Miscellaneous


My sister and brother-in-law live in Baltimore and so the situation up there is something that has been close to home for us.  They are making the best of it, but it’s got to be draining after awhile.  I thought I would share this funny in hopes of brightening everyone’s day.  This guy is certainly not Greg Fishel!!

Peace be with you.

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I have failed miserably in my attempts to spend more time reflecting and writing as you can see from how long it has been since my last post.  I fell victim to the same thing that so many folks do, I simply got lost in the hectic nature of life and it became increasingly more important to put out fires than to reflect.  However, I suspect that if I spent more time reflecting I would find that some of my fires would never have been kindled.  So, I begin the new year with new resolve to post some reflective point each day if it is nothing more than a quote that I have stumbled upon.  I’ll conclude then, with part of a prayer from the Valley of Vision entitled “The Minister’s Covenant.”

“For the sake of thy cruel death take my time, strength, gifts, talents, usefulness, piety, which in full purpose of heart I consecrate to thee.  Let not sin find a place in my heart to becloud my vision, and my no foolish act wither my gifts.”

Peace be with you.

Baptist Press ran an article yesterday about the tragic death of Pastor Jonathan Ayers, pastor of Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Lavonia, Georgia.  Pastor Ayers was killed by undercover police officers in what appears to be a situation of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  He was 29 years old and he and his wife Abby were expecting their first child in February.  He had pastored Shoal Creek for the past year, according to the article, and had seen God move as 18 had received Christ and were baptized.  Please pray for the Shoal Creek family and the Ayers family during this difficult time.

Peace be with you.

So, I read this article today about how you can now buy insurance for select members of your fantasy football team.   The insurance allows you to recoop your entrance fee if one of your star players goes out for the season.  I find nothing wrong with playing fantasy football if it’s done in moderation.  In fact, I joined with a group of fellow pastors last season in a league.  We had no entry fee, were without a payout at the end, and mainly played for bragging rights.  It took a couple of minutes each week to decide that week’s team and then it was off to watch football.  I can understand the allure of fantasy football because it makes almost every game worth watching during football season.  However, I have a lot of trouble swallowing insurance for a fantasy team.  I could not believe that $150 million dollars was shifted around due to the injury of one football player last year.  I read further about that and discovered that some thought the loss was as high as $1.5 billion. I truly think we have our priorities out of order.

The US Census Bureau estimates that 18% of children under that age of 18 in America live below the poverty line.  The studies are numerous that show that children who live on the edge of hunger and extreme want are more likely to do poorly in school.  Law enforcement leaders repeatedly link low graduation rates to increases in violent crime.  Now, with such glaring statistics does it not seem ridiculous to think that we should be wasting money on fantasy football insurance when we can be helping a child read or eat.

St. Augustine stated that all that is good, true, real, and beautiful is found in God.  Why do we wonder that a country that is so obsessed with fantasy that they need insurance for their fantasy worlds ignores our real and true God?  I’m not entirely sure what the answer to this problem is, but I do have one possible solution.   Maybe it’s time for the Church to quit living in the fantasy world that it’s doing everything ok and start being real about it’s faith.  It seems that if Christians started being true and real about their faith, then we would become better and more beautiful and in the end more attractive to folks living in the fantasy.

Peace be with you.

The complicating issues of divorce seem to grow more and more each day.  Yet, I keep hearing of more and more folks who are filing or have filed for divorce.  I realize that it may seem like I’m harping on something with two posts in a row on the issue.  However, we need to stop and take serious reflection on what it is we are doing and where we are going.  Here is another article from the NY Times that should give those who entering a marriage covenant or are thinking of breaking a marriage covenant some pause.

Peace be with you.

We had Vacation Bible School this week and I was able to meet a gentleman in our community named Ronnie Lanier who had restored a ’65 Chevy Impala.  He told me that he was going to enter it into a car show today in Rocky Mount and that I should come by and see it.  So, Eliza and I went this morning to Rocky Mount and saw Ronnie’s car.  It was awesome.  He had pictures of when he first got the car and how utterly mangled it had been.  It seems that the car was bought new in 1965 for a man’s son, but the son did not want the car.  So, it was put in a barn, which by the time Ronnie retrieved it over 20 years later, had falled down around the car.  The pictures showed a car in such bad shape that I personally would not have found anything redeemable about it, and would have sold it for scrap.  Thankfully, Ronnie saw something different.  I could not help but think as I admired such an awesome car that we are in much the same shape as that car.  Our sinful lives leave us in an utterly depraved state, useless for anything worthwhile, and deserving of the scrap heap.  Yet, God takes us once we surrender our lives to Him, and with a craftsman’s touch, he restores us.  It’s a long process, sometimes He has to break us down and start afresh, but ultimately if we let the Spirit work in our lives, He is able to show us off.  I was so impressed with the work that Ronnie had done and it was quite obvious that he was rightfully proud of his car.   However, he still showed me the flaws and told me about the different things he had left to do.  He even said it might be necessary to break it down and start again.  My uncle once restored a car, a ’66 Mustang, and up until he sold it, he was always tinkering on it.  It would behoove us to realize that no matter how long we have been a Christian, there is still room for God to tinker.  It does not mean that we are any less Christian, Paul assures us of this in Ephesians 2.  It just means that even when we think we might be a V8 hotrod, we probably are somewhere between a Pinto and a Chevette.

Peace be with you.

So, I’ve been bombarded lately with everyone’s summer reading lists.  I’ve given some thought to publishing a recommended summer reading list and what I’m planning to read this summer reading list.  It helps that now that Eliza and I have joined our libraries, because it’s like a big trip to Edward McKay, except I didn’t have to pay for it.  If you have any thoughts about books I should consider adding to my recommended reading list, please let me know and look for the lists coming later in the week.

Blessings,

Marc

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