April 2009 Archives

John Ortberg recently wrote this on the Out-of-Ur blog: "The recently released American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) indicates that faith is going down across the board."

Ortberg is not the only one discussing this latest survey. A number of people are writing about it, and generally, the conclusion is that America is fast becoming a secular nation. Christianity is diminishing in influence and significance at an increasingly rapid pace.

Friday, I had a pleasant evening, with dinner at a small Mediterranean place near our home, followed by a movie, Evan Almighty. The dinner was passably good, but the movie, to my surprise, touched me deeply, and has had me thinking ever since.

The story is about a guy, Evan, who is out to change the world, and who gets elected to Congress on that platform. His life is radically rearranged when God takes his "change the world" talk seriously, and gives him a job to do: build an ark.

A slice of God's Kingom

A few days ago, I was invited to a birthday party for a pair of Burmese refugees, twin girls age 7. In the small crowd, there were uncountable children and three Americans. As the only American man, I was asked to bring some "encouraging words."

So I spoke - with someone else translating into Burmese - about God's grace and favor, and the great blessings he promises to those who worship and obey him. I talked about the rain falling outside as I spoke, which helped our food to grow. I talked about the good houses we live in - something new to my listeners - and about the family we have in Jesus.

Sunday morning!

Hallelujah! He is risen!

Hope for the world rose from the grave this morning!

A day of darkness

Saturday: Jesus is dead. Hope is lost. The world is black

What a week!

Good Friday, the worst/best Friday ever.

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-20).

What does this passage mean? I don't think it's all that obvious.

Hurting? Discouraged?

I had breakfast with a good friend this morning, as is my Sunday habit. Pleasant conversation. My friend, as it happens, is a professional counselor, and we sometimes talk about how we live and grow.

This week, we talked about medication for depression, and I expressed my concern that Americans might be medicating ourselves out of some good things. We don't like to be in pain or discomfort, physically or emotionally. As soon as we become depressed or unhappy, we reach for a pill. It's very similar to the too-common practice for unruly children. Medication.

To live or to die

I was listening to a sermon Sunday, and suddenly the phrase "grain of wheat" struck me and wouldn't go away. I have been struggling with the adjustment from employment to retirement. It's the hardest adjustment I have ever faced. Going from a lifetime of challenging jobs, supervising people, solving problems, having a purpose and goal every day, to...what?

Now nobody cares if I get up in the morning. Nobody cares how I spend my day. And from my perspective, the matter of my own significance is undecided. I want to be significant. I want my life to matter, to make a difference. It's too hard not to have something important as the outcome.

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  • Larry Baden said:
      Hello Johanes, I'm not certain I understand your comment, but it seem...
  • yohanes wonde said:
      hi LARRY BADEN i am fond in a big problem I belief am not in choice o...
  • Larry Baden said:
      George, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As for your 'humor,' well......
  • Larry Baden said:
      Truth, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I especially like the last se...
  • Truth Told said:
      Looking into the account of the adulterous woman it is easy to see tha...
  • George Fowler said:
       Jesus said: “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”. A rock ca...
  • Martin Rudd said:
      Remember what our Lord and Saviour said. "Its not my will that any sho...
  • Thomas Hatfield said:
       I realize that a humain being has to make difficult decisions in ther...
  • Elder John McCall said:
      Good article and complicated subject, but knowing that he is all knowi...
  • Larry Baden said:
      Dee, Thanks for your thoughts. A couple problems as I see it: First, ...

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