Tag Archive: random thoughts

This is a post I wrote on September 3rd 2006 and is unedited from its original form. I recently watched A PBS Nova program called The Illusion of Time and it reminded me of this post. With all the Christmas Happenings I haven’t had a lot of time to spend thinking and writing but I think this fits what is currently occupying my thoughts. I highly suggest watching the PBS program.


Time is a strange thing. Life is a race against time, is it not? We make lists of things we want to do, buy, see before we die. We say things like “at least he got to experience this”. What do we do with time? Here in China time just seems to be something that goes by and you jump on it when you need to. “When will you bring us water?” you ask. “Tonight around 7,” They reply. Yet it takes you three tries to get it delivered. “When is our meeting?” you ask. “Today at 2,” they reply. Yet your meeting is delayed three times and doesn’t start until 3:30. It is the exact opposite in NA. “When will you bring us water?” you ask. “Tonight around 7,” they reply. And it shows up at 7 or you call and complain. “When is our meeting?” you ask. “Today at 2,” they reply. And the meeting starts at 2 and if you are late you get fired. No matter how you look at time shapes our relationships. It is at the center of everything we do whether we use it or not.

Time exists. It is more than a theory or philosophy, it is a proven scientific measurement. It is the 4th dimension. We can’t ignore its effects on our beauty. So what do we have left when time takes its prize. We have relationship! Even something as powerful as the universe is finite. Stars die, planets die, plants die, bugs die, people die. So how does relationships trump time? Because there is one person that is not in temporal creation. He is in a place that time can not touch and He seeks our souls. He doesn’t just seek them, He longs for them so much that He actually entered times arena to repair what we had destroyed. Whether you love Him for it or push Him away it doesn’t change how He feels about you. We can’t love Him without Him loving us first. He is love (1 Cor. 13.4-13). Seek that relationship and time will loose its hold on you.

Don’t let time win!




Calgary Sun - Sept 3 2011

As my kids grow I hope that they will learn how to make decisions based on integrity. As they grow and start to do things that have negative outcomes it is my prayer that we have instilled in them that honesty is the best policy. Proverbs 22.6 states Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. The following generation typically slips morally more than the generation before it until they hit the moral bottom and start over. When Josiah was king over Judah they did not even recognize the scriptures when the scroll was found. I would hope that I live a life above reproach and impart the wisdom of God upon their lives. As my children make more and more choices with less and less of my influence I pray that they will value a life of integrity.

A friend’s blog about her 30 day journey to minimize life has helped inspire me, in particular a recent post called Live Simply. About a year and a half ago I read a couple books that started to open my eyes to the useless nature of just sending money as a means of solving issues, specifically foreign aid. Ironically this happened just as I was hired by one of the largest NGO’s serving the poor in a local setting. As I wandered through the year I found myself in the possession of another book Radical by David Platt. All these things, mixed with a fantastic book by Michael Horton (check out his radio show) called We believe, have shoved me off the cliff of interpretation into the world of action.

As Carl Marx said “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” We must step past the point of looking and criticizing and step up to looking and doing. When I look out I see a fallen world, sinful and alone. Christ stepped down into that fallen world and gave us a hope. “Living He loved me, dying He saved me, And buried He carried my sins far away, Rising He justified freely forever, One day He’s coming…” (Glorious Day). Now that we looked how do we change the world? In one chapter of David Platt’s book he talks about a missions trip he was raising funds for. Everyone he talked to was very excited about the trip except for one lady who asked why they were wasting all this money by going themselves instead of sending money where it could be used in a way that got more value out of it. This question shook him up and made him question the very purpose of that trip. Near the end of the trip a local man was sitting talking with David when he thanked him for coming. The man told him that he knew Christ loved him because he sent that group in person and not just money like so many different organizations before. To know that a person is thinking about you and is inspired to reach out in the name of Christ is a powerful expression of how deeply God the Father loves us.

Amor Min. Truck overlooking Tijuana

I have personally wrestled with the money vs. action issue but when you meet someone who says “I had no hope and because you came I have a future”. Is that not what Christ did for us? Christ came to us! A mighty king left his throne so he could give a hopeless world a future! He became our priest and bore the penalty of our sin! He declared a coming age when His Kingdom would be restored! At all times preach the Gospel. Why? Because the Gospel proclaims truth and truth brings hope, a hope in that which restores what has been lost.  “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

What will you do this week to change the world?

Today I sinned!

Salvation by Tina Umbach 2004

Christina Umbach / Salvation / 2004 / Acrylic on Canvas

Today I sinned! Believe it or not it is true. I sinned yesterday as well and I will sin again tomorrow as long as Christ does not return. My salvation has been bought yet my sanctification is in process. I struggle with the now but not yet. The evil that I stand against is at war not only in front of me but also in me. It tries to pull me down so I will be ashamed, judgmental, proud. Christ is victor, not me. When we realize that the Father finds our repentance more joyous than for 99 righteous who do not need to (Luke 15).

Today I must pick up my cross and follow him which means I must die to self. Dying to self means that I must fight against the things that separate me from my Father. 1 Thess. 4:2-8  says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;  that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,  not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;  and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” My sins may involve this world but the underlying root is the rejection of God. To die for a cause we must understand the cause. To throw off our old self and embrace the new creation we must understand what  is good with the new and bad with the old.

Christ told us what is good. Luke18.17-18 “A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”   “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” God alone is good (see also Romans 3.12). If we truly want to make a difference in this world we must embrace what is good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12.21. Anything less glorifies the created instead of glorifying the creator and therefore rebels against the creator (sin). Today I sinned! Don’t look at me, look at the one I lean on, for tomorrow I will sin again.

Casting Crowns – At Your Feet

Here at Your feet I lay my past down
My wanderings, all my mistakes down
And I am free

Here at Your feet I lay this day down
Not in my strength but in Yours I’ve found
All I need, You’re all I need

Here at Your feet I lay my future down
All of my dreams I give to You now
And I find peace, I find peace

Here at Your feet I lay my life down
For You my King, You’re all I want now
And my soul sings

Jesus, Jesus, at Your feet
Oh, to dwell and never leave
Jesus, Jesus, at Your feet
There is nowhere else for me
There is nowhere else for me

Driving home today I was listening to Hank Hanegraaff, the bible answer man. In response to a question about tithing he quoted Randy Alcorn who said “tithing may well be regarded as the training wheels of giving”.  Having recently removed three sets of training wheels from bikes in our house this image of training wheels has stuck in my mind (to clarify any misconceptions I removed mine many years ago). This idea of spiritual training wheels puts a picture to the idea of the dynamic relationship between works and faith and connects these two concepts.

training wheels

I put training wheels on my girls bikes so that they can learn how to properly ride a two-wheel bike. With the training wheels they are not riding a two-wheeler and if you remove them they can’t ride it but those training wheels are a stepping stone towards becoming two-wheel riders. The training wheels give them a chance to learn what it takes to ride a big girl bike without falling. It is in that sense that we must have training wheels to learn what it means to be Christian. Keeping traditions and rules does not make us Christian and certainly does not save us however they can and do give us guiding principles and ways of loving God and loving our neighbors.  “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. ” (Romans 3.28). One is not justified by anything they do yet scripture clearly stats that we do have a role in our spirituality. “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.  Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”(1 Peter 2.2). See also James 2.18-19 “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” Our spiritual training wheels help us to balance on our new Christian life. Our spiritual milk helps us to hear and know the Shepherds voice and to resist the devil so he will flee.

Yes we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone but God does not leave us to our own understanding after that. We become part of a functioning body. A heart that does not pump blood causes the body to die. Hands that do not move prevent the body from interacting with the world. A faith that does not have deeds is dead! Training wheels help us rid ourselves “of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind”. They keep us from falling over so we can “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22.37-38)

How well can you take a compliment? Most people find compliments awkward and uncomfortable. For me I don’t like compliments because I can see my shortcomings despite positive outcomes, while wrestling with my own personal turmoil someone sees the outside and can not see the thorns in my side. Star Trek is great at dissecting our strengths and weaknesses as it places them within alien species. Here is a clip from DS9 that looks at the problem of compliments. Nog (big ears) in this clip is wrestling with loosing his leg in a battle and feeling like he has failed due to his injury.

Part of growing as a community is being vulnerable and open about our strengths and weaknesses. My dad recently showed me a clip from the TED website by Dr. Brene Brown who has made it a profession to study what this means. The clip is 20 minutes but I think it paints a great picture of what Christ has called his Church to be. For the Church to be effective in reaching out as a beacon of truth we must live lives that are vulnerable and real. That means working through each of our weaknesses and understanding our strengths. Compliments are the way we affirm people in their God-given abilities and gifting’s.

Christ, Our Meaning

BibleGateway.com verse of  the day: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Mark 8:36 NIV

This echoes the wisdom of King Solomon when he wrote

I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

What is crooked cannot be straightened; 
   what is lacking cannot be counted.

I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; 
   the more knowledge, the more grief.

Ecclesiastes 1.12-18

We often sell ourselves short of the true reason why Christ came. Ecclesiastes leads us down the path that all things of this world are meaningless but there is a reason for hope! Thankfully God is not of this world He is the creator of this world and through him we can find purpose and meaning. Whether you are looking at the God of the Old Testament or New Testament you find that He is the same and that nothing means anything useless you involve Him in your work. We do not serve a God who wants to make us comfortable. We serve a God that states that “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9.23). Simply put “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Thankfully Christ is the only way to correcting our broken relationship with the Creator of everything. Christ is the one who gives meaning to everything since “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1.1-4).

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