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Saturday, April 19, 2008

How's Your Grammar?

You may not claim English grammar as your greatest academic strength. You may feel more comfortable with math, history, or science. We all have our individual strengths and preferences, but shouldn’t television anchors, meteorologists, reporters, and newspaper editors demonstrate proficiency in English grammar?

I cringe when I hear or read grammatical errors. Here are a few:

“The snow is piling up where I’m at.”

“Searchers found the hiker’s body laying at the foot of the cliff.”

“Each boy on the team must pay for their own uniform.”

“Rain is in the forecast for each and every day this week.”

“Your children can obtain a kid’s meal for free.”

“The police have not apprehended the robber as of yet.”

"Growing beautiful flowers is so fun."

The corrected sentences follow:

“The snow is piling up where I am.”

“Searchers found the hiker’s body lying at the foot of the cliff.”

“Each boy on the team must pay for his own uniform.”

“Rain is in the forecast for every day this week.”

“Your children can obtain a kid’s meal free.”

“The police have not apprehended the robber yet.”

"Growing beautiful flowers is so much fun."

I hope sloppiness doesn’t spread to theology.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

True Greatness

Jesus’ disciples may have given up more than we have to follow Jesus, but occasionally they manifested a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude. After hearing Jesus predict His crucifixion, James and John demanded, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask” (Mark 10:35).

Talk about poor timing and a completely inappropriate request! What brazen selfishness! They elaborated, “Let one of us sit at your right, and the other at your left in your glory” (v. 37).

Clearly, their focus was on personal prestige in the kingdom, whereas Jesus’ focus was on selfless suffering on the cross. They coveted earthly crowns, whereas Jesus anticipated a crown of thorns. They wanted to be served, whereas Jesus had come “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 45).

Eventually, the disciples learned to serve and to suffer on behalf of others and to be Christlike instead of self-centered, but the learning came slowly and painfully. James died at the hands of Herod. An executioner severed James’s head from his body. John felt the sting of persecution. The Roman emperor banished him to Patmos. However, before dying, each man had poured his life into ministry on behalf of their fellow believers.

It is much easier to talk about leading a Christlike life than it is to live in a Christlike way. Christlike living involves selflessness, suffering, and service. It seldom involves fame and fortune. If fame and fortune occur, the Christlike person gives all the credit to the Lord and uses fortune as a means to advance the gospel.

I often think behind-the scenes humble servants of Christ will receive greater recognition in heaven than some famous Christians I could name. After all, didn’t Jesus teach us to expect this phenomenon? He said, “Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (Mark 10:44).

So who is truly great? Here’s a partial list:

• the Christian parent who strives selflessly to mold his or her children into devout followers of Christ;
• the Christian who gives sacrificially with pure motives to support the ministry of the pastor and missionaries;
• the Christian who gladly devotes time and love to teaching and working in Sunday school, or VBS or some other Christian education program;
• the Christian who visits or entertains to strengthen the fellowship of the local church.
• the Christian who gives his or her talent and time freely for the benefit of fellow believers;
• the Christian who shares the gospel with the lost in obedience to the Great Commission;
• the Christian who works in the Nursery because she loves the Lord, babies and infants;
• the Christian who donates time and skills to keep the church’s property and books in good condition; and
• the Christian who encourages the pastor and others to abound in the work of the Lord.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Inflated Egos Are Hard to Swallow

Our newspaper carried an article this morning about three athletes who received awards. One recipient said, “We deserved the awards.” So much for humility!

Jesus taught His disciples to say, “We are unworthy servants, we have only done our duty” (Luke 17:10).

The apostle Paul looked forward to a reward for faithful service (2 Timothy 4:8), but he maintained a humble attitude. He identified himself in Ephesians 3:8 as “less than the least of all God’s people.”

Perhaps we need to restore humility to its rightful place as a virtue. It has been said, “If you want to see how important you are, stick your finger in water, remove it, and see how big an impression you made.”

Pass the humble pie!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

God's Word and His World

A representative of the Gideons International spoke in church this morning. His remarks left no doubt that when Gideons place God’s Word in the hands of students, hotel guests, and inmates, it changes lives. I’m glad our congregation gave generously this morning to help the Gideons spread the Scriptures around the world.

A potluck and monthly business meeting followed the morning service. The food was good, and those who attended the business meeting demonstrated an eagerness to share God’s love with others. Our church’s motto, “The church with a heart in the heart of Penrose,” challenges us to live what we teach and preach. I know our congregation will meet the challenge.

Upon returning home at 3 p.m., I took our three dogs for a walk under a beautiful blue sky. Neighbors were out in full force, mowing their lawns or watering them, or jogging, or pushing strollers. Spring has sprung!

Walking is good for the soul (and the sole too). Snow-capped Pike’s Peak loomed large against the clear blue sky. As I strolled down a pedestrian path, I passed a bush that was playing host to several bluebirds. It seems all nature paraded its wonder and beauty today as a testimonial to God’s creative power and providence.

If you can get out of the house or workplace this week, look around you, and gives thanks to the One who made all things.

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11).