Politics & Religion

It’s often said that the two things not to bring up at a large family event are politics & religion. The same goes for Facebook and social media lately as I’ve seen multiple “fights” break out as a result of politically related discussions.

I get it, these issues, for many people, are very personal. They are often cornerstones of belief that they have been past down from generation to generation. They can also be very complicated subjects with lots of “facts” on all sides of the issue. As a result, some people feel that these issues should remain “private” and should not be discussed.

If that’s someones view and they choose not to engage in discussion on the matter, that’s certainly their prerogative, but for me, it’s something much different.

Faith first, is the foundation of who I am. My belief in God, Jesus, and the Bible guides my decisions in life. I don’t always hold true to it as a I should and I often stumble in the walk, but it is the place I go back to for direction. It’s changed my life, it’s changed who I am, for the better — not perfect, far from it, but better and I want to share that with others.

Politics is a little different. It’s like a sport to me. While the ideals are very important to me, they are not the same as faith. I enjoy the intellectual challenges that come with policy debates, history, and charting a course for the future. I’m happy to have these discussions with people of all sides of the aisle. That’s why my brother in-law and I recently started a blog called Sometimes left, always right (arrogant, I know). We both enjoy the debate, the spectacle, and the process of it all. Don’t get me wrong, I believe what I believe strongly (as does he) and I think these things are important — BUT I’m not going to let it wreck my day.

Come November, either Obama or Romney will be elected President and the wailing from the opposite side will commence. Let’s step back, take a deep breath and realize that while these things are import and they can ultimately affect our lives, we only have so much control over them.

It is all worth discussion, it’s worth researching, and worth debating — but it’s not worth getting all upset about.

Lost in Reality

Wake up, brush teeth, get a shower, get dressed, make breakfast, pray, eat, work/school, sports, tv, more work, sleep — repeat. “Round and round we go, where we stop, no body knows.”

It’s so easy to get caught up in the cycle of every day life. So much stuff to do, so that we can buy more stuff, and do more stuff.

Every now and then, something really sticks with me. This past Sunday, our pastor said “there is one thing for certain, 100% of us will die one day, no one is getting out of here alive.” It’s an obvious statement but maybe not something we think about enough.

It is so easy to spend so much time worrying about things that have no real value but in the moment can seem monumental.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is this:

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek firstthe kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

– Matthew 6:25-34

We are on this earth for a limited time, the blink of an eye in the span of eternity, but why? Is it simply to accumulate stuff, worry about how we can get more stuff and not lose the stuff we have? Or could it be to glorify God and bring him praise?

Some say there is no God, but no one argues that we won’t make it out of this place alive. Do we just turn to dust or is the heaven (and hell) of the Bible real? I believe it is and need to be reminded regularly not to get too caught up in this life (both joys and sorrows).

Life is busy and it’s easy to get lost in reality. Maybe we all need to take a deep breath, step back, and ask God to show us a little more of his perfect plan.

…in mysterious ways.

This past weekend, after a LONG walk down the beach, my wife and I sat watching the ocean as the sun slowly faded away. With all the beauty of nature, we got to talking about God.

The sun was almost completely gone and it was getting very dark. I wondered out loud, “if God wants us to know him so bad, why does he not just revel himself to us as he did to Abraham.” Why does he not just speak or open up the sky and say, “here I am, trust in me.”

Just moments after I had asked this question, I noticed what look like a large orange cloud rising in the distance. We couldn’t quite tell what it was. As it continued to rise, it took shape and we realized it was the moon. It was full and orange, reaching up over the calm ocean. Spectacular is an understatement.

Orange MoonWe sat and watch as the moon rose into the sky. Maybe it was just the moon rising and it was all a big coincidence. Or maybe it was God saying “Here I am, trust in me.”

I rarely believe in coincidence and I do believe that God speaks to us today. It may not be in words as he did to Abraham, but he speaks none the less.

His creation, which happened to be the ocean and the moon that night, have always been the strongest sign to me that there must be a grand Creator.

Indeed, the Lord moves in mysterious ways.

A prayer for our nation

This prayer burst into the public consciousness back in January of 1996, when the Rev. Joe Wright, senior pastor of the 2,500-member Central Christian Church in Wichita, was invited to deliver the opening prayer at a session of the Kansas House of Representatives. It is as relevant today, if not more, than it was over 13 years ago:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance.

We know your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we’ve done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it moral pluralism.

We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.

We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem.

We have abused power and called it political savvy.

We have coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us O God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by you, to govern this great state.

Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ.