Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


Contentment …

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

(1 Timothy 6:6-8)

The last two weeks in my life have been hectic (to say the least!).  I celebrated my 39th birthday, our congregation had an anniversary (with all the attendant activities), and I am preparing for holidays … which means loads of extra work to be done and set in place before I go.  There have been times when I wasn’t sure if I was coming or going … or what I was supposed to be doing when and if I ever got there!

But, strangely enough, despite all the general craziness in my life, I find myself not the least little bit overwhelmed (somewhat of a rare occurrence for me).  In the midst of so many things to do and so many pressures upon my time and life, my outlook  has been … well … content.

Crazy huh?

My birthday was a wonderful day of simply being dad to my two great children.  We went to the mall for haircuts, enjoyed an Orange Julius, cooked a fun supper and then all went to a movie.  I can’t think of a better day I’ve had in a long time.  No worries, no pressures, no need to be somewhere or do something … just content. The best present of the day was simply being able to hang out with Trish and the kids (knowing that they enjoyed it too!)

Similarly, the church’s anniversary was equally special.  Lots of people to share the work of planning and preparing.  Lots of people dedicated to making it a special day.  Lots of friends of the congregation back to visit.  All I did was go with the flow, give a few thank-you’s, eat, play with the children and visit with all the wonderful people.  At the end of a long day I wasn’t stressed, or disappointed.  I wasn’t upset at what didn’t go right or worried about how well things went.  I was just plain content.   Again, the best part of the day was just hanging out with the people I care about, happy to see them all enjoying themselves.

What a privilege when God gives us gentle (and pleasant) reminders of what’s important in life.  What a privilege to be given such a reprieve in the hurts and hurry of life.  (And right BEFORE my vacation too!)

Now if someone would only be so kind as to remind me of this before Vacation Bible School rolls around!

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Evolutionary Science in a Nutshell

imgsrv.gocomics.comNon Sequitur (June 1)

imgsrv.gocomics.comNon Sequitur (June 3)

With all due apologies to Mr. Wiley Miller (as I’m not sure as to his original intent with these cartoons) I can’t help but posit them here for your consideration.  It seems to me that this is the sort of charge leveled against those who adhere to Intelligent Design … or worse yet … to full fledged Creationism.  But I think that it would surprise many to find that there are many genuine scholars in these camps who would love dearly to be able to debate the science behind evolution on purely scientific terms.  They are routinely (and summarily) dismissed, however, on the simple grounds that nothing supernatural may be connected in any way to the discussion of evolution … even if it is only the worldview behind the scientific inquiry being done … or else it is no longer science.) In other words, if you will not discuss science from our preconceived notions, then you are not truly discussing science at all … and we don’t have to listen.

Yet where is the scientific danger of asking if sedimentation, layering, and canyon forming have all been observed to have happened in hours and days … why do we insist on millions of years for these processes?  Diamonds and coal can both be formed in a lab (using natural processes) in a matter of days … again, why are millions of years still assumed necessary?  How do polystrate fossils fit in to a long age hypothesis of sedimentation and fossilization?  What about the viable dinosaur tissue that is supposed to be some 65 million years old?  How can such a thing be?  What about the fact that every single instance of natural selection that we have been able to observe has actually come about due to a loss of genetic information, rather than an addition of said genetic material needed as a basis of the evolutionary process?

There are plenty of other genuinely (and solely) scientific questions which bear discussion for the sake of the science alone, but with a long age, evolutionary preconception, I fear that such discussion will continue to be summarily dismissed for the simple reasoning that some people have already decided that evolution can’t be wrong … so don’t waste your breath you religious nut.

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A Distinct Tragedy

By now you may have heard that there has been a fatal shooting of a well-known late term abortionist George Tiller in the United States.  Such news is tragic for many reasons.  Not the least of which is the loss of yet another life to this ongoing debate.  Those of us who seek to protect the life of every human being at every stage of their life, regardless of the “value” or “merit” of that life, must condemn this action and any other like it.  We cannot EVER make a distinction that some lives are worth saving and some are to be done away with (even of necessity).  This is the very position of those who seek the right of death over life and call it a freedom of choice.  We are never free to take the life of someone else into our own hands and place our choice above their will.

As the issue of abortion continues to be pushed to the forefront, and anger and frustration mount on both sides, such terrible moments as this are bound to come along (though I pray from the bottom of my heart that they wouldn’t!).  My great sadness in all this is that the central issues here have now been clouded once again, and the focus on the one question that truly matters in this debate, has now been obscured to the detriment of many hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

As a pastor of a Lutheran Church Canada congregation I am also puzzled and dismayed.  I am puzzled that someone who so unapologetically and routinely took human life not only attended, but served in a church where the Lord and Author of Life is worshiped (and His commandments like “Thou Shalt Not Kill” should be understood).   Where was this man’s pastoral oversight – the call to repentance?  I am also dismayed that the devil was able to cause all this to happen in the church (the icing on his diabolical cake).  It blurs so many distinctions and makes the whole thing so much more tragic.

I therefore truly appreciate the both the clarity and the distinctions that the Lutherans For Life news release made in speaking to this terrible crime.

Lutherans For Life Statement on the George Tiller Murder

June 1, 2009

Lutherans For Life (LFL) joins pro-life groups across the country in extending our sympathy to the family of George Tiller, the late-term abortionist who was gunned down Sunday morning in his church. We join other pro-life groups in denouncing this action as evil. No circumstances justify the violent murder of another human being.

God’s Word tells us not to fight evil with evil but to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Based on that same Word of God, LFL believes that abortion is a great evil, the violent murder of another human being that deeply grieves the Author and Redeemer of life. But we oppose the use of evil to overcome this evil. We have the greatest “good” there is to use against it, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. LFL strives to apply the Gospel to the life issues, to change hearts and minds so that people will turn to the Lord of Life and not the god of death as the solution to difficult circumstances. We want to make the killing of children in the sanctity of the womb as unthinkable and deplorable as the killing of George Tiller in the sanctity of his church.

While George Tiller was a member of a Lutheran denomination that does not officially oppose abortion, it should be noted that almost all other Lutheran denominations do take an official stance that opposes abortion and asserts the God-given value of human life from conception to natural death.

We commend the Tiller family and all affected by this tragic event into the loving arms of a crucified and risen Savior. May He be at work in all of this according to His good and gracious will.

I also appreciate the discussion of this same matter on the Issues Etc. Radio Program of June 1.  In particular I found the comments of Dr. John Warwick Montgomery to be very helpful and insightful.  I encourage everyone to listen.

A Discussion of these tragic events, with John Warwick Montgomery