Category Archives: Current Events

Time To Do Something

I know I have talked about i-61 Ministries before…but I just can’t stop sharing their videos and articles as I think they are on the right track. As Tri says in the below video, it is easy to get overwhelmed when looking at the state of the world today – poverty, environmental decline, spiritual decay, etc., and etc…

However we have to start somewhere doing something.

Just like Matthew West states in his song “Do Something”:

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

 

So, what are you going to?

Timber Butte Fire

The sky was on fire Saturday evening when I returned home from a wedding… it seemed that sometime that day a fire had started on the butte a few miles above the town I live in. The Sweet volunteer fire department joined with fire departments from around the area to make sure no houses were destroyed. Six other structures (barns, sheds, feedlots, etc) were destroyed along with 7,600 acres of grass – which will put a big financial pressure on the ranchers in the area. =/

Below are some pictures of the fire along with a video from inside the cockpit of plane which dropped fire retardant on the fire.

night time

 

fire

timber butte fire

 

Lollypop Moments

A friend sent me a TED video today by Drew Dudley about “celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.” During the talk, Dudley tells a story about a gal who came up to him and told him that he made an impact in her life. The crazy thing was that Dudley didn’t know this gal nor could he remember handing out the famed lollypop which was the catalyst in changing this gal life.

From this experience, Dudley realized that leadership is not just about changing the world (i.e. big, huge important stuff) but about improving each other’s lives through small actions in everyday life. Accordingly, we all should be celebrating and sharing our lollypop moments with each other and those whose lives have impacted our own.

As I reflected on this video I realized that I had a lollypop moment last month.

I was at the office working away when I received a phone call from a number I did not recognize. Answering it, I found myself talking to an old family friend whom I had not talked to in 17 or so years. He used to teach at a small country church I attended in high school and was good friends with my step-father… but as happens, we all moved away from that small Texas town and lost touch with each other. Recently, however, this gentleman was remembering those days with his son and decided to look up both myself and my parents – hence the phone call.

The crazy lollypop moment happened in the middle of the phone call when he mentioned that his son vividly remembers me and that I had an impact on his son’s life. I was blown away as…well…to be perfectly honest… I didn’t really remember this guy as he was friends with my parents and his son was five years old at the time…

Yet as it turned out, his 5-year old son was watching me, a 17-year old high school student worship God and serving in the church…the son also remembers riding in the car with me as we all car pooled from the church to some unknown location… somehow those simple, everyday acts that I don’t recall made an impact on this child’s life – so much so that he still remembers them 17 years later…

Crazy lollypop moments…

So….yeah… your daily actions DO matter a TON!

Church of England Approves Having Women Bishops

Church_of_EnglandGeneral Synod of the Church of England voted yesterday to allow women to become bishops within the Church of England (CoE). This vote comes 18 months after a similar measure failed to get the 2/3 majority in the House of Laity. Apparently the pro-lady-bishop camp went to work and changed some folks view points – granted it helps having an Archbishop in support of the measure.

It should be noted that the CoE has allowed women priests for about 20 years now. Ladies just couldn’t be bishops, which has always struck me as odd and inconsistent. At least now they are on track to have this changed.

oh, by the way, below is the vote tally for those who are interested. As you can see, not everyone in the CoE liked the idea…which means that it is going to be interesting in the C0E for a while (i.e. are the ‘no’ votes going to stay in the C0E or leave?).

  • House of Bishops: Yes 37 No 2 Abstentions 1
  • House of Clergy: Yes 162 No 25 Abstentions 4
  • House of Laity: Yes 152  No 45 Abstentions 5

It should be noted that this vote doesn’t mean that there will be a lady bishop tomorrow. The measure still has to go through the Legislative Committee of General Synod, then the Ecclesiastical Committee of the Houses of Parliament before returning to the General Synod this coming November. If everything goes smoothly, which it is believed will happen, then the issue will go into force this winter.

Why As A Pastor I Dislike Mother/Father’s Day

happy_mothers_dayToday is Mother’s Day.

It is a day that has been set aside in the USA to honor mothers. Across the nation, thousands of fathers are waking up their children and helping to prepare breakfast for their mothers… Billions of card stocks have been sold for this day and notes are being carefully crafted and inked inside.

And in churches across the nation staff members are preparing flowers to give away to all the mothers… pastors are preparing nice talks about the value of being a mother…. etc. and etc….

The same scenario will play out in reverse next month with fathers being the target…

sigh. and double sigh…  🙁

While I know that I may on the statistically low end, I don’t like Mother/Father’s Day. Or, perhaps a better way of stating it would be, as a pastor I don’t like Mother/Father’s Day – which is to say that I don’t mind the day as a citizen of the United States.. I even bought Mother’s Day cards for the appropriate ladies in my family – and, yes, it is kinda of cool to get a card from my son on Father’s Day.

But, for all the good that these days do, I think they do even more damage when embraced by the church.

Think about this… when a church body makes a big deal about Mother/Father’s Day they are in essence telling its members that the parenthood is the goal of a Christian. Yes, I know that the churches wouldn’t say it that way…but I do think that is the message that comes across – especially once you consider that most churches are set up to cater to the family unit.

The sad truth is that folks who are single or don’t have kids are constantly pushed aside in favor of those who have children. I mean, when was the last time you heard singleness being promoted form the pulpit? Or a single person honored for being single? Or a couple praised for not having kids?

I would guess that most of the time single folks are told to keep looking for a partner. The general church culture basically is telling single people that unless they are married, they are reckless, uncommitted, and selfish. It is like the church in general has forgotten that Jesus, St. Paul and a lot of the early church fathers were single men. The Bible even goes as far as to tell us that if you are single, stay single and passionately pursue God (1 Corinthians 7:7-8, Matthew 19:10-12).

Let us not forget those couples who are married but don’t have children (either by choice or not). For them, a lot of of the church culture is equally bad. Having been married for ten years before adopting, I felt the sigma of not being a father. It was as if folks thought I couldn’t be a mature man or a great husband unless I had a child…It was like my manhood was depended upon me getting a women pregnant…

As crazy as it sounds, there is an underlining culture within our churches that, in my mind, puts WAY TOO much emphasis on having children and being married. Yes, they are both good things (and if you are single, don’t have sex). But they are not the end game.

So what is the point of all this… the point is that why you may celebrate Mother/Father’s Day in the home, please, please keep it in the home.

The gathering of the church should be a safe place where people of all types and backgrounds came come and worship God. They don’t need to be reminded of the pain in their lives – either for not having kids, having lost kids to miscarriages or abortions, or sickness, for having a bad relationship with their parents or whatever. They need a place where they can come and just embrace God and leave all that crap behind.

And if you know of someone that is hurting today (or will be next month), please reach out to them and love them. Please pay attention to who DOESN’T come to church today – as there will be those who will chose not to go to church as it is not a safe place today – and call them. Don’t give them crap; just listen to them and love them.

For those who want to read more about this subject, I would encourage you to read Maggi Dawn’s post, “Mothers’ Day: Something is Wrong.” Maggi is the Associate Professor of Theology and Literature, and Dean of Marquand Chapel, at Yale Divinity School/Yale Institute of Sacred Music and has some good thoughts about Mother’s Day.

Big Bang’s Smoking Gun

The world shifted two days ago.For decades physicists have been tying to figure out how the universe spread out so fast while keeping the same temperature. The best guess they had was the theory of inflation proposed by Dr. Alan Guth in 1979.

As of Monday the world knows that Dr. Guth was correct. The smoking gun of inflation had been found by a team of scientists working at the South Pole. The below video shows a colleague telling Dr. Guth that his theory has been proven:

As you can imagine, this discovery pretty much solidifies Big Bang cosmology, which is pretty cool. 🙂

Embracing The New Year

celtic-crossA new year is upon us, beckoning us to embrace life with all its changes and mysteries.  This day, as an old Scottish New Year prayer says, is a “new day that has never been before.” And as a new day, let us embrace the newness of it and set our eyes ahead towards the rising sun.

The Lord Jesus is in our midst, walking with us and beckoning forward on His mission. The old year along with the old junk of our lives – our failures, mistakes, pains, sorrows, bitterness, and tears – have been laid at the foot of the cross and we are now new beings, washed pure by His light (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Let us, therefore, stand tall as sons and daughter of the Most High (Romans 8:14-17) and march forward together as one body under the leadership of Jesus, the King of Kings and Prince of Peace.

Christ has many services to be done;

Some are easy, others are difficult;

Some bring honor, others bring reproach;

Some are suitable to our natural

Inclinations and temporal interest,

Others are contrary to both.

In some we may please Christ and please ourselves,

In others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves.

Yet the power to do all these things is assuredly given us in Christ, who strengthens us.

 

Therefore let us make the Covenant of God our own.

Let us engage our heart to the Lord,

And resolve in His strength never to go back!

 (Section of an old Celtic New Year covenant service)

An old Scottish Prayer for the New Year

open-door-eric-foltzThis day is a new day that has never been before.

This year is a new year, the opening door.

Enter, Lord Christ – we have joy in your coming,

You have given us life; and we welcome your coming.

I turn now to face You, I lift up my eyes.

Be blessing my face, Lord; be blessing my eyes.

May all my eyes looks on be blessed and be bright, my neighbors, my loved ones, be blessed in Your slight.

You have given us life and we welcome Your coming.

Be with us, Lord, we have joy, we have joy.

This year is a new year, the opening door.

Be with us, Lord, we have joy, we have joy.

Vineyard Bantayan Relief Mission

typhoon HaiyanBelow is an update from the Vineyard Cebu regarding their prayer concerns regarding their outreach to northern Cebu island communities and Bantayan island, which was severely hit by the super typhoon. Be sure to check out their video at the very bottom of this post. If anyone wants to partner with them directly, let me know and I will connect you.

Additionally, Vineyard USA is working with Convoy of Hope to care for the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Convoy of Hope has shipping containers of food and supplies en route to the Philippines, to be followed by containers of hygiene kits, canned goods and fruit pouches. 100 water filtration units will arrive in country with their second relief team. Your financial support is vital to their response. To assist with a donation, please click here.

Letter from the Vineyard Cebu:

Grateful for:

  1. God’s love, mercy & faithfulness – thus far, none of the family members/relatives from the Team has suffered loss of life. Everyone is alive!
  2. God’s provision & generosity & His people’s care & generosity as well. There has been an outpouring of provision in every way, financially many have shared as well. We are thankful that we can move/act quickly & be able to bring these to families.
  3. His promises & Word- ever since these tragedies- earthquake, then tornado (Mandaue City, but near us), & super typhoon there has been much sadness- but we have been really receiving beautiful promises from His word, & beautiful prophecies for the Filipinos & the islands.
  4. The children are doing well. And it is good in spite of the circumstances, they are blossoming in school & at home.
  5. Trips to Indonesia & also in Manila have been very good- His work is deep & wonderful- both an honour & privilege.

  Continue reading Vineyard Bantayan Relief Mission

Pope Francis and the Child

pope and child 2When I saw the picture to the right of a child hugging Pope Francis in front of thousands, I, like many others, couldn’t help but smile. I also was very proud of Pope Francis as he did not try to push the child away or yell at him – something a lot of other important folks would do.

Instead, he smiled loving down at the child, gently pats his head and continue on with his speech as if nothing was happening.

That, my friends, is a picture of Jesus.

Children are a blessing from the Most High and, contrary to most of the world today, are not to be ignored or pushed away. They are to hugged and loved.

Yes, there are times when a child needs to learn to be still and not interrupt. However, there are other times when we should stop being so stuffy and just enjoy the love of a child.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” -Matthew 19:14