What beliefs, though?
But he wouldn’t “fight” I don’t think… with anyone…
What beliefs, though?
But he wouldn’t “fight” I don’t think… with anyone…
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
That is all… Keep dreaming… we’re not all there yet.
I heard a statement on the radio that really struck me today. Watching sports and getting emotional about it, as so many of us do, is an excuse to get wildly passionate about something that, in the end, has absolutely no lasting impact or real meaningful importance in our lives.
We get all excited that our team wins, we get teary-eyed at Mariano Rivera’s exit from the game, we get upset that our beloved boys of summer don’t get to play in October.
But it doesn’t matter. You still most likely went to the same job today, have the same family, same interests, same friends.
It also strikes me that sports makes us into barbarians. It’s not enough to love the Red Sox… you have to hate the Yankees. (This is not peculiarly American, some of the most passionate and dangerous sports fans in the world are fans of European soccer.)
I wonder at the violence that this occasionally produces, but I want to focus somewhere else.
I wonder sometimes if we don’t have a fixed amount of passion we get to exercise in our lives. If being intensely passionate about the Redskins would mean that I’d be less interested in the cause of justice in the world, or the cause of Christ in this world, or even the cause of plain old kindness in the day-to-day…
This is an awesome time for USAmerican Sports fans. We still get meaningful baseball for another month, but the football season is well underway… Can we make room to stoke the fires of passion we sometimes feel when we hear about an injustice we want to correct? Or can we be passionate about the worship of our creator?
Or is that energy only reserved for a field filled with young men beating up on each other…
Exactly 12 years ago, I was working at the Washington DC convention center (the old one) when it happened…
…today I was reminded, because as I walked into work this morning, our flag was at half mast, and I was assaulted with a handful of images (including that amazing Budweiser ad from that year’s Super Bowl), and I found myself choking up… again…
I hope I never forget the emotions of that day.
I decided to let it move me to pray for the people of Syria, and all that they’ve experienced, and all that they will. Their tears and losses are much greater than ours were, and the situation seems so far beyond hope.
God, grant us peace… please… Grant these world leaders your heart… even if only for a moment, long enough to make peace work. Even Assad.
Dona Nobis Pacem.
Today I’m completing my quest to spend the whole month of July, sharing a blessing (most) every day. I saved the best for last, and in fact thought of this one first… but since it’s the greatest blessing I think we have on this planet, I saved it for today.
Many of you have been with me for this whole journey. Thank you. Some of you might just come to this page today for the first time. I hope that you take some action after reading this.
Okay, you could make it a point that, as a Christian, Christ and the Gospel are our greatest blessing. Today, I’m using the word “greatest” with regard to the greatest blessing that WE can be responsible for.
Most, if not all of you, are in the developed world. Most, if not all of you, are in the top 1 or 2 percent of the wealthiest on the planet. Most, if not all of you who actually read this space, count yourselves, by faith, among the spiritual or physical descendents of Abraham. When you combine all this, we have a tremendous opportunity to be generous, to continue the promise of God to Abraham that we will be a blessing to the world.
Genesis 18:17-19 (NLT)
Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked. “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.
I’m not going to preach Matthew 25 at you or anything like that today. I hope that you don’t take the opportunity to be a blessing to the poor as a chore or a requirement. I hope you see it as a blessing and a privilege… to be part of what God is doing in the world in a tangible way that has eternal “consequences” (the good kind).
If you don’t sponsor a child through one of these organizations, consider doing so. If you do, consider sponsoring another if you have means. If you’re not supporting your local house of worship through a regular tithe, consider making that a part of the way you get to bless the world… anyway… Go… be a blessing. It will cost you about a buck or two a day. That’s all.
There are others, but those are a good start, and I think they’re doing great work.
Bless you God, that we get to be a real part of what you are doing, that we get to be your blessing to a hurt, broken, and poverty-stricken world.
I’m continuing my quest to spend this whole month sharing a blessing, each day (well, MOST every day), right here on this space. I hope you’ll join me, find your own blessing, thank God for it, and focus on that with me… but it’s up to you.
We had an amazing morning of worship this morning. Instead of playing with a group of people mostly my age, this morning, I played with a band of what I like to call “hoodlums”, but I’m just kidding around, really.
College, High School and Middle School… I had all of ’em this morning, and worship was a little “rambunctious” and I felt quite a few years younger. Plus, we had a bunch of those kids talking about their mission trips they went on this summer, and how they managed to be Christ to a whole lot of people, some close by, and some far away.
Anyway… kids these days ROCK! They’re wonderful, they love to think they can change the world, and they like to try to change the world.
They’re going to change the world, I can feel it.
And they’re going to keep me young while they’re at it.
Bless you God, for those who are younger than us, who will lead us into the future.
We live in an information age.
You can find out if re-sending that email will really get Apple and Microsoft to give money to that poor little cancer patient child (they won’t) or if Jon Bon Jovi is really dead (that one was funny) or if you really need a facebook copyright disclaimer on your facebook timeline (you do not).
This is why it still burns me up when people quote facts at you that aren’t facts. When people re-post rants from Morgan Freeman that he never said, commencement addresses from Bill Gates (or Kurt Vonnegut) which he never gave, facts to skew your views during an election season that are lies or touching stories about heroic acts that are made up.
You can google that stuff, you know.
But worse… there are the folks who hang onto this stuff like it’s LIFE or something. I’m talking grown-ups. (If you are one of those people and you are reading this, I am NOT sorry for offending you.)
Recently, I heard one of those certain old “facts” about our current president from someone who heard it from their very right-wing conservative pastor at their church, and I immediately retorted, “but that is not true at all.” This individual, rather than engaging me in any kind of further discussion, simply said, “I guess you’re the wrong person to talk about this with” and left it there. (for the record, I am rather conservative myself, but I despise stuff like this.)
Ignorance that you enjoy engaging in and hold onto rather than checking your facts or even questioning whether it might be true or not… is something far worse than ignorance. It’s the kind of stupidity that leads people to demonstrate at funerals against our country using horribly obscene rhetoric, it leads people to believe, for generations, that the color of your skin or the religion you practice or the country you live in or come from determines your value to society and to God, it leads whole societies to commit genocide, it leads people to fly planes into buildings and it leads people to train children up believing things that are not so, raising up future generations of bigots, terrorists, fascists and extremists.
The truth, I PROMISE you… will set you free… but only the truth will. Not some lame approximation of truth, and not some lie that got told so many times that everybody believed it. You might have to google it first…
Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
Following up from yesterday…
One time, in my last job, I was traveling on business in Las Vegas. We weren’t doing any of the gambling or any of that stuff that goes on there, we were working for a client at his trade show (there are loads of trade shows in Vegas. It’s apparently the global capital of trade shows), and to cut costs we were staying at a small non-casino hotel way off the beaten path. We needed to get back to our hotel, so we grabbed a cab from the convention center and told the driver where we were going.
He cussed and complained about how cheap people were who stayed at that hotel, and proceeded to berate us all the way to the hotel about how all those folks were so cheap. My associate and I just sat in shock as this guy unloaded on us. Now my boss wasn’t with us on this ride, but I thought to myself, since I was traveling on his nickel with his money, what would he do. He was, and is, one of the wisest men I know, and I decided to do something I think he might.
When we stopped at the hotel and got our bags and such and left the cab, I paid him the 10 or 12 dollars that the cab ride cost… and then… I gave him a $20.00 tip. He apologized, he felt horrible, it was his last call of the night, he’d had a rough day, and apologized more. I told him to not sweat it, that not everybody was cheap, and that I hoped his night would improve.
Now, maybe for a moment I heaped burning coals on his head, but the end result was even cooler… I probably took the worst day of his week and redeemed it, for only twenty bucks.
God, help us to always realize that whatever is going on around us with other people is hard, and sometimes sad, and tragic. Especially those who are unkind to us, Lord, would you love them through us, because we can’t do it ourselves.
When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
I think being eager means you LOOK for these opportunities. LOOK for a way to help people in need if you aren’t. And for the record, if you’re able to sit and read these words on a computer… you are not in need, at least not like most of the world.
Find a way to help somebody in your community. Actively seek it. Eagerly practice this kind of hospitality. Do you sponsor a child through Compassion? No? Click here and do it today! Make a difference in your world. (Some of you should maybe sponsor two kids.) We live in a time when you can do this right here at home, you can do it half-way around the world, there are no limits. Perhaps Japan is on your heart, find a way to give responsibly to relief efforts.
God open up our hearts to see those in need, help us to actively look for ways to help them. Help us to be generous with what you’ve given us. Open up our hearts, Lord!
Are you doing the things you should?
Are you believing the things you should?
Are you sure they’re true?
When was the last time you checked?
And if you are sure, who are you telling?
Who did you tell today?