It’s time to get a grip- on eternal truth

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I’ve been working on a book for the last few months. Its about eternal truth and how what we believe effects how we live. Even though it’s been a slow go of writing (I’m a bit of a lazy butt when it comes to just sitting down and writing). And, yet, I find myself checking my thoughts and my words at the most random times.

This is new to me. I’d always figured my ranting about life in general was part of my “verbal processing” personality.

Maybe, maybe not.

Thing is, if what we say in our “processing” is not clarified within the boundaries of eternal truth, we may just be setting up ourselves and people around us to embrace a lie.

Now don’t get all pious on me. We all spout off now and again.

Take the U.S. election for example. I live in Canada but I was born and raised in the United States. I know how inflammatory election rhetoric can be – not just from the candidates but in everyday conversations of ordinary citizens.

Election 2016 election is like no other. The discussions are fierce and the dividing lines cut deep. People are frustrated, angry and scared.

And, sad to say, lies have made themselves at home in every corner of the debate.

“This election will determine wether America will be great or not.”

“If America ceases to be great, we will all suffer”

“If we suffer, what will become of us?”

Pretty scary stuff for adults, much more for kids.  They are just forming their view of the world. Imagine their takeaway from listening to the adults around them.

But the truth is….

God is sovereign. Not Democrat, Republican or independent. He is more concerned about the condition of our hearts than he is in party agenda. No matter what way the election goes God will use it to humble us, to draw us closer to Himself, to teach us to trust Him.

His existence is not threatened by the outcome of the election. Fact check- He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent.

This is what our kids need to hear.

God is in control. He will take care of us no matter what happens. No matter what.

And, this is what our kids need to see.

Mom and Dad and Pastors and teachers and babysitters and leaders seeking God, not for some political agenda but for God to heal our land and our leaders and our neighbours and our friends and strangers we see on the street.

Sorry Nationalists. Eternal truth is global. We are to love and to reach out to the world with the gospel of God’s love.

On the other hand, it is also national. The ties that strengthen this nation will not come through one leader, no matter how charactered, powerful or wise that leader may be. It will come through the moral courage and compassion of individuals, loving families and communities of faith that reach out and embrace to those who have no family, community or faith.

We may not be able to sway an election with one vote. But, we can change the world one honest and loving relationship at a time.

Yes, you can verbally process (if you are like me), but make sure your processing is based on truth, eternal truth.  The kind of truth that heals and transforms hearts and not just promotes a political view.

God’s not dead.

He is alive and well on planet earth. All the earth and every nation. Pretty heady stuff.

Eternal truth.

Talk like it, act like it. Live it in front of your kids.

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FIFTY SHADES OF DAD

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That’s me in the family picture- the eager kid standing in the back row. You may not be able to tell from the picture but I was ready for adventure, fairytale romance. I was a Disney princess girl way before  my time. Fell in love with someone when I was in first grade, second grade, fourth grade…

And, then, I fell in love with an older man.

It was my Middle School history teacher. The guy was funny. knowledgable. Warm and friendly.

And, flirty.

Sound a bit off? I was 11 years old, for heaven’s sake. I couldn’t distinguish flirtatious behaviour from a hole in the ground. I just figured I was lucky that someone who was older, more powerful and wiser found me interesting and special. It melted my pre-teen heart along with the hearts of the other girls in my class. We giggled when class started and we giggled when class ended. Each and every one of us gigglers hoped that we were the one the teacher liked the most. Not once did it occur to me that that this man was not much younger than my father and or may have had a family of his own. But, hey, I was a kid. 

Then, Dad came to school.

It was a weeknight- an open house for parents to come and meet teachers, visit classrooms and ask questions.  I was so excited I could hardly breathe.

“Here is my classroom,” I said as Dad herded my family of eight into the room filled with neatly lined up desks and brightly coloured posters on the wall, “and here is my teacher”.

That’s when things got weird.

All of a sudden, my teacher  didn’t look so “prince charming”. Under the all-knowing scrutiny of my dad, my teacher’s snake skin cowboy boots and flashy bolo tie looked silly and out of place. 

Dad’s short sleeved white dress shirt and polyester dress pants may not have been exactly cool, but he wore integrity, decency and honour with the ease of a model in a Banana Republic ad.

Whatever my teacher was trying to be, I knew at that moment Dad was the man.

I have got to say that this was not the first time Dad brought me to “back to earth” when it came to my relationships with men. My lack of common sense would have done me in if it had not been for him. Although Dad did not live long enough to see any of his six children marry, he pretty much laid the ground work for relational success.

Respect

Integrity

Compassion

Fun

And no, I did not mention sex. I guess Dad  figured sex would be a natural byproduct of a committed relationship containing all of the above.

Dad respected women – his mother, my aunts, me and my sisters and my mom. He respected other women too. As a pastor, he stepped in to save more than one woman from the violence of her husband. Abusive boyfriends feared my dad. Even they knew when they had met a man’s man. 

With the movie Fifty Shade of Grey coming out I had to share the fifty shade of a real man.

No matter how

handsome,

powerful,

charming

or rich

if a man manipulates, abuses or belittles a woman he is not much of a man.

Try 

pathetic,

cruel

and foolish.

If you still feel compelled to romanticize relationships with abusive men who happen to be more powerful, handsome and richer than the average guy, you are not sensational or clever. You are just about fifty shades of stupid. 

Rick Warren, Mental Illness and the Broken Heart–Why no family should ever have to go it alone.

spring time

It’s spring. Finally.

Believe it or not, the sun has started shining in rainy B.C.  I’m walking my dog in the fields behind the bible college most every day.  Kids ride their bikes around the neighborhood in the early evening light.

Good times.

But, not for everyone.

Last Saturday, Rick Warren lost his son. After years of struggling with mental illness, a much loved young man took his own life.

“This is going to change the way people see his ministry,” someone said to me.

“That’s what happens when prominent christian leaders get too involved in so many things,” someone else commented on a social media site.

I’d like to say that it’s human nature to try to figure out what goes wrong in certain situations. I’d like to say say that people are just searching for the reason someone else suffered so that they can avoid making the same mistake themselves.

But, I’d be incorrect.

It’s not human nature. It’s a lack of faith and compassion that keeps us from doing what we should do from the get go- plunge into the darkness and become one with the wounded heart.

Instead, we spiritualize our frantic scramble to

  • label
  • and judge
  • and point fingers at circumstances

that shatter someone else’s world.

You would think that Christians would know better. We are, after all, followers of a suffering Christ.

Fact is, most of us are terrified to enter into the world of someone else’s pain.

The author of the book of Galatians wrote “Carry each other’s heavy loads. If you do, you will give the law of Christ its full meaning”.

I like that.

Reaching out, not to judge or criticize, but to lift the burden of the person struggling beside you.

Back to the Warren family.

I don’t know them but I can pray for them. In an act of spiritual solidarity,  I can show compassion to other families whose loved ones struggle with clinical depression. I can insist that we as a church make room for those who struggle in mind as well as those who struggle in other areas of their lives.

Bottom line – The world will know we are Christians when we refuse to let our brothers and sisters walk alone in the dark.

The Monday Morning Blog (a little early) -Christmas and Outer Space

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“We are not alone.”

Sounds like a pivotal quote in some ancient alien movie, but it’s not.  It’s the heart of Christmas.

God sent His son, Jesus, so that we would not be alone.

That’s a good thing because

  • we were not designed to be isolated.
  • Our minds, wills and emotions yearn for connection.
  • Our souls ache to be filled with God’s presence.

Nothing else will do.

So, don’t be fooled by Winter Festival talk or Happy Holidays greetings. The stunning glory of Christmas is the advent of Christ.

Isaiah 9:2 declares that  “The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone”.

Heads up (for all those whose brain functioning are  already dulled by too much Christmas cakes and goodies)  –

  • This light has absolutely nothing to do with the Christmas display in the neighbor’s yard
  • or some spectacular light show downtown.

The light of the world is Jesus.

His name is also Emmanuel. God with us.

We are not alone.

When it comes to Movie stars and scrubbing toilets-What really matters is who you know.

 

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When I was a kid, my family had little money and no prestige. Not very glamorous compared to the movie stars I saw on TV.

“When I grow up I’m going to be important,” I told myself, “Rich and smart. Famous and beautiful.”

News alert. I grew up. Got married, raised kids.

Maybe not so rich. Certainly, not so smart. But, I learned one thing that changed my life. It doesn’t matter if you scrub toilets for a pay check or perform brain surgery.

In the end, all that matters is who you know.

I’m not talking about forming alliances to win Survivor or calling in favors to get a promotion.

It’s all about taking the time to develop relationship with the people around you –

  1. kids,
  2. your parents,
  3. the little old lady down the street,
  4. the people you work with every day.

Bottom line –connection is what matters. Every smile. Every frown. Every shared secret. Every shout of joy.

I Cor. 13 says that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Hold each moment close and love with all your heart.

Life is precious.

If The Toilet Paper Roll of Your Relationship Starts to Unravel– Take a tip from the 70’s singing sensation Chicago.

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Love is like a roll of toilet paper.

Yes, you read it right.

Toilet paper. Maybe not the most celebrated item of a marriage. But, ask anyone who’s run out. It’s essential.

Back to my analogy – the stroke of literary genius that’s going to put Forest Gump’s “Life is a box of chocolates” into permanent retirement.

Love is like a roll of toilet paper. If somebody we love walks away, a part of us goes with them. Like a bit of the tissue stuck to the bottom of a shoe, the roll just keeps unraveling.

Reminds me of Chicago’s hit “If You Leave Me Now” from the album Chicago X.

“If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me..”

Deep truth.

For all you Hill Song diehards, please look past the lack of Holy Ghost buzzwords. Truth is truth.

We got to hold onto our roll of toilet paper.

Make amends.

“A love like ours is love that’s hard to find
How could we let it slip away
We’ve come too far to leave it all behind
How could we end it all this way
When tomorrow comes and we’ll both regret
The things we said today.”

Thanks, Chicago. It’s some of the best relationship advice I’ve heard in a long time.