Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2 John

I just read 2 John. A couple of things jumped out at me in those 13 verses. Neither of these should be a surprise. John seems to give us two necessary conditions for readers to think about in regards to living a Godly life.

First, we must love. "Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love on another, just as you heard from the beginning" (2 John 6). Of course, anyone can love. Many people love, but are without Christ. Some people have wonderfully-caring hearts and enjoy helping others, but this condition alone does not make them a Christ follower.

The second thing that John tells us is that we must believe that Christ was human. "Many deceivers have gone out into the world. They do not believe that Jesus Christ came to earth in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch out, so that you do not lose the prize for which we have been working so hard. Be diligent so that you will receive your full reward" (2 John 7-8). Humanity, by definition, is sinful, but Christ is pure. Hence, many people do not believe that Christ was/is God in the flesh because they see a natural contradiction in the two.

I think that this very short book gives us a great insight. For those of us who proclaim to be Christ followers, do we love one another? For those that love, do they believe that Christ was fully God, yet full man and that he came to earth to live, die, and be resurrected?

Maybe I am overstating the case, but this book seems to "nip it in the bud". (bet no one has ever referred to the Bible like that). ;)

Proverb of the Day: Provers 16:3
"Commit you work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Big Z No-Hitter!!!

I've been a Cubs fan for 22 years (I've only been alive for 27). I've watched thousands of baseball games and probably thousands of Cubs games. I've seen many Cubs pitchers get close to a no-hitter only to lose it in the late innings of the ballgame. Not last night. Carlos Zambrano threw the first Cubs no-hitter since Milt Pappas in 1972. As an added bonus, Z threw his against the Astros. I watched it all! It was awesome. I even got a little teary-eyed when it was over. It was simply amazing!

Go Cubs Go!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 and Beyond

Today is the seventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks on America. There are many blogs out there expressing their feelings, veiws, etc. Here is a post about the events. Here is another, and another. Not to be outdone by some of my favorite blogs, I will give my two cents.

On September 11, 2001 I was a twenty year old college sophomore at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. That day was a special one for the university. We were inaugurating a new university president. The inauguration began in the morning. I, being a college student, rolled out of my dorm room right before the inauguration and strolled to chapel for the event. While standing in line to get in (we got double chapel credits that day) I heard some other students talking about a plane that hit the World Trade Center. I figured it was just a small single-pilot type of plane. I wish I would have been right.

I knew I was wrong at the moment the ceremony started. All the professors were in the academic regalia up on stage surrounded by other special guests who were there to mark the occasion. We did not open with prayer for the ceremony at hand. Instead, we opened with prayer for our nation, New York, and the Pentagon. It was then, in the midst of the prayer that I received the news of what had happened. It was an understatement to say that the ceremony was not as enjoyable as most had hoped. When it ended, I immediately ran back to my dorm to watch the news.

I remember the events like it was yesterday. I remember President Bush from Florida saying "Freedom has been attacked by faceless cowards, and freedom will be defended." I remember President Bush on top of the firetruck with the bullhorn speaking to the workers. I remember seeing people run as clouds of debris flew towards them. I remember seeing replays of those planes flying into buildings and seeing people jump from the top of the buildings. I still get teary-eyed. I still remember.

On September 10th, 2001, I was a Criminal Justice major who knew NOTHING about politics. On September 11th, 2001, I was glued to the TV for hours on end watching 24 hour news networks. I remembering asking a friend shortly after 9/11 what the differences were between liberals and conservatives. That's how naive I was about the world around me.

I was to graduate in 2003 with a degree in Criminal Justice, so that I could go be a law enforcement officer somewhere. After 9/11, things changed. I double majored in Spanish (hoping it would help me get a job in federal law enforcement or into a grad school). I read and read and read about politics, especially terrorism, and soon I founded a branch of a state-wide political organization on campus. I had stepped into the world of politics from which I haven't turned back. After I graduated in 2004 (a year later than planned), I went and began graduate school in Washington D.C. in the subject of Defense & Strategic Studies. I was even lucky enough to work at a think tank that studied strategic defense issues. I was a small town boy, in the big city. That was something I hadn't planned (I had once said I would never live anywhere but Texas). After completing my master's degree, I moved back to Texas to work on my Ph.D. in Political Science; the very subject that I was clueless on on September 10, 2001. And, for a bonus, I met my wife while working on my Ph.D. in that once-mysterious subject

I know not what God has in store for me, but I would be lying if I thought it was to be ordinary. I truly believe that God has led me to this point so that I can do something great. I think he has given me a passion for politics, especially foreign policy, for a reason. I just wish I knew what it was. I'm pretty sure he doesn't want me to be president. I think he wants me in a think tank or something similar.

September 11th did something for almost everyone. There are a lot of political implications of that day for the nation and globe. Some I agree with, some I don't. Those implications are beyond the scope of this post. For me, 9/11 changed the path of my life. It even led me to the city where I found my wife. I think it's safe to say that 9/11 changed the outcome of things in my life not yet done, seen, or thought of.

I continue to pray for healing for those who lost on that day. I also pray for our country, our leaders, and those who serve at home and abroad. I hope that you do the same.

God bless.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

God is Love!

I was praying this morning and thanking God for making me more aware of some of my sins. Things that I use to not think twice about, now I do. I'm growing more aware of my errors. I feel guilty about things that I use to not. That means I am growing in my ability to discern the Godly from the ungodly. Of course, I still have to work on taking it to the next level to stop repeating these ridiculous sins.

After I finished praying, I opened my Bible to continue reading in 1 John. Lo and behold, one of the first verses of chapter 3 reads, "So if we continue to live in him, we won't sin either. But those who keep on sinning have never known him or understood who he is."

Ok God! I got the message! I gotta work harder to not let the world get the best of me, especially when my conscience warns me first.

Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 9:11
"Wisdom will multiply you days and add years to your life."

Monday, September 8, 2008

God is Light!!!

I started reading 1 John today. I only read two chapters, but there was quite a bit of information in those few verses. Here are some of my favorites:

1 John 1:5
"This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all."
Two things come to mind. 1) How awesome is it that we serve a God completely engulfed in light? He is there, open, waiting, and ready for us. He is ready to reveal Himself--all of Him--to us. 2) How would I be viewed if there was no darkness in my life? Would my secrets or what I do behind closed doors bring people to Christ or lead them into a worldly life?

1 John 2:9
"If anyone says, 'I am living in the light,' but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness."
I can honestly say that I don't hate anyone. I wish no ill will on anyone, including my enemies. However, I would be foolish if I said I love everyone. Many times I am just apathetic. There are people in this world who probably think I want to see them fail. To those people, I probably appear to hate them. Even though I may not, my attitude towards them does not provide them an example of Christ's love. Gotta work on that one!!!!

1 John 2:17
"And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God you will live forever."
I want to live forever and I am growing more confident in my salvation, but what is God's will for my life?

There are also several verses on antichrists. We are told to be aware of anyone that leaves the church and tells us that "Jesus is not the Christ."(1 John 2:22)

Anyways, those are just a couple of thoughts from the first two chapters of 1 John.

Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 8:35
"For whoever finds me (wisdom) finds life and wins approval from the Lord."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

College Football Week 2

Tech plays Nevada tonight. I'm a little worried. Ok. I'm a lot worried. We usually have a game or two a season that we sleepwalk through. This game has that potential. I'm predicting a close game. I will be presently surprised if we dominate. As for the rest of the Big 12, they should have cakewalks -- minus A&M. The Aggies don't seem to even know what a first down is. (And yes, I ended a sentence with "is".)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Is There A Right Way To Do Church?

My mother-in-law (of almost 6 months) has decided that she doesn't like the way I dress for church. I wear blue jeans, boots, and a polo shirt. I don't always shave, but I never look like I just spent 4 months in Siberia. To me, this is dressed up. You see, I'm a blue jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. I almost always have a hat on. So when I put on a polo shirt, and no I don't tuck it in, and "fix" my hair, I consider it dressed up.

Now, am I really in the wrong here? If I am please tell me. All I know is that Jesus hung out with prostitutes, criminals, the sick, and the poor. He didn't care what they looked like. The church should be welcoming of all. There should be no litmus test to sit in a pew.

You see, I dress the way I dress because that is me. I am as anti-trendy/cute/metrosexual as they come when it comes to clothing. When I was little and forced to dress up, I spent all of church counting down the minutes until I could get out of the fancy clothes. Worshiping was an afterthought.

I'm also a big believer that people should be real. There is no need to change who you are in order to get things done. I would venture to bet that a lot of young people don't go to church because the older generation constantly criticizes how they dress, how they play crazy rock music at church instead of hymns, and various other generational and cultural differences.

I don't think these differences matter. Personally, I believe that God wants us to worship, not look like we should be on the cover of Vogue or sing every verse of exactly 5 hymns.

Am I wrong? Am I missing something? Does the Bible tell us the proper way to worship?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hello? God?

I've been trying to think of something to blog about. I've had a couple of posts that I erased. Nothing was really flowing. This is all I've got:

I've been kinda out of touch with God lately and I'm not sure why. When I'm at church and the worship band is playing their heart out, I feel so in touch with God. When I'm at a Bible study that challenges and educates me, I feel so in touch with God. When I listen to our pastor preach, I feel so in touch with God. When I study on my own, I feel so in touch with God . . . part of the time. Why is it that I can experience God in such an amazing way in community worship, but I have trouble "getting" Him when I am alone? After leaving Bible studies or church, I often want to run out and conquer the world. After my own quiet time, I often want to take a nap. Why is this? What am I missing?