I remember the day Michelle and I replaced our 13-inch television with a 25-inch model. We were in awe and sat in wonder as we watched our favorite TV shows on the “big screen.” After about 8 years, we then upgraded to a 32-inch massively large TV screen. And then in our 15th year of marriage, we made the leap again – from a lame 32-inch model to a huge-antic 42-inch flat screen. At this rate, we should peak out at a screen the size of those in the cinemas by the time we hit 50 years together. Always bigger. Always better. It’s the American way.
Last year, the Dallas Cowgirls (I mean Cowboys, excuse me) revealed a jumbotron to top all jumbotrons in their new stadium. Its dimensions are staggering: 72 feet tall and 160 feet wide. If you’ve seen it on TV, you know that the screen is just massive. It hangs in the middle of the new stadium and has been known to block punts. No one could have ever fathomed a screen that large, and the thought of yet a bigger screen was simply unheard of…until now.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway decided to one-up the screen in Dallas with a screen that will measure 80-feet tall by 200-feet wide – nearly 30 percent larger. The screen will be made up of 158 panels consisting of 9 million LED bulbs, and the entire structure — which will weigh 650,000 pounds when complete, will reach more than 110 feet in the air. Always bigger. Always better. After reading about all of this, I’m just not sure my 42-inch screen is adequate. I’m praying that God will give me the money to buy a larger screen soon. Will you join me in praying? I think He’s all for the American way of bigger and better.
I enjoyed a delicious chicken soft taco from a local Mexican joint for lunch today and told my wife afterward that IT was good. And then I read about this:
PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is calling for a more animal-friendly update to the Bible. The group is asking translators of the New International Version (NIV) to remove what it calls “speciesist” language and refer to animals as “he” or “she” instead of “it.”
Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s vice president for policy, told CNN that “language matters. Calling an animal ‘it’ denies them something. They are beloved by God. They glorify God. God’s covenant is with humans and animals. God cares about animals.” Friedrich is also a vegan and suggests the Bible promotes vegetarianism.
So, I called my wife back and told her that I enjoyed a delicious chicken soft taco from a local Mexican joint for lunch today. I told her that HE was very good.
I am happy and relieved to report that our church’s missionaries in Japan, Leon and Cheryl Hill and their two adult children, are safe after experiencing the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit northern Japan last night. It appears that all of their fellow missionaries and church families are safe as well. Most of the devastating damage is north of them, but the greater Tokyo area (where they live) has experienced wide-spread, major damage.
Cheryl reports that “things are all over the place” in their neighborhood, house and in the church too, but all of them are safe. She also reports that “We have some roof damage as do most in our neighborhood. Leon was about an hour away at a seminary graduation. He is home (now). Abi is ok. Jeffrey is ok. We have a mess in our house, and the aftershocks are numerous, but we sit safely in the Lord’s hand.” She later reported that “things are fine for us, but not so good for others. We are headed to bed. I guess God will just rock us to sleep tonight.”
Junko Ito, the church administrator at Midorino Chapel (the Hill’s church) writes, “Most of the rooms in Midorino chapel, especially the sanctuary are a mess. Nobody got injured.” I told her that we are praying for her and her church family, and she wrote me back saying, “Thanks Mike. Still have small shakings but no major stuff here. But ugh, in Tohoku…. Your prayers for Japan are really needed and appreciated!!! Thanks again!” Tohoku is the region north of Tokyo that sustained the most damage.
Deborah Trotter, a missionary that lives in the same region as the Hills said that she
Would you please join me and my church family in praying for the Hills, the Midorino church family, and for all of Japan as they clean up from the devastation of the earthquake. Pray that God would use the Japanese Church – especially the churches in the Kaisen Church Network (of which the Hills are a part) – to be agents of God’s love and mercy during this time of crisis.
Today is Ash Wednesday, a day that begins the season of Lent for Christians. There are 40 days (minus Sundays) until Easter, and the season of Lent is a time for Christians everywhere to prepare themselves to celebrate that glorious day. Tonight, I will observe the beginning of the Lent season with my congregation by administering (and receiving) ashes on our foreheads.
Tonight, my congregation will be reminded that the Lent season is all about preparing for Easter through repentance and renewal. We will be reminded of our sin, and we will be called upon to repent. In our service tonight, we will sing together, we will recite Scripture together, we will pray together, and we will receive a cross of ashes on our foreheads. The ash will serve as a reminder of the biblical principle from Genesis 3:19 which says, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” And because we are dust, and because to dust we shall return, repentance and renewal is essential. We will be reminded again tonight that full and complete reliance upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is essential.
The practice of placing ashes on the forehead has its roots in the Old Testament (book of Ezekiel) when an angel of the Lord was told to “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” Tonight will be a night when we will be reminded of our sin (reminded to sigh and groan over it), and then encouraged to begin a time of remembrance and thanksgiving for the work of Christ on the cross when He – once and for all – forgave us of our sins and cleansed us from all of our unrighteousness.
Lent is to be marked by discipline and fasting with the goal of death to sin, but our eyes must not stay down. They must look ahead to Easter, a day when the fasting comes to end…a day of unbridled laughter and celebration. A day when all creation rejoices and marvels at the gift from God: our Savior, Lord, and King, Jesus Christ.
You hear and smell the lady two seats down from you barfing sporadically throughout your 8-hour flight but can’t quite make yourself wake-up enough to care.
You fall asleep in the airport in Belgium while laying across a metal chair divider. It hurts (a lot), but you don’t care.
You hear this announcement at the beginning of your third flight, “Welcome aboard. The flight from Washington D.C. to Albuquerque will take four hours and two minutes. Enjoy the in-flight movie ‘Secretariat’ while the flight attendants serve you refreshments.” You doze off, and the next thing you hear is, “Please prepare for our final approach into Albuquerque.” You completely miss the movie and the refreshments.
You’re finally home after a 35-hour trip. It’s midnight, and all you want to do is talk while your poor wife is lovingly trying to listen as she falls asleep.
You finally fall asleep, but at 5:30AM, you’re wide awake and ready for the day…only to hit a wall at 7:30AM and sleep until 10:30AM, when you have to force yourself to get up, even though it’s the last thing on earth you want to do.
Jet lag. I’ve got it bad!