Thursday, June 30, 2016


Over 200 years ago, our forefathers fought to break the bonds of tyranny imposed by a distant government only concerned with their own selfish gain.  The strength of those men, many whom gave their lives for us, provides us with the right to live in a country where we have the freedom to live, work and worship as we please.  Over 2000 years ago, my heavenly father sent his son to break the bonds of sin that would otherwise consume me.   His sacrifice gives me the freedom to live.   
Jesus said: If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’? Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.   So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”   John 8: 31-36

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tell The Story

Being a crippled follower of Jesus frequently leaves me in the uncomfortable condition of letting Him down.  No place is that more prevalent than in my failing to follow the command of telling everybody about Him in hopes that they will follow Him, too.  I sometimes try to let myself off by saying, “If I can just act like a Christian (without talking about it), maybe other people will want to do that too.”  While acting like a Christian is certainly important, it is not enough.  I know that, but I rarely do anything about it.  I came across this article by Nicole Cliffe.  Nicole was an atheist until she came to know Jesus.  She writes beautifully (here) about how that happened, and I hope that somebody reading it might make their own discovery.  Maybe they will write about it one day, too.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

No Good Words

I watched with horror this week as the story of the killings in Orlando unfolded.  I watched the responses of people on the news and in social media to the victims and would characterize almost all of what I saw as deep sorrow and immense love.  I also watched what people were saying about the shooter and saw a much broader range of responses.  I saw people trying to make the event about politics, religion and sexuality.  After watching everyone else, I felt compelled to write about what I thought, and I found no good words.  The whole thing is so senseless to me, and my nature is to try to make sense of things.  The two words I kept coming back to for the killer were evil and sickness, and I am not sure that those two words are completely different.  In general, I think of evil as a choice and sickness as uncontrollable.  To me, evil does not exist by itself, but is merely the absence of goodness.  Did the shooter have a mental illness that could have been treated that made him evil or was he pure evil?  I guess we may never know.   And none of this helps the fact that 49 people have been brutally taken from their family and friends.  I am not currently aware of any personal connections that I have to the victims, but my heart breaks for those that do.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bread and Wine II

I have written about Ben Smith in past posts.  Ben went to high school with my son, Michael, and started a band called Unhindered.  He is now the worship pastor at Bethel Atlanta and has just released his second album singing with his wife, Kelly, under the name Bread and Wine.  The album is appropriately named “Two”.  Caroline and I had the pleasure of hearing them live at Serenbe, where they lead worship gatherings regularly.  Here is one of their songs from “Two” performed recently at Serenbe.   The lyrics are powerful, “Let your love come in like a rushing wind.  Saturate my heart and soul again.”   Take a few minutes to turn everything else off, sit still and be led into His presence.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Shameless Exploitation II

In doing research for this week’s SpotOnTheLake note, I found this book by Paul Newman entitled “Shameless Exploitation – In Pursuit of the Common Good”.   I have not read the book yet, but I would like to.  The story is about how Paul Newman’s failed attempt to open a restaurant near his  home turned into a salad dressing enterprise that has raised over $150 million dollars for Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.  Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, named for the outlaw band in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, was founded by Newman and serves children with serious diseases.  Newman talks about how he broke every business rule when starting Newman’s Own salad dressings, and turned it into a multi-million dollar business.  It just goes to show how having a cause can fuel tremendous success.  Of course, the book is just another opportunity for shameless exploitation.  Kudos to Paul.