I like being right. I don’t like being wrong. What is it about human nature that almost delights in being proven right over someone else? Feeling like we’ve got special insider information (a corner on “truth?”) can be a secret, prideful obsession. It gets revealed when we find ourselves delighting in setting others straight (“Gotcha!”). Sometimes it disguises itself as deep concern for others and their spiritual health or understanding… when the truth is we are merely, and unfairly, judging them.
Woke up this morning thinking about an article I wrote in the local paper about eleven years ago. Here it is:
I remember the thrill of playground rides that I experienced as a child. My favorite was the giant slide. Though it was scary to climb the ladder to the top and peer over the edge, the joy of sliding down was worth it all. Today, however, our culture is sliding down a pathway that is devoid of any real joy and threatens the fabric of our civilized society. Consider, for instance, the recent debates and law changes regarding same-sex marriages.
Here’s a bit of history…followed by a confession. I’m not complaining…just exploring my thoughts in writing. Feel free to interact, challenge, disagree or extend the conversation. Here goes…
I use a computer. A lot. For a lot of different reasons. In years past, it was mostly work related. In the last decade, however, it has also become a tool for increased communication, introspection, and relational connections.
On Facebook, a friend recently made this declaration (excerpted from a slightly longer post): “the name yeshua is a false made up name–just to get people to forget the name of Jesus.. and it is to get people to return to judiasm…—–yeshua is not my king and saviour—Jesus is my king and saviour…. if you are a christian then listen to the Lord…..you shall not use the name of yeshua, —–but it is the name of Jesus that is above all Names—not only now but forevermore.“
Here was my response:
This WordPress version of my blog is not the original. “An Inside Look With Pastor Burt” started on August 25, 2005, at this url: http://pastorburt.lifewithchrist.org. Don’t try it…it’s since gone away. LifeWithChrist was, for quite a long season, a wonderful little free blogging site operated by the very kind and gracious Jeremy Cowgar from the Akron, Ohio area. Overtime, however, a number of unfortunate events transpired:
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17, NLT)
As the pastor of a local church, I do my fair share of talking. Often, that happens on a Sunday morning, in a classroom setting, or in one-on-one sessions with people. Occasionally, I get the honor of speaking in a community service amidst a larger gathering of others. Whatever the occasion, I try to select my words carefully and deliberately in order to clearly convey the messages on my heart. Even so, sometimes I later discover that what I think is clear is not necessarily so. Sometimes I misspeak, and other times I inadvertently stir up controversy. This week I was kindly confronted by another area pastor over some concepts I shared during a recent community service. We had a brief, ten to fifteen minute phone conversation which I think ended with a greater sense of connection between us than when it started, but it nevertheless behooves me to work on clarity. To that end, I will attempt to reveal my intention and understanding a little better through this writing. Here’s hoping, anyway!
The issue: is God out to judge America for her sins?
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I decided earlier this week that I wanted to make note of what I think is a significant milestone in my journey. As some of you might be aware, I’ve been through a series of health issues over the last decade, including abdominal surgery for diverticulitis and a massive benign tumor, to a partial nephrectomy for kidney cancer. Regarding both of those issues, I am doing really well. In June, I go for my annual set of cancer scans and I am continuing to expect a good report.
Because of my past history, I try to be really good about maintaining regular check-ups and health screenings. For the past several years, we have been tracking my glucose levels and my cholesterol. On February 11, I received the disappointing news that I am now diabetic. With that diagnosis as a new motivational impetus, here’s what I’ve done to confront this change in my health status.
Simply taking time to mark this moment in the life of Burt…
Just a brief update of things happening in the world of Burt…
It’sofficial. We’ve put our house up for sale.
We’re not going far. Hopefully! We’re simply looking to shift school districts. Of course, all of that depends on getting the right offer on our house so that we can make the right offer on another. It’s in God’s hands and if it’s His will, we’ll make the move. If we don’t try, though, we’ll never know!
Regardless of what happens with the sale, it’s good to get some things done around the house. That is to say, the end result is good. The process stinks.
For many, many days now, we’ve been cleaning, sorting, painting, trimming, and purging. I don’t want to admit how much trash we’ve hauled out of here. Even more, we’re donating tons of things to our upcoming church yard sale to help send teens to camp. Having come so far, it still seems that there is so much more to do.
Our journey with God is kind of like that. As we continue to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, we engage in what often feels like a never ending process of "house cleaning." The good news is that we don’t have to do this for God, He does it for us. He works on us, washing, patching, remaking, painting, shaping and more. He often wants to throw out those old pieces of junk that I’ve become all too comfortable storing. "But I might need that Lord…!" Yet He knows that there is much I need to let go. He only waits for me to say "yes" to Him.
So, okay…"Yes, Lord. Remake and renew. I could use a good house cleaning. I want to be ready to move with You."
And now faithful reader….what’s the condition of your house?