Monday, December 17, 2012

What is needed in our nation

Following the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT, Facebook has been flooded with everyone's opinion and feelings.  I have read many ideas about how we can prevent this type of thing from happening again, as if we could.  Evil will always be present with us. We cannot legislate it away.

I must say, however, that I am tired of seeing all the "We need prayer back in public schools" or even Mike Huckabee's latest comments that "we've systematically marginalized God out of our culture by removing Him from all aspects of the public square."  Are we Christians really so powerless?  It is utter nonsense!  We have a power far greater than anything this world knows-the Holy Spirit.  We still live in a country where we are allowed in the public square and allowed to speak about God and show his love.  The problem is, for the most part, we Christians have marginalized ourselves.  We are content to sit in our pews (or chairs, depending on your church's set up) and lament with one another about the passing of the old days.  Wake up, Christians!  We are the ones who are failing.  We say, "America needs God."  Do you not know, we are the Body of Christ?  Go, therefore, and be the Body.  Preach the Good News.  Heal the sick.  Love the outcast.

And who cares if our 'rights' are eroded?  If, indeed, our nation enacts laws prohibiting us from speaking the gospel, I would refer you to the words of Jesus and Paul.  Rejoice, and, again, I say rejoice!  Count it a privilege to suffer for the Kingdom of God.  May we be willing to do what it takes to heal a hurting world even if it costs us our lives.  THAT is the power of the Holy Spirit.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Someone asked me recently, "Why do we feel we have to go halfway around the world to help people?  We need to take care of our own first!"  It is not the first time this has been said to me.  I find it interesting that the people who usually say this do not seem to helping anywhere.  I think they just have a guilty conscious.

Jesus told his followers to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and to the ends of the earth.  That is usually my response to the aforementioned comment.  We are to be a work, showing the love of God for humanity, everywhere.  Some are called to stay local and some are sent to the nether regions.  Nonetheless, we are all called to be at work support Good News through good works everywhere.  

Our Jerusalem is the area right around us - our communities.  For my church, that is the northern area of Henry County.  There are so many opportunities to serve.  Our church has an incredible food pantry that delivers to homeless people in the area in conjunction with Revelation Ministry.  They require food items and/or money to purchase food.  They need people to sort and separate food and to help deliver.  We have several other Christians brothers and sisters in other churches that help us with this.  

You could become involved with H3 ministries.  This was the brainchild of my dear friend Mike Broome.  It was birthed at McDonough 1st UMC.  On Friday nights this ministry prepares hot meals for folks that come to the church.  The people are served as if they are at a restaurant and usually have live music to soothe them as they dine.  There are also several 'to go' meals taken out from there to homeless people.

You could help at the public school just down the road from us, by reading to kids, tutoring, helping provide school supplies, collecting General Mills boxtops, or providing a meal for the teachers.

You could go out with one of our L.R.E. teams to meet our neighbors and begin to build friendships in our communities in the name of Jesus Christ.

Our Judea is our regional area.  There are also a lot of opportunities in our region as well.  Habitat for Humanity, The Atlanta Food Bank, or Action Ministries.  I personally feel Action Ministries is one of the best things the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church has going.  This ministry provides food, shelter, and education for poor people all over North Georgia.  If you can't physically go and help, you can support them financially.

Finally, we are called to go to the ends of the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  I think about our missionary families that we support at Jodeco.  The Stotler family is in mission ministry in South Africa.  Our own Nick, Heidi, and Gilly Griffiths will be leaving next year to serve the indigenous tribes of Kenya by helping them build water filtration systems, health education, and sharing the love of Jesus.  You can help by giving these families your financial support.  You can find both of these families at and clicking on the "find a missionary" tab at the top right of the screen.  

So my advice?  Stop whining and get involved!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hunger Games

OK, finally reading the Hunger Games trilogy.  I am about 1/3 of the way through Catching Fire.  It is a very interesting series.  The story is very similar to the fall of the Roman Empire, in my opinion.  I can also see parallels to the condition of the U.S.A. today.

In the Grinder

            Consider the river stone.  It is a thing of beauty, so smooth and silky feeling.  It is difficult to imagine that it was once a rough, jagged thing.  Over the years, possibly even centuries, the rough, jaggedness was eroded by water and friction of other stones.  You could say a river is a slow moving grinder, one whose task is not measured in minutes but years.
            Life is a similar thing.  Often times we feel as if we are in the grinder as well.  Hardships, trials, just ordinary things of life often wear us down.  I like to think that God is using the things of life to make us something beautiful as well.  By his grace he can use the awful, burdensome things in life to make our lives a thing of beauty all to his glory and honor.  David put it this way in Psalm 30:

I cried out to you, Lord.  I begged my Lord for mercy: “What is to be gained by my spilled blood, by my going down into the pit?  Does dust thank you?  Does it proclaim your faithfulness?  Lord, listen and have mercy on me!  Lord, be my helper!”  You changed my mourning into dancing.  You took off my funeral clothes and dressed me up in joy so that my whole being might sing praises to you and never stop.  Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

            As we begin this series on the giants David faced we will be looking at his trials and struggles and hear his own words as reflected in the Psalms.  His problems are similar to our own.  May we be like him, ready to face our own short-comings and willing to hand our difficulties over to the One Lord who can give us “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy in place of mourning, and a mantle of praise in place of encouragement.”  [Isaiah 61:3]



Friday, October 28, 2011

One Second After

Last night I finished reading One Second After by WILLIAM R. FORSTCHEN.  What a great novel. It follows a retired Army Colonel (R) turned history professor of a Christian community college in a small town just outside of Asheville, N. C. 

One day everything stopped working at once.  It later was determined that the cause was the detonation of nuclear bombs several miles above the earth's atmosphere.  The resultant radiation causes a huge electromagnetic pulse to hit most the United States.  The EMP knocks out everything that uses electricity or electronics.  This includes all the electric appliances in the country, all communications, and most vehicles (only older engines would work). 

The story then settles on how the people in this small town work to survive the resulting panic and dwindling food and medication supplies.  The book is quite frightening in that thiscould really happen.  If a terrorist cell could obtain just one nuclear warhead of the thousands that still exist from the Cold War stockpiles in both the U. S. and former U. S. S. R., it could be deployed from anywhere with a missle to detonate and trigger the Compton effect radiation that would cause such an EMP. 

In the book, the United States is devastated by the breakdown of society caused by lack of food, medicine, and information.  Society quickly degrades to a state of medieval state.  I would suggest that you should read this book.  It is available in print or ebook form.  I just hope folks in our military are working on this possibility. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Long time, no blog

Well, I have been very busy - so busy I haven't had time to blog.  I don't really have time now, but thought I would get a quick one out so people will stop asking about it.

The "Occupy Atlanta" protest has been broken up following the mayor's order to force the protesters out of the park and arresting those who refused to go.  This whole movement frustrates me.  As I listen to the interviews of the protesters, there seems to be no succinct topic of protest.  The groups appear to consist of disorganized, mostly young people who have NO idea how the economy works.  I believe their frustrations arise out of the rhetoric I am hearing more and more from the left of the political spectrum - the so-called "class warfare." 

This rhetoric doesn't surprise me at all.  When we have a sitting president who truly believes capitalism is evil and refers to private sector business as 'the enemy' of course there is going to be those who mistakenly believe that the rich are evil people who want to keep the poor down.  It seems these protesters believe everyone who owns a business is rich and hoards all their money and lives off the sweat of poorer people.  I heard one protester interviewed in Atlanta say, "We have had enough of people who make millions and refuse to share it with everyone."  Seriously?  I supposed if this goober actually got a job and earned money he would just give it all away?  Seems like I remember some stats taken a couple of years back about whether political views affect the way a person support charity.  It was discovered that those to the right of the political spectrum were by far the most generous when it came to giving, while the left kept nearly everything for themselves. 

Call me crazy, but I prefer to live in a country with someone with initiative and willing to risk themselves can start a business and, if successful, prosper.  However, in our currently era of extreme government regulations and taxation, it is become more and more difficult for that to happen.  A report just release revealed the current ranking of nations as far as ease of starting a new business and cost of starting a business.  Since Obama took office the ranking of the U.S.A. in both of these areas has fallen significantly.  We are rapidly and increasingly becoming the land of regulation and taxation rather than the land of opportunity.  We have to get this man out of the White House and back to Chicago where he can 'organize' his community.  When are we going to wake up and realize that it is not the government that made this country great, but the sweat and blood of its citizens. 

This is what the Tea Party is all about.  But you won't here that in the media.  According to the media, the Tea Party are a bunch of racist, hating people who want the poor trampled so the rich can prosper more while the Occupy Wallstreet protesters are the future hope of the nation.  That is only true if we want this nation to continue down the road to socialism that our government seems intent on taking us. 

I would really like to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Please comment.

Monday, August 8, 2011

So the Tea Party is to blame?

I have just about heard all I care to hear from these career politicians that the Tea Party is blame for the U.S.'s credit rating being lowered.  I hope the public can see that the REAL issue is that for too long this nation has spent, and spent, and SPENT beyond its means.  It is exactly like what happens in your home if you continue to spend more than you earn.  You will go into debt and that debt, along with the exponentially increasing cost of carrying that debt, will begin to spiral out of financial control.  The next step is the credit bureaus notice that you are carrying too much debt and are at a greater risk of defaulting on your debt and they lower your credit rating.  All the folks to whom you owe money see this and say, "Oops, we may not be able to get our money back from this guy.  Let's raise his interest rate so we can recoup our investment faster before he goes bankrupt."  Suddenly your expenses are raised, but your income has remained the same (if you are fortunate).  What are you to do?  If you have any sense, you quickly figure out how to reduce your spending.  If you don't, the debt just 'snowballs' out of control and you go bankrupt. 

This is where our nation is.  There are a few sensible people in congress who realize this and they are demanding our nation cut expenses.  So let's (referring to the career politicians who want to protect their phoney-baloney jobs) point to the commission's comment about the deadlock between parties being a part of the decision to lower the nation's credit rating and totally ignore the uncontrolled spending frenzy WE have carried on for decades!  Folks what this country needs is an end to entitlement programs and enforced term limits on all public offices.  We need to quite funding needless research programs with results that totally useless.

Wake up, America!  We are on the brink of chaos!  It is time to stop pointing fingers and admit that we have all played a part in creating the mess we are in.  Let's work to find a solution.