The amazing International Space Station

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A couple of sermons ago, I talked about the International Space Station as an illustration. I forgot to include this thought-provoking quote that impacted me:
 
“Few of us give a thought to the International Space Station, even though, when the future measures our collective contribution to humanity, the ISS will prove the single best thing we did. Less than a century after the Model T was state of the art, we manufactured a kind of galleon in space and have sent men and women from 10 countries to live in it, along with a host of short-term visitors, without recess or mutiny or fatality, for nearly 20 years.” -Chris Jones, Wired Magazine.

Do not skip Sunday night service for the Super Bowl! :-)

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The evangelical church has gone through several phases since the Super Bowl started taking place right in the middle of the traditional Sunday night service.

Phase 1 (1980s): You are a bad Christian if you even think about skipping Sunday night service to watch the Super Bowl.

Phase 2 (early 1990s): We will all watch the Super Bowl at the church. This will include a potluck, youth fundraiser, and technical difficulties.

Phase 3 (late 1990s): Watch the Super Bowl with a group from the church, but you have to turn it off and do a devotional at half time.

Phase 4a (late 2000s): Watch the Super Bowl at home, but don’t enjoy it too much. Don’t get used to skipping church!

Phase 4b (late 2000s): The weekly Sunday night service is eliminated. (See the correlation to Phase 4a)

Phase 5 (early 2010s). Make the Sunday morning worship service to the Almighty God revolve around a Super Bowl theme. 🙂Worship team, buy your favorite NFL jersey to wear on stage.

Phase 6 (late 2010s): Skip church all day, because it’s Super Bowl Sunday.

 

* Disclaimer: I had fun writing this post. It was not meant for pastoral direction or cultural critique.

The Road to Character

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In the book The Road to Character, David Brooks writes about, “a serene inner character, a quiet but solid sense of right and wrong—not only to do good, but to be good.”

David Brooks is a New York Time columnist, and a commentator on “PBS NewsHour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”  From a secular perspective, he promotes a return to character development as a necessary human value. Pastor Dan Scott has referred to this writing as “perhaps the book of the decade.”

Written from a secular perspective, we need Brook’s clarion call to work on our character instead just accepting our weaknesses.  Towards the end of the book, Brooks who is Jewish, briefly shares about his faith in Jesus Christ in a disarming, but authentic manner. An important book for our current challenges in cultural leadership.

It is evil, not just mental illness

So much chatter on the morning news shows in response to the mass shooting in south Florida. Not much was worth hearing, but I heard one commentator state with moral clarity, “we have to admit that we have polluted a whole generation.”
If you want to do your part in preventing mass shootings in the future, then contribute positively to the moral fabric of our culture. Do not entertain yourself with violent content. Do not make heroes out of the bad guys, as so much of our entertainment glorifies the villain. Do not participate in bullying (adults do this in sophisticated ways).
Clean up your language. Demonstrate civility. Operate with integrity. Commit to your marriage and family. Contribute to the success of a church, civic club, or community orientated organization.
This is not about “mental illness.” Some of the finest people I have ever known have struggled with mental illness. The systematic execution of people is a result of unrestrained evil.
We are a selfish people. I suppose the ultimate manifestation of selfishness is mass murder for personal pleasure. So, as much as we can, let us push against the pull of selfishness. If we do not live selfishly, we can demonstrate to our young people a better way.

My hope from the Presidential Election

I would like to post something uplifting, hopeful or original about the presidential election, but I have little to contribute in those areas. We are not a better people because of this election. We have not been inspired, lifted or given a vision. We are more divided, confused and uninformed.
But, we will survive. America is still exceptional.
Our founding fathers created a brilliant system of checks and balances that limit the power of the presidency. Neither candidate can accomplish much of what they claim. Representative government across the 50 states is designed to limit the influence of one person. Its time for us to de-emphasize the role of the executive branch, and we should expect Congress to assert greater authority in forming our national direction.
This is my hope from this presidential election.

Responding to the Conventions

Prayers for Philadelphia
Here is some good news no matter your political persuasion. After months of expecting and preparing for the worse, there was no significant act of violence or civil unrest in Cleveland. Let’s pray the same for Philadelphia in the coming week. Let’s remember, that despite our various national challenges, we are so blessed to be Americans!

I’m Trying to See the Better Side
We are most Christlike when we look for the good in people instead of only their faults. I’m trying to do this more these days. While I do not want to blindly believe propaganda, discovering and believing positive things about public figures with whom I disagree is good for the life of God in me. Public figures are influencers of our culture, so the more God works in their hearts, the better we all are. So, we should wish them all God’s best. Because of Jesus and His work in my life, I hope I will choose civility and kindness more and more.