Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I was flipping channels the other day and ran across the 1973 Superbowl game between the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins. I just had to stop and watch some of it. I knew who would won, maybe I was watching to see if the outcome would be different this time. Just kidding of course. But I have a kind of fondness for the older games of about this time. I would have been 12 at the time and remember catching some of the games at my grandmothers house. She liked her football games. I remember her saying, I just can't stand that man. She was talking about John Madden who was coaching the Raiders. We just kinda laughed under our breath. And she liked her wrestling to. I remember her saying, "I wouldn't let him do that to me." Like she was gonna pull a Granny from the Clampettes on them. But anyway, as I watched the game I noticed some differences between today's games and the games of old. One was the amount of information put on the screen. I kept finding myself looking for the score, the time, the down and the yards to go. Plus whatever else information they put up there. I really missed my information. It was kinda like when my dad took me to a Texas Rangers game in 1978. Someone hit a home run and I was looking for the replay, but there was none. The game was in color. The game seemed to be a little slower. Maybe it was me, but it seems the players today are faster. But the biggest thing that I noticed was there was no noticeable to the cameras taunting and overt celebrations. After the quarterback got sacked, the player just got up and went back to the huddle. What where were all the high fives and celebrating. Where was the in your face finger pointing at the quarterback that said I got you. There was no drawing attention to self. Every tackle was the same way. After making a great play to get a touchdown the receiver just jogged back to the sidelines. A few congratulations were offered, but no dance in the end zone? You know what I am talking about. It was almost like a job. But it also looked like they had respect for each other. To say the least, it was weird. And I am ashamed to say this it was kinda boring? Is that saying something about me? Maybe about what I had gotten accustomed to? I remember the stir that Billy White Shoes Johnson started dancing in the end zone after a touchdown while he played for Houston. It caused a stir, now today that would be tame stuff. But we have slowly gotten accustomed to it and look forward to the next celebration to see if the last one can be topped. We get into it when the other teams quarterback gets tackled and our man is standing over him taunting him. That seems to be ok. Where I bet if someone had done that in the 60's they might have gotten banned from the league for life. How did we get to this point. The more we see the less we are affected. Our young people today are bombarded with images on TV that would have shut down the station in my early years. To them it is normal. How many murders do they see on tv during a year? How many inappropriate relationship scenes do they see? How about the music videos? The commercials? I am so tired of Bob, some of you will know who I am talking about. I still turn my head when certain commercials come on. I remember my Granddad flipping channels when certain things came on. Bless you Granddaddy for being an example. But the more you see these things the quicker you get used to it and think it is normal. I am reminded of an old sermon example. If you place a frog in normal temp water and then gradually turn the heat up, he won't notice and think it is normal and won't jump out. He will stay in until it is to late for him to realize he is in hot water and it is going to kill him and then it does. Are we in that hot water? How long will it be before it kills us spiritually? Assess your situation, compare things to the Bible not against the world. Let me give you a hint that I have found to be true most of the time. If the world says it is ok and especially if it is celebrating it and pushing it, it is probably not of God. Run from it. Well we are far from the days of old but we can do the things that honor and please God.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Well we had a good time in Pennsylvania last week. We stayed in Hershey Pa, and I will say more about that on another post. I did want to talk about our visit to the Amish country. We ended up visiting on 2 separate days and that really worked out well. The first day we drove into Lancaster and went to a Mennonite information center where we could hire a guide to ride with us and give us a personal tour of the area for $44 for just my family. I thought that was money well spent. We scheduled and paid for the guide and found out that it would me a Mennonite woman. While we waited we went downstairs and watched a video that basically outlined the differences and similarities between the Amish and the Mennonites. What we found out was that they come from the same groups that came out of Switzerland years ago and settled in this area. So their beliefs are pretty much the same. The big difference would be that the Amish decided to pull back from society and live the life without being connected to the world. The Mennonites decided to go out into the world. They drive in cars, have electricity, phones and get a higher than 8th grade education and work in jobs like us. She told us to look for homes with clothes on the line and green rollup shades. There were some big farms, where whole families lived. Marriages would occur in November. Kids went to one room schools. And there were plenty of them. There were outhouses at the schools and of course no electricity. We got a look at one of the farms where there was a store where they would bring their quilts and other things they would make and sell it. For those who would like to know, the cheapest quilt I saw was $650. The lights were propane powered. A pipe run through and a couple of mantles, like you would find in a propane lantern would be hanging ready to be lit. I saw a fan that was powered with compressed air. The mules they used were the biggest I had ever seen. And I have been around a few. They were allowed to have a tractor for major heavy work close by the house and they could not have inflated tires. Just hard wheels. The mules were used to plow and other things in the field. Horses were used to pull their buggies. The horses were used race horses. The buggies started around $7000. The mowers were the push mowers that have the blade that move when you pushed it.
The next day we went into the town of Intercourse and we went to a pretzel factory before heading back out of town to take a buggy ride tour. This time we got a young man that was maybe 18 or 19, at least I thought so, with a ear ring. He was really nice. As we got down the road a ways, he asked if we thought he was Amish. We all said no. He asked why. Well it was obvious, he didn't look Amish. He didn't have the clothes. He had that thing in his ear. He didn't have the beard. Now here is where I was reminded of something I had forgotten. Only the married men wear beards. Why? It is better than a ring. You can slip that ring off and back on without anyone knowing. It don't work that way with the beard. So it is harder to get away with infidelity. It turns out he grew up Amish and at the age of 14 he decided he would not join the church. I think if I remember that by the age of 16 you had to decide to join or not. I may be wrong about the age. But by age of 16 his dad had asked him to leave because of the way he was living. He moved out and got his high school education and was planning to go to vet school. He says they are on good terms now. He plans on getting his education and coming back to take care of their animals. Here is an interesting thing. If he had joined the church and left, he would be ostracized. But since he didn't join the church he would be accepted. But if he decides to join the church later, he could not work as a vet. He would have to set aside his schooling he got. Because it is from the world. From the world.... They do not have any wires connected to their homes because that would make them directly connect to the world. No wires coming in from the world. So this means they could have lights run off a generator or other source, from their farm. We did see some solar panels. We saw a few little houses, about the size of a large outhouse just outside their homes with a wire coming into it. It was where their phone was. Notice it didn't come into their house. We even saw some using the phone. Something we found out from this young man was that many have cell phones now. Note, no lines are used to get the signal into the house. They are a close knit community and help each other. They will hold church at each others homes, I think every other Sunday. So you may host it once a year or so. The preaching is done in English, but the bible reading is done in a high German dialect. And apparently this is a third language they learn the year after the 8th grade. They are exempt from the mandate of having to purchase health insurance under the new health care bill. They do have a particular problem that is a genetic problem from marrying people in such a close community. You are marrying your cousins basically and outside genes are not coming in. So they have some unique problems there. All in all it looked like a life without the things of the world being right in front of you all the time. It is a slower paced life, but a more physically demanding work than many of us have gotten accustomed to. But their lifestyle is to separate themselves from the world and things that separate them from God. I think it would be good for us all to find things that are distracting us from God and get rid of them. God bless.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Well we are back from our trip, and I will share some more on that over the next couple of days. But I would like to give a mention to a church we attended today for Easter services. We always will find a church to go to if we are on a trip. We have found some really good ones. We like meeting our kin folk in Christ. People we never met and yet we have so much in common, especially our Daddy. Today we visited Stowers Hill Baptist Church at: 407 9th Avenue SW, Attalla, Alabama 35954. I put the whole address because if you are in the area around Gadsden, Alabama, this is a special church. We have visited many churches and though this church is small compared to many, it made up for in Christian Love. We have learned how to gauge a church through how we are greeted. And we were greeted and felt loved and accepted. We know that God was in the house. The pastor, Brother Richard Bradfield was outgoing, friendly and gracious. You could tell that God was leading him in and he was preaching the message God had laid on his heart. Of course it was Easter Sunday and as most Baptist churches do they presented special music. You could tell they had put forth a lot of effort, but I believe they put forth a lot of prayer. God had to be blessed, because my family and I were truly blessed. I noticed from their bulletin that they are busy in the community carrying out God's work. But the thing that stuck out to me again was the love we felt and noticed that it was not just directed at us, but towards each other. Even the youth were outgoing and we were greeted by some of them and talked with one. Can I say I have worked with youth for many years and this is not always the case. I felt no pride in the building and was humbled by the outpouring of the heart towards God. If I am ever in the area again on Sunday or Wednesday night (especially since I noticed they eat together on Wednesday nights as all good Baptist do) we will be visiting. How did we hook up with them? Well on Saturday night we showed up at the hotel down the road and started googling. They had a website( www.stowershillbc.org )and had enough information for us to feel comfortable that they were safe to visit.
Happy Easter. This is the resurrection morning when the tomb was found empty. I wanted to share just a brief portion of an article that can be found at - http://blog.soundrezn.com/2009/08/13/using-critics-to-prove-the-resurrection/ - Critics have been saying for years that the resurrection never occurred. But here are some details that 95% of them agree on.
- Jesus died by crucifixion.
- Jesus was buried.
- Jesus’ death caused the Disciples to despair and lose hope.
- Jesus’ tomb was discovered (or claimed to be discovered) to be empty a few days later.
- The Disciples believed they experienced appearances of the risen Jesus.
- After this the Disciples were transformed from doubters into bold believers.
- Jesus’ resurrection was the center of preaching in the early Church.
- Jesus’ resurrection was preached in Jerusalem.
- As a result of this preaching, the Church was born and it grew.
- Resurrection day, Sunday, replaced the Sabbath (Saturday) as the primary day of worship.
- James, a skeptic, was converted when he also believed that he saw the resurrected Jesus.
- Paul, a violent enemy of Christianity, was converted by an experience which he believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus.
- This is one I have added. The disciples did not get rich and the reward for all but one of them was to die because of what they were preaching. If they knew it were false then it seems at least one of them would have said so, to save his own skin.
Friday, April 2, 2010
As we come to that time of the year we call Easter, a time we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, today would be recognized as Good Friday. It seems odd that we call a day on which our Savior and Lord, Jesus was crucified and died. But it was good, because He was born to die. He, Jesus created us to fellowship with Him. He knew before He created us that we would rebel and the only way to redeem us was for Him to come to die for us on a cross. He knew this! Yet He still created us. What Love.
John 15:13 (NKJV)
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
You know this is even deeper than the verse above. We are told in the Bible that we are His enemies before we give our lives to Him and become His children. Now we might die for the ones we love, but to die for the ones who hate us? Well that takes the infinite love that only God has.
As you go through this season, focus on who God is and what He did for us and why. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior today.