Monday, February 28, 2011

A Letter to Jack

Hi Jack,

It been about 55 years ago when you left us... A lot has happened since then. Some good... Some not so good.. Some just outright bad...

I need to ask you to forgive me for trying to blame you for messing up the pencil sharpener when somebody sharpened their crayon in it. It was me... At the time I didn't realize what I had done... I'm really sorry about that.

You missed some wars and stuff. Some of the guys you knew went to Vietnam. A few came back in body bags. And there was all the anti-war crap, and drugs and the false gods of the so called "Age of Aquarius". We haven't exactly blown up the world yet, but we keep working on it...

There's been some good stuff along the way too... Little League baseball, Cub Scouts and then Boy Scouts, 4-H and the county fair. High school plays and sports. A wife, kids and grand kids and good times with friends... Sunsets, ocean beaches, and all that kind of stuff is pretty nice... We've had some good music, art, books, and film along the way too.

A lot of good things have happened medically... Ironic that if we had had some of the stuff we have now, you might have been able to stay and go on through life with us.

I've wondered over the years about what might have been had you not left us. Maybe we would have had a chance to be friends; if not close friends, at least acquaintances sharing a period of our life together with our other classmates...

But... You were gone...

They didn't talk to us about it hardly at all. Miss Laseer went to the funeral and that was it. It was only years latter with the experiances of a lifetime under our belt that we found in our remembering that there was a loss.

The last 55 years have gone by so fast.. The years are adding up... The autumn and winter of life are upon us. Eventually if the Lord tarries, we also will die.

Jack, there is a lot about life and death that I do not pretend to understand. It could have happened to any one of us. When I think of it, I wonder that any of us survived to gorw up, graduate from high school, and go on into life. You were not forgotten. Somehow, someway, your life, as brief as it was, had meaning and purpose.

Well... That's about it... Only God Almighty knows what the future will bring. I really want to beleive that just maybe... just maybe... Lord willing... someday we will see each other again... That would be really nice...

Regards, Bill

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Love wins?

For a number of years in our metropolitan area there have been those who have summed up their Christian perspective in the slogan "Love wins!".

At face value it sounds nice. We think of John 3:16 and all the other familiar verses in the Bible that talk about the love of God. We think of how God expressed his love in sending His only begotten son. We recognize that God's love plays a very important part in the course of Biblical redemptive history.

So why is it that in recent days I find myself questioning that slogan?

Context means a lot. Here is the context of how the slogan "Love wins.." is being used.

Something very subtle is happening here.

Instead of saying "Love wins!", why don't we say "God wins!"?

God IS love... But God is much more then JUST love... God doesn't win because love wins (as though God is just along for the ride). If love wins, (and it does), love's winning is subsidiary to the fact that God in the whole of His person-hood wins.

So I ask once again. Instead of saying "Love wins!", why don't we say "God wins!"?

What I sense is subtly happening is the person of God is being replaced with some concept of love. In doing so we end up worshiping some idea of "love" instead of the God who in His person is the great "I AM". The other pitfall we face is wanting to define for ourselves what "love" is. God as the source of love is greater then love. God as the source of love is the one who defines both what love is, and what love is not.

Idolatry can be very subtle.

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols." (I John 5:21)

God wins!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The JESUS Film Project

"But how can any single film reach so many people and touch so many lives?"

It is the power of the Word of God in their heart language.

Based on the Gospel of Luke, the "JESUS" film has now been translated into more than 1,000 languages, with a new language being added nearly every week. This brings God's Word to people in more than 200 countries in languages they know and understand...

You may if you choose to do so, quibble about any number of things about The Jesus Film Project. I can be as cynical as anyone, and more then a few so called "evangelism" methodologies leave me cold.

And yes, I was even skeptical about the Jesus Film Project... until I started to actually watch the film and realized what was being done.

The Word of God.... from the Gospel of Luke... Scripture itself, yes, being acted out but also being spoken aloud via film... Faith comes by hearing, and not hearing any old thing someone wants to say but hearing the Word of God...

So though I don't put to much stock in the statistics about how many people come to Christ through the Jesus Film, I believe there are those those who do. It is not "the film", it is the Word of God the film is bringing to the ears of millions of people around the world, and that in their own heart language...

Be a skeptic if you want, but don't be a skeptic about the power of the Word of God, and do not be so quick to skepticism regarding the medium that might be used to bring that Word of God to a lost world...

After all it is not about the numbers and statistics. It is about faithful proclamation and the witness of Jesus Christ to every kindred, tribe, and tongue and nation.


~ The Billy Goat ~

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Sin of All Sins

In a recent blog post titled Defining Deviancy Down and the Wrath of God Ardel Caneday engages in an extended essay on how we should understand Romans 1:21-27.

The bottom line is that the primary sin the Apostle Paul is dealing with in that passage is not homosexual perversion but man's heart idolatry. This assessment of the essay is a bit of over simplification so I encourage you to read the whole of Dr. Caneday's post here.

As I thought about the things discussed in the essay, I came to a realization.

If we make sexual perversion "the sin of all sins" we are focusing on the issue of what man does; we are being anthropocentric. When we recognize the "sin of all sins" is heart idolatry, the issue becomes one of who God is, and our thinking is now Theocentric. The heart of man's estrangement from God is self-worship in the place of the worship we owe our creator God. All other sins flow from that, and as Dr. Caneday has rightly pointed out, that is the message of Romans 1:21-27.

Thankfully the Apostle doesn't end with Romans 1:22-27. As we read on into the rest of the epistle, the mercy and grace of God as revealed in Jesus Christ is proclaimed.

To God alone be the glory!

~ The Billy Goat ~

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Groundhog Day Blizzard: February 2, 2011, Ada, MI

Our driveway is out there somewhere...

Clearing the driveway: My daughter took a turn on the snowblower.

Our little 1-stage Toro Snowblower got a real workout today.

The cleared driveway.

We also cleared out the mailbox commons and I helped a few neighbors with their driveways. My Toro snowblower is 9 years old. Today is the hardest it has ever had to work. I decided my next snowblower, if I ever get another one, will be a 2-stage self-propelled...

Last night as the wind and snow was blowing, I was very thankful that last fall we had all but one of the windows on the house replaced. (The other had already been replaced a few years ago.) The new windows cut the drafts way down, and we know we are using less gas for heating.

The company I work for closed operations for today due to the snow. In the 31 years I've worked there, this is only the second time that I remember the company closing for snow. I did do a little work from home, but they posted a note that the VPN connection was getting overwhelmed and to only use it if necessary.

Our Wednesday night activities at church were cancelled. I and a friend are team teaching a men's Bible study on Isaiah1. Tonight was my turn to do the study. That will have to wait until next week.

It has been nice to have a snow-day like this, but now the sun has set, and in the morning it will be back to work and to the routine of life. That said, we take hope in that we are one major snowstorm closer to Spring!

"Hither to has the LORD helped us!" To Him be the glory, honor and praise!

~ The Billy Goat ~

1 We are using Warren Wiersbe's commentary on Isaiah, "Be Comforted: Feeling Secure In The Arms Of God"; (David C. Cook, 1992)