Monday Morning Musings for 08.21.17

  1. At some point, we will all face the reality of a loved one near death, perhaps even suffering to some degree as they approach the end of this life. If we are in the bed, or it's our loved one, how will we make the necessary choices that surely come? If there is pain, do we end that life on purpose? What if they are mentally or physically handicapped? Does the life of a person who has lost their memory no longer have worth or value? The individualism of our culture now demands that each person, or their guardians, be allowed to chose how and when life ends. This, of course, is the result of no longer believing in a Creator God, one Who infuses this life with purpose and meaning beyond ourselves. In the absence of such, the meaning of life is determined only by its "quality", and so we now have groups of people behind closed doors deciding who is worthy of being cared for - or not. As the number of retired people explodes in the next 30 years, the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide will become all the more prevalent. 130,000 were euthanized last year in the UK alone. God declares an emphatic NO to this logic. Genesis 9:5–6 again reveals that we are made in His image and thus possess inherent worth and value. Not only that, but we are to protect the lives of our fellow human beings. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12 that those we think are weak – or who have "less honor" – are actually those with "special honor" - for by loving and serving them, we learn about the model and manner of Jesus. We are not merely "individuals" as the culture would have us believe, but we are part of a larger community – the Kingdom of God – through which God is working out HIs plan to redeem the world. Even when we are faced with hard or inexplicable situations, we still value the life that is before us and trusts the Sovereignty of God as He works out HIs good and perfect will, one which is not always known to us. 
  2. With the events in Charlottesville last week and continued marches and protests, I am grateful for the invitation from Bishop Allen Wiggins to preach this Sunday at The Hope Church. I'll be speaking from Jeremiah 29 as together we look at how we are called to live in such times – times of cultural division and hatred – times when the dominant culture no longer believes or trusts in God.
  3. THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: A couple blew up their SUV when they loaded their BBQ grill into the back. It was turned on and the propane tank was open and connected. The wife then lit a cigarette.
  4. With all the craziness in our world right now, I find myself inspired by people who simply won't give into obstacles or barriers – like Matt Stutzman. He is the USA Archery Outdoor National Champion - and he has no arms. No, I am not making that up.
  5. LOOK AROUND AND PAY ATTENTION: I am making a conscious effort to stop walking around staring at my phone. When I get on an elevator now, I don't look at my phone. (Notice how quickly everyone else will do that.). Why? We are oblivious to the needs of others around us. Consider Mehari Bekrezion who died alone last week behind the wheel of his taxi but was not discovered for 18 hours. He was in Soho – in Manhattan – at 12:30 p.m. It was the lunch hour, and as he slumped in his taxi, no one thought to check on him. Everyone just kept rushing by, lost in their own individual lives. Like #1, we are not just individuals. We are part of a greater story that is being written by the living God, but if we don't pay attention, we miss the story – and the lives – all around us.
  6. PAY ATTENTION, PART TWO: On September 17, FPCO will host Shane and Shane in concert at 7 pm. Even if you have never heard of this duo, they are two of the most effective worship leaders in the country today. No doubt, you will be enriched and encouraged! Tickets at fpco.org/concert
  7. Leigh and I moved Kaylee into her new place in Nashville last week as she starts her nursing career at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Leigh and I needed her car one day, so I took her to work at 6:15 a.m. I was flooded by the memories of taking her to school for so many years – early dark mornings, stops for coffee, the long day ahead. For a second it felt like she was ten again, but then my adult child got out of the car and walked into her new life.
  8. Don't miss the connection between White Nationalist marches, a terror attack in Barcelona, police officers being killed, and Iceland eliminating 99.7 percent of children with Down's Syndrome… by aborting all the babies who have it. If we don't believe in a Creator, a loving Life Giver, then we will never honor and respect the lives of others. Our culture will never see the image of God in another, but only what they disagree with or oppose – and taken to an extreme, they will attempt to eliminate those lives. The same lie is at the heart of racism, terrorism, abortion, and euthanasia.
  9. ECLIPSE TIME IS HERE!!! Yes, in just a few short hours, you will be treated to a rare event – in some cities, a total eclipse of the sun!! Honestly, I don't get the hype. Yes, I plan to watch it. Yes, it will be cool. Yes, it would be better if I had stayed in Nashville, one of those "total eclipse" cities. Yes, I have NASA-approved glasses, but people are acting like aliens are about to land. I don't plan to be in the fray.