Saturday, August 18, 2012


The word “entitlements” is interesting because of the way it has been misused and abused for many years. The Republican politicians have been using it with very negative overtones when it is actually a positive and powerful word. They use it in reference to Social Security and Medicare as the major cause of our budget deficit problems. Actually congressional over spending is the major cause of the US debt. Somehow the Republicans have coned some lower income people to believe their rants about entitlements even though it is counter to their best interest.

The word entitlement indicates that you are yes entitled to something because you earned it. I paid into Social Security insurance all my working life and therefore I am entitled to receive my retirement befit from Social Security. The same with Medicare insurance, I paid for it so I should get it because I am entitled. When I pay my insurance premium I expect the insurance company to pay up when something happens to me because I am entitled.The poor Tea Party people have now been supporting efforts to stop Social Security even though it is very likely that for many of them Social Security will be their only source of income in retirement.

Do we have a real problem with a heavy US debt? You bet we do! Social Security is not the cause of the problem and stopping it will not solve the problem. Social Security has been receiving more income than it pays out since the insurance program began. It still is receiving more into the trust fund than it pays out. The trust fund should be and is huge but the fund has been investing in US Treasury bills. These are IOU’s that have been funding enormous government deficits. The day is coming when more money will be paid out than will come in and the government will be forced to pay back the IOU’s.

Entitlement is a very good word and I don’t buy the negative spin.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Noah in 2012

It is the year 2012 and Noah lives in the United States.

The Lord speaks to Noah and says: "In one year I am going to make it rain and cover the whole earth with water until all is destroyed. But I want you to save the righteous people and two of every kind of living thing on the earth. Therefore, I am commanding you to build an Ark."

In a flash of lightning, God delivered the specifications for an Ark.

Fearful and trembling, Noah took the plans and agreed to build the Ark.

"Remember," said the Lord, "you must complete the Ark and bring everything
aboard in one year."

Exactly one year later, a fierce storm cloud covered the earth and all the seas of the earth went into a tumult. The Lord saw Noah sitting in his front  yard weeping.

 "Noah." He shouted, "Where is the Ark?"

"Lord please forgive me!" cried Noah. "I did my best, but there were big problems. First, I had to get a permit for construction and your plans did not comply with the codes. I had to hire an engineering firm and redraw the plans. Then I got into a fight with OSHA over whether or not the Ark needed a fire sprinkler system and floatation devices. Then my neighbor objected, claiming I was violating zoning ordinances by building the Ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city planning commission.

I had problems getting enough wood for the Ark, because there was a ban on
cutting trees to protect the Spotted Owl. I finally convinced the US Forest
Service that I needed the wood to save the owls. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service won't let me catch any owls. So, no owls. The carpenters formed a union and went out on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Union. Now I have 16 carpenters on the Ark, but still no owls.
When I started rounding up the other animals, I got sued by an animal rights group. They objected to me only taking two of each kind aboard. Just when I got the suit dismissed, the EPA notified me that I could not complete the Ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed flood. They didn't take very kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of the Creator of the universe. Then the Army Corps of Engineers demanded a map of the proposed new flood plain. I sent them a globe.

Right now, I am trying to resolve a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that I am practicing discrimination by not taking godless, unbelieving people aboard!

The IRS has seized all my assets, claiming that I'm building the Ark in  preparation to flee the country to avoid paying taxes. I just got a notice from the state that I owe some kind of user tax and failed to register the Ark as a recreational water craft."
Finally the ACLU got the courts to issue an injunction against further construction of the Ark, saying that since God is flooding the earth, it is a religious event, therefore unconstitutional.
I really don't think I can finish the Ark for another 5 or 6 years!"  Noah wailed.
The sky began to clear, the sun began to shine and the seas began to calm.
A rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up hopefully.
You mean you are not going to destroy the earth, Lord?"

"No," said the Lord sadly. "The government already has."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Time Is Fleeting

Time is fleeting and is one of the measuring rods of our existence. It moves on and on and on inexorable from one second to another in its linear flight. Time is the essence of existence moving silent and stealthy not staying for a moment nor hesitates for either moments of joy or sorrow. Like marriage it moves on in sickness and in health, by day and night in its tireless flight.

The relentless passage of time writes its message clearly in the furrowed brows, graying hair and faltering step. In the end it always wins! Yet we who are in Christ can move beyond the reaches of time to eternal life in the presence of God, feeling love and youth forever. The grace of God provides our final victory over time and its same sixty minutes an hour and twenty-four hour days.

We also have our victory over time by the way we use it filling our life stream with value, love and peace. Now is our time and now is our day of salvation to claim and make the most of it in the presence of God. What are you doing with your allotted time?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Going Back to School

With school starting this week children are streaming back into the class rooms to learn all they can. The summer has been full of trips, relaxing and enjoying the fun in the sun. But now it is time once again to refocus their minds. It is also a good time for the rest of us to also refocus our minds. Some of us have traveled out of the country and some to other parts of the country. Some went fishing and some went to visit family and friends in different parts of the good old USA. Now is a natural time to get back to living at home and get back to weekly worship, Sunday school and Bible studies as part of our focus on faith.

It is ironic that in the age of super fast computers, when our access to knowledge and information exceeds any previous age, that confusion is rampant. It is not the new and improved that we need to seek but the oldest source of wisdom and strength, God’s Word. The words and witness of the prophets of the Old Testament and the saints of the New Testament tell us that faith is more powerful than doubt, that hope is more potent than despair, and that only God’s love can conquer those forces within.

The forty-plus writers of the Bible give us their witness of their growing relationship with God. Their life stories were a lot like ours. Life was a hard struggle then as it is now. Even with advanced technology, our basic struggles are the same. We face the same temptations to sin against God and against other people, just as they did. Some of them obeyed God and were blessed, and some of them turned away from God and paid the price of their folly. We can learn from their successes and mistakes that God is quick to forgive those who repent and love. If you find that life is just too much, turn to your Bible, and you will find that someone before you has faced the same problem and has given you a witness for overcoming that problem with power and faith.

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Beginnings

Everything has a beginning point.  I looked at the blueprint for a new church building and on the corner of the lot was a point marked as “The Point of True Beginning.” It was a survey marker from which all other survey points were measured. We see all around us points of true beginnings in our lives, our families, our work, and even in the universe itself.

The bible talks about in the beginning there was God and nothing else, so God is the point of true beginning for everything. As God created the heavens and the earth, God also creates new beginning in each one of us every day. Each new day has a beginning for new experiences that will challenge and shape us for the future.

There are lots of new beginnings and the real question is how we will face them. Will we face them with fear and trembling looking into the unknown? Will we approach our new beginnings with excitement and eagerness with trust in our relationship with God? We can face what ever comes into our lives with confidence and hope in the promise that God is with us all the way.

Enjoy your new beginnings. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Why Sunday Sabbath?

In an email I was asked why Christians call Sunday the Sabbath when clearly it is Saturday in the bible.

In the very early days of the church the followers of Jesus were all Hebrews. As such they followed the tenants of Jewish worship. For the Hebrew people of Jesus day Sabbath began at sundown on Friday and lasted until sundown on Saturday. Most worship was done in the home or synagogue on Saturday.

For Hebrew Disciples of Jesus they would fulfill their worship as Jews on the Saturday Sabbath.  Then at dawn on the first day of the week they would gather to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and this became known as "The Lord's Day.". At this worship the Gospel was preached, prayers said, new believers baptized and communion celebrated. As Sunday was a work day they then would go off to work.

Later when Gentiles, non-Jews, joined the growing ranks of the Disciples of Christ they would forgo the Hebrew worship and only attend the Sunday gathering at dawn to celebrate the resurrection. As the percentage of gentile Christians increased First Day or “Lord’s Day” worship became the most common form of Christian practice. Later Christians would begin calling Sunday the Sabbath even though that was not strictly true.

Today most Christians but not all practice Christian worship on the first day of the week to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. I do every Sunday.