Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The DaVinci Code is Coming

It took the book sellers world by storm and it's about to hit theatres in May. The DaVinci Code will entertain and thrill Americans and people world-wide. What will you think of it? I ask that question for a good reason.

I'm in the process of reading the book and I must remind myself, as should others who have read it or are reading it, that it is fiction. It is classified, advertised and sold as a work of fiction (not true, fantasy, made up stuff). Although it is a fictional work, it's content make people of faith think about a lot of things.

This fantastic story interwoven with nuggets of truth with an unmistakable religious watermark beneath it all may cause some to question their faith. It may cause some to probe for the truth. It also may cause some to doubt or continue in their skepticism. The reactions will be as numerous as there are readers/viewers.

I urge all people of faith to take in the movie and if possible, prepare themselves for what I belive will be the inevitable. People are going to ask questions about Christianity that we should be ready to answer.

So crack open your Bible. Catch up on some history. Separate fact from fantasy and help people come to the knowlege of the truth should you be asked.

Oh yeah, and by the way...enjoy the movie!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Mom, Do Your Thing!

A lady in my church has several children all in their adult years now. Two of her daughters live in state and her son serves in the armed forces overseas. One of her daughtes in particular is what people would call "not serving the Lord". That means she's not actively following the teachings of Jesus Christ nor cares to at this time. For a mother who raised her kids to do so, that is heart-breaking but she has nothing but love for her nonetheless.

One day this particular daughter called. She was hoping to buy a house and apparently it was a long shot. She was hoping that she would be able to buy this house. So, she understands her mother believes in, hopes in and trusts God and actually talks to him. She calls her mother and says, "Mom, do your thing." In other words, she was saying, "Mom, pray for me." To make a long story short, she got the house, mom feels gratified and God gets the credit.

I share this with all of the moms (and dads) out there with wayward kids. Keep doing your thing! Don't ever stop praying. Don't stop believing. Don't stop loving them. So long as your kids know that they can call you at any time to pray for anything, it's a good thing. And if they are calling for prayer as they walk in their way without God, they are actually admitting that what you are doing is relevant. If it wasn't they wouldn't ask you for it.

This particular day one wayward daughter asked for prayer for a house. It worked. Who knows what they may ask for prayer for next. It just might be the thing that changes their life!

Keep doing your thing.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lost Part II

When I was younger I had the privilege of being one of 90 young people chosen to participate in the Arctic Indoctrination Course with the Army Cadets. This is a Canadian program sponsored by the Canadian Armed Forces. At fifteen years of age I was hiking trails amid peaks thousands of feet in elevation on Baffin Island. Crossing the Arctic Circle was one of the highlights as it seemed to put a "period" on the end of the statement that said I was trying to do something. I was on top of the world...literally!

But before I ever did that, a friend of mine named Wayne did something stunning. At his budding age of fifteen, he was the youngest American to traverse Greenland on foot from East Coast to West Coast. He may still be the youngest American to do so. His story is stunning. I'll attempt to do it justice.

As Wayne was the photographer for the excursion, his responsibilities lie with cameras, film and the maintenance thereof. They broke camp one day and skied off to their next way point somewhere in the middle of Greenland. A couple of hours into the day Wayne was horrified as he realized he forgot his camera bag at the previous camp site. What good is the photographer if he has no camera? So, with that thought, Wayne sets out BACK to the previous campsite on a beautiful sunny Greenland day.

Greenland has a landscape of white with little or no horizon for reference points. Wayne's reliance on his compass was important as that would keep him on track. Fortunately he had the ski tracks from where he traveled to follow back. Enter snow storm. Wayne finds his camera and heads back only to be caught in a blinding snow storm. He's fifteen. There's no landmarks. There's no ski tracks. He can't see. He's lost.

Spiritually speaking, we've probably all been where Wayne is. We can't see the old landmarks to keep us on the "straight and narrow". There are things in life that are assailing us and causing conditions that hinder our walking forward. In essence we may feel lost. I want to encourage you to do what Wayne had to do. Learn to rely on your's right! Our compass is the word of God. It is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. It shows us the way to go. Even when we can't see very far in front of us, it's there. It's true. It's right. Trust it.

So, you may wonder what ever happened to Wayne. Well, he basically trusted his compass while not being able to see anything in front of him as he skied. In his words he said, "I didn't know I was back at the camp site until I saw it three feet in front of me." Yes, you just may not be able to see where you're going until you actually get there.

Trust the compass.

Lost Part I

I like to read. I'm not one that devours ten books a month but I have a nice library but I have enough to keep me busy. What I like to read mostly is non-fiction. You know the true stuff that's supposed to encourage you, shape you, transform you and challenge you. Things that will help me in my work, things that will give me the right formulas and the right paradigms to transform me into the person God wants me to be.

Well I've read a duzy this time. I've been reading a couple of books actually. Books by authors that are Christian, claim to 'love God' and want to teach his ways. For the first time in a long time the material I've been reading isn't 'cookie cutter' religious writing that echoes what my denomination wants me to believe or teach. It is not the kind of material that gives you warm fuzzies either. What I've been reading has forced me to recognize that most of what we do in American church on Sunday mornings is about one thousand years old! Now I'm in this quandry. Are the teachings of Jesus enough for us to live by or do we actually need the layers of religious sediment that have accumulated for years?

I have recently had this overwhelming feeling that everything I have ever believed about going to church, God, religion, tradition etc. etc. is totally meaningless bunk. For the first time since I began following the teachings of Jesus in my adult life, I have had this nightmarish feeling that everything I've ever known about God and his love and grace were wrong, and because of that, I missed the boat. I'm doomed to damnation. It's like I'm being buried alive in religious knowledge. I feel, well, a bit lost.

So what does a guy like me do in scenarios like this? Well, the only thing I know to do is go back to where I started. I need to retrace my steps. It's not that I don't believe anymore. It's not that I hate certain traditions or American Christianity. I think it's really about being desperate for a new and real experience with God agian. The kind that cemented my commitment to him the first time. The kind that was unforgettable like with Moses or David.

So, if you are feeling lost, don't give up hope yet. Go back to what you know. Start again and be renewed. Let's do what Jesus said to the Church of Laodicea and "return to our first love."