The yellow and white flags of the Vatican are down.April 28th, 2008
The yellow and white flags of the
And as a colleague of mine observed in his blog-letter to his readers, what was also noteworthy was the papal absence in this itinerary. In a gala celebration thrown by the White House on the evening of the pope’s birthday, noticeably missing at that party hosted by arguably the most powerful political leader in the world was the guest of honor. He was attending a prayer service with his bishops. Though unintentional perhaps, the contrast was inescapable.
The point? Moral leadership is what the world hungers for in this hour of history. The protracted election campaigns of both parties in this nation have been a reminder that moral leadership does not naturally ensue from the pursuit of the highest office in the land. Nor does winning that office ipso facto bequeath the mantle of moral strength to the occupant.
So in the face of a crisis, where is the world to turn for moral authority?
It would be simple to simply answer, to God. But whose God? The God of the majority? The God of the most powerful? The God of the most persuasive? While privately, citizens of the world naturally turn to their own God, history has taught that in a crisis nations turn to leaders—the world would do the same.
Which being interpreted means that those who worship the Creator God have a window of opportunity that may not be long this open. Now more than ever it is destiny’s calling to be about our Father’s business, declaring far and wide: “Fear God and give glory to him . . . . and worship him who made heaven and earth” (Revelation 14:7).
That’s the invitation of “The Sabbath” and “God’s Party” that end today. Download the podcasts, ponder the teaching, and spread the good news. For in a time of moral crisis and global need, it is the Creator alone who must move front and center.
Are we at war with nature?April 17th, 2008
Are we at war with nature? E. O. Wilson thinks so. In his newest book, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, he offers this intriguing definition of nature: “Nature is that part of the original environment and its life forms that remains after the human impact. Nature is all on planet Earth that has no need of us and can stand alone” (15). I.e., nature is what has survived the global encroachment of the human race. Is he right?
To support his premise, he cites the “stunning contrast” that exists in
Is E. O. Wilson right? Are we humans in the unchecked process of systematically eliminating ecosystems and life forms that can never be recovered on this planet again? And if that’s true, what about the Christian community? Are we nature’s great defenders or its unwitting detractors (even destroyers)? How proactive are those who declare their faith in an intelligent Creator in preserving his creation?
Or to put in the vernacular of the conservation movement, how “green” are you and I?
But why should I be “green” when the earth is so near its end?
But does it matter to you and me? In “Green Google,” our study today, we ponder the trumpet call of the Creator to defend his creation. Of all people on earth, shouldn’t creationists who celebrate the Creator on his seventh-day Sabbath be leading the movement to save creation, irrespective of when Christ returns?
Or does “the fate of ten million other life forms” really not matter that much to us either?
“Pastor, tell me I am wrong!” is
Want to know why God doesn’t wear a watch?April 10th, 2008
Want to know why God doesn’t wear a watch? Probably because it would drive him to the same distraction it drives us! Ever find yourself racing across a parking lot or down a hallway or into a building or up a sidewalk . . . and constantly cocking your arm to check your watch? Someone once asked Mark Buchanan what his biggest regret in life was. He replied, “Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all that rushing.” (Spirit of Revival vol 39 no 1 p 10) Who has time to rest when we’re in such an insane hurry?
According to the January 2008 Reader’s Digest the average American worker receives 108 emails every day. 243 million Americans own cell phones or handheld wireless devices. Google currently indexes 3,307,998,701 web pages. We now get more information in 72 hours than our parents likely received in a month. (Ibid p 25) Who has time to rest!
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). But how can I be still when my Timex ticks so loudly? Perhaps Calvin Miller is right, “Time itself must be surrendered to the pursuit of the depths of God. All watches must be checked at the gates of the throne room.” (Ibid)
Isn’t that the secret to the Sabbath as well? Checking my watch at the gates of his throne room? “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). But if my Blackberry’s beeping, my Timex is ticking, my laptop is flickering and my iPod is playing . . . how can I possibly check all my stresses at the gate of his Sabbath?
So here’s an idea. What if for the Sabbath we kept time the way God did “in the beginning?” Checking our watches at the gate, we enter his time, twenty-four hours of rest, bookended only by two glorious sunsets. No watches . . . one friendship . . . two sunsets . . . and the three words of our very best Friend: “Come to me.” Can you imagine a rest more satisfying?
Want to know what one of the most contagious human activities is?April 3rd, 2008
Want to know what one of the most contagious human activities is? Don’t be surprised. It’s yawning. That’s right—opening your mouth so wide it feels like your jaw might drop off as you breathe in all the air around you—that six second (on the average) act of yours will lead 55% of the people who watched you yawn do it themselves within five minutes! In fact, you don’t even have to see someone do it. The blind will yawn simply from hearing an audio tape of someone else yawning. In fact, you don’t even need to hear a yawn. Just reading the word can cause you to yawn (as I happen to be doing right now—are you?).
Do we yawn because we’re tired? Nobody knows for sure, though it appears that we yawn the most frequently an hour before going to bed and the hour after waking up from sleep. Do we yawn because we’re bored? Who knows? Maybe it’s just that our bodies need more oxygen. After all Olympic athletes often yawn just before their competition. But one of the leading experts in yawning, Dr. Robert Provine, a psychologist at the University of Maryland (Baltimore County), has determined that giving people more oxygen does not decrease yawning (nor does decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide). It turns out that the most significant fact about yawning is that nobody knows for certain why we do it.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say we yawn because we’re tired. According to a study released by the National Sleep Foundation last month “nearly 50 million Americans chronically suffer from sleep problems and disorders that affect their careers, their personal relationships and safety on the roads” (AFP March 3, 2008). In response to our national need, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued the following list on how to enjoy a good night’s sleep: follow a consistent bedtime routine; establish a relaxing setting at bedtime; get a full night’s sleep every night; avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant prior to bedtime; do not bring your worries to bed with you; do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either; avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime; make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool; get up the same time every morning (April 1, 2008 @ www.medicalnewstoday.com).
There’s one more tip the AASM neglected to mention. And this one is a divine remedy that can become the greatest cure for our deepest fatigue. As we share “God’s Party: Facebook” today, join me in discovering the secret to the second greatest gift ever given to the human race—which, of course, is nothing to yawn about.