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Friday, October 19, 2007

Home Cooking, Scottish Style

Mom, Dad, and I were born in Scotland. My two brothers were born in Canada. Mom and Dad maintained many old country ways and spoke with a Scottish brogue. My brothers and I learned the meaning of our parents’ Scottish words, and we learned to eat some Scottish food that didn’t quite measure up to levitical dietary standards. We filled up on “black puddin’” without ever calling it what it was—blood sausage. Tripe, the lining of a cow’s stomach, was frequently another meal du jour. We also ate such delicacies as tongue and “pottied heed”—head cheese—and lots of thick porridge.
Occasionally, I would push my plate away, but Dad would intone, “You get that knocked into you or I’ll break baith your legs.” So I knocked into me whatever was on the plate.
I don’t recall ever eating at a restaurant. We always ate at home. But that home cooking, Scottish style, must have had something go for it. My older brother and I enjoy good health in our seventies, and my younger brother enjoys good health too.
So blaw the pipes as a tribute to Scottish cooking!
No, I don’t want to order a plate of “black puddin’” today, but there is something to be said for being content with whatever we can afford to eat. Most of us in the Western World eat too much and seldom give thanks for the bounty God has given. Hunger ravages countries not far from ours, where kids rummage through dumps in search of scraps of food.
Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving earlier this month, and a month from now Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with family and friends to share an enormous meal complete with turkey and two or three kinds of pie. Some Americans will call the occasion “Turkey Day,” but the day was instituted as Thanksgiving Day. That’s what it should always be—a day to give thanks to our loving heavenly Father for what He has given to us.
His greatest gift, of course, is the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). Let’s offer special thanks for Him this coming Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rockies Advance to the World Series

Twenty-two games ago the Rockies’ season looked bleak, but what a difference 21 wins make. The Rockies won 21 of their last 22 games to advance to the World Series. Their success shows what teamwork and perseverance can accomplish. It also shows how willing fans are to support a winning team. The cost of tickets to a World Series game ranges from $65 to the thousands of dollars. (I won’t be attending.)
What might happen in the life of a discouraged congregation if the members refused to accept defeat and, instead, anticipated spiritual success? What might happen if teamwork replaced a selfish numero uno attitude? What might happen if members supported their church financially to the point of contributing beyond ten percent? Surely, God would honor such actions by showing a community what He can do through even a few believers whose priorities, motives, and commitment please Him.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fans or Fanatics?

The Rockies won again last night. It was their twentieth win in twenty-one games. Fantastic!
That word “fantastic” brings to mind two similar words, “fans” and “fanatics.” The first is usually applied to sports devotees, the second to Christians. Perhaps the application fits as well as a left shoe fits a right foot and a right shoe fits a left foot. After viewing the Rockies game last night from the comfort of home, I believe those who attended the game are fanatics. Christians are not fanatics.
The Rockies’ faithful sat in cold rain for almost four hours, having paid premium prices for the “privilege.” The temperature dipped into the 30s. When was the last time Christians sat in cold rain for about four hours free of charge to worship and/or listen to Bible teachers? Never?
One June day I sat outside the Billy Sunday Tabernacle at Winona Lake, Indiana, and listened to a Bible teacher expound Scripture. When dark clouds poured rain on the audience, most people ran for cover. Because the outdoor service was being broadcast, the speaker had to dig in and keep expounding. I stayed, but hardly anyone else did.
So chuck the word “fanatics” from your vocabulary when you refer to Christians. While you’re at it, discard the word “fans” too. Who wants to be known as one of Jesus’ fans? I prefer the term, “faithful follower.” It marks the believer as someone who is loyal to Jesus and committed to the lifelong pursuit of walking in His steps.
Let’s relegate the word “fans” to the world of sports and the word “fanatics” to the world of loonies. Faithful followers of Jesus do not live by their emotions, nor do they simply put Jesus in a celebrity role. He is Lord and Master.

“’Come, follow me,’” Jesus said” (Matthew 4:19.