Dancing Like David

AB Blog8.30.16
 
I hate weddings.  It’s harsh to say, but I really have to force myself to watch my comments and attitude least I anger my wife who is much more partial to weddings and does not appreciate my wit during such an occasion.  She loves the pomp, the music, the beautiful dresses…even the table centerpieces.  I could do without such things.  When it comes to the reception, I am torn:  I love the food (even the salad is always amazing) but I don’t dance and I don’t drink.  I also try to avoid drunken speeches, drunken dancing and drunken people in general.  There are two key moments in a wedding reception during which you do not want to be near me.  It is at these moments where I am at my lowest, most bitter and cantankerous.  It is the inevitable renderings of “YMCA” and


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A Serving Church

Serve
 
Churches are called to serve, right? But who do churches serve? Think about that for a minute. Before you just keep reading, answer the question in your mind. Also think through what is doable. If you say “everyone,” then how would a church really do that?
I’ve been thinking that churches serve two groups of people: those who are a part of it, and those who are not! This may be again one of those answers that makes it meaningless. But before we gloss over it too quickly, I think we need to take a minute and think a bit more deeply about it. In this simple statement is actually the full calling of the Church, as well as the Church’s greatest struggle.
Jesus established the Church by calling the Disciples to follow Him in a life of faith, and then by sending them out to tell others about Him. What is interesting is that Jesus sends out the 12 to preach and teach in their communities almost immediately after He called them to follow Him (Matthew 10). I think this expresses Jesus’ passion that the Church not be a closed group focused on themselves, or even to be so totally absorbed with Jesus that they have no concern for other people. We see this again at the moment when Jesus leaves the Disciples and ascends back to heaven. At this moment the natural temptation would be to withdraw, huddle together and regroup. Yet it is

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Acquainted with the Darkness

AB Blog8.16.16

 

Lust, a torrid affair, abuse of power, military corruption, second hand murder, bald faced opportunism…these are all terrible sins, the types of despicable acts that would condemn and impugn anyone.  They would make a hero into the villain.  So it is with King David.  He saw a beautiful woman and he wanted her.  He was the king, so he deserved her.  Never mind her loyal and brave husband who served the king faithfully as a soldier.  He was now nothing more than a pawn standing in the way of what the king wanted. 

            David wrangled his army commander into his scheme, sent them off on a known suicide mission and had the pawn picked off by the enemy.  With the husband out of the way, the king could make his move.

            This is part of the wonder of God’s word.  It is straight up rated R in many places.  It shares with us the good, the bad and the absolutely horrendous.  We have a picture of history that reflects reality.  There is no covering of warts here.  Many of the heroes in Scripture can just as easily be villains.


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Olympic Christians, Part 2

olympic-rings david blog
 
Philippians 3:12-16
     [12] Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. [13] Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, [14] I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 
     [15] All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. [16] Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 
 
Concentrating!
Right before a race or competition, they always show a close-up of the athletes about to participate. What are they doing? They are completely focused, staring at their lane, staring at their goal, staring where they are about to go. Concentration is key for Olympic athletes. Can you picture those incredible gymnasts about to do their routine on the balance beam? In those moments before they begin, they fix their eyes on the beam. They see nothing else, just the beam. Concentration is key also for the Christian. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” and we will know where we are to be going.

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Olympic Christians, Part 1

david blog pic 8.3.16
 
The Olympics have begun in Rio de Janeiro! Besides all the controversy around the Russian competitors and concerns about Rio’s security, the world-wide event has begun. I just saw a study that said the Olympic Rings are the best-known non-business symbol in the world. The eyes of the world are on Rio!
The Olympics were begun in ancient times, and are even referenced in the Bible! Paul uses the image of Olympic runners to describe the Christian life.
 
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
     [24] Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. [25] Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. [26] Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. [27] No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 

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“You Can’t Judge Me!”  

 

 It’s the cry of our culture.  Nobody wants anybody else telling them what to do or how to live.  Accountability is only for those who crunch numbers and defending one’s own rights is the only pastime worth pursuing.  It makes sense.  We are humans.  We are rebels with our own causes.  We want to be in charge of ourselves, but if we are honest, we wouldn’t mind being in charge of a few other people for good measure.

Power is a corrosive thing.  It seems to go straight to our heads.  Like any child still developing character, we will do what we want if we can get away with it.  As we continue to follow David through his very eventful life, we come to a point in the story where David has very little power.  Sure, he has some men who are faithful to defending his life, but David has been living in and out of various caves for years now.  He is on the run and being hunted down by the formidable King Saul.  Finally the two enemies meet, but in rather unusual circumstances.  While David hides in the far reaches of a black cave, Saul deems the same cave fit for none other than an outhouse.  He enters and proceeds to do his business.  Suddenly, David is given power.  He has the ability to slay his pursuer in, frankly, a rather


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American Politics – What’s a Christian to do?

david blog 8.8.16
 
 
This week the throws of the Democratic National Convention dominate the news. Last week it was the Republican National Convention. All eyes seem focused on the Hillary and Trump machines. Or are they?
 
Fed up!
I’ve noticed that although the media is obsessed with the presidential race, much of America is not. More times than I’ve heard someone say that they’ve decided to vote for one front runner or the other, I hear people say that they have no one to vote for. Lots of people are looking at the front runners and deciding to “check out” of the presidential race.
Part of this, of course, is the standard “fed-upness” we all gripe about our politicians. It’s just the standard conversation to say whomever is currently running for office is a poor candidate, just as standard as it is to complain about the weather or the local professional sports team. It’s in our nature to find what is negative and focus on that. It’s what we do.
 
The Christian Alternative
To me, however, this is not what Christians ought to do. The Bible says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians
4:29

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Fantasy Friends

AB blog7.26.16

 
 
 
The older I get, the less time I seem to posses.  I have a job.  I have a house that needs maintenance and requires chores to be done. I have bills to pay.  I have a wife ready to give birth to our fifth child. I have messes to clean, a stack of books to read, events to plan and food to eat.  Through it all I also need to make time for seeking God in prayer and Scripture.  I do not have much left for friends.    

 

My only point here is that time is limited.  We all have the same 24 hours, but we all make different decisions on how to use them.  The NY Daily News reports that the average American watches over 5 hours of TV a day!  Given an 8 hour work day, and 8 or so to sleep, we are left with only three precious hours for all that life has to offer.  Being that time is so limited, prioritizing is crucial.  Without priorities our relationships suffer, especially our friendships. 

 


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Awash with Problems

ab wash2
A few years ago my wife declared to me that we were going to purchase a new washer and dryer set.  They were going to be “front-loaders”, y’know, the kind you load in the front.  She said that they were going to be expensive and heavy and that they were going to be great.  So, we went out and bought a matching pair.  Apparently, they make for cleaner clothes, they use less water and are more efficient when it comes to using detergent.
One fine afternoon, we threw in some laundry only to have this grand machine rudely beep at us.  After several attempts it became clear that something had to be done.  This enameled, basement dwelling behemoth had to be taught a lesson.  So I grabbed a screwdriver and…well, I didn’t know what to do.  So I went on Youtube to find videos pertaining to my machine which did nothing but fill me with a false sense of confident knowledge. 


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Dodge, Dive, Dip, Duck and…Dodge!

 

 

 

 

andrew blog

We all know that dodgeball is one of the great sports in which mankind has ever been engaged.
 

Where else can one act lawfully on the primal desire to heave an object directly at another’s head?

 

Dodgeball requires dexterity, awareness and quick reflexes, but it also doesn’t hurt to have brute strength in your possession either.  Musings on dodgeball take me back to the great heydays of middle school.  As a little guy myself, each dodgeball match gave me a new opportunity to bring down my larger opponents.  I was, after all, quite a nimble dodger and was able to avoid many collisions.  There were some problems however…I rarely ever touched the ball and even when I did, I had no arm for throwing anything with heat on it. Also, my targets were unfortunately smaller than a barn’s broadside. 


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