Monday, June 28, 2010


Disneyworld and Jesus...

Marsha and I spent last week at Disneyworld with the kids and grandkids. This is something we had planned for Marsha's retirement and have been saving for. It was great. I thought I would share some things I saw that made me think of Jesus.

People love fairy tales and happy endings. Everyone parent thinks their little girl is a princess. For most of this world, that is not going to happen. But it does for Christians. Life is blessed, wonderful, and happy. We do live happily ever after. If you think Disneyworld is great... just wait until heaven.

The "It's A Small World After All" ride is incredible. It shows how our world is connected, people are the same all over, and we should live together in harmony. Jesus died so that dream could be a reality. Jesus made real what Disney only imagined.

I love family church. Jake, who is 4, led songs for us. Kids all sang. Bobby helped Jake lead the closing prayer. Realized that all four of my grandkids are developing faith. That is so much better -- and more real -- than Disneyworld.

Snow White had seven friends. They have been called by a name that is offensive to some. I was wondering what my grandkids would call them. Avery told me they were the Hi-Hoes. Works for me. I like being sensitive to people who are different.

Hanging out with 4 grandkids in the pool is nerve-wracking these days -- esp. watching them go down the giant slides. All four of them love water, and Anna swims better than I do. I hope they do lots of things in life better than me. I kept thinking they will be stronger spiritually than me and I think that is good. After all, their parents are. And that is good. And I hope they are fearless spiritually.

They kids loved old Disney cartoons. Andrew and I watched them every night on Pop's bed. And we both laughed hysterically. Whatever else happens in life, there will be things that bond the generations together. For our clan, it will be Jesus more than anything else.

And most of all, I was struck by how Disney is based on illusions and slick marketing.

Jesus is real. I wish my world could know him like I do. So I may never go to Disneyworld again, but I get Jesus forever.

My ramblings and reflections on Disney and Jesus.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


More thoughts on giving...

We have an incredibly narrow view of giving. If we expect God to bless us in order to give more to Him -- as opposed to give more to ourselves -- we need to understand what it means to give.

Obviously checks written for ministry is one way to give more. Your church giving might include the regular contribution, special gifts for missions, benevolence, or a building fund. You might give to ministries not specifically affiliated with a local church (Herald of Truth, Christain Homes, or other parachurch ministries).

You might give to non-profits that do more generic ministry such as a university or a civic club, though I personally do very little of this because I favor projects that are more directly connected to Jesus (just my opinion).

God may put individuals in your life to support. At various times we have given to individual missionaries, out of work Christians, helped on medical bills, and those kinds of ministry.

But our concept of giving can be larger. For several years we kept an extra car. It wasn't worth much, but we let others use it for weeks or months at a time. You might want to consider the money you spend on a larger house as giving to God if you use it for God. Do you buy a larger house so all of your kid's friends can hang out in a Christian enviornment? By the way, you don't have to have a big house to do that, but it helps.

what about groceries to feed others (like the kids hanging out at your house)? Could a lake cabin be a gift to God? How do you use it? If you make it available for retreats, study, and a Christian place for you and others to refresh for Christian service... then perhaps it is giving. How about treating a single Mom and her kids to a meal out with you and your family?

God might even make you independent financially with the expectation that will use all you time in service to Him.

The point of asking God to bless me is for me to have resources to use to further kingdom business and bring glory to God. So -- bottom line (pun intended) -- limit what you spend just for you and ask God to bless you above and beyond that to use for Him.

To paraphase my good friend James (he wrote extensively about Christians and money): ask God for anything and He will give it to you... unless you want to use you on yourself.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Jesus vs. Culture

I know we want to think that the church is never influenced by culture. But we are. Much better to identify some of these influences and acknowledge them so we can overcome them. Our culture is incredibly materialistic. Posseessions, income, standard of living are all measures of success in our culture. How big a house can you buy? How much can I give/provide/spoil my children?

So has that influenced the church?

Why are we so building crazy? Bigger, nicer, and more elaborate. But only because that is the most effective way to do ministry. Of course that has nothing to do with our culture.

Do we view economic prosperity as an opportunity to do more good for the kingdom, or as an opportunity to up our standard of living -- though of course increasing our giving proportionally?

How many Christians do you know that maintained a basic standard of living and as they recieved more actually gave more to the kingdom? Or do we assume that more financial blessings mean that God wants us to increase our standard of living?

Culture would lead us to see financial success as a sign of spirituality and at least we do not do that in any of our churches. We understand that success in business does not automatically make a man qualified to be an elder. Don't we?

I just have to wonder what would happen if we all picked an income level (after prayer and spiritual discussion) that we would pledge to maintain. Then ask God to give us more, understanding that we would use everything above that level for kingdom business.

Now that would be counter-cultural. I am not claiming to have all of this worked out, becasuse I too am a product of my culture. But I do think the discussion is worth having.

Just my thoughts.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Marsha retired...

Today was the last day and it is official. Marsha has retired from teaching. So I have gotten to spend quite a bit of time at school and district functions over the last few weeks. And I have to say... being "Marsha's husband" is a pretty good gig at these events. I really enjoyed what people said about her -- and very little of it was about her teaching.

Lots of " much I will miss her friendship." "Love your wife". Lots of stories of her ministry as a Mom to young teachers. Lots of stories of her marriage counseling and her spiritual guuidance. Reminded me again why I say come to me to hear about Jesus, go to Marsha to see Jesus.

Everyone wants to know what she is going to do since she is retiring so young. She is going to be Mimi to our 5 grandkids (Joe Don and Jamie are having their third in August). She is going to be daughter to our 4 parents. She wants to travel some with me. And she wants to do more shepherding, evangelism, discipling with me at Southern Hills. We do lots of that now, but as she says... it will be nice to do it when not so exhausted.

And for those of you who are asking if I am Our deal is that she retires early and I will work until I die or the Lord comes.

So if you see Marsha soon... give her a high five. She's earned it.

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