around mid-September I started thinking about what to “be” and Willie Nelson came to mind.  I don’t know why, but I have my suspicions.  The costume was easy.  Just buy a red bandana and make a couple of braids out of a wig I had around from previous years.  The whole thing cost a buck.  But as you probably realize, the props make the costume.  A Roman soldier needs his sword, a gangster must tote a plastic tommy-gun, and I needed a guitar. 

I came across what turned out to be a really sweet classical in a nice hard case for 30 bucks and won 2nd place in the contest.  But the guitar was missing a string, so I got it restrung and that’s when I learned my first chord, and my first song.  That’s also when I learned enough to know my left-handedness would be an issue.   So, I gave that guitar to a friend and bought a “lefty”!

Six weeks later I had 8 chords mastered (well, learned anyway), and a couple dozen songs I could strum out.  This may be as good as I get.  If so, that’s great.  I’ll forgive myself for those 40 wasted years and strum out the rest of my days in bliss. 

But frankly, I’m a pretty quick study.  Who knows, this time next year I might be touring with Waylon and Willie!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Kindness in the Countryside

Exerpt from Address book for
the Royal Prussian Principality of
Ansbach and Bayreuth
Suppose for a moment you are wandering through Bavaria in the early 1600s, poor, tired and hungry.  Then by happenstance, you stumble across a book lying in the trail as if placed there by providence, or the good Lord in Heaven.  Just as you reach for this leather-bound treasure, the wind whips the pages and presents you with page 348.

Of course, 348 has always been your lucky number anyway, so imagine your excitement as you realize the town just a few kilometers up the trail is Wettelsheim, listed right there on 348. 

Being a smarter than average Bavarian, you know how to read, so you know that the header on page 348 - Geiftlichfeit auf  dem Lande - reads Kindness in the Countryside.   Now, if you can just find the home or place of business of this Pfr. Hr. Georg Ulbecht Kepner, you know you shall have bread, wine and shelter this evening.

I hope you enjoyed this little foray into fantasy-land.  I certainly did.  See, Georg Ulbecht Kepner is my 10th great grandfather.  But, as an enthusiast of my heritage, today I learned something new.  Grandfather Georg from the old country, Herr. Georg Ulbecht Kepner, was actually Pfr. Hr. Kepler; Reverend Herr Kepler!

My father was a man who loved God and eschewed evil, as was his father and his father… and most assuredly his father also!  I have always known I came from a long line of Godly men, pillars of the community and servants of the church.  But little did I know how deep that heritage runs.  My 10th great grandfather was known throughout Bavaria as the man to seek out for a kindness.  Of course, you probably wouldn’t find him at his house.  He was more likely out doing his Father’s business.

So must I.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Blooming Conundrum

It has been said there are two kinds of people; those who divide people into two kinds of people and those who don’t.  The guy that said that was obviously the first kind.  I’m probably more the second, as you will soon see.

It was actually two cardiologists who developed the theory that there are two types of personalities; Types A and B.   They observed that folks who are more competitive, outgoing, ambitious, impatient or aggressive are Type A.  Of course, the more mellow of the species are Type B.  They surmised that Type A’s have a greater chance of developing coronary heart disease, while B’s are generally more satisfied with life. 

Personally, I find the theory particularly humorous that the inhabitants of this entire planet could be summed up by only two types.  At the time I write this, the current world population is a bit over seven billion five hundred thirty-three million, and counting.  I would submit to you that indeed there are a bit over seven billion five hundred thirty-three million types of people!

I suppose, technically speaking, we can create categories; be it home town, hair color or handedness.   But, my point is this – Don’t lose who you are, trying to be what “they” think you should be!  You are one of a kind – uniquely designed and with a path all your own.  So, discover the exceptional gifts you have been graced with, and strive to develop those.  Grow into who you are meant to be, and see if you aren’t a bit more satisfied with life.  And I’m betting you’ll live longer too!