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Friday, July 24, 2009

Much Better Than High Tech

Do you remember when a blackberry was a black berry? You ate it; you didn’t “play” with it. And you didn’t have to use your thumbs. Now we have i-Pods, i-Tunes, i-Photos, i-Chats, IDVDs, and a host of other high-tech gadgets that make our heads swim. If you know your way around computers and other techie toys, you are either an adult with a uniquely wired brain or a teenager or preteen. Most of us wonder how the world got so high tech and what quantum leaps lie ahead.

Even the purchase of a new telephone can lead some of us to the edge of a nervous breakdown. How do you set the date, day, and time? How do you adjust the ringer’s volume? Voice mail, call forwarding, call waiting, and setting up a frequently-called numbers directory can produce night sweats and nightmares. You can plop the receiver down almost anywhere in the house. It doesn’t have to remain on the base station. But some of us tend to forget where we place an object, so who wants to turn a house upside down and inside out in search of a phone?

Think back to “the good old days.”

A manual typewriter hardly ever broke down. Occasionally, typists had to clean the keys and roller and install a new ribbon, but they never had to rely on Geeks on Call to rescue them at $100 per hour.

If you wanted to make a phone call in the old days, you simply dialed the number. Either the person you called answered or didn’t. If no one answered, you called again later. You could call a doctor’s office and talk to a live person. That made scheduling an appointment or getting test results a lot easier than what you endure today. “Please listen to all options before making a selection. If this is a life-threatening emergency, please hang up and call 911. If you are calling from a physician’s office or a pharmacy, dial one now. To refill a prescription, contact your pharmacy, and your pharmacist will call us. For a new prescription, dial two now. To leave a message for a nurse or to inquire about test results, press three now. To schedule an appointment, press four now. For billing, press five.”

It seems high tech has gummed up most communication lines. A customer can’t even contact his telephone company without having to negotiate his way through a series of menu options that lead to a long hold followed by a response by someone who is struggling with the English language.

Fortunately, we don’t have to go high tech to reach God. Prayer gets us straight through to heaven from anywhere at any time. We never hear, “If this is a life-threatening emergency, hang up and call Michael the Archangel or Gabriel.”

God promised, “Call to me and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3). Now that may not be a high tech system, but it is user friendly, voice activated, and reliable. Prayer never crashes, never experiences a power outage, and never puts us on hold.

© Jim Dyet

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Show and Tell

Wanting to teach her students about religious diversity, a third-grade teacher asked them to bring something to class that represented their particular religion. The following day a Jewish boy displayed a Star of David. A Catholic girl presented her rosary. A Muslim boy showed his a prayer rug. A protestant girl displayed a casserole dish.

What can believers, regardless of denominational affiliation, display that represents genuine Christianity? How about the qualities listed in Galatians 5:22 and 23 as “the fruit of the Spirit”? They are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Have a “fruitful” day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Small-Town Christianity

Goodland, Kansas, is a well-groomed small community of about 4,000 residents. I drove there yesterday morning, preached at Goodland Bible Church, and returned home after the morning service. I logged 353 miles roundtrip. The congregation was friendly and receptive, and two families invited me to their homes for dinner. I declined their invitations, though. Because I am still not feeling up to par, I wanted to get home as soon as possible.

I wonder how many small towns in America are home to at least one Bible-believing church. Nearly every town? Perhaps every town? Certainly little churches in little towns all across America play important roles in people’s lives. They introduce people to Christ and help them grow spiritually. They comfort those who hurt and provide hope for those who despair. Their influence helps to keep America strong.

We hear so much about mega churches, but praise for small congregations in small towns is rare. Today’s blog is dedicated to those often-overlooked little flocks.