From The Archives: The Anti-Olympics

I love watching the Olympics. Winter Olympics or Summer Olympics, I love them all. I am awestruck by the dedication of the athletes. I feel their pain when they are injured. I am moved by their tears of joy and sorrow. I am shocked by the fingernails of Gail Devers! Have you seen her fingernails? They defy all of the laws of nature!

While I enjoy the Olympics, they are kind of hard for most of us to relate to. Let’s be honest, not many of us are going to be running a marathon any time soon. I had to run out to the mound for a playoff game three weeks ago and I have parts of me that are still jiggling! I have been working on some events for the rest of us; I’ll call them the Anti-Olympics. Continue reading From The Archives: The Anti-Olympics

The Horror of the Hand Dryer

He opened the door and nervously glanced around. He was frightened about what he would find. Every room of this type held the same, scary nemesis. The walls seemed to close in on him as he saw it. Sheer terror filled his heart as he looked to his companion and breathlessly whispered, “You’re not going to use the hand dryer, are you, Grandpa?” Continue reading The Horror of the Hand Dryer

Ellie From Afar

My grandson, Soren, is visiting Grandma and Grandpa for three weeks. We’re having a blast. We’ve gone to the San Diego Zoo, we’ve watched Cars 2 (or as Soren calls it Finn McMissile) at least 100 times, and raced Monster Trucks on the PS3. Good times.

The reason for the visit, at least the excuse we used with his parents, was our new granddaughter, Ellie. Ellie was born a few weeks ago and just happens to be the cutest baby in the world. As my son, Critter put it, Ellie is in rare company, she is only the third female in our family. Continue reading Ellie From Afar

Jesus-Juked!

Jesus-Juked!

I posted something on Facebook the other day:

A real man gives up one night stands for a woman he can’t stand one night without.

I thought the sentiment was awesome. Then somebody else responded with something really biblical and kind of out of context, saying that the sentiment was not very spiritual. I had been Jesus-juked.

As some friends and I were talking about a football game a couple of years ago, the talk turned to our favorite teams. One of the guys piped in, “I only root for Jesus.” A classic Jesus-juke!

For the uninitiated, a Jesus-juke is when someone takes an innocuous comment and turns it hyper-spiritual. For example, I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, “Jesus for President.” Really? You want the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to take a job demotion and become President? I am sure the person had good intentions, but the idea is just kind of silly.

To be honest with you, I think a Jesus-juke trivializes who Jesus really is. If we have to try so hard to inject him in every situation and every conversation in such forced, awkward ways, what does that say to the people who hear it? Don’t we come across like the guy that almost every church I grew up in had? You know him, the one who says proudly, “I don’t smoke, and I don’t chew, and I don’t associate with those who do.” They walk around with their ecclesiastical robes pulled tight around them, nose looking down on the “sinners” they see. And they see plenty of sinners. Everybody is a sinner but them, apparently.

Do we really think that is a good representation of the God we serve? When Jesus walked this earth people were drawn to Him. They sought Him out, wanting to hear what He had to say. I sincerely doubt that if He was as judgmental and joyless as some of His modern followers, people would have gone out of their way to avoid Him. I know I would have.

Now somebody will Jesus-juke this and say that I am liberal on sin. Nope, in fact, I think I’m fairly conservative. I firmly believe that God has a standard by which His followers must live, and it is clearly drawn out in the Scriptures. However, that doesn’t mean that I follow everybody’s personal interpretation of sin.

For example, for me drinking alcohol would be a sin. The Bible doesn’t say not to drink alcohol. In fact, Timothy was told to take a little wine for his stomach, and Jesus turned water to wine. And if you try to say that Jesus made grape juice you are wrong. Read the passage with an open mind and you’ll see it was wine, plain and simple, not Welch’s. But for me, because of my background and some of my past, alcohol is a no-no. I don’t drink out of a personal conviction. For me it is sin, for you it might be okay. You and God have to work that out.

 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:27-30)

Here’s the thing: we need to give people freedom to be who God makes them, not who we want them to be. God will work out the sin in their life, it is our job to love others and show them the way to live by how we live. Not by how we talk, how we live. Make sure your life isn’t a bad example of what Christ wants us to be and, if you let your actions preach, you won’t have to!

And for crying out loud, quit Jesus-juking… Jerry

Ripples

        The cars were tightly packed as they entered turn 4. The #24 Chevy was in between the 48 and the 17. Three cars doing 190 miles per hour, each weighing approximately 3400 pounds were packed three wide, with just inches separating them. At the apex of the turn, the right rear tire of the middle car began to smoke. 75 laps of high speeds, cornering and a couple of rubs against other cars finally took its toll. The tire blew, and blew dramatically. Suddenly, the 24 car took a hard turn into the car on its left, then careened into the car on its right. The entire pack of thirty other race cars, all traveling close to the same speed saw a cloud of smoke and a pileup. How would they react? Some reacted well and missed the carnage, others not as well and joined in the wreckage. When it was all said and done, 8 cars were totally destroyed and four or five others needed new tires or some type of repair. Welcome to NASCAR racing.

NASCAR drivers depend not only on their pit crews and vehicle, they also depend on the drivers around them. More than once I have watched drivers totally lose it when somebody did something stupid and caused them to wreck. To quite “Days of Thunder,” “Rubbin’ is racin’,” but sometimes the rubbin’ is a little too rough and bad things happen. One mistake by a single driver can have consequences for multiple drivers. There is a ripple effect, and it can cause damage to people all around them. One lapse of judgment, one selfish move can have drastic effects on multiple lives.

It is the same way for our lives. We may think that our selfishness or our actions only affect us, but it’s not true. Everything we do causes ripples in the pond that is our lives. We must take that into account before we act.

And I’m not only talking about spiritual things here. I’m talking about day to day lives. A man sows his wild oats and gets a young girl pregnant, then doesn’t become a dad, he’s just a biological donor. The boy is born and grows up without a positive male influence, eventually winding up as one of our clients at the Sheriff’s Office. Think I’m being overly dramatic? Between thirty years of ministry and eleven years at the Sheriff’s Office, I have seen it over and over and over. Ripple effects…

A woman has a few drinks too many celebrating her birthday and drives home. She tells herself she’s not drunk, just a little tipsy. Four blocks from home she blows a stop sign and hits a car carrying a family. Two kids and a father die needlessly. Ripple effects…

I said it’s not just a spiritual issue, but the solution is. The only way to change is to alter the course you are on. If you could do it on your own you already would have. You need God’s help. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach.” Living by our own devices and selfishly definitely shows a lack of wisdom. We need God to help us. And he does!

God helps us by changing us from the inside out. God begins by changing the way we think about our sins, the way we think about ourselves and the people around us. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” We change, and we change for the better.

The flip side of ripples is that they can be used for good, too. I have seen entire families changed because a father gets his life right with Christ. It’s incredible to watch!

So what kind of ripples are you making? You’re making some, their quality and eternal consequences depend on you.

Trying to make good ripples… Jerry

Disappointment

Since last May I have been studying for my Masters in Business Administration at Western Governors University. I was hoping to be done by this May and be finished in one year. I could have done it, but spent about three months where motivation was hard to find. It put me behind in time and I will end up taking about a year and a half instead of a year. Disappointing. Continue reading Disappointment

Being Born?

BURP! Ouch, Mom must have had nachos again. She knows they give us gas, why does she eat them?…

I wish there were toys in here to play with…

I’ve got to stretch. There, that’s better. Sorry, Mom, I hope that didn’t hurt. I’m growing pretty quickly now. I think I’ll be able to suck my thumb any day.

I would introduce myself to you, but I don’t have a name yet. I haven’t been born. I’m still just a growing lump in my mom’s tummy. I’ve been growing inside her, and I can’t wait for my grand entrance.

I don’t know what the world holds for me. I’m looking forward to life, though. It’s going to be great. Mom will hold me close to her and sing lullabies to me. I can already recognize her voice and the sound of it soothes me. I’ve never seen her face, but it must be beautiful. I love her so much…

I can’t wait to be born. Maybe I’ll grow up and find the cure for AIDS, or maybe I’ll become president. Oh, well, whatever life has, I’m sure…OW! What was that? All of a sudden the walls kind of pushed on me.

Hey, that hurts! What’s going on? Is it time for me to be born yet? Something doesn’t feel right. I don’t think this is how it’s supposed to… OW!

The pain is getting pretty intense each time it gets tight in here. I feel the pushing, and I can hear my mom’s voice, but it doesn’t sound the same. No, something is definitely wrong here. I don’t know what it is, but…

I can hear my mom’s voice again. She’s not alone, I can hear other voices now.

“Doctor, the fetal tissue is ready,” a female voice says. She doesn’t sound like my mom, she is more businesslike and not at all soothing.

“Prepare for the procedure,” says a man. He sounds bored. What procedure is he talking about? Am I a procedure?

I can feel something cold and hard on the base of my neck. Ouch, that’s sharp. Hey, what are you doing? Get that thing away from me. It hurts, stop it, please!

My final thoughts before I leave this earth are of my mother. “Mom, why did you let them do this to me?” The world goes black, and I am gone from this world forever.

Friends, I know this may seem overly dramatic to many of you. I hope so. And you can say that I have taken liberties with a baby’s awareness. The one thing you can’t argue with is that every abortion kills a baby. Call it a fetus, a protein blob or whatever helps you sleep at night, but it’s a baby and you know it.

Somebody has to speak up for the unborn children of the world. The Guttmacher Institute (a pro-abortion organization) reports that 1 out of every 3 women in the United States will have an abortion before they are 45. 58% of women having abortions are in their 20’s. In 2008, 1.21 million children were aborted in the United States alone. If you total up the American dead from all the wars from the Revolutionary War through Desert Storm only 1.2 million have died.

There is a great cry over guns in America. Every year guns are used to kill 17,000 people. Another 32,000 commit suicide. AIDS claims 42,000, cancer 537,000, and heart disease 734,000.We are rightly concerned about these deaths. But each year abortion claims the lives of 1.2 million children. Most of these children are dying simply because they are not wanted.

So how do we combat this American tragedy? Do we protest, throw blood on women seeking abortions, blow up clinics, shoot the doctors? No, no, a thousand times no! We must reach out to these hurting and confused people with the love of Christ, and we must be willing to help, to put our money where our mouths are. And men need to be men. If you’re man enough to father a child, you should be man enough to raise a child. How many of these abortions could be stopped simply if men stood up and did what was right? I’m sick of kids raised without dads because the man who fathered them couldn’t be bothered. I know what I want to call these guys, but I don’t use that kind of language…

Let’s remember that life is the greatest gift of all.

Shedding a tear for the dead and saying a prayer for those who can be saved… Jerry