Monday Morning Musings for 02.27.17

  1. A young couple sat in my office a few months ago. They asked, "If you were at our stage in life, would you bring a child into this world?" They were looking at what the future held, and it didn't seem to be very hopeful. That's one of life's big questions: "What does the future hold?" Unfortunately, the cultural narrative can't answer it, but the Biblical story can, and it's a story that begins at the most significant moment in human history: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus rose from the dead, then we are IMMORTAL. We never die. Not only that, but His resurrection points us to our future when we will live in our glorified bodies on a restored earth that also becomes the dwelling place of God. (Rev 21) THAT is the future, and like a child anticipating Christmas day, our knowledge of what is to come impacts how we live today. We become the instruments and agents of the life God has promised. We live each day as a foretaste of the life that is to come. When people bump into us, they don't get the entire meal, but a taste, of that marvelous gift, called hope. There IS a future, and it's glorious! And on those days when life is hard, our understanding of the future becomes the strength we need to endure. As Victor Frankl said after his time in a WWII prison camp, "He who has a why to live can bear almost any how." The Bible, the story of Jesus, gives us the why, so we can bear up under the challenges of this life. As the great hymn states, "Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow."
  2. The reality of #1 has huge implications for our current view of physical life and the physical world. When Jesus rose, His body was glorified. It still had scars on it, but he could walk through walls. He could appear and disappear, but he could also eat. Can I explain that? Of course not. It's a mystery, but it's an incredibly hopeful mystery. Jesus' resurrection tells us that our physical bodies matter. They are not to be abused as if soon to be discarded but honored as the temple of the living God. Further, the physical world God made for us to inhabit is the very one that will become the "new earth." Thus, we tend it and care for it as faithful stewards. It's not a disposable planet. It's the one God made; the one God treasures. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world…" "World" is the greek word cosmos. God loves ALL that He has made; thus, the earth will one day be restored and healed to its original wondrous order. Imagine the most glorious place you have ever seen on earth – and then try to imagine it in the fullness of time – better, richer, fuller. All those places you want to see before you die? Don't worry. If you don't get there, you'll still see them – only better.
  3. THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: The 2017 Michelin Guide released its rankings a few weeks ago with its coveted "stars." It awarded several to a restaurant called La Bouche a Oreille. The problem is they got the wrong Bouche a Oreille by about 100 miles. It was intended for the one in Paris, not the one in a small city in central France that only serves lunch, has 20 tables, and can only employ a part-time cook.
  4. Montreat College has embarked on a new cyber security curriculum in partnership with a number of U.S. Intelligence Agencies. Those agencies are suddenly very committed to making it work – and why? Think about it. When planning for the future of cyber security in this country, what is the most important ingredient – the technology or the people who run it? Answer: the people. If you can't trust the people, the tech won't matter. Montreat is one of the few remaining colleges in the country that teaches faith, morality and character development along WITH the necessary technology.
  5. SWEET PHONE CALL: A woman in our church had suddenly lost her father, so I looked up her number, called, and left a voice message. I noticed later that day that she had returned my call, but did not leave a message. I called again. This time, I heard the sweetest voice of a little girl on the other end. She obviously saw my number, and before I said a word, she said, "Mister, I am so sorry about the woman whose Daddy died, but I'm just a nine-year-old girl and this is my phone. I called you back because I thought you should know, ok?"
  6. THE OSCARS: I must confess, given the constant self-congratulatory, pompous nature of Hollywood, I chuckled at the enormous gaff. Seems you might want to get that Best Picture deal right. Hated La La Land, so I was glad it did not win. Otherwise, I loved Casey Affleck's win – I saw Manchester by the Sea last week, and he was tremendous. I also grew weary of Jimmy Kimmel's constant political commentary – it was funny at first, but then it was like, "Enough already."
  7. The news is now filled each day with protesters at town hall meetings yelling at Senators and Representatives as they return home from recess. I don't understand the phenomenon. Whatever happened to meaningful civil discourse? How is shouting down the person elected to office going to help the matter? Such behavior actually prevents the very thing that needs to happen!
  8. New studies show that fitness watches like Fitbit, AppleWatch, and others are not actually helpful in weight loss. Just knowing the information is not enough. I had a Fitbit and used it for about a year. I liked competing with myself, but after a while, it was just information – and it stopped being worth the hassle.
  9. INTERESTING FACT: it costs SUNRAIL more to service and operate their ticket machines than the ticket revenue they generate. Put another way: if SUNRAIL stopped selling tickets, it would have more money.