In His "Mayan", He's Already Seen It

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."  [2 Timothy 3:16]

Okay, one last thing about the wonderful vacation Pat and I had on the Riviera Maya in Mexico at the end of July.  We only ventured away from the beach and pools one day out of the week we were gone.  It was an all-day inland excursion to the Mayan ruins of Chichen-Itza.  They had an amazing knowledge of astronomy, architecture, and farming over 900 years ago...but a really warped kind of theology (unless you get your inspiration of sacrifice by cutting off peoples' heads, yanking out their hearts, and rolling their bodies down the temple steps).

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Random thoughts are about as good as it gets right now for this article.  It's been a pretty busy time here with much going on over the past two months.  If there is a common theme I hope for you to hear as you read on, the word might be commit...

* Commitment to the kids...
As I'm writing, I'm reflecting on this summer's wonderful Rocky Point VBS.  It was good!  We had a lot of good help – from the kitchen to the classroom to the sanctuary to the project room to all the games...Lots of good help – from some of us with graying and/or going hair to the middlers and high school youth to those somewhere in between...
The commitment of Director Laura McAfee and everyone who had any part in making VBS the wonderful day it was for all the kids who showed up is to be seen as an example of faith lived out in very real and tangible ways.

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Hot, Cold, or Lukewarm?

A country church was having their annual revival meeting.  On the first night, the preacher preached a message about repentance and the need to return to the Lord.  At the altar call, a man came down the aisle saying, "Fill me, Lord! Fill me!"  The next night, again, the altar was opened, and like the night before, the same man came forward saying, "Fill me, Lord! Fill me!"  The third night of the revival, the preacher warned the congregation of the evils of sin and urged them to live lives of holiness.  Again, as the invitation was made to give one's life to Christ, the same man came down the aisle saying, "Fill me, Lord! Fill me!"  To which an elderly lady in the back pew yelled out, "Don't do it, Lord! He leaks!"

"I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold.  I wish you were one or the other!  But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!"  [Revelation 3:15-16]

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Give Your Heart to Jesus

What we did on May 18th looked a lot like a wedding. Neal and I, along with the other groomsmen stood there at attention.· The bridesmaids came slowly down the aisle, followed by the flower girl and ring bearer.· Then the big moment.· Elizabeth, more beautiful than ever with Brooks at her arm, made that stately march down the aisle as people stood for the grand entrance.· Brooks "gave away" his daughter...She and Neal stood before me...and ultimately the young couple (all smiles now) marched back down the aisle together.

But they still weren't married....It was only the rehearsal.· So on Friday night, they entered separately and unmarried.· And they left, you guessed it, unmarried.

But Saturday night, they entered separately and unmarried...and they left married!· The difference?· On Friday, they were just going through the motions.· On Saturday, they committed themselves to each other.

There are a lot of people who walk into churches Sunday after Sunday, looking Christian...but without Jesus.· And they walk out the same way they came in...without Jesus, because they're only going through the motions.· Some don't even feel the need to show up in church on Sunday, thinking it's not a requirement!

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Turn, Turn, Turn

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep.  [words adapted from The Bible, Book of Ecclesiastes, music – Pete Seger]

In Ecclesiastes 3-4, Solomon is still repeating the refrain of 'meaningless, all is meaningless.'  The interesting thing, though, is that in these very verses, he answers his own question.

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Not much of a winter, was it?  Doesn't even feel like spring now.  The temperature is 82 as I write this on the first day of spring.  Makes you wonder a little about what summer will feel like when it arrives...Just glad that God is in charge, huh?

Actually, I'm glad God has been in charge of everything, right from the beginning.  Especially, this month, it's refreshing to be reminded that God dealt with Satan in a way that was so much more complete, final, and surprising than any human could have imagined.

Total forgiveness!!  What a gift of God!!  Fresh start!!

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I-75 or I-275?

There's a loop around Cincinnati...I-275.  It takes a long time to go around the city on their Loop.  Know how I know?  I did it, or many miles of it, back years ago.  As a seminarian, I had been asked to preach on Seminary Sunday at a Presbyterian church that had sent money to help support us students in Louisville.  In order to be at the church in plenty of time, we spent Saturday night with Pat's aunt, who lived there.  Thinking we had lots of time, we left Aunt Rozelle's house and got on the infamous I-275 Loop.  Mile after mile, we continued to drive on that outer loop.  After spending much more time than we had expected getting there, we pulled up to the church.  There waiting for us in the parking lot, was the reception committee.  I'm not sure who was happier to see us pull into the parking lot, them or us!

As I was whisked down a hallway toward the sanctuary (zipping up my wrinkled robe and balancing my Bible and sermon notes, hearing the prelude on the other side of the wall), I was asked if there had been a problem on the highway getting to the church.  "No," I said.  "It just takes a long time to avoid driving through the city."

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