Friday, September 25, 2009

What a dad!

So I'm a few days behind the ball on this one but none the less....
Did you see the video of the baseball game the other night where the dad catches a foul ball, gives it to his daughter, who then throws it back? Here it is....
My first thought it that was hilarious. As I started thinking about it more, I think that dad showed a tremendous demonstration of a father's love and wrestling through our own selfish desires.
Here's the progression (you can watch it on his face);
1. Joy - The dad catches it
2. Charity - He gives it to his daughter
3. Shock - She throws it away
4. Frustration - Realizing what just happened
5. Mercy and love - celebrating with his daughter in the midst of his own emotions.
I don't know if that man was a believer or not, but he sure ministered to me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Self Admitted Abortion Addict

I am in shock as I just finished reading an article on abcnews.com about a lady who has written a book and calls herself and abortion addict.
Irene Vilar has had 16 abortions in 15 years. As you read the article a few things jump out at me.
1. The overwhelming amount of reasons/excuses why she had them. There's 1 page out of 3 dedicated to explaining why this is what she had to do.
2. The statistics are always startling;
About half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, and 40 percent of these are terminated by abortion -- 854,122 in 2002, An estimated 50 percent of women who seek one abortion, will have a repeat one, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which promotes sexual and reproductive health. About 10 percent of those women will have three or more.
3. The comments from another girl who has had multiple abortions;
"It's a physically painful thing to do -- not something I'd ever want to use as a form of birth control. Who wants to go through that pain to end the lives of potential children?"
(About having her second abortion in 2 months)
"I felt like we were committing murder, that I was killing something that I wanted," said Mary. "I felt like I should feel the pain. I wanted to physically suffer."
(About having her third abortion)
This is heart breaking to read about these women and the lives lost because of a lack of a biblical world view. The younger gal astounds me because she can articulate how horrible this makes her feel, she can equate it with murder, and yet she still follows through with the act.
I think it has to do with our selfish nature. Somebody once told me that all sin boils down to selfishness. Do you lie? You probably want some one to like you and thus you're being selfish. Do you lust or covet? Selfishness again. Abortion is no different. It puts the temporary needs of an individual above the rights of another.
I took a criminal justice class in college. The prof was talking about how during the Clinton years youth crime dropped quite a bit. Many people attributed this to Clinton's policy's. My prof noted however that this was about 18 years after Roe vs. Wade. His theory was that although abortion is bound by no demographic, it is popular among lower socio-economic status households. There is also a correlation between crime and lower socio-economic house holds. Instead of reforming this generation of the 90's, we have killed them.
We may have lowered the crime rate, but we lost a generation.
Parents educate your children. Friends talk to your friends. Christians reach out to unwed mothers and young pregnant girls. I admit to thinking we may never overturn roe vs. wade, however we can sure put a dent into the perceived need for abortions by being Christ to those who do not know him. This comes by sitting down next to the untouchables. One of my favorite passages is Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4:1. Notice how he sits next to her, gets into a conversation with her, and builds a relationship, all before he starts speaking to her about sin and salvation.
If we're going to make a difference in the abortion battle, we need to keep the sin and salvation card in our wallets a little bit longer, and help the girls to see hope for today let alone eternity.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Self Esteem Castles

I spent a frustrating Monday morning trying to get High School seniors to connect their character with behavior. In general there was a whole lot of apathy and very little engagement. It was the second half of the group, the first half had spent a few hours with Nick Otto on Sunday afternoon. Nick had given me a heads up on what to expect, so my frustration was high because I had hoped to circumvent some of the attitudes. The school these seniors had come from was my wife's alma mater. This gave me some insight into the background of the students. Mostly, upper middle, raised in religous homes, and spent their entire k-12 experience in christian schools. I knew most of them had been handed everything in life to them, so far. It still bothered me that what we were doing had such little impact. Today I read an excellent article by Scot McKnight on line at Leadership Weekly Newsletter. You can read the article here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/communitylife/evangelism/thegospelforigens.html The title is "The Gospel for IGens." It provided some insight for me about today's late teens and 20 somethings. The main point of the article is that most "IGens" live in a castle of self-esteem. Through years of education focused on improving self-esteem they have come to believe that they are okay just the way the are. This is no surprise to me, but he continues that they have no sense of moral absolutes, right or wrong, or truth. So you can't convince them they are wrong. Though they do feel guilt and depression at not living up to this great person they believe they are (bad grammer I know). Scot McKnight connects this to presenting the gospel. But for me it made sense why I see this disconnect between character and behavior. They already think their character is good and have no moral compass to evaluate behavior. So, everything they do is acceptable (no matter what I may think). The good news is that they do like Jesus. What has an impact on them is seeing someone live out the values of Jesus. My attack on their castle of self esteem does little because they can hide behind well constructed walls. Though, they can be compelled to exit the castle to watch someone live a life of purpose, especially if it exhibits justice, love, peace, and holiness. Where does all this leave me? I'm still frustrated by not being able to effectively impact the students. But now I have a different strategy to go about it. Grace Adventure's fans can look forward to the possibility of embedded facilitation.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Purging our bodies

So, I know I said I would be back on here after the vacation much more regularly. God had other plans. On Tuesday August 25th, Kendra and I went to the University of Chicago Hospital for some routine tests. They told me there would be an 8% chance of complication, so I should bring an overnight bag. Wednesday the test came and went. After 4 hours in recovery they discharged me to go home.
Kendra and I loaded up and hit the road, anxious to get the four hour drive behind us. About the time we hit Gary I started feeling nauseous. I didn't make it off the high way before the first bout of throwing up arrived. Kendra pulled off and found a gas station. I was feeling mildly better and she got me some water. By the time she came back out of the gas station, I was doubled over the trunk of the car in agony. My stomach hurt worse than anything I've ever experienced.
I told her to keep going maybe it would go away. She demonstrated why she is far wiser than I, and drove me to the closest hospital in Gary. The pain kept increasing and I kept getting a little bit more distressed. Maybe this is a little serious I said to myself. We get to the ER, and they take they're sweet time getting me any kind of treatment, but once they did, can I just say that I heart Morphine.
It took about 3 hours for the morphine to start really working. Meanwhile I've been constantly dry heaving, coughing, and basically every makes my stomach hurt worse.
That night I was transferred back to the University of Chicago by ambulance around 3 am. At one point we hit the bumpiest patch of road in the United States and I asked the technician if he had anything for pain. He says, "I've got some Tylenol". That's not going to help.
Wednesday night after I was settled in and put on my own morphine drip that I got to activate with a button every 15 minutes, I tried to go to sleep. As you can imagine I was less than comfortable. I was rolling on every side I could find trying to relax. I was sweating, coughing, and still dry heaving. My stomach had relaxed except for any time I did any of the above.
About 6 in the morning I had the thought is this what it should be like to purge the sin from our bodies? I was in a battle between me and my body. The only relief I had was through a morphine button.
How often do I commit horrible sins against God, myself, and my family and I pray a prayer of forgiveness and take advantage of God's grace? What if I truly appreciated the gravity that sin is in my life and determined to root it out of my life. Is this the type of struggle that would occur?
Would you be willing to be in agony over your sin? Have you been in agony over your sin? In Romans 7 Paul talks about the battle he has with sin in his life. He speaks about doing the thing he hates, doing what he does not want to do, practicing the evil in him, and in verse 23-24 he says,
"I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am , who will set me free from the body of this death?"
You see Paul understood the gravity of his sin. If we can't relate as one commentator remarks it is because Paul's holiness so far exceeds that of our own.
Sin is at war against us, are we at war against it? As I was struggling with acute Pancreatitis I think I got a glimpse of what sin does to our body.
P.S. I was at the hospital for a week. Kendra and I came home last Tuesday. I'm feeling much better now, even went riding and golfing on Monday. God is so good. I still have a little ways to go but am feeling much better now. Thanks for all who were praying. It meant a lot to Kendra and I.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Can you say frustrating

Today Laura and I had family come to visit us at camp, so we thought it would be a great idea to take them out fishing. Her father and mother, her sister, her sister's husband and their 2 kids, as well as Laura's grandpa and grandma from New Jersey. So we headed down to the pontoon, after changing diapers, putting on swimsuits and sun screen. Here is where the story gets a bit more interesting, and what I think you can relate to... We arrive at the pontoon boat, remove the cover, lower it down, help everyone onto the boat, and begin pushing it out, only to realize... the battery is dead. So here is where I become the hero, or not. I head to the maintanence shop to get a new battery, only to find the room that we keep the battery in is locked, and I don't have that key. So I jump on a golf cart to get one from another staff (Luke Kostal) only to find that I can't get the golf cart out of the shop without moving a large dumptruck. So I move the truck, get the key, find 2 batteries, return the key and 15 minutes later arrive at the pontoon. Installing battery number one: dead. Install battery number 2: it turns over but doesn't catch. Finally after try number 10 the motor started. But I was reminded how things rarely go the way you think they will go. And that all I could really control was my attitude. Today, I did pretty good in this category, because it just made me laugh that at every stop something went wrong.