Thursday, March 24, 2011


Bandages cause much pain in our little home. Yes, I know they are supposed to be part of the healing process. But Sister leaves them on too long and the adhesive damages her tender skin. Then there is more pain.

Having spiraled down this cycle a time or 2 (hundred), she now goes through the misery of anticipated pain. She gets hurt, wants a bandage, rejects the bandage in fear of future pain and then fights her parents' attempts to bandage her wound.

She doesn't believe there is a safe and pain-free way to remove the bandage. So it stays on and she later laments like Job, "what I feared has come upon me, what I dreaded has happened to me."

Her experience is too limited. Her conclusions faulty and based on imperfect data. She ignores the advise and perspective of one more experienced and knowing.

Just like I do. I know one story of my life and the outcomes of my choices. God knows another. The choice is who's story will be believed. Whom do I trust?

How many bandages need to come off?

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's SUPER Moon

Only every 18 years or so, the full moon appears on the moon's perigee. This perigee marks the closest distance from the earth in the moon's orbit. Pseudo-astronomers call it a Super Moon.

As family leader, I pull us toward nerdy activities. My wife, though glamorous and fantastic, has the heart of a nerd, too. So all day Saturday we talked up the Super Moon to our 2 children. We together worked them up into an almost Christmas Eve frenzy of anticipation and expectation.

As the sun sat, we all began looking eastward. As heavenly shades of night were falling, we loaded into the fam van and crused around looking for a high place to see the moon above the beautiful, but obstructing West Virginia hills.

We drove to one high point but could not see the moon. We drove to another. Still no clear view of the moon. Momma had googled that the moon appeared biggest when just breaking the horizon or tree line. But it was still behind the hill and we were now Bedtime minus 10 minutes! The static charge of tension was palpable in the famvan -- and growing...

...then on the last hillock, we spied through the trees the Super Moon. Momma and I "o-o-o-h-e-d" and "a-a-a-a-h-e-d" dramatically. The kiddos strained to see. Then the excitement faded as the moon did not appear in any way "Super."

Later that night, about 10pm, we could easily see the Super Moon from our kitchen window. We laughed about our family adventure and how un-super the moon turned out to be. Like so much we experience...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'd Like to Be Saved

Last night after E and I finished a couple of key chapters in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," we said bedtime prayers and lay down to sleep. Then in a small, trembling voice, E says, "Hey, Dad, I'd like to be saved."


So I held down my euphoria and asked, "What do you think that means?"

"I'm not really for sure."

So at this point I wanted him to be clear so I shared the meaning of an intimate/personal relationship with God. Our reading of Edmund's treachery, Aslan's trading places and dying (then coming back to life) had been used to soften his heart and were great connecting points to talk of our sinful selves (doing wrong things), Jesus trading places with us and our need to trust Jesus to be our savior and king.

Having talked through these issues, I asked, "Would you still like to be saved?"

"Yes. Will you do it for me?"

"I can't do it for you. You have to choose for yourself. You have to trust Jesus for yourself. I will help you if you want to."

"Okay, Daddy. Let's pray now"

And we did. As we finished our prayer, I told E he was part of God's people and should always remember that. Then I rushed out of the room to tell Momma.

When I came back with Momma, he told her the story of what happened. I walked Mom out and then returned to the room.

He was grinning from ear to ear. "You seem happy," I said, "what is making you happy?"

"I get to go to heaven now, Daddy!"

"Yes, boy, you do and you get to live with Jesus all the days of your life here, too!"

"Daddy, can we get to heaven another way?"

"No, Jesus says He is the only way."

"Okay, Dad. Goodnight."

This is the greatest joy of my life! This was my greatest privilege: to lead my own son the last few steps into trusting Jesus for himself. It was awesome!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's in the Bible -- but not Scriptural

While studying and preaching Luke 4 this weekend for Lent 1, I was confronted with something that happens during the exchange between our Lord and the Adversary. It has caused me some serious reflection. Here is some of it...

Satan tempts Jesus for 40 days while Jesus is in the wilderness. Then there are three specific temptations recorded. Stone to bread exchange, worship for power exchange and then jumping into God's promise. It is in the last event that I was confronted with today's issue.

In all the specific, recorded temptations Jesus responds with Scripture. When challenged to make stones into bread, Jesus quotes the OT that we do not live "by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Then when invited to worship Satan in exchange for the glory of the kingdoms of this world, Jesus again quotes the OT that we are to "worship God and serve him only."

So we see lived out the principle of meeting temptation with the Word of God. The sword of the Spirit can be used to fend off attacks from Satan. We overcome by way of the Word. Christ-followers then should read much, memorize much and interact much with the Bible. Jesus did.

Then Satan predicates the temptation to jump off the high place of the temple with a quote of Scripture. He quotes correctly a powerful promise most specifically directed toward the Messiah. He justifies his request with a proof-text for temple diving.

This points to the challenge for the church in every generation. Not only do we need to be able to proof-text our beliefs and behavior norms, we need an overall rule or rules to guide us in those issues whose opposite sides find Biblical support. Issues such as the Trinity, the Dual Nature of Christ, ending Slavery, and the role of women in ministry/the church all called for more than a list of proof-texts.

Back to our Lord. Why did Jesus reject the verse as advocating or at least allowing temple diving?

More to come...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Jesus Only

Sunday will be Transfiguration Sunday 2011. As I have Children's Church duties I will not be sharing the sermon/teaching this week. I will share it here instead.

The Transfiguration according to St. Matthew (17.1-9, NIV)

1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

This episode in the life of our Lord involves the inner circle of Christ-followers: Peter, James and John. They experience a clear revelation of Jesus. During the vision, Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus.

Moses and Elijah. Two icons of the Jewish faith.

Moses the law-giver, the writer of the the Pentateuch. He promised another prophet like himself would "be raised up" from among the people. He lead the people from slavery to the promised land. He was a deliverer.

Elijah was the prophet's prophet. He called fired down, prayed the rain to dry up and raised the dead to life again. He lead the people to worship the One, True God. He was caught up in a fiery chariot.

These two together might represent the Law and the Prophets, a first-century short-hand for the Hebrew Scriptures.

The inner circle saw them with Jesus. Then they heard the Divine Voice cry, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!" They fainted in ecstasy and fear.

When they revived they saw JESUS ONLY. Only Jesus can help us. Only Jesus is declared God's Son and worthy to hear. We need to center our lives on JESUS ONLY. He will help us understand the Law and Prophets. He will guide us.