Turning Our Temporal Possessions into Everlasting Wealth

I’m preaching a series on stress right now, and this Sunday, I’ll be talking about how to eliminate money as a stress-causer from our lives.  Not an easy task because as we all know, “Money makes the world go ’round.”  In my studies yesterday, I came across this powerful quote about money from A.W. Tozer, and I thought I’d share it with you.

As base a thing as money often is, it yet can be transmuted into everlasting treasure.  It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor; it can keep a missionary actively winning lost men to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values.  Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth.  Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality. – A.W. Tozer

“Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth.”  I love that line!  May God prompt all of us to hold a little more loosely onto our temporal possessions, and may we be willing to turn them into everlasting wealth when He calls on us to do so.

Forgive Ted Haggard? Are You Kidding Me?

Gayle HaggardEvery once in a while, a story of forgiveness comes along that causes you to pause and take note.  An article in today’s Denver Post did just that to me.  It’s an article about a book written by Gayle Haggard called, Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour. Gayle is the wife of former pastor and national Christian leader, Ted Haggard, whose secret life of of drug use and homosexual liaisons were revealed in 2006.

In the book, Gayle reveals that almost from the day she learned of Ted’s indiscretions, she knew she would try to forgive him.  She says she wrestled with the question: “Will I be the woman who washes her hands of the situation and walks away from Ted, or will I be the woman who loves him and shows forgiveness?” She knew the choice was hers.

As a matter of fact, in the days after everything came out in the open, Ted actually encouraged her to leave him, claiming that he was so toxic that he would ruin her.  But ultimately, she chose to stay because she says that she knew that Christians are called by God to forgive, and she says that she wanted to be the person who remained faithful to her Lord, husband, family and church.

I’m pretty sure that what Gayle Haggard has chosen to do is something that not many Christians would choose to do themselves.  I often overhear married Christians proclaim that if they ever caught their spouse cheating on them that they would leave – which always makes me feel very troubled.  I’m sure glad the Lord doesn’t leave me when I “cheat” on Him.  On the contrary, He proclaims that He will never leave me regardless of what I do, and He willingly offers me forgiveness when I betray Him.

I have great respect for Gayle Haggard, and I find her forgiveness of her husband incredibly inspiring and Christ-like.  May the Lord help all of us to extend grace and forgiveness to those who hurt us just like Gayle has.  Just like He did.

To Text or Not to Text?

TextEvidently, I just don’t get it.  When my girls text their friends while they’re talking to me; when they attempt to text their friends during dinner (which is not allowed in our home by the way); or when they invite a girlfriend over and then sit next to each other for hours in silence and text other friends, evidently that’s perfectly acceptable and normal behavior.  For me to have a problem with it is totally unreasonable and “stupid.”

According to an article in yesterday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, this kind of texting is considered “multitasking” by many teens today and should not be considered offensive by the rest of us.

“I can survive without responding to texts, (but) I simply don’t see the necessity of not answering,” one young person was quoted as saying.  The article revealed that some professors and school administrators were stunned that students couldn’t understand why texting during class, or in the middle of a face-to-face conversation, would be considered disrespectful.

Another student said, “One of the most important things we want to get across to professors is that we’re not ignoring them when we’re texting.  We’re still listening. We’re still taking notes. We’re just doing something urgent.”  But not all students agree.  One young person said, “I think it’s disrespectful.  It’s distracting to other students if you hear clicking. It disrupts the whole class.”

So, what’s do you think is acceptable?  Are we “old farts” making too big of a deal out of this, or are we on to something?  When is it appropriate to text and when is it not?

My Predictions for 2010

patReligious broadcaster Pat Robertson believes that at the end of each year God tells him what’s going to happen the next year, and so he goes on TV and makes his “God-ordained” predictions.  He claims that he has a good record in the percentage of his predictions that come true, but there have been some notable misses. He predicted that Russia would invade Israel in 1982, projected a worldwide economic collapse in 1985 and said Sen. Jay Rockefeller would be elected president in 1996.  In 2007 he predicted a terrorist attack, possibly involving a nuclear weapon, but it did not come about.  Oops!

This year, Robertson said that God has given him a more general warning of judgment for America’s acceptance of abortion, gay marriage and secularism. He said God will not bless a nation where abortion is commonplace, homosexuality is institutionalized and government-sanctioned prayer and Bible reading are banned in public schools.  Robertson said he did receive a clear word about the economy.  He said that the country will be ultimately bankrupt.  In light of some of his more embarrassing misses, evidently he’s decided to make less specific, more general predictions.

After reading his predictions for 2010, I decided – as a Christian leader – that I should probably make some too.  I mean, if Pat does it, so should I, right?  So, here they are.  My predictions for 2010.

2010 Prediction #1:
No matter how hard I fight it, an age-attack of biblical proportions will strike me in July of this year…as I will turn 40.

2010 Prediction #2:
My family will experience a serious financial setback in February of this year…when my daughter gets married and I have to pay for it.

2010 Prediction #3:
I will pay more taxes to the federal government than ever before this year…as I lose one of my tax-deductions (I mean “daughters”) to marriage.

2010 Prediction #4:
The Pittsburgh Steelers will not win Super Bowl 44…because – in an act of unparalleled class – they will decide to let another team enjoy the limelight this season.

2010 Prediction #5:
John and Kate won’t have any more kids.

2010 Prediction #6:
Jack Bauer will save New York City…in a mere 24 hours.

2010 Prediction #7:
Sarah Palin will make the Republicans look like even bigger buffoons..now that she’ll be seen and heard on a regular basis on Fox News. (Does anyone else cringe when she starts to talk?)

2010 Prediction #8:
Pete Rose will continue to be banned from baseball…even though cheating in baseball seems to be the norm these days.

2010 Prediction #9:
James Cameron will just keep getting richer…thanks to 10 feet tall blue aliens.

2010 Prediction #10:
Goofy Christian leaders like Pat Robertson will continue to provide us with plenty of cheesy material to laugh at…even though it’s really not that funny when goofballs like him who have a track record of being wrong continue to claim that God tells them specifics about future events. (Stones anyone?)

Are You Stressed Out?!

Stress Logo BIG

Feeling a bit stressed out these days?  If so, you’re not alone.

The average desk worker in America has 36 hours of work on their desk, and they spend three hours a week just sorting out the piles.  The average middle manager is interrupted 73 times a day.

On average, we spend eight months of our lives opening junk mail.  We spend one year searching for misplaced objects…when the average misplaced object has been moved only 10 inches from its original place.  More than 25 million Americans are on Prozac.  Credit card debt is at the highest level ever, with consumer debt currently standing in the trillions.

In 1850, the average person slept nine-and-a-half hours per night. Now, thanks to electricity, the figure is seven hours per night and declining.  A long-term study has recently found that people who sleep 6.5 to 8 hours per night throughout their lives live longer than those who don’t.  There are 70 million people with sleep disorders.

So, to boil it all down.  Most of us are tired, broke, and way too busy.  We’re stressed out!

I’m starting a six-week sermon series on Sunday called Stress: Dealing with the Causes and Overcoming the Symptoms. In it, I’ll address several of the main causes of stress and offer insights from the Bible on how to overcome symptoms of stress like anger, anxiety, and escape.

What was it that allowed Jesus to survive and be filled with joy in the midst of being so stressed that he sweat blood?  What was it that enabled Paul – who lived most of his adult life drowning in stress – to say that he had learned to be content in the midst of all the stress?

That’s what I want to find out, and I invite you to find out along with me.  If you live in Albuquerque, please join me for worship each Sunday morning at 9AM.  If you live outside Albuquerque, then I invite you to listen online each week at www.thefoothills.us.

An Implication of the Lord Sitting on His Throne

engraved-throneIn Psalm 9, David tells us that The Lord sits enthroned forever. David was sure of it, and so should we be as well.  We should remind ourselves and others of this great truth often.  The Lord is still on His throne.  The Lord is still in control.

But there is a very important implication of this truth that we must also often remember.  David says that the Lord has established His throne for justice.  Literally, the Lord has established His throne in order to decide.  He goes on to say that the Lord is a righteous judge who judges us with uprightness (literally “evenness, equity”).

Knowing that the Lord is still on his throne and is judging the world with fairness and evenness should be a source of great hope for us believers.  But, it should also cause us to pause as well.

Psalms 11:4 says that “the Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test, the children of man.”  The word test literally means to search out or to examine.  The Lord is sitting on His throne, and He is searching and examining us to see what and who we really are.

So, if it’s true that the Lord sits on His throne and judges (he decides as He observes the world), then a question we must all wrestle with is: What will the Lord decide about us?