Friday, December 24, 2010

Pieces of Christmas #12: Welcome to Our World

This is another Christmas song that is making it's way to my "favorites" list.  It is not a Christmas carol or a Christmas hymn. It is more like a Christmas prayer...a conversation with our Savior.

2000 years ago, there wasn't much fanfare at the birth of Jesus.  Oh, to be sure, there were angels that made a proclamation to shepherds and later there were wise men that travelled a great distance to bring gifts, but there was also the evil king that wanted this young child killed and was willing to kill all of the young boys in the area to make sure that he was killed.  Not what you would call a great welcome for the child that would become our Savior!

Today our need for a Savior is as great as it ever was.  I think of this song as a long overdue welcome to our Savior...and maybe a bit of an apology that we didn't make it right the first time.

Here in the Midwest, it is just a few hours into Christmas Eve. A light freezing rain is starting to fall and it should turn to sleet and maybe snow later in the day. I've enjoyed posting these Pieces of own twelve days of Christmas' posts.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading them and watching the associated videos.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pieces of Christmas #11: The Power of Christmas (part 2)

If you didn't read yesterday's post and watch the associated video, you need to do that now.
Click here.

This is a song that tells the story.

YouTube link

Pieces of Christmas #10: The Power of Christmas

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories.  It is not a story about the Christ of Christmas.  It is a story about the Power of Christmas and of the Peace of Christmas.

The King James Bible translates Luke 2:14 to read: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men."
Later scholars have believed that this is better translated to mean: "...peace on earth towards men of good will." or "...and on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests." NIV

Often times men of good will find themselves at odds with each other due to circumstances that seem to be out of their control.  Perhaps governments or religious beliefs, perhaps social status or even languages or customs cause misunderstandings between people that would get along just fine otherwise.  And so, peace is difficult to find. Sometimes it seems that if we could remove ourselves from the situation, we would find much of ourselves in those that oppose us.  There are often more similarities than differences.

This story took place almost a hundred years ago...Christmas, 1914. It took place on the front lines of a war that was ravaging the countrysides all across Europe...World War I.

For nearly two days, soldiers from opposing armies set aside their weapons, buried their dead, exchanged gifts of cigarettes and food, sang Christmas carols and enjoyed the Peace of Christmas. 

But then, governments imposed their wills once again.  The truce ended and the war resumed.
If only the Power and the Peace of Christmas could have their way in the hearts of men of good will every day of the year. The world would be a much better place.

My wish for you this Christmas is Peace. 
If you are grieving or in despair, I wish you comfort...and Peace.
If you are struggling with family or finance, I wish you contentment, prosperity...and Peace.
If the pressures of life are becoming too burdensome, I wish you rest...and Peace.
What ever your struggle, I pray that you will pause from the battle long enough to experience the Peace that can only be found in the Power of Christmas.

Enjoy the story...enjoy the Peace of Christmas.

Tomorrow...the song that was inspired by the story.

YouTube link

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pieces of Christmas #9: Mary, Did You Know?

It must have been very unusual for the young girl that was the mother of Jesus.  On the one hand, this was a baby like any other baby.  On the other, there has never been another baby anything like Him.

Everything about her pregnancy, from the angelic announcement to the immaculate conception, was unusual.  The timing of the birth was inconvenient. The angelic proclamation to the lowly shepherds was unheard of. This birth was different.  This Child was different.

This is the Savior! He is the Messiah.  He is the Christ--the Christ of Christmas!


YouTube link

Keep Looking Up

I hope that God blesses you with clear skies tonight.

It isn't too often that we get to see a total eclipse of the moon.  At just after midnight tonight (CST) in the first minutes of the 21st, the shadow of the Earth will begin to pass over the moon.  I have always found the night sky to be full of extraordinary events that point to the evidence of an Intelligent Designer...that point to a God.

When I consider your heavens,  the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 
what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Psalms 8:3-4

It is an awesome thing to watch the design of our solar system in action. This total lunar eclipse will take place on the same day as the winter solstice for 2010, another one of the grand events of our solar system.

I hope that you take the opportunity to witness the lunar eclipse if you are in an area that will allow you to see it.  All of my North American friends will be able to see it if the sky conditions permit it.

I love this stuff.

I have taken our family on a day trip to put us in the path of total annularity for the last annular eclipse of the sun visible from the Midwest.  I have had Chris wake the kids up in the middle of the night on a school night to witness spectacular meteor showers.  I've posted about some of these things in the past. I post this now that you might take advantage of the knowledge and witness the rare event in the night sky.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pieces of Christmas #8: Taking the Message to the Mall

What a grand surprise these lunch time shoppers received as a choir breaks into this rendition of The Hallelujah Chorus, bringing the message of the birth of Jesus into the mall's food court---


Thanks, Bandit.
YouTube link

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pieces of Christmas #7: Sunday Morning Sermon

I imagine that there are few people that think about Christmas as they read through the second chapter of Paul's letter to the Philippians--especially through these verses.

For me, this is the very essence of Christmas.  So often we find ourselves contemplating His great love for us through His suffering on the cross.  We relate to the pain and suffering of the Man Jesus much easier than we relate to the love of God.  We point to the suffering and the sacrifice on the cross and think of how much He loved us. Rarely do we think of the sacrifice at the cradle (or manger, if you prefer).

Christmas is a joyful time for mankind--and it should be.  But I think that this is the place where the real sacrifice takes place.  Here is a post from last Christmas that will serve as the basis for my Christmas sermon at church Sunday.  I realize that it is not your typical happy, joyous kind of Christmas message...unless, of course, you remember that the sacrifice was made for you!

Merry Christmas,

A "Pieces of Christmas" Break

I'm breaking from the Pieces of Christmas posts that are focused on the birth of Jesus for a day to share this piece that was written and read at our December meeting of the Ozarks Christian Writers.

With all that has been in the news about the new TSA security procedures, this is a funny and creative look at what one might see in airports next week.

While my header gives permission to repost my material from this blog, this is not mine and permission to repost it is not mine to give.  Feel free to direct others here if you would like to share it.

Thanks to Rod Minatra for giving his permission to print it here.


Twas the Flight Before Christmas ©
By Rodger W. Minatra
December 2010

We were going home for Christmas, and traveling by air
When the weather got bad, and we got stuck in O’Hare
We had just settled down to rest our poor eyes
When something happened that took us both by surprise

In the security check, in a fur suit, red and white
Was a small bearded man checking in for his flight
He was dressed like St. Nick, with a bag, big and red
That would just barely fit in the plane’s overhead.

But he didn’t seem nervous, in fact he looked right at ease
And he went straight to work, as quick as you please
He walked up to the gate and then pulled out 12 trays
Then I heard someone moan, “We will be here for days.”

He pulled out a bandanna and blew his red nose
Then without speaking he took off his clothes
The first thing to come off were the boots that he wore
He squatted down low and rolled back on the floor

We watched as his boots split from the top to the sole
It was the definite sound of a strip of Velcro
As quick as a wink he was in his sock feet
In the first tray were his boots lined up nice and neat

Next was his coat piled high in the tray
And then his black belt, red hat, and toupe
Then standing flat footed like a small kangaroo
He sprang high in the air and his pants came off too

We were shocked at the sight and we tried not to stare
But there stood this small man in his long underwear
It looked for a moment that he did not know what to do
Then the TSA agent said, “Won’t you please come on thru.”

In a flash he stepped forward and walked straight through the gate
When an alarm sounded off and they said you must wait
The agent looked at him in a precarious manner
We can frisk you right here or you can go the scanner

His arms went out straight then he said with a giggle
You can frisk me right here if you think it won’t tickle
He was chubby and plump with a little round belly
That started to jiggle like a bowl full of jelly

The agent stepped forward with a wand in his hand
He was ready and willing to frisk this strange little man
At first he just giggled, the he laughed right out loud
Then the laughter he started caught hold of the crowd

He laughed just a little and then he laughed a lot more
The next thing we knew he was down on the floor.
We tried to keep silent, but as hard as we tried
We all started laughing, and we laughed till we cried.

Then off to the left we heard a loud clatter
And we all turned around to see what was the matter
The little man’s bag had been turned upside down
And we stood in amazement at what the TSA found

There were no toys and no presents in this little man’s bag
No liquids, no weapons, to set off a red flag
This man was no dummy, in fact he was smart
It was thousands of gift cards, all from Wal-mart

When the scanning was over and the little man dressed
We knew that this flight would not be like the rest
Before we all knew it he was at the gates door
In his eyes was a twinkle we had not seen before.

On his face was a smile as he waved to the crowd
And for one second more we all laughed out loud
Then we heard him call out as he went out of sight
Merry Christmas to all and to all a safe flight

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pieces of Christmas #6

Sometimes it can be difficult sorting out the truths from the traditions of Christmas. This little cartoon helps:


for the YouTube link go here

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pieces of Christmas #5: more of Jesus and Santa

I think that this video first appeared last Christmas.  The song was written by the singer's father.  I believe that he's the guy at the piano.

This time it's a search for Jesus when everybody else seems to be satisfied with finding Santa.


If you want to go to YouTube to watch the video, it's here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pieces of Christmas #4: Jesus and Santa

Towards the end of Macy's Christmas Parade the television announcer said that the most important person of the Christmas season was about to arrive....SANTA CLAUS!

Yeah, there is definitely a social controversy over who is the most important person of Christmas.

Even if your holiday is more about gifts (both giving and receiving), family traditions and the guy in the red suit, you need to know that there is a God that loves you and provided a way for you and me (the sinful and undeserving wretches that we are) to have eternal life in heaven.

It may shock my Christian brothers to hear me say that I'm okay with you using the more commercial holiday of christmas (lower case "c" intentional) to celebrate your traditions with family and friends.  I'm not absolutely convinced that it's necessary for us to have a day designated to celebrate the birth of our Savior.  It is necessary to tell the Christmas story:  that the prophecies of a Savior were (and are) fulfilled in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. December 25th gives us an annual opportunity to do that.

So who is the most important person of your Christmas season?
Or Jesus?


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pieces of Christmas #3

This year has been a year that has really caused me to examine just how poorly I have been sharing the Gospel of Salvation in Jesus.  I want to be better...not just locally, but in that "Go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS..." thing that Jesus was talking about.

I found (was directed to) this website for Advent Conspiracy. Maybe in the coming months...

Anyways, as a part of my Pieces of Christmas series, I thought I'd share this video of theirs:


Link to full screen video

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pieces of Christmas #2

I found this song last year and posted it just prior to Christmas.

I've always like Jackson Browne and can identify with this song. Sometimes I feel far removed from the religiousness of the Christian culture.  I've been called self-righteous. I been called anti-Christian.  I've been told that you can't have certain political views and be a Christian.

Perhaps a heathen and a pagan describes me better than I care to admit...but I am still on the side of Jesus.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pieces of Christmas

It's hard to believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away.  Hannah will be finishing finals this week and should be home Thursday evening.  Aaron will also finish finals this week. Jenny finished hers last week.

Since there is always so much that seems to distract us from remembering the birth of our Savior, I thought that I would use these days leading up to Christmas 2010 by posting some simple reminders of why I celebrate on December 25th...and what I celebrate on December 25th.

Let me begin with a classic...simple, to the point, and from an era that was way less concerned about political correctness and much more concerned with allowing each to express their beliefs--even through a cartoon character.

Merry Christmas,

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas Curmudgeon

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm not some sort of Christmas Curmudgeon. I'm going to rely on input from some of my self proclaimed curmudgeon friends/readers...and you know who you are.

I'm not particularly grouchy or feeling all bah-humbug or anything. And I don't feel like I'm completely without the "Christmas" spirit--I'm just easily bothered by others that are being pretenders.

Let me explain...

I started to sense this "curmudgeonly" spirit last Sunday morning. I found humor and irony in our pastor's sermon--that wasn't meant to be humorous or ironic. He was actually giving some good advice on keeping focus during the Christmas season. But he started by reminding us that there are many pagan traditions that can keep us distracted from the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

The irony of this message on the day after the sanctuary was decorated with "Christmas" trees, wreaths, poinsettias and garland was apparently missed by most if not all of the congregation.
Of course, the central decoration is the Nativity scene that seems dwarfed by the large trees, wreaths and bows.

Something about the whole thing just seemed a little off to me.

This was followed by the Wednesday night youth group meeting.

I have to say that I really enjoy the worship time on Wednesday night. The young man that leads that time has a great heart for God and is very transparent in his worship. It pretty much rocks every week.

(I've deleted several paragraphs because ... well, because I can.)

Maybe it's true. Could it be that I'm joining the ranks of the curmudgeons?

I don't think that I'm ready for that.


Btw--I had a great Wednesday morning sharing with Sparta High School and Middle School Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Thanks for inviting me!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Christmas Writing/Reading

Each winter, the Ozarks Chapter of the American Christians Writers takes a break from our normal workshop/guest speaker format to host two very different kinds of meetings. Our December meeting is set aside to hear many of our members present a 5-7 minute Christmas or winter piece that they have written. January is our speed writing meeting. Several topics or starting sentences are given and then the members and guests are challenged to use the first half of the meeting to write from what they've been given. The second half of the meeting is set aside for those that choose to share their work.

If you are in the Springfield area on the morning of December 11, please consider visiting us. Here is the information you'll need--time, place and directions.

Since I know that several of the members read this blog (although I'm not sure why) I considered not posting my work until the morning of the meeting. But since this is as convenient a place as any to store my work, and since I haven't been writing much as of late anyway, I decided to go ahead and post it as it leaks out of my head, through my fingers and into the cyber-world of Out of My Hat. Chances are that I will probably make some minor changes to make it easier to hear (something to consider when working on a piece that is to be read outloud) as I work on the presentation. Or perhaps I'll think of something to add to it; or delete from it; or maybe I'll come up with something entirely different by the time 8 more days pass. (Not likely given my recent writing block)

So here's what I'm thinking...

Do You Ever Stop to Wonder...?

I was wondering if Jesus (the human) was ever awed by His creation.

When you're watching a newborn baby discover his hands and fingers, playing with them in front of his face, realizing that he can grasp things in his tiny fingers; do you ever stop to wonder if Baby Jesus marveled at how his fingers worked?

Did Jesus laugh as his mom played peek-a-boo? Did he wonder where she went when she hid behind a raised blanket? Was he surprised as he squealed with delight at her sudden reappearance?

Did he slap his tiny hands on the furniture and bounce on chubby baby legs when he first pulled himself to his feet as if to say, "Look, mom! I'm standing!"?

What was the Creator of the Universe thinking as he tried to toddle across the room only to fall after a few wobbly steps and land hard on his diaper padded bottom?

I wonder...
Was he afraid of the dark? Were there monsters under his bed? Did thunderstorms bother him? Did he pick up bugs, splash through mud puddles or taste rocks?

I remember how excited my baby boy was when he got his first taste of Ted Drewe's Frozen Custard. I wonder...
What was the boy Jesus thinking when the sweetness of honey first burst upon his taste buds?

I wonder...
Did Jesus get that sweaty little boy smell after playing hard all day? You know the one--not really stinky but definitely not pleasant.

I wonder...
When did Jesus realize that this is His creation; His handiwork? Was it one morning while He was watching the sun rise? Or as an afternoon storm cleared and He remembered that the rainbow in sky meant something special? Was it in the midst of one of those sudden storms on the Sea of Galilee or on a clear quiet night as a meteor shower streaked across the starry sky?

Maybe it was as He came up out of the Jordan River and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and that voice--that voice boomed from heaven, "THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, WITH WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED."

I wonder...

I wonder...
Did Jesus ever think that maybe pain wasn't the best system for warning our bodies that something was messed up? ...That maybe flashing lights and sirens would have been easier to bear as He was being scourged with Roman whips?

I wonder...
Did Jesus wish that He would've created our bodies to be a little less frail, less dependent on the oxygen that He could no longer coax into His lungs as He hung on the cross... my place? your place?

Each year at Christmas time, I wonder...
Not about the "why?" The Bible is pretty clear about God's great love for us:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8)

I wonder about the "how?"

How could He love me so much when I've done nothing to deserve His love?
How could He choose to leave the Throne of Heaven...for me?
How could He choose to set aside the characteristics of omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence...for me?
How could He choose to clothe Himself in the weakness of human flesh...for me?
How could the Creator choose to be hot or cold, hungry or thirsty? How could He walk all day and get tired...for me?
How could He take a beating...for me?
How could He die...for me?

And each year, I wonder...
I wonder...
In the coming year, how will I thank Him?
How will I serve Him?
How will I serve...

Merry Christmas,

Monday, November 29, 2010


Yeah, yeah... I's been forever since I've posted. Frankly, I just haven't felt like sitting down and taking the time to organize thoughts into some sort of coherent order that could be followed by the average reader.


This morning I'm wondering if yesterday's message wasn't a bit of overkill.

It's not often that I get to preach at Hopedale. Maybe I've gotten used to being able to preach freely to people that I don't know so well. I think that preaching to people that you really care about is much more difficult...especially when the message is somewhat of a scolding.

That's not how I intended for it to sound, but I'm afraid that it might have come across that way.
I really do love my church family. But I think that we get way too comfortable with the way we are doing things. Hopedale was a "Pacesetter" church in Missouri Baptist life for the year 2009. That means that we were one of the leading churches in baptisms for churches of comparable size. I think we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 (maybe it was 68) baptisms for the year. Javalujah!

If you figure that we have an average of around 300 in attendance on Sunday morning and work with an annual budget of around $580,000, that means that it takes about five of us and just under $9000 to reach each soul for the kingdom...and for that we're given an award and can feel good about ourselves! Why doesn't this give me a warm fuzzy feeling? Why do I feel like we've become a more of a social club than an effective tool in the hands of Our Lord? (and if Deacons are like Board Members then I'm on the Board at our club)

I hope that you understand that I realize that I am a part of the problem...but I don't want to stay that way. Maybe I got it wrong and the message that I was hearing was just for me. There wasn't the usual excitement as I was preparing the message (actually, I felt pretty uncomfortable). There wasn't the usual rush as I was sharing it, either (again, that feeling of discomfort). One Facebook friend suggested that the "good sermon" comment is like the kiss of death...well, I didn't get a lot of those; a few, but not many. I still don't know if that's a good thing or not.

I'm having lunch with a friend today. I think that he'll give me an honest assessment of how he felt about it and maybe some insight as to how others may have received it. It's been such a long time since I've preached at Hopedale. If it's a long time until I preach again I won't know if it's just the normal long time of if enough people complained about the last time I preached. I think I'd like it better if they would just come and tell me if they think I was out of line.

Maybe they will.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

What Would Happen If...

I found about about this political candidate from a relative on Facebook (thanks Sharon). Apparently Mr. Phil Woolas is losing his seat because his campaign ads were deceptive and attacked the honor and character of his opponent.

What would our Congress look like today if false ads were banned from political campaigns with the consequence being disqualification and not being able to run again in the next election? One thing is certain--candidates wouldn't need to raise so much money to put out the number of lying ads that are out there.

Of course, here in the USA there would also have to be something done about the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allows large corporations to lie anonymously on a candidates behalf.
Wouldn't it be nice if the people that we elected to office were honorable people that had some personal integrity? Wouldn't it be nice if they couldn't be bought or bullied into making decisions? Wouldn't it be nice if they could actually talk to one another and work out differences without resorting to temper tantrums, lying, name calling and behaviors more likely to be found in a junior high student council (my apologies to the junior high council members)?

We do have laws that keep people from lying...slander, libel. Why don't they apply to campaign ads?

All-in-all, I have to say that I'm glad it's over for this election cycle. We ought to have a few months of the normal sex filled beer commercials and normal false stories and inflammatory reporting from Fox News. The return to the normal everyday lying and hype that we've grown accustomed to will be a relief!


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Voting: Your Christian Duty?

I heard that today on a Christian radio network. They said it was your Christian duty to vote.

Really? I thought it was your Christian duty to tell people about Jesus. How is it that so many of our Christian "leaders" have become political pawns instead of voices for Jesus? How is it that they give dollars and air time to candidates for office and push for political reform while allowing their neighborhoods and communities to go to hell because they would rather judge them by their politics than share the love of God with them?

Maybe it's easier to tell somebody how they should vote instead of sharing the "Good News" of salvation. We've become pretty quick to ignore their spiritual conditions and oh so very slow to tell them of our religious beliefs. Is talking politics really so much less offensive than talking religion?

No matter the outcome of the mid-term elections, let's all do our Christian duty tomorrow: Tell somebody about Jesus!

Can I get an "Amen"?


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Juan Williams, NPR, Federal Funding

Just wondering...I've read several articles and heard differing media viewpoints about NPR's firing of Juan Williams for comments he made while on a Fox News program last week. I listen to NPR on a pretty regular basis and find that their journalistic approach to reporting is pretty "middle of the road". (That means that the left finds it too conservative and the right finds it too liberal.)

One of the funniest things (funny in a weird way, not a ha-ha way) that has come about from the firing of Williams is the sudden desire to punish NPR by cutting federal funding. This move, of course, comes by conservatives in the House. I wonder...if Williams had been fired for comments that he made on Rachel Maddow's show, would House liberals be crying to slash funding to NPR?

If Congress is looking for places to cut expenditures (and they should be), then let's cut expenditures because Congress doesn't need to be in the broadcast business...not because we don't like the decisions that are being made at NPR (like firing one of our buddies). Catering to the desires of Congressmen for federal dollars is the kind of corruption that has brought us to the disastrous debt and favor currying that dominates our political landscape today.

Is Congress sending the message, "If you want our federal funding then you'll hire the reporters that we want you to hire and report the news the way we want you to report it?" or are they really trying to cut spending?

As much as I like NPR, I'd be all for cutting federal funding along with a host of other budget items that could be cut to reduce the budget. But let's face it--calling for the cuts as a punitive measure just goes to show that Congressmen are acting like bullies that abuse their power to get their own way.

For the record, I think that NPR's firing of Williams for his comments was an overreaction. Obviously, it seems there was more to the firing than his most recent comments and he would have had to make a choice sooner or later--Fox News or NPR. Like so many other employers, NPR apparently couldn't just go to him and say that you no longer fit what we are looking for in a reporter/employee. Simple honesty in relationships doesn't seem to have much of a place in the employer/employee venue these days.

So what do you think...or do you even care?


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

I’ve really struggled with whether or not I should write this post and have decided to go ahead with it. I’ll make the upfront disclaimer that it really isn’t meant to be offensive even though I know that because of its subject matter, it may offend some of my readers. I am just sharing some things that have been in my thoughts this month.

I’ll begin by stating several of the things that have brought this topic to mind:

*The California Federal Court ruling regarding the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy

*The Facebook status that has been appearing on numerous friends’ pages: “Please put this on your status if you know or love somebody who is gay. My wish is that people understand that being gay is not a disease nor a choice—people who are gay are not looking for a cure but acceptance and equal rights…93% of facebookers won’t copy and paste this…”

*A recent conversation with a preacher friend of mine about an incident at a funeral that involved his interaction with a couple of gay men.

*A book that I’m reading by an ultra-conservative pastor that addresses homosexuality and the stance that Christians should take on gay/lesbian rights.

*Wear purple day

First, I have to say that hatred is not an option for the Christian. On the other hand, believing that same gender sex is a sin is not hate or intolerance. Having differing beliefs is not a sign of intolerance. It means that we have different beliefs. I’m comfortable explaining why I believe what I believe. And I’m equally comfortable listening to your reasoning for why you believe what you believe.

Having said that:

I believe that everybody is entitled to certain rights as citizens of our country…not special rights, but the same rights that are afforded to other citizens. This includes the right to defend our country. I’ve always thought the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was a bunch of political mumbo jumbo that was just stupid talk designed to give somebody something they deserved but that somebody else didn’t like them having. Like I said…stupid.

As for same gender civil unions: Even if our society decides that same sex unions are legal, and even if our society changes the definition of marriage to include same sex unions, it doesn’t change the Biblical definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

So, you may ask, “John, do you believe that homosexuality is a sin?”

I have a simple way of resolving this in my simple brain.

I think that the Bible is clear that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Even if you are willing to set aside all of the texts that deal with same gender sex, you still have to understand that any sex outside of God’s idea of marriage is a sin. Yes, that includes premarital sex, extramarital sex and same gender sex (since that is always outside of God’s definition of marriage).

If a person is attracted to another member of the same sex but abstains from having sex, it really is no different than an unmarried man that is attracted to an unmarried woman that abstain from having sex. In spite of what society accepts as normal today, there are heterosexuals that remain celibate because of their beliefs that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Even though same gender couples will never have the option of celebrating sex in a Biblical union, it is still a choice…and it is still a sin.

Are they condemned because they are homosexuals? No, they are condemned because they are human. Clearly, the Bible teaches that we are all condemned because we are all sinners. Not one of us is worthy of saving…and yet God chooses to save us.

I know that it is so politically incorrect (some say intolerant) to say that Jesus is the only way to reconcile our sin and gain eternal life in heaven, but I believe with all of my heart that only in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus do we have the hope of eternal salvation. The condemnation of our human state is the same for heterosexuals as it is for homosexuals. The good news is that the plan of salvation is also the same for heterosexuals as it is for homosexuals.

Yes, Jesus died for their worthless souls just as he did for my worthless soul!

I didn’t wear purple today. I don’t think that I have anything purple to wear. It is tragic that any young person feel so ostracized that they would resort to suicide. It doesn’t matter if they are gay or not. Suicide for our young people (15-22) is the third leading cause of death behind accidental death and homicide. Bullying of heterosexuals as well as homosexuals should not be tolerated. The tragedy isn’t that homosexual teens are committing suicide. It is that teens from all walks of life are committing suicide in alarming numbers.

To anybody reading that might be feeling alone, afraid, depressed and considering that living life is not worth it—there is hope. Call somebody. Get help. If you feel like you have nowhere else to turn, e-mail or call me. My contact info is the right column of this blog or on the info page of my Facebook profile.

The truth of the Bible is that God loves you. He has made a way for you to meet with Him through His Son, Jesus. It would be my honor to introduce you to my Lord, my Savior and friend.

I know that many may say that my religious view point and my belief in an absolute truth just prove how intolerant Christians really are. The simple fact is that we all can’t be right. We can all be wrong…but we can’t all be right. If you are willing to say that I’m intolerant because I believe that I’m right, then you give yourself the same intolerant label.

Let’s make a truce: As we search for the truth, let’s share the information that we find. I believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth. Truth doesn’t change from person to person; it is what it is. Right and wrong are not relative things. Though society’s standards have degraded to the point that pornography, promiscuity, corruption and greed are becoming normal—these things are still wrong.

Feel free to disagree with me. I won’t think that you hate me just because we disagree. And I hope that you won’t think that I hate you. Tell what you think…and why. Together, let’s figure this truth thing out.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Practical Christianity: Learning lessons from my younger sister

Wow! It's been more than two weeks since my last post. Just when I thought I was back on the blogging track...well, that didn't last for very long.

And tonight's post isn't really my post. It's taken directly from my little sister's Facebook site. In the title I called her my younger sister, and that probably sounds better since she is married with three's just that I still think of her as my little sister. (Hope you don't mind, Mary.)

I also hope that you don't mind that I'm sharing this with my readers. It is inspiring to me and I hope that it is inspiring to others.

Here's what Mary wrote:

I have been wanting to reach out to the community in a way that is helpful and practical. It isn't always easy though.
Well, last week I asked my small group if they would like to rake leaves in the neighborhood of our church after services on Sunday. 2 of the adults were able to join me, Chris, and our kids. One of the adults brought her teen son and daughter (9 or 10).
So - come Sunday morning I still didn't have a house in mind. I left church in search of the perfect home, while the others prepared lunch. "Please, Lord, let me get the right house on the first try."
I didn't want to knock on doors. Who does? I passed several houses with yards full of leaves, then stopped in front of C's house. Again, I prayed a quick prayer and got out of the van and knocked on the door. Through the glass of the storm door, I spoke with C, a senior (she later told us she is 80), asking if my friends and I could rake her leaves later in the afternoon.
She asked "how much?" (smile)
"Oh, we don't want to be paid. We just want to help people in the neighborhood." She stepped out onto the front porch to find out more. After I explained what we were doing, She shared, "My husband died in December. He used to take care of things like that."
Yeah...I'd say God got me to the right house. She insisted I come inside to meet her visiting daughter, who was skeptical, I think. Anyway, I left C's house happy with my one stop find (thank you, Lord) and returned to the church to eat lunch and get the team together. Once back at C's we attacked the yard work quickly. As I was working I noticed that just two doors down, a lady was staring at her leaf piles, hands on hips, she wished we were helping her instead. So, Joe and I headed over, followed later by Gary and we helped her bag her leaves. As Joe and I were working I said, "it feels good to help people, doesn't it?"
He said, "Yeah. it's hard work, but it's a lot of fun, too." He's right.
It didn't take much time. 4 Adults, one teen and 4 children filled about 20 bags of leaves in ONE HOUR. We met a couple of nice women and their adult kids and learned a little about them. We had a lot of fun and we were able to share God's love in a practical way (and teach our kids how to show God's love, too). I'd say it's been a pretty good Sunday.

Yeah, that's my little sister.
I am so proud of you, Mary. Way to go!


Friday, October 01, 2010


A short time ago the calendar turned another page and we slipped from September to October. October 1st means that it is just 86 days to Christmas, 92 days until 2010 comes to an end, and 1 yr, 3 mos, 6 days until I'm eligible to retire.

I'd certainly like to retire when I'm eligible. Realistically, three years of no raises has changed what I anticipated my retirement income would be based on. And the wonderful downturn in the economy has taken its toll on the retirement account. So perhaps it's time to take another look and figure out just what that income will be and how much we will need when the time comes. When it comes right down to it, the working conditions in Springfield have never been to the point of driving people away like conditions in some facilities have been. As far as working for a living goes, this is a pretty easy gig. The schedule is the most difficult part of the job and gets more so as time passes. I've made a slight change in my days off for 2011 and will be off on Sunday/Monday instead of Saturday/Sunday. With the number of young guys that are coming on and wanting to work the midshifts, I doubt that I'll continue to work two or three each week and will probably end up with a normal (for air traffic controllers) schedule of two evenings, two days and a mid each week.

At this point, I really don't know how that will affect ministry opportunities or anything else. I'll just have to see. The change in days off will also have me working with some different people for the year. I am looking forward to working more with some of the controllers that I haven't worked with much in the past few years.

I'll let you know how it all works out.

October is also going to bring a new, short term, body/mind/spirit renewal for me.

Starting today, for the next 40 days I am going to commit to dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes each day to each area: body, mind, spirit. I think that I can find the 1 1/2 hours to keep up with it.

For the body--30 minutes of exercise ... EVERY day. It can range from light--a brisk walk, to something heavier like the exercise bike, weight machine, Nordic Trac or exercise videos--as long as it's at least 30 minutes, every day. I'm also going to cut back to one main meal per day and maybe three snack sized meals--bowl of cereal, piece of fruit, salad, sandwich (not the foot long sub or Burger King Whopper size, just a normal sandwich!). It's only 40 days, right? I know that on occasion a snack might be a Jamocha shake from Arby's or a small bowl of ice cream, but all-in-all, I think that I can live with this for 40 days.

For the mind--30 minutes of non-fiction reading...EVERY day. Time wise this should be easy. I have more than enough break time at work to cover this. It will just be a matter of picking the books from a list of books that I need to read. In the past few years, my book reading has really diminished. That needs to change. Newspapers, magazines, internet news, current events--it all counts. I probably already do this most days, but I want to do it purposefully and with a plan. I'm not going to be an intellectual giant; I would just like to keep a well rounded intellect and be able to be conversant on most subjects with most people.

For the spirit--
...Wow. It's hard to put a time down when it comes to what I need for spiritual growth. Truthfully, 30 minutes every day isn't enough. The area of my spiritual life that I would really like to focus on for the next 40 days (the area that I really need to focus on) is my prayer life. Recently, I've been making notes as I read the Bible (posted some of those) and this helps me to hear God's message rather than just reading the words. I need to continue to do that but I don't want to really count that in with this 30 minutes of time for spiritual growth. I want for this 30 minutes to be time that I set aside to really focus on my God.
I want to focus on His Greatness, His Holiness, His Love. While I believe greatly in the power of intercessory prayer, I don't want this to be a time of bringing a shopping list of things that I desire for myself or for others. I want it to be a time of praise and worship. Yeah, that's it--

For the spirit--30 minutes set aside for the adoration and worship of my God...EVERY day.

Well, that's it then--forty days from now I should be a thinner, healthier, smarter person that loves and worships his God...EVERY day.


Friday, September 24, 2010

What's it Worth?

Do you believe in Heaven?

I know that not everybody believes in heaven. And I know that not everybody's beliefs about heaven are the same.

So let's start by saying that if you don't believe in heaven, you can go ahead and skip this post. There isn't anything here that is going to try to convince you of heaven's existence or my idea of what it takes to get into heaven. It's more about what is heaven you?

It's kind of odd that not everybody that believes in heaven, also believes in hell. And there are some people believe that everybody gets to heaven. (I guess there's not a lot of real value in living a life worthy of heaven if everybody gets to go.)

So for the context of this post, let's assume that heaven is a place to be greatly desired and hell (where everybody that doesn't get to heaven goes) is a place to be greatly shunned. If you're just an end results kind of person, it probably doesn't matter if your motivation is to attain heaven or to avoid hell. However, your motivation may make a difference between living a life of joy or a life of fear.

The reason that I ask this question is that I was reading in Matthew, chapter 13.
Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he buried it again and then went and sold everything that he had and bought the field.

Wait a says in his joy he sold everything he had. I imagine him as absolutely giddy about knowing that this great treasure is soon to be his. He knew that the value of the field was equal to everything that he owned but was willing to give it all up for the value of the hidden treasure which was worth so much more. I'm sure that the only way for him to obtain the field was to sell everything he had. In doing so, he purchased the field and all that was in it (the treasure).

So what if the only way to heaven is to surrender all that we have to God? I'm not suggesting that heaven can be bought, but I'm wondering just how literal does Jesus want us to take this little example of "the kingdom of heaven is like..."?

First of all, I don't see too many modern day Christians that are willing to give everything in exchange for heaven. Secondly, I don't see them doing it joyfully. Truthfully, if this is a realistic example of what the kingdom of heaven is like (and I have no reason to believe that Jesus is kidding around about it), then I'm currently left out in the darkness. There are plenty of things that I do for myself or my family that are done without a thought of how little impact they have on eternity. Dinner out tonight, new carpeting in the upstairs bedrooms, hardwood in the living room and hallway, vinyl in the upstairs bath--all nice (not necessary) but all for us. You can say that this is good stewardship; that we are just taking good care of our home, or you can say that we have too much and give too little to the cause of expanding the kingdom.

I really think that this should be a matter of great concern for professing Christians. In Southern Baptist culture, there is this mythological belief that if you pray a certain prayer Jesus will come into your heart and save you from eternal damnation. I don't find that in the Bible. I think that we've fooled millions of people into believing that they're going to heaven and they are as condemned as any unbeliever can be.

They have given nothing of themselves to following the Jesus that they say is their Lord.
They are not disciples that give themselves to studying His life and imitating His character.
There is little difference between the life they lead and the life of the average Joe without any thoughts of heaven and hell, good and evil, God or no god.
They bear no good fruit for the glory of God.

...And they (we) keep their stuff.

As I try to work this out in my own mind (and for my own sake), I am troubled. I take comfort in knowing that my God is far greater than I can imagine and His ways are far beyond my understanding. I am grateful for the comfort I find in Jesus' words just a few chapters away. A rich young man comes to Jesus searching for eternal life. You can read the encounter here.

Okay, that part is pretty discouraging. The encouraging part is what Jesus says next:
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then, can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Are the riches of heaven enough to cause you to surrender your earthly possessions? Is the promise of eternity worth more than anything this world can offer? Have you taken too lightly the parable of the buried treasure or the encounter of the rich young ruler?

If Jesus was serious when He told this story and when He encountered the rich man, how do you stand on the question of eternal salvation?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sent into Battle

Wow. Reading through chapter 10 of Matthew isn't really the kind of stuff that a content middle-class Midwestern American boy wants to hear.

Jesus' warning to the troops as he sends them out kind of reminds me of a locker room pep talk before a big game--you know, the kind of speech the coach gives when you're the underdog and are going to get slaughtered.

Actually, it might be more like the what you may have heard as the Spartans battled at Thermopylae. The warriors knew they were greatly outnumbered and knew they would probably die in battle, but knew that their deaths would not be in vain if they could hold on and stop the advance of the Persian army. They fought with their king and for their king. They left their families behind. They were revered by their countrymen; respected and despised by their enemies. They did not fear death, but welcomed it if it came while defending their country, their king and their loved ones. In the end, they were defeated by information that was given to their enemies by a traitor.

Keep this scenario in mind as you read through chapter 10. Listen to what Jesus says about what the disciples will encounter.

They will go out among their countrymen (the Jews). They will be betrayed by their own families. They will be persecuted by the enemies of their king. They will be called on to give their lives.

Those that receive them and care for them will be blessed. Those that don't will receive harsh judgment.

Jesus warns them not to be reckless, but to be wise. He tells them to guard themselves from men that would betray them. He reminds them that there are many that hate him, so many will hate them. He tells them to tell the truth and proclaim it boldly.

He tells them not to fear persecution or death on Earth, but to fear the Father in heaven who has power over our eternal souls.

And Jesus reminds us that the truth will divide families against one another.

Yes, the truth divides. It divides families, and it divides nations. But the Bible tells us that our citizenship is not of this world. We are travelers in this life, in this world. Our home is in heaven. This is a battleground...and we are at war.

Unfortunately, this is not our mindset. Our guard is down. Our armor is on the shelf. Our enemies don't even know that they are our enemies or that we are warriors because we have been away from the battle for too long. We have made friends with the enemies of God and have become traitors to the cause of Jesus.

It seems that we all want to be diplomats and nobody wants to be a warrior. We want to talk the talk (when it won't get us in trouble) but walking the walk is for somebody else.

Jesus sends us so that others will call on God the Father. The Bible asks, "How can they call on on one they don't believe in? And how can they believe in one that they've never heard of? How can they hear if nobody tells them? And who will tell them if nobody has been sent to tell them?" (John's paraphrase of Romans 10:14-15)

Time to get dressed for the battle. Fight a good fight today.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Early Morning Rant

One of the few downsides to my job as an air traffic controller is the crazy schedule that I work. I did a swap with one of my co-workers that had me working the mid shift on Friday night/Saturday morning--not a big deal but I find myself wide awake at just past midnight. I slept from 8 to 12:30 earlier today, spent a few hours at Silver Dollar City with Chris this afternoon, took a little nap when we got home--now I'm awake. After laying awake for more than 45 minutes, I just decided to go with it and get up for a while.

Lately, I've been thinking about how we do church--not just at Hopedale, but Christian churches in general.

Back in 1995, Rick Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Church. In it, he named five purposes of the church: Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry and Mission (Evangelism). These were the five keys to successfully growing a church.

One of the things that I've noticed is that we try to accomplish all of these things--at the same time on Sunday morning. Sunday morning church has become a "one stop shopping" kind of venue so that we can satisfy all of the requirements in a few hours and check all of the boxes for the entire week with a single visit to the church of our choosing. The problem is that it doesn't really work that way. By taking the time that is set aside for worship and trying to roll everything else into it, we may do all of those things--we just don't do them well.

What should be all about worshiping our great God has turned into a time of fellowshipping with one another, teaching (discipling) from the Bible, evangelizing (that is our pastor's job, right?) and ... well, let's face it, ministry isn't really our strong suit. If we can't find a way to take care of it on Sunday morning, it just isn't going to happen.

Oh yeah...and worshipping. Don't forget that. It is why we do Sunday mornings, isn't it?

What would happen if the only thing we do when we get together on Sunday mornings is to worship our God? What would happen if the pastor never made an altar call or shared the plan of salvation from the pulpit and that became our job as followers of Jesus (evangelism)? What would happen if we really started meeting each others needs and the needs of the community around us (ministry)? What would happen to the church if the people of the church became committed to learning about the Savior that we claim to be following (discipleship)? What would happen if we became a true family of believers that met with each other and shared a meal once in a while--away from church (fellowship)?

What would happen if we came to church and didn't expect to receive one little thing? What would happen if the only thing that we wanted to do, on any given Sunday morning, is to worship--truly worship--our God?

Honestly, I have to say that our church attendance would drop off dramatically.

And since butts in the pews or cars in the parking lot equates to dollars in the offering, we don't want to do anything that will keep people away. We would rather have a church full of people that are happily checking off the religion box each week (and throwing a few dollars our way) as they travel the broad road to hell than to worship God and to follow the teachings of Jesus.

It's almost 1:30 in the morning now and I doubt that many will read this before going to church on this last Sunday of summer. If you are one of the few readers that read this before church this morning, I want to encourage you to set everything else aside and just worship God. Don't ask Him for a single thing. Give to Him. Paul writes that we should be living sacrifices. That we should live for Him. Paul says it's our reasonable act of worship.

Maybe you're reading this and you don't go to church. Maybe Sunday morning is past and you missed the opportunity...for this week.

Find a way to worship God. Find a fellowship of believers that you can learn from and work with. Be purposeful in your daily walk with God. Don't wait for next week. Begin by worshipping Him now.


Friday, September 17, 2010

More From Matthew

Matthew 7:13-14

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

I always wonder why we miss these two verses. Oh we see them and read them plainly enough, but why is it that we are surprised to find that we (Christians) are in the minority? How is it that we seemed shocked that the way of the majority is not The Way?

It wasn't that many verses ago that Jesus compared us to salt and light. Is salt the primary ingredient in any food? Of course not. It is just a seasoning.

If we look at an image of the universe or of Earth taken from space, is there more light or more dark? There is always much more dark.

Jesus says that the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction...and many will take the easy way. He warns us that the gate is narrow and the way is hard...but it leads to life! And few will find this way...perhaps, even fewer will take it.

As I look at humanity, I am convinced that there are many that choose to ignore God's call--not because they don't believe in Him or His Divinity, but because they just don't want to live life on the narrow way. It's too hard. We like the easy way. We like it our way.

We go through life following the masses. They can't all be wrong, can they? Besides, it's easy...and it's fun. Sure, we hear stories about the ones that are suffering for Jesus. We're even inspired by them. Maybe a little outraged at their suffering and persecution, but that's them and we aren't being called on to suffer...or are we?

Maybe there isn't any suffering on our path because it is the broad path; the easy path. Maybe we're just fooling ourselves into thinking that we're following Jesus when really He is calling to us from a narrow path that branches off of the road that we're on. It looks like a lonely path and nobody else is walking that way. It looks to be narrow and difficult with rocks to climb and obstacles to negotiate. The wide road is easier and it looks like it's going in the same general direction. After all, we desire to find God; to serve Him. Isn't that enough?

That narrow, winding path has crossed this road before. Perhaps it will cross it again. We'll think about taking it then. For now, we're enjoying the easy way and the company of our friends--our "church" friends.

A short while ago, I was thinking about all of the people that I know that smoke. I'm sure that it's a very difficult habit to break, but let's face it--people smoke because they want to smoke. In spite of all of the evidence that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, emphysema, stroke and other health conditions, people choose to smoke. It's not that they disagree with the science--they just choose to smoke anyway.

I think that we respond to God's call to walk the narrow path the same way. It's not that we don't believe Him. It's not that we really think that we can do this eternity thing on our own. It's that we are just going to choose to do it our way...for now. We'll get on the narrow path later. We'll keep our eyes open and not let it get out of sight for too long. We'll call out to Jesus often enough to know where He is. But that's all we're really committed to...for now.

It's like we're watching Jesus, but not really following Him. We'll learn about the narrow way. We'll study stories of those that have walked that path. From time to time, we'll even try it out for a few miles...but it's hard. We grow weary. We digress. We decide that the broad way is easier.

Even though we never have a real encounter with God on the broad path, we're with people that talk about God. They're good people. Maybe if we just hang around with them, their goodness will count for something.

Maybe not.

If it sounds like I'm frustrated,
I am.
I am tired of playing church.
I am tired of saying that I'm a Christian.
I'm tired of feeling like this is too easy.
And I'm afraid that I might be fooling myself and walking the wrong road.

Skip down a few verses. Here are the ones that truly trouble my soul:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Price of Freedom

This past weekend I was doing a little channel surfing and came across the movie National Treasure. It was towards the beginning--the scene in the ice encrusted ship; the scene where they determine that they need to look at the back of the Declaration of Independence.

I watched it for a while but I had too much to do to sit for a couple of hours. However, I got to thinking about the Declaration of Independence, the men that signed it, and the principles for which they stood and for which it still stands.

There is a line that I think we should review as Americans from time to time. It's the last sentence before the fifty-six men sign their names and make their Declaration against the King of England.

It reads:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

When I read that today, I can't help but wonder if we remain as committed to our country as our forefathers were. Would we pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to preserve our country and our freedoms for future generations?

You don't have to look very far to see that there are many men and women that take up arms and stand ready to defend our nation, our citizens, and our principles by risking their lives in our Armed Forces. And while there may be many that don't necessarily support all of the country's military actions, you'd be hard pressed to find an American that doesn't cherish the freedoms that these men and women stand guard over. For the most part, our soldiers and sailors have the respect of masses and are applauded for their service at every opportunity. My sincere apologies for the few that use their Freedom of Speech to deride our military forces when ever they get the chance.

It's the second thing that really gets me thinking.

"...our Fortunes..."

Today we are a nation that is in great debt.

According to Forbes magazine, there are 403 billionaires, with a collective net worth of $1.3 trillion dollars, living in the United States. (422 according to 66 billionaires living in China...2nd most)

Our 4,715,000 millionaires is nearly 4 times second place Japan's 1,230,000.

We are the nation with highest GDP (Gross Domestic Product). At $14.6 trillion we are nearly twice second place China's $7.8 trillion.

The National Debt clock shows our debt at a staggering $13.45 trillion -- $43,000 per citizen!

When you stop and think of the billions of borrowed dollars that our government has promised in corporate bailouts, it's enough to make you sick. Instead of our citizens pledging our fortunes to secure our country, our country is borrowing fortunes to bailout mismanaged corporations and CEO's are continuing to get wealthy.

In an political climate that is still screaming "tax cuts", one has to wonder what would the men that gave everything have to say about those that have used the system to secure personal wealth but forgotten the country that provided that freedom.

Don't misunderstand me, I don't think that we should penalize those that have made their fortunes in our free enterprise system. But recognizing our need and realizing their ability, I don't think that this is the time for extending tax breaks for the wealthiest. I think that it's time for taxpayers at every income level to recognize that we are burdening future generations with the debt of our irresponsibility. It's time for us to quit figuring out how to pay less in taxes and to start figuring out how we're going to reduce our debt.

If it was your household budget that was in trouble, you would begin by finding where you could reduce spending. As citizens of this country (and voters) we need to begin by getting the irresponsible spenders out of Washington. Fire them! Vote them out. I don't care what party they belong to, if they have spent our money recklessly, get rid of them.

There has been much written about the fates of those that signed the Declaration--some of it true, some not. To get the real story, go here. The reality of the Revolutionary War is that many gave their lives, fortunes and honor to pay for the freedoms that we enjoy today. The Declaration of Independence lists many reasons why the colonists wanted freedom England. Taxation without representation was only one of the many reasons that was listed. That, and all of the many other injustices were corrected when we were able to set up our own government-- the Great American Experiment. The representative form of government has suited us well until it has been hijacked by high paid lobbyists and easily corrupted representatives--both have exchanged honor for money and power.

The time has come for our representatives to set aside party agendas and fix our broken economy. The time has come for each of them (and us) to pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to securing a free country for our kids, grandkids and generations beyond.

Midterm elections are only a few weeks away. I honestly don't know if any of the candidates would meet the Revolutionary requirement of even having honor to pledge to our country. The Congressman that has represented my district for years and is running for the Senate was named in 2005 as one of the most corrupt Congressmen in Washington. How's that for honor?

Along with many other Congressmen and Senators, he pays off contributors with favors of contracts, jobs, appropriations, legislation, etc. This has to stop. Unfortunately it's the people that are corrupted by lobbyists that are tasked to make the laws to police them--the foxes are guarding the hen house! It's time for us to hold them accountable, look at their voting records and hold them accountable--every time, every vote.

I realize that this has been quite a rant--I didn't really plan on that. I guess you could say that my ire is up!

I feel better. Now it's your turn...comments, anyone?