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Showing posts from February, 2013

Follow Your Heart

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There was a section of Ecclesiastes for which I haven't written a blog post yet. That's because I used it as the basis for my sermon this past Sunday. I think it's definitely worth checking out.

Here's the Scripture:
Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
However many years anyone may live,
let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
for there will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.
You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you into judgment.
So then, banish anxiety from your heart
and cast off the troubles of your body,
for youth and vigor are meaningless.
 (Ecclesiastes 11:7-10) And here's the sermon video:

Remember

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If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be? Think about it. How many times have you caught yourself saying, "If I had only known then what I know now"?

Seriously. What would your lying-on-your-deathbed self have to say to your just-graduating-college self? Would you tell yourself to spend more time at work? Would you tell yourself to blow off your friends and family in order to score that high-paying job? Get a bigger house? Drive a nicer car? Kiss a few more butts along the way?

Would you tell yourself to spend more time watching TV or playing video games?

Would you tell yourself not to spend so much time doing church stuff?

-OR- Would you tell yourself to make the most of every opportunity to spend time with God and those you love?

I found an interesting article expressing the top 5 regrets of those who are dying as recorded by a nurse in the UK. You can read the full article here, but here are the top 5 regrets:

I wish I'd had t…

On Soggy Bread and Risk Taking

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I'm not that big of a risk taker.

Sure I like adventure just as much as the next guy, but only when my safety can be pretty well guaranteed. This is especially true now that I have a wife, a kid, and another on the way. Suddenly taking risks becomes a lot harder because there's more to lose.

We live in a culture obsessed with safety and comfort. Have you ever noticed some of the ridiculous safety labels on your household appliances? Do I really need to be told not to iron my clothes while wearing them? There's a difference between taking risks and being stupid. A risk promises some chance of reward, some return on investment. Stupidity only promises ending up on failblog.org.
Ship your grain across the sea;
after many days you may receive a return.
Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight;
you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
(Ecclesiastes 11:1) Safety and comfort give us an illusion of control in a world full of uncertainty and chaos. Sometimes that can…

"No King! No King! La-la-la-la-la-la"

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Remember that classic scene from Disney's The Lion King? Scar is singing malevolently about killing his brother, Mufasa, and his nephew, Simba. He's got it all planned out to dethrone the current King and eliminate the successor to the throne. His half-witted posse of hyenas get so excited about the possibility of life without a king. They would prefer total anarchy. The next best thing, of course, is Scar reigning as king. So they go along with his plan.
In Ecclesiastes, the Teacher spends quite a bit of time reflecting on all the ways a government can go wrong. There are times when the people rebel against the current regime. There are other times when the officials are tyrants and oppressors. Sometimes the leaders are young hot shots. Sometimes they are old fools. It seems that there is no such thing as a perfect government.

And three thousand years later, we're still not there. Shocked? Anybody?

I'm reminded of the scene in The Patriot when Mel Gibson's charac…

"I'm Invincible!" "You're a Loony."

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One of my favorite scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail has to be the Black Knight. King Arthur is "riding" through the forest when he and his servant come across a night in black armor. He is guarding the only passage through the area. Arthur tries to carry on, but the Black Knight informs him, "None shall pass!"
One thing leads to another, swords are drawn, and a duel ensues. Arthur bests the Black Knight, severing limb after limb, the knight's body spouting out fake blood. The whole battle is ridiculous. But the Black Knight exclaims, "I'm invincible!" To which Arthur replies, "You're a loony," and continues to hack away at the Black Knight.

Okay, so the scene isn't as funny when it's typed out... If you've seen the movie before, you're probably chuckling. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you're probably ready to turn me in to a mental health facility.

But that scene reminds me of myself. …

The Art of Losing

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Everybody loves a good underdog story. 
Much of the time when I'm watching a football game in which I have no real interest in either team (Yes, guys do that), I'll root for the team considered the underdog. We love it when the little guy comes through. We love to see Rocky get up time and time again when fighting the behemoth Russian boxer. We love the three-point shot at the buzzer. We love it when the nerd gets the girl instead of the jock. And we love it when the Average Joe's beats Globo Gym.

But what about when we get beat by the underdog? Shock. Frustration. Anger. Disappointment. We do not love being the Goliath taken down by David.

In life we have an expectation of how things are supposed to work. The bigger, faster, stronger, more experienced team is supposed to win. The Russians we supposed to win gold at the 1980 Olympics, not the Americans. But what is it like to be the bigger, faster, stronger, harder working, more devoted team that gets creamed by the rag-ta…

Bring Out Your Dead!

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Ecclesiastes has a lot to say about death. The consensus? Death sucks.

And life sucks because death is coming for you.

You've probably heard the phrase, "Life sucks, and then you die." Well, Ecclesiastes would give you a much gloomier perspective. "Life sucks, and then you get cancer. You spend months in the hospital getting all sorts of nasty treatments with side effects worthy of making the list of 10 plagues. Suddenly, miraculously, the cancer goes into remission. You throw a party for the day that you are checked out of the hospital. But on the way home you get hit by a bus and die instantly."

That's the view of life and death we get in Ecclesiastes. If you need Prozac now, I know a guy...

Think about it. What hard evidence do we have about the afterlife? How do we know what happens when we die? Is this life all we get?

Apparently that's the kind of outlook the Teacher had when writing Ecclesiastes. He obviously had no established concept of heaven …

Wise Guy or a Wise Man?

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The English language never ceases to bewilder me. With all of our idioms and colloquialisms it's amazing that anyone can "talk good American" at all! I know this point has been made time and time again, but the importance of how we use language cannot be stressed enough.

Here's one example of how ridiculous we are with out use of language:
Bears and worms - nothing alike until you add the word "gummy"Man and guy - synonyms until you add the prefix "wise"I want to be considered a wise man, but I'm probably more like a wise guy. I'd rather give wise sayings, but more often I give wise cracks. I'd rather my wisdom be legitimate, not ironic.
In Ecclesiastes it seems that the Teacher is using "wisdom" ironically at times. In 7:23 he says, "All this I tested by wisdom and I said, 'I am determined to be wise' - but this was beyond me. Whatever exists is far off and most profound - who can discover it?"
Throughout th…