Monday, October 15, 2018

Unity

There are two kinds of unity. Godly unity is good. Godless unity is bad.

At both the beginning and end of the Bible there are instances in which unity is considered by God to be a profoundly bad thing.

In Genesis 11, the people were united at the tower of Babel. They weren't uniting around God, but were in fact trying to make a name for themselves without him. In order to disrupt their plan, God confused their languages, and we still have 6,000 languages in the world today to remind us not to use unity as a form of rebellion.

In Revelation 13, we can read about how the world will unify around the beast and his mark to the point where people will not be able to buy or sell unless they participate in this one-world government system.

Mankind trying to be unified without God is bad. This why Christians rightly tend to oppose international government organizations like the UN and other entangling alliances.

Unity with God is good.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Junior Theologians

From a message I sent to Awana leaders today:

Today would have been my great-uncle Dave Breese's 92nd birthday. He was a longtime friend of Awana back in its early days. Then it was the Awana Youth Association. He wrote the introduction or forward to one of its history books. When he passed away 16 years ago, they asked that any gifts in his memory be given to Awana. I called my aunt Carol, his widow, this afternoon and she thanked me for remembering his birthday. She once described Awana as “raising up little theologians.” That's exactly right.

Awana leaders are raising up young theologians. If that sounds like an overstatement, believe me, it's not. Compared to the spiritual darkness and desert in which we live right around us, we are raising up a Gideon's army of people who know the truth and are storing it up in their hearts.

Friday, October 12, 2018

October 1992

26 years ago today my biological paternal grandfather passed away. I was 15. That was the most difficult time I've had with grief. I had been fine all the way through the funeral up until they closed the casket in front of us all, and then I lost it. Only as of 5 years ago have all my remaining grandparents passed away, but there was something unique about that time which I still remember.

My great-uncle Dave Breese was always the family speaker at life events on that side of the family. He preached the message at my biological father's funeral in 1979. He officiated my cousin's wedding. He preached at the passing of his brother-in-law, my grandfather, in 1992. I don't remember his message, but I remember something he said afterwards at the reception: “There's no better time to preach the Gospel than at a funeral.

I agree with that because when are people more ready to think about what happens after death than when they are faced with death?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Value of Uncertainty

We tend not to be fans of uncertainty in our personal lives. Uncertainty can be very valuable in public life.

Uncertainty spurs on more competition and brings prices down. Whether it's prices at fast food restaurants or prices of oil on world markets, uncertainty makes prices lower and saves people money. Sarah Palin was ridiculed for saying “Drill, baby, drill,” yet even if one only looks at the potential for that to create uncertainty, uncertainty on the cost side of the ledger is a good thing.

Uncertainty reduces crime. Let's say a criminal has a choice between three counties.

In county A no one is allowed to have a gun.
In county B people may or may not have a gun.
In county C people are required to have a gun in the home.

Who would disagree that in County C the risk of crime would be lower and in County A the risk of crime would be higher?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Courage in Culture

In his book Take Heart, Matt Chandler suggests Christians have four possible responses to a cultural moment he calls “the age of unbelief.”
  1. Converting Culture
  2. Condemning Culture
  3. Consuming Culture
  4. Courage in Culture
He doesn't like the first three. It's in the first approach of converting the culture that I take particular interest. About that option he wrote, “In this mindset, what matters most is that our nation’s culture reflects biblical principles and values.” With that I agree. The question is how does that happen?

I think this comes by a move of God, people seeking him, teaching His Word, and people seeking to apply Scripture to every area of their public, organizational, and private lives.

Though a pastor in Texas, Chandler instead sees this option mostly through the lens of politics.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Christians in Politics

The New York Times recently published an essay by Tim Keller about Christians and partisan politics. Keller opens with a question, “What should the role of Christians in politics be?” He quickly answers his own question by writing, “Christians should be involved politically as a way of loving our neighbors.” He concludes claiming loving our neighbors through political processes is an inevitable requirement.

Politics is all about how we control the government, or as the Bible calls it, the sword (Romans 13:1-7). Government by its very nature creates a duty to obey. Love by its very nature is about things not done out of duty. There are inherent, built-in problems with the idea that the government can be used to force people to love one another.

Keller claims “most political positions are not matters of biblical command” and “The Bible does not give exact answers to these questions” about how to approach government. The Bible gives more than Keller indicates. In 1 Peter 2:14 and Romans 13:3-4 the Bible describes God’s intended purposes for government for every time, place and culture: punish those who do evil, and praise those who do good. The Bible has a lot to say about what is good and what is evil, even in the context of civil law. Oppression is evil, but being poor or being rich is not.

The question for us today is how far do we go in terms of punishing what God calls evil with the punishments God prescribes? The Pharisees confronted Jesus with applying the law to evil, and Jesus introduced them anew to mercy. We are to both seek justice and love mercy (Micah 6:8). Seek justice for the oppressed and mercy (injustice) for the perpetrators who turn away from evil. There is, however, no justice or mercy if there is no law to punish evil in place.

Monday, October 8, 2018

100 Days

I'm 10% of the way toward my goal of 1,000 days of writing.

Specifically this means a new item is posted on this blog each day. It may have been written earlier, but the daily nature is maintained.

At first I posted a lot of the low-hanging fruit—topics that had been on my mind, but had never really put into writing.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Sleep Cycles

I recently did an addendum on my daily calculations to figure out how many sleep cycles I need. While the average person needs 5, it looks like I need almost 6. Short of getting 42 each week, I'm not going to be doing well for long.

With this having been a busy week starting a week ago today and last weekend, I'm ready to call it a day. I'm either getting old fast, or I'm just on an early schedule when I'm yawning away well before 9 p.m. Tomorrow is also a full day, and I may cut that evening event short, too.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Honor Your Father

For a couple days now I've been working on a response to a published piece sent to me. I'm much closer to finishing it, but it still needs some finishing.

However, today is slipping away, and I still need to call my dad for his birthday, so today's writing shall be abbreviated. Hopefully I finish this other item soon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Adoption Anniversary

35 years ago today I got a new father. I'm not talking about my heavenly Father. I already had a father who had gone to heaven. A year before, my mom had remarried. In 1983 the laws of Florida were such that parents were not allowed to adopt stepchildren until after a year of marriage.

On October 3, 1983, John Hamilton McGhee adopted Timothy Thomas Christensen as his son. It was a separate legal procedure to legally change my name to Timothy Thomas Christensen McGhee.

Whenever Dad told others about adopting me, he often expressed his emphatic wonder that “They changed the birth certificate.” That's true. They did. I thought I had my original birth certificate for some time. When I've looked for it in recent years, I've only found the one that's still the legal record of my birth.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Data vs. Evidence

Data is a factual point.

Evidence is data with an interpretation.

Example:

Data: The jar has two cookies in it.

Evidence: The jar has two cookies in it, after there were five in it. Dad interprets his instructions to wait until after dinner as having been disobeyed.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Golden Quarter

From back in my retail days many moons ago, I remember that October through December is known as the Golden Quarter.

If you work full-time in retail, then the rule is no time off during these months. Being the industrious worker I was raised to be, I took this literally, and did not see any better option job-wise.

If you don't live near your family, then this is a problem for the holidays, the season of high expectations. Black Friday work requirements mean it's impossible to travel out of town for Thanksgiving while still reporting to work by 5 AM the next day. Calling in sick on Black Friday was tantamount to calling in fired. The same was true for the days leading up to Christmas.

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you build one.
Seth Godin