Who likes a dirty windshield!February 22nd, 2007
Who likes a dirty windshield! One of the joys about a winter in thaw is the ugly brown spray that the car in front of you splatters all over your windscreen (as our British friends like to describe it). We drove out to Kansas this last weekend to spend some time with our daughter Kristin, whose medic husband has just deployed to Iraq. Is there anything worse than following an eighteen-wheeler with its nine right-side tires exploding every muddy snow puddle on the side of the road all over you? Thank God for whoever invented windshield washer spray!
But come to think of it, God did, didn’t he? True, it isn’t called “windshield washer fluid.” But notice what Jesus does call it: “I advise you to buy from Me . . . eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see” (Revelation 3:18 NASB). He doesn’t indicate whether you spray it on like a windshield washer or apply it drop by drop like an eye-dropper. But he’s clear, isn’t he? Spread it over the windshield of your soul so that you can see clearly once again.
Wonder what that miracle spray is? Paul is quick with the answer: “I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for Christians, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” (Ephesians 2:17, 18 Message) Is there anything that can clear the muddied and mucked up windshields of our lives and restore our moral eyesight (“focused and clear”) more thoroughly than Paul’s wise counsel here? “Ask the God of our Master Jesus Christ to make you intelligent [a thoroughly university kind of word] and discerning in knowing him personally.”
Want to see the road clearly, as this winter transitions slowly into spring? Then ask God to make you intelligent in knowing Jesus personally. Begin your day with a single story from the Gospels—a portrait a day of Jesus for your meditation. And each morning as you come to know him more personally, more deeply, the promise is that the eyes of your heart will become “focused and clear.” And can you think of a traveler (you and Jesus included) who doesn’t want that for the road ahead?
“Generation Y’s goal? Wealth and fame.”February 17th, 2007
“Generation Y’s goal? Wealth and fame.” That headline last month in USA Today caught my eye. “Ask young people about their generation’s top life goals and the answer is clear and resounding: They want to be rich and famous” (1-10-07). And then came Newsweek magazine’s cover story last week: “The Girls Gone Wild Effect: Out-of-Control Celebs and Online Sleeze Fuel a New Debate Over Kids and Values” (2-12-07). Turns out our “tweens” are going gaga over the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, whose morality (or the lack thereof) has shamed even the national media.
Advance your mind now to this morning’s worship platform filled with our own “tweens” and teens, active members of our Pathfinder Club, the Evergreens. Take a long, hard look at these kids who are “our own”—bright young Seventh-day Adventist Christians. And then would you please ask yourself the question, How high a priority should it be for this congregation to invest its best energies, its most dedicated leaders, its deepest sacrificial giving to ensure that “our own” survive the spiritual blitzkrieg of the enemy?
Because the national headlines don’t have to be the truth about our own children and youth, do they? Oh sure, the society that clamors for the young mind and wallet and attention clamors for our kids, too—on all three of our campuses around here. But that hardly means that we resignedly acquiesce to what some might declare the morally inevitable. Because it doesn’t have to be inevitable that our children and tweens and teens follow the pagan Pied Pipers of America today, does it? Can’t we as a faith community work overtime to surround our kids with spiritual walls and moral values of Jesus that will stand them good stead in the battles yet ahead?
That’s precisely why I’m so grateful for the men and women who lead our young—in our Pathfinder and Adventurers Clubs, in our Sabbath Schools from nursery to youth, in our church schools at Ruth Murdoch and Andrews Academy. They remain year after year our unsung heroes in this battle for the heart and soul of every generation, be it X or Y or Z! And to them the rest of us owe a genuine debt of gratitude.
“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)—if ever there were a divine injunction (and promise) for Creator-worshiping Adventist kids, wouldn’t it be this? And if ever Creator-loving Adventist grownups needed to seize the moment to support their young with all the time and money and volunteering energy we can muster, wouldn’t this be that time? Won’t you help us help them?
Will there be a Super Bowl in heaven?February 3rd, 2007
Will there be a Super Bowl in heaven? Maybe. But it certainly won’t be sponsored by Doritos and Pepsi and Monster.com with their $2.6 million per thirty second TV ads! And it won’t be a showdown between the beasts of the wild (as in bears and colts). In fact, it won’t be a showdown at all, since heaven doesn’t live by the winner-take-all philosophy of our earthy sports. Which means God never sits at the fifty-yard line, cheering a team on to win, knowing that by those cheers he de facto is hoping the other team will lose. None of the above! Yes, for the sake of you Floridians, we might be willing to admit that heaven will be closer to Miami in clime than Berrien Springs right about now (though Miami is no heaven, if prime time television is any proof). So will heaven host a Super Bowl? I love the ancient prophet’s visionary snap shot of what will surely be that electric moment in heaven’s very crowded stadium: “’And it shall come to pass that from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,’ says the LORD” (Isaiah 66:23). There it is—a Super Sabbath Bowl every single seventh day of the week on the new earth! Forget the half-time show, for heaven’s Super Bowl will be a non-stop “tetraphonic” performance of worship music that can only be described as “divine.” And not just the choir in the middle of the stadium—the entire crystal palace will erupt with the shouts and songs of praise from the billions of redeemed earth children gathered about God’s throne! Tickets for tomorrow’s event in Miami have a face value of $900 apiece—but many are fetching from $3,000 to $5,000 (and I’m sure even more) for those desperate enough to be on the inside of the festivities. How much will your ticket to heaven’s Super Bowl cost? Nothing. And everything. Because Mercy emptied heaven’s crimson treasury at the cross to save the likes of you and me, that means our “free” tickets have already been bought and are being held at the “will call” window at heaven’s gate. But though it costs you nothing, it will cost you everything: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34 NLT). Jesus’ price of heaven too high for you? If they’re willing to pay $5,000 for four hours of grunting glory in Miami, is there really any price too high for an eternity on the winning team with the God who still calls you his friend?