Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day? Really?

So, it's Earth Day today. Google told me so...

I much prefer The Patriot Post's take on today:

In all seriousness though, extreme environmentalism is endangering lives in the interest of saving trees from global warming. Articles here at National Review and here at The American Spectator give really disturbing facts.

Every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria. DDT is the most effective force against malaria, but millions have died since it's elimination; however, the birds are doing great, since DDT didn't hurt them in the first place.

Biofuels are depriving third-world countries of food, as more and more crops go to support the environment while starving the people.

Percentages of fatal car wrecks have increased with the restricting standards for fuel emissions.

I believe in good stewardship. God created the earth and gave man the responsibility and authority to oversee it. However, most importantly, God entrusted us with the Great Comission and the charge to share the gospel and show people the way to redemption and healing and salvation. The souls of people created in the image of God are more important to me than the well-being of trees and eagles.

Here's another thing: I believe the best way I can help the earth/environment is to spread the gospel to all nations. "First the gospel must be preached to all nations, and then the end will come." "Creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed."

Newsflash: This earth wasn't meant to last forever. The curse of sin has taken it's toll on everything. It is in Christ Jesus that all things will be made new. The best thing I can do to 'save the planet' is to lead people to Jesus Christ, speed the Day, and look forward to the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Home - random thoughts

My grandmother went home to be with Jesus last night. It was time, and I'm glad she's Home; at the same time, I'm still sad and I grieve. But we do not grieve as those without hope.

An oft used phrase around here as of late has been, "We look to heaven. Our hope is in heaven." (Clarification: this concept of heaven is not about it being a cool place, but rather, it is the very presence of God.)

Along with Ted Dekker, Bodie and Brock Thoene are my favorite authors. This week I was reading their book Seventh Day, the seventh in a twelve book series about the life of Jesus. These books are unlike any other work. They understand the historical Jewish perspective and weave amazing stories into a wealth of Scripture insight.

In Seventh Day was the coolest scene I've read in a long time. Abel, son of the widow at Nain, and Deborah, daughter of Jairus of Capernaum, were raised from the dead by Yeshua (Jesus) at different occasions. But here they meet and talk about the things they both experienced.

Abel: "There were many who I knew must be from of old. Though I can't name them, they seemed as though I knew them from my Torah studies...But the first one I met was my father. ...[my father was in] a garden...such color!"

Deborah: "Yes, I was in the same place. The garden. Flowers! Such fragrance! No thorns! Waterfalls so high I couldn't see the top. Rainbows. Hues so deep the air hummed with the music of color. I never knew color is music. Seven colors matched seven musical notes. But all with different shades and voices. Reds and blues and greens, a thousand pitches of every color. I can't explain it. I try, but I can't...it's so...."

They laughed and huddled with heads close together. They seemed to me like old friends meeting unexpectedly on a lonely and distant shore. They rejoiced as they remembered the familiar sights and sounds of their much loved home. In this case heaven was home. This present world was the strange and distant shore to which they had returned.


I've been looking at I Corinthians 15 lately. Amazing chapter, all about the Resurrection. I'm sure I'll bring this up again soon...

Oh yeah, Happy Patriot's Day! It's the anniversary of the day 'twas fired the shot heard 'round the world. My favorite source for political news/commentary is http://patriotpost.us/, and they've got some cool stuff on this.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Victory in Going Home

It's been busy the past several weeks. I had surgery on my ankle/leg about a week ago. The doctor said it was a bad break and complicated for surgery, more so than he had anticipated. See, I have this philosophy that I try to apply to all areas of my life, including major injuries: "If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well."

My grandmother saw her 88th birthday yesterday, an event we weren't sure would happen, even as recently as two days ago. Several times within the past year, and many times over the past five years, she has been very close to death. Each time, however, she has bounced back, regained her strength, and moved on - earning the title "Energizer Bunny." She has resilient strength that just keeps going and going. About six months ago, she first began to mention her longing to go home to heaven. Yet she fought through pneumonia and massive internal bleeding to recover, rehab, and regain her former strength. Now, though, we're coming to the end. Fluid-filled lungs and aspiration lead to imminent respiratory failure.

Though we are all grieving, we know she has had a long, full life. Through tremendous hardship, she has always displayed amazing strength and joy. It is her witness that has led two of her kids to be pastors, and a third involved in church leadership. Because of her witness, her kids and grand kids are serving God. Several times my grandmother has stared intently at the ceiling, raising up in bed and extending her arms. When asked, "What do you see?" she strongly replied, "Jesus! I see Jesus...He's right there." She's ready to go Home.

I will miss her more than I know how to express. Yet I know she will be with Jesus, free from the constant pain she has known for years. When we celebrated her birthday Tuesday night and said our rather final goodbyes, I repeated my favorite farewell message. "I love you, Nanny, and we'll see you soon." Perhaps stupid semantics, but I didn't want to say "goodbye." Death is not the end; heaven, eternity with God, is coming soon and forever. Nanny will join the great cloud of witnesses, the saints who have gone on before, but it is not permanent separation. Joy and longing for heaven, for the presence of God, should give us hope and spur us on as we live day to day.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15: 54-57

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lab Practical Exam

It was about nine months ago when God first started pounding the idea of complete surrender, of giving up all autonomy, of daily taking up my cross, into my heart. I'd heard the concept expounded upon many times before, but it truly only got to my brain. It never permeated my heart and translated into actions and habits and how I live.

This concept of surrendering autonomy had come up multiple times since then, but this last week has brought a choice to see if I've actually gotten anything from this process. See, I've been given a situation where applying this concept becomes really necessary because I don't have too many options. It's almost like I'm in a lab practical exam and it's like: okay, did you really get this, or will you have to learn it the hard way?

On Wednesday I destroyed my ankle/leg sliding in softball practice. Fractured two bones, tore two ligaments, earned surgery this week. So my mobilty is extremely limited to non-existent. I'm dependent on other people for just about everything. And, oh yeah, my grandmother was hospitalized in ICU for respiratory failure, meaning she's pretty close to seeing Jesus. Once again, I'm anxious and worried about something completely out of my control.

So will I surrender and allow God to handle everything, the things I can control and the things I can't? Will I be still and allow His strength to be made perfect in my weakness?

Father, help me surrender. Help me pick up my cross. Help me stumble, ever so slowly, after You.