Monday Morning Musings for 08.01.16

  1. As we wrestle with that gnawing feeling that our world is somehow about to destroy itself from the inside out, we find ourselves searching – yearning – for that place of peace and rest - that elusive place called home. The Psalmist in Psalm 84 is on just such a journey, far from the Lord, but trying to find his way back. He reveals the good news that our heart's true home is found in the "dwelling place" of God, literally where He lives. And the path to where He lives is the one marked by sacrifice, the atoning work of Christ which reconciles us to our Father for whom our hearts "faint" with longing. Our Father is our home, and when we linger there we find we move through the "valley of tears" with strength and joy, nourished in the springs and pools of His living water. May we drink deeply from those waters in the days and weeks to come.
  2. The killing of French priest Jacques Hamel was one that hit me hard. He was 85 years old, serving the Church for more than 50 years. Rather than retire, he said he had "vowed obedience and would serve God until the end." Such commitment inspires me to continue what Peterson calls "a long obedience in the same direction." How precious are our religious freedoms in this country – and how tenderly God must have received Father Hamel into His arms.
  3. DOWNTOWN ORLANDO PEOPLE: There is a great new coffee/gathering/meeting space in downtown called Downtown Credo. It started in College Park and Ben Hoyer has just opened another in the iconic Exchange Building. It is coffee with purpose and mission. You pay what you can (there are suggested prices), but it's more than that. It's the belief that creating community lifts our lives and renews culture. Next time you need to meet someone for coffee, give it a try!
  4. Over the past few months, I have observed more angry back and forth between people on Facebook than ever before. It is usually around our current election process, but there's a lot of "I'll unfriend you if" or "I'm sick and tired of people who do this...." Facebook is a tricky medium. I use it because Pastors are part anthropologist. We observe and study people, so Facebook is a marvelous way of observing what is happening in the human heart. I also use it to try to influence the lives of others in positive ways. Yes, people are going to write inflammatory, dumb things. They will try to intentionally antagonize, but see it for what it is: basic human behavior. We knew that before Facebook ever launched! Don't give anyone the power to make you angry. See the medium for what it is and use it in ways that lift and encourage. 
  5. On that note, do me a favor. If you're a praying person, please throw a few in the direction of my friend and fellow HP '81 grad, John C Ellisor He is the toughest Texas Aggie alive as he again wages a fight with cancer.
  6. What? Sesame Street fired Bob, Gordon and Luis?? Bob was 84. He had been on the show since 1969! Children the world over will now struggle. Who will tell them how to get to Sesame Street?
  7. 7. I have always loved the Tolkien books about rings and hobbits, which is why I was thrilled to learn of a new fossil discovery in Indonesia. University of Wollongong (Australia) researchers, let by Dr. Gert van den Bergh, found bones between 60,000 and 100,000 years old of an unknown species related to humans… who were three feet tall. The scientists informally call them "hobbits" and have discovered their ancestors arrived in that part of the world 700,000 years ago.
  8. Sometimes in our zeal for change, we don't see the unintended consequences of the decisions we are making. Because of that, I have watched closely what has happened in Colorado and Washington after they legalized recreational use of marijuana. Toxic poisoning cases in children have risen 150%, largely because stoned parents were not paying attention to secondhand smoke or where the tainted brownies had been left.
  9. I have never been to Saigon, but from what I have seen on television, the weather in Orlando these days seems to quite similar.