Tom with kids in Kuwait

Tom with kids in Kuwait
Tom with kids in Kuwait

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Lexicon Lifestyle choices--what if and if only...

What is the difference between what if and if only?  Why what only of course. 

That and, if only are two of the most disgusting words that I can think of, at least in the world of purpose.  They are excuses prepared in advance for the inevitable failure or just giving up.

What if are words of possibility.  They invite creativity.  They beckon the mind to see beyond what we did last year.  They have the aroma of potential.

Seldom will the same person keep both sets of words in his or her lexicon.  To the person of purpose, the words if only are toxic.  For the person running a good race, they can only cut in and distract and disrupt.

The words what if are for the person seeking life to the full.  Not every what if is realized but the thought of not contemplating the best and settling for whatever is repulsive. 

We make many choices in the course of a day, a year, or a life time.  One of the best choices that we can make is to choose carefully which words and phrases we keep at the ready.  Our lexicon influences our life. 

Discard if only and embrace what if.  It will make a world of difference.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

What's up with all these selfies?

As we head into this season of Thanksgiving, which should be a nonsense term as every day should be a day of thanksgiving and praise:  We were dead in our sin.  Now we are alive in Christ.  Thank you Jesus!  Praise the Lord!

As we enter into what the western world considers Thanksgiving, let us reflect on our reflection, well on our image.  We are made in the image of God.  That should get a few amen’s and hallelujah’s, or at least a cool beans

The problem is that we seem so self-absorbed with our own image.  I enjoy Facebook. I find that it is not the place for any considered discussion beyond the sophomoric banter than results at best in a waste of time and at the worst, the bitterest of vitriol and condemnation.  Rarely, you might find that intellectual companion who sharpens your mind, but most don’t.

But it is a great place for pictures of kids and grandkids and what people are doing and occasionally somebody’s new car or car accident or unusual cargo (that you happen to be stuck behind).  But what is it with all these selfies?

Are we that self-absorbed with our own image?  It seems that we are obsessed with self-flirtation.  When you are out with a group and want a memory, hey, the selfie does the trick (maybe that would be a groupie); but so many people post new pictures of themselves daily.

Are we that fixated on ourselves?  Are we afraid that people won’t recognize us if we don’t update daily?

Picking up your cross and denying yourself is totally counter-culture in this age.  Putting off the old self seems to be a daily post as the new selfie must prevail.

I love that we are made in the image of God and being transformed into the likeness of Christ Jesus.  I just think that we don’t need the daily visuals.  I don’t think that selfies are really transformation metrics. 

Just a thought here…

Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus (not ourselves).  He is, after all, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Skip the selfie.  Focus on following the Lord!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Choosing your sovereign

It seems the range of discourse for taking a knee has no end.  I have made my contributions along the way.  Some agree and some don’t.  I don’t lose any sleep either way.  I enjoy the free and open grapple from which the truth should emerge should John Milton’s premise bear validity.  I do hope that we can discuss issues of controversy with a civil tongue or even more civil keyboard. 

Consider that with respect to nations and their leaders, the knee is bent only to the sovereign—generally the king.  Salutes are rendered as a sign of mutual respect among those in the service of the their country.

So, during the National Anthem, those who kneel are rendering respect to their king—in our case the president, and those who salute recognize that we as the people are sovereign. 

I thought that we didn’t like kings in this country.  After fighting the British for our independence, George Washington had to refuse kingship.  I am glad that he did.  Our founders brought forth a wonderful constitution.  Every member of the armed forces and all officers of the United States promise by oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I will not bend my knee to any person claiming sovereignty in this nation; yet, those you take a knee during the National Anthem seem to be rendering fealty to their King, Donald Trump.  I would guess that most of those taking a knee would find this offensive.

Saluting the National Ensign during the National Anthem is a sign that the people are sovereign and brings back words from Abraham Lincoln—that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth

I much prefer the sovereignty of the people, though we trust the work to our representatives, than bending a knee to a king or queen.  This is a country where people have incredible freedom, so if they choose to bend a knee to President Trump during the National Anthem, it’s their right.  If they want to make a statement about fixing problems in this nation, embracing the sovereignty of the people with respect during our anthem is more appropriate and effective.

Just to put a larger perspective on this, I do not hesitate to bend my knee to the King of kings and the Lord of lords that we know as Christ Jesus.  If there were a lot more of that happening, many of the problems that we have in this nation would be resolved in short order.  Worldly government would become less relevant.

Yes, I know that nobody is kneeling before Donald Trump as their king; but my point is that what they are doing in protest is counterproductive.  Consider the Westboro Baptists protest at the funerals of servicemen killed in action.  They said they were protesting gays in the military.  Were they effective?

On the contrary, they just looked like a bunch of jerks.  There were neither effective nor Christlike.  They were very much in the hate business and their targets were the grieving families of those who had given the full measure of devotion to this great nation. 

Likewise, taking a knee during the National Anthem is not effective and has only served to increase hatred.  There are better ways to bring attention to problems.  Divisiveness is not the answer. 

We have the right to express ourselves in many ways.  We sometimes forget that exercising our rights can help or hinder the general good.  We have the freedom to do almost anything as far as expression goes, but not all exercises of freedom are beneficial.

I know of no better place on the planet where the people have a chance to live abundant, productive, and purposeful lives.  We have problems.  I pray we have the courage to work on the problems instead of dividing ourselves into fiefdoms of self-interest.

Let’s put God first, work together, and understand that our blessings of liberty are so very fragile that they only exist in this moment.  Preserving them requires patriotism and unselfishness. 

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Facebook Messenger and the like…

Facebook Messenger and the like…

I am connected to many in an online mode.  I accept many friend requests, many from some that I only have a slight connection.  I do this so that I can affirm the things that are good, share the gospel, and have some connection with so many searching for truth and love and purpose.

Many may be disappointed because I don’t do chat.  I put what God has given me to use to produce a return for him and online chat is not in the budget.

Many may be disappointed because I am not a vending machine.  Yes, I am an American and am blessed to live in what possibly is the wealthiest nation on the planet.  I give much to many but seldom respond to a personal appeal on Messenger or other modes.  God leads me in my generosity, so your fervent appeal to me should be directed to God. Prayers made fervently to God and not persuasion directed towards me are your most productive avenue.

Many may be disappointed because they ask me for books and resources but I give them a URL.  My teaching with references to biblical sources are posted online for all to read. 

I gladly respond to your messages with affirmations and do pray for those seeking my prayers.
I joyfully celebrate your victories in Christ.
I constantly encourage your work in the Lord.

But at this point in my life, I am running my race for the Lord at full speed.  One day, I may slow down to a jog and have time to chat, but for now I am fixed on the goal of taking good news to the blind and lost people in our world.

If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you are blessed.  We can work together in our parts of this planet to share his gospel and God’s love and know that we run this race together.  There is a kinship in that greater than chat.  But for this day, my eyes are fixed on the Author and Finisher of my faith and it’s not quite time to back off on my pace.



Friday, April 7, 2017

Newest Oxymoron: Mainstream Media

It is 2017 and a new oxymoron has emerged.  It will join the ranks of jumbo shrimp, seriously funny, and act naturally.  What is it?

Mainstream Media

It seems that today’s media has abandon the truth, is not in the mainstream, and has found a home among the other oxymorons.  We can only hope and pray that it does not take up permanent residence there.