Category Archives: Christian Life
I’ve been uncomfortable in my complacency for a couple of months now, yet too confused to do anything about it because it seemed that everything I have ever tried in the past has landed me right back where I started in beginning with more wear-and-tear than I bargained for. On Sunday I prayed and asked the Lord to do a work in my life – I laid the fleece out on the lawn, if you will. I prayed that He would reveal Himself to me and grab ahold of my heart.
I prayed that my Prayer Life would become real – not just going through the motions of asking for things when I’m in need, but that I would learn to praise Him when things are taking place that are perhaps unpleasant. I prayed that I would be more concerned with what God thought about my prayer life than what my prayers sounded like to others. God doesn’t care about fancy words and impressive praise — He cares about what’s in my heart.
The following is the paper I wrote for the PH 305 Baptist Heritage class I just finished at the Antioch Bible Institute (ABI). I just finished my first semester (two classes) there and I believe I did quite well — thank God!
We just started the new semester this week and I am taking two classes again. Each class we are required to write a paper and turn it in with our course notebook on the last day of class. Here’s the paper I wrote for my Baptist Heritage course.
Why I’m A Baptist
Many people might say that I’m a Baptist by default. Being adopted into and raised in a Baptist home would definitely have an influence on which direction my faith would go. I was always taught about the fallacies of Catholicism, Lutheranism, Methodism, the Church of Christ, Hinduism, Mormonism – you name it and chances are I could tell you at least one reason why they were all false, or at least flawed, religions.
I was reading a post over at Alise…Write! and found myself almost breaking out in hives over a couple of sentences in her post titled “It Is Good.” (okay, maybe not “breaking out in hives”… but somewhat irritated.)
Overall, her post was actually pretty good. My beef was with the following bolded sentences:
“…these projects point to God. Not to a neat, tidy, polite God, but to a wildly creative being. A God that refuses boxes and boundaries and rules. A God that understands hurt and pain and hope and love; a God that understands what it is to be human.”
The idea that “God…refuses boxes and boundaries and rules” makes it sound like He embraces chaos, disorganization, haphazard efforts. The idea that God is not necessarily a “neat, tidy, polite God” makes it sound like He Who spoke the worlds into existence is a caveman of sorts and not a gentleman.
I love the sea. I grew up in a tiny island just eight miles long by five miles wide. To travel to the other islands or to the mainland involved boats of different sizes from small inter-island vessels to the much larger ferries that took four hours to reach the UK. As a child I remember seeing the occasional shipwreck, but I do not recall ever considering what it must be like to have to have to abandon ship in a storm.
In 1979 I encountered a frightening situation while serving as second officer of the m.v. Geestland. We were sailing through a severe Atlantic storm when a search and rescue aircraft alerted us to the needs of two French yachtsmen who had sent out an SOS. It took us about six hours to find the stricken yacht. All we had was a rough position given by the aircraft, which had returned to land before pointing us in the general direction. It was nearly midnight when we finally spotted the yacht. It was pitch black, the wind was horrendous and the waves and swell were high and chaotic. Lookouts were instructed to maintain a good eye on the yacht, which continually disappeared and then reappeared. It took some time, but just before the yacht sank we finally managed to haul two exhausted Frenchmen onto the relative safety of our deck.
Do bad things happen in threes? They did to us one summer. And finally we had to respond in faith.
I was working at a Florida defense company, where layoffs had been going on for several years as a result of government budget cutbacks.
We had insurance on our home mortgatge against those layoffs. But then the insurance company dropped all its policies in the state! A new, replacement policy would be available, but not for three months.
A few weeks later my wife’s doctor told her she’d developed spinal arthritis. She had two choices: move to a drier climate or face life in a wheelchair.
Ten days after that – and six weeks before the new insurance was available – the layoffs that had already claimed three-fourths of our plant’s work force caught up with me.
I was perusing my facebook news feed a couple weeks ago and came across a blog post someone had shared. It was a list of the Devil’s beatitudes… or what they would probably be if the Devil had any…
I hope you enjoy the humor in it, but also realize the seriousness of it.
1. Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians — they are my best workers!
2. Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked — I can use them.
3. Blessed are the touchy who stop going to church — they are my missionaries.
I really don’t have anything to say as an introduction to this post other than it touched my heart in such a way that I’m not likely to ever forget it. May this be a reminder to Christians – both Pastors and fellow-servants in the faith – that the sheep need looking after, need feeding, need loving. May we be like Jesus and venture out after them to gently lead them back to safety.
I had already failed my first test in becoming a gentleman farmer. Three years and roughly 200 chickens produced eggs for my family at a rate of roughly $1… each. A few years had passed though since my experiment in folly, and I was ready to try again. I purchased three recently weaned lambs, set up portable fencing on my land and became a shepherd.
Things went rather smoothly, until they didn’t. Two weeks into the experiment I looked out into my field and saw a third of the fencing was down. I raced outside to find two of the lambs safe and content, still eating grass. The third also had not run off. No, she had managed to turn the downed fence into a straight jacket. She had gotten herself hopelessly entangled, was on her side and kicking about wildly, tangling herself all the more. I remember grabbing one of the rubber “posts” and pushing the pointed metal end into the lamb’s side, trying to pin her down so I could begin to untangle her. She just kicked all the more. I was sweating, frustrated, and a smidge frightened, and screamed to this little one, my voice echoing across the valley, “Be still. I’m trying to help you.” That’s when I learned what it means to be a shepherd.