What is nuking the fridge you may ask. Here’s a hint, it’s almost the same as “jumping the shark.” If you still don’t know, follow this link and watch the video that is sure to make you smile to find out.
Luke 6 tells us as Christians that we should not be hypocritical in our admonition of man but to make sure that we can see and remove the speck from our own eyes. This is very difficult to do but if we are truly followers of Christ then we must obey this commandment He gave to us. When we pray to Christ to make us into Christian examples we often don’t remember that there are things that we must do in order to be such and many of those things seem difficult if we continue to think that our flesh is more important than that of our Savior. I had an incident happen in my life last night that I know was God giving me an opportunity to be a Christian without being a hypocrite in my own life.
School is soon to start back and having two young sons I worry about throwing them into that environment where the filters we have at home are removed. Ethan will be going to 2nd grade and Luke will be starting kindergarten. The night before Ethan’s first night of kindergarten I sat down with him, just the two of us, and had a very meaningful conversation with him regarding what it meant to be a leader and not following the crowd. I will not go into the details at this time but I intend to have the same conversation with Luke on the eve of his schooling.
I can think back and remember that a funny thing happened to me the day that Ethan started school. I remember that I went to the driving range that day during my lunch to relieve some tension as I was worried about Ethan and how he was doing. While there, I was approached by a young lady who was the girlfriend of a boy I had grown up with and who I knew had been in and out of rehab and jail for drug related charges. As the two of us began to have a conversation I came to find out that the boy, now a man, was in the local jail awaiting to be sent to a more secure and structured facility. As I was talking to this girl God placed it on my heart that I needed to go to the local jail and apologize to this young man for not being a better example for him as we grew up and to let him know that I was there for him and could relate to what he is going through. I actually talked with my wife about this and made plans to go. Plans that I never followed through with before hearing that he had been moved to another location. A wasted opportnity to do what I had talked to my son about the night before. I was no leader and asking my son to do so was beyond hypocritical of me.
Needless to say this grieved my heart and I have spoken to the young man’s grandmother about this and requested that she keep me informed of this young man’s status. As I have given thought to what I will tell my yopungest son about being a leader before he starts kindergarten I have been reminded of the incident described above several times and it has continued to weigh on me. Strangely, last night I spoke with the young man’s grandmother and she told me that he was out of jail and soon to have a child. I asked her for his phone number and called and left a message. To my suprise, he soon called back. God presented me with not only an opportunity to say what He had put on my heart two years ago, but also to be able to minister to this young man for a short time. Also, and to my benefit, I was allowed to remove a plank from my eye so I can openly and honestly discuss leadership with my youngest son now with no remorse. When I finished this conversation and hung the phone I was literally on cloud nine. I felt wonderful despite the fact that it was ten at night. Thank the Almighty God for his presence in my life.
If there are people in your lives that you feel you need to make things right with, let me say it is great. I felt like a million bucks last night and all I did was what I should have done two years ago. If you have planks you need to remove so that you can be a minister of truth to your family, friends, or others that God sends to you, remove them. It may seem hard to think about but it really is not. Christ died for you so that you can have these opportunities.
Let me preface my comments by saying that I by no means intend for this to be insulting or mean-spirited. What I will write is nothing more than an observation and is not an observation of the subject, but of this world in general.
I just finished watching the story of Randy Pausch’s last days prior to his death. If you don’t know, Randy Pausch is the man who is famous for delivering a very inspiring and touching final lecture when he found he was dying of cancer. If you do not know the story simply Google “The Last Lecture.” It is a very moving story and should be shared. I truly feel sorry for his wife and their children and if by some strange chance you are reading this, I would ask you to stop now.
As I watched this very well put together memorial to Randy I noticed that he held many things in his life close to his heart that I do. His family was obviously very important to him as well as how he positively affected the world around him. However, as I sat and watched something became apparent to me halfway through the memorial. I had not heard God, faith, belief, or Christ mentioned once. I am not saying they weren’t but if they were, I missed it. At that point I began really listening for any semblance of belief in anything other than the strength of man. What I heard was multiple swear words and a man and wife who think/thought they had it all figured out. I make no assumption of this man’s faith in God, but I can say that I have not seen it. It could be that the editor of the memorial edited all those parts out, but I think back to the now famous “Last Lecture” and I can not recall faith in God being a prevalent theme. To many, Randy Pausch’s story represented something good in this world, but to me it represents what is wrong.
At the end of the piece was an interview with Randy a few days before he died. There he sat, scared and dying. Yet, he continued to rely only on himself and his strength. I at this point was dumbfounded that this man, who has been at the crest of eternity for months now, still found himself strong enough to handle this problem on his own. How sad and if my assumption is correct, I grieve for his soul. This man was given an opportunity to teach a message of hope and salvation and of eternal life but his story ends with nothing more than a resounding reminder of how helpless we truly are. Again, his strength was admirable, but how much could he have done for the kingdom during his pre-death media blitz. Now, there is no epilogue of hope to his story, just an ending. While to many their final memory of this man is his message of how to live life, to me it is one of how truly weak I am without Christ and God. The memorial showed multiple interviews with family and friends who talked about how strong Randy was but no mention of where he drew his strength from. I firmly believe that this man was convinced that he needed no strength other that his own and just as the serpent fooled Eve in the garden that reliance on her own wisdom was the only thing necessary, Randy was fooled too.
How nice would it have been to hear Randy Pausch declare God’s wondrous works.
In conclusion, Randy ends his last lecture by stating that his message was for his children. I still don’t know what message that was. I only wished that Randy knew that the message we should be able to leave our children has already been written for us. Philippians 4:8-9
If you don’t come to this blog normally, the Pilgrim’s Map is links to different sites around the Internet that include things that I find either uplifting, informative, or just plain funny. Make sure you check them out.
* First off, there has been a great deal of talk about the revival in Lakeland, Florida. So much talk that the national media is beginning to take notice. I won’t make any personal comments about it but make sure you follow this link to a great site, A Little Leaven, and watch the video and read the comments. If would love to see your comments about it so comment here as well as there. Maybe we can get a good discussion up.
* Also from A Little Leaven, follow this link to watch a video regarding a man in Siberia who claims to be Jesus Christ. This is pretty creepy stuff, especially when you realize this guy has 10,000 people as followers.
* Jesus for President!!!! As I can guarantee you based on what I know today, I cannot with a clear conscience vote for either of the two current candidates. Go to this website to see a campaign for president that hits just the right spot.
* This is a great article from the folks at Dumb Little Man about some lessons that our kids can teach us on how to be happy. This is a must read.
* Warning, if you are an atheist you will not like this link. If you are a believer in God, you need to read this to arm yourself.
* This article from Already and Not Yet offers a needed refresher on exactly what the gospel is.
Beginning in the last week of June I have seen the power of prayer in my life and other believers’ lives. Needless to say I have thought a great deal recently about the power of prayer and the Christian duty I have to pray. I am going to keep my thoughts here as brief as possible in order to avoid ranting.
I will start this with a question. How often has someone come to you and told you about a problem they are having and your response was, “I will be praying for you.” Now, how many times have you followed through with that? How many times have you failed to pray for that person? Do you feel guilty over it? Have you ever even thought about it? I must confess that I am guilty of this. I have told people that I would pray for them and never even thought about it again. I feel safe in thinking that I am not the only one. Oh the excuses we have for this. Either we are too busy and it slipped our mind or they seemed to be fine when you left them. Besides, they may have gotten better so it didn’t really matter did it. Why do we do this? What causes us to lie to one another in this way and let each other down? Why do we withhold the mercy that was given to us? It could be because we are only humans but I prefer to think that it is because, as my friend Jason Jarrett says, WE REALLY JUST DON’T CARE. We are too selfish to care for one another enough to remember to pray for each other as we are commanded to do. Jesus Christ Himself took time to pray for His current disciples and those of us to come when he was facing his own death and we can’t remember to do it when we are facing nothing but an 8:00am tee time. I can think of no word to describe it other than pathetic.
So, I am resolved to no longer be guilty of this offense. I challenge all of you to join me in this solution as well. First, another question. When faced with a scenario where someone talks to us about a problem and either does or does not ask for prayers, what stops us from dropping whatever it is we are doing at that moment and praying with that person? Admittedly I did not closely study this before posting but I can recall no scenario where Jesus or his disciples put off offering to help someone in need. Never do we read of Jesus saying “I will keep you in My prayers.” If someone had the faith to come to Him, Jesus would stop what he was doing and assist that individual. I believe in the power of prayer and I believe that we must stop praying for people in private but rather praying with them in public, at that moment. Again, what stops us from doing this? Too busy? Too public? Worried they might not want that at that time? I can guarantee that if you take that individual by the hand and begin to pray, they are not going to stop you. We know the power of prayer, yet we refuse to share it. What merciless individuals have we become?
Some of us may feel too uncomfortable to do this. If so, you have a real problem with God. If you think that people who know you would be really surprised by you doing this, then you have a problem you must resolve with your Lord and Savior. If doing this would be surprising to many because they did not know you have such faith, it’s time to make a change. If you just feel too embarrassed to do so, then you are not being a disciple because you are not denying yourself. Instead you are denying the mercy of Christ to someone in need. What better way to show our faith then this? I ask you if you are reading this to pray for me that I will do better in this area and that I will not put people’s requests for prayers off and risk not praying for them at all. Just suppose that a miraculous occurrence comes about in a person’s life after you pray with them. What a wonderful opportunity for ministry. Or better yet, suppose that your example of faith causes that individual to drop to their knees too at that time or alone and they either make a decision to become a Christian or to restore their walk. Then they tell you later that it was all because of your willingness to share your faith. All because, as my friend Randy Hargett says, you showed them the face of Jesus through your willingness to deny yourself and share your time with God with them. It’s time to start caring enough to make a difference. Will you join me in doing this? What a difference we can make if we will just start caring.