Monthly Archives: January, 2017

Be alert, Tim! You have enemies!

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The pictures above were taken in Bardia National Park located in western Nepal.  The area made the news in late December of last year when a herd of elephants that live in the park attacked a small nearby village, killing one person and injuring two.  The story peaked my interest (I love geography) and quick glance at Google images helped me to see that Bardia is teeming with wildlife, some quite dangerous.

The second photo illustrates what can happen when a deer allows herself to become too comfortable with her surroundings.  The shot above shows three other deer very much on the alert.

The concept of alertness is on my mind.  I need to be alert.  There is an enemy seeking my defeat from within (my flesh, the sin which remains)and from without (the evil one and his minions). One particular verse caught my attention several years ago.  1 Corinthians 16:14-15 reads,

13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

Eugene Peterson renders these verses as follows:

13-14 Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.

When I served in the Army, I was trained on how to perform guard duty.  I vividly remember guarding a building (with an empty M-16).  Thinking a drill instructor might try to sneak up on me, you know I kept my eyes open!  I wasn’t just on guard duty.  I was on my guard! Like the deer in the top picture above, I was ready for anything!  If that was how seriously I took that responsibility when I wasn’t in any real danger, how much more seriously should I be now that I find myself in the crosshairs?!

A good word for me today!  I hope you were encouraged as well!

A hope, a prayer, for my sons

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“What makes a man a man? A friend of mine once asked. It’s the choices he makes. Not how he starts things, but how he finishes them.”

That’s the last line from the movie Hellboy.  Lest you become too concerned, please know that I did not actually watch the movie.  I happened to turn on a particular channel the other day as the movie was concluding. As a father of two boys, you can see why the quote grabbed my attention.

Decision-making.  Faithfulness.

I would love for my sons to become men who are known for making wise decisions and for finishing what they start.  I suppose that is the hope of every father.

This afternoon I hit the Dayton (TN) walk track for lunch.  As I often do, I pray as I exercise.  One of the things I prayed for today were my children.  I prayed for their salvation and for their maturation.  I prayed for me as their Dad.  I prayed for their Mom. I also prayed that I would finish well at my particular callings (Christian, Husband, Father, Friend, Worker).  I very much do not want to fizzle out as more and more of my hairs turn grey.  That concept has been on my mind as I will be mentioning the latter years of both David and Solomon tomorrow night when I teach a class on the Old Testament.  Both kings started well, but did not finish strong. David (Solomon, too) proved to be a poor
father (a bit hard to excel at fatherhood when you have over 20 children).  Solomon worshiped idols. Without a doubt, they did not finish
well. May that never be said of me.  May it never be said of my sons.  May we do the right things–even when they are hard.

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May God help us to these noble ends!

My rationale for getting out of bed this morning

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I recently watched an interview of Neil deGrasse Tyson by Larry King (see link below).

I personally find Dr. Tyson to be delightful and interesting.  His personality is winsome.  His answers to Larry’s questions were fascinating, but I particularly took interest at what took place at the end of the interview.  King brought of the concept of fearing non-existence (both men are atheists).  Tyson replied:

“It is the knowledge that I am going to die that creates the focus that I bring to being alive. The urgency of accomplishment, the need to express love now, not later. If we live forever, why ever even get out of bed in the morning? Because you always have tomorrow. That’s not the kind of life I want to lead.”

After Larry King asked him if he feared “not being around,” Tyson answered:

“I fear living a life where I could have accomplished something and didn’t. That’s what I fear.  I don’t fear death.”

Don’t you appreciate his vulnerability?!  I sure do!  I also find his comments insightful. As a Christian, however, my perspective on both living and dying is in conflict with that described by Dr. Tyson.  The facts that I will indeed live forever and that I will face God upon my death serve as important impetuses for my accomplishments as well as my expression of love to those around me.

My mission statement is short, but has profound implications for my present.

Glorify God
Bless People
Prepare for Eternity

Tomorrow is important.  The future awaits.  But that unrealized and certain hope does not negate my calling today.  Why did I get out of bed this morning?  Because I have a mission to complete over the next twenty-four hours!  The primary purpose for my existence is to glorify God.  To a point, that happens without any effort on my part.  Yet, it is also something I consciously do (and I wish I did more consistently).  Jesus told me to let my light so shine before men that they might see my good works and glorify my Father who is in heaven (Mt. 5:16). He was also very specific (as were the authors of the entire New Testament) that I seek to bless others (Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:14). Whatever the context in which I find myself, I am to prove to be a good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  Finally, I need to live each day with the knowledge that I will “be around” forever.  What I do today matters.  And that makes this day as important as tomorrow.

 

Ancient Wisdom for Modern Business

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I recently completed reading a small book entitled The Management Methods of Jesus (Bob Briner, Nelson Business, 1996).  The subtitle appears above.  In several places, the book stretched the application of Jesus’ actions and example a bit too far, but I particularly appreciated the following lines:

“Inadequate preparation produces inadequate results” (p.3).

“Whether you’re laying the foundation for a career, launching a product, or making a presentation, there is no substitute for preparation” (p.4).

“A lack of absolutes can lead to all kinds of corporate problems, from petty thievery to major crime. It leads to shoddy products and shoddy practices in the marketplace. ‘I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong’ is a common defense of everything from manipulating stock to adding extra nicotine to already lethal cigarettes to building cars with dangerous fuel tanks. As a company and as a manager, teach the right way, insist on the right way, be an example of the right way to do business. Follow Jesus’ example” (p.18).

“Don’t fall into the trap of arrogance. Not only is it unseemly, it is bad business. One way to combat it is to keep a picture in your mind of Jesus Christ, God’s perfect son, kneeling before ordinary men, his own disciples, and washing their feet. With this picture in mind, it is pretty hard to be arrogant” (p.36).

“To succeed, use the Jesus model. Take good care of your employees and your customers. When Jesus said in Matthew 23:11, ‘He who is greatest among you shall be your servant,’ He made a statement by which any business can live and thrive” (p.58).

“Both through His actions and His teachings, Jesus demonstrated that He expected His followers to be fruitful and productive. He was equivocating on this” (p.83)