Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Happy Fish

Riley is getting an aquarium for his birthday. We told him a few days early so he could help set up the tank. We washed the gravel, placed all the ornaments, filled the tank with water, and attached the heater and the filter. He had a ball helping do all this. We even made a run to PetsMart to get a few extras. We're waiting a couple of days to buy the fish because the water would kill the fish if we put them in today. But the experts tell us that if we let the filter run for a couple of days then the water will be OK and the fish will live. We definitely want the fish to live! Wouldn't that be a sorry birthday present?

Now Riley is at my mother's for a couple of days. He'll be back Thursday for his birthday party and when we get home afterwards...fish in the fish tank! We're all pretty excited about this. We've never (ever) had fish before!

Riley was looking into the lighted aquarium admiring the stuff. He said, "My fish are gonna be really happy!" The tank is perfect.

I got to thinking: Am I providing surroundings that will make my family really happy? Am I encouraging an atmosphere that will make my co-workers really happy? Am I promoting fellowship that will make my church really happy?

I'm not talking about "happiness" as an emotional euphoria. I'm talking about an inner sense of joy, excitement, and contentment that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Happy are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
Happy are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.
Happy are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.
Happy are the pure in heart for they will see God.
Happy are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.
Happy are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Ten Things I Will Do In 2006

  1. Read the Bible from Genesis through Revelation
  2. Communicate more effectively with Deana
  3. Encourage Jim to use his talents for the Lord
  4. Help Caleb establish funding for college
  5. Teach Riley to ride his bicycle without training wheels
  6. Lead my church into revival
  7. Nurture my training staff
  8. Share my faith every day
  9. Memorize 260 verses of scripture (5 per week)
  10. Preach a first-person narrative sermon in full costume

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What Kids Will Say

My 4-year old calls on the cell phone while on the way home from school. He does this on most days. He learned the habit from his mother. Seems neither of them can go 20 minutes without talking on the phone!

So his question is this: "Does Jesus eat?"

I said, "Sure!"

The follow-up question: "What does Jesus eat?"

I said, "Well, the Bible says he ate fish."

"Ew. I think he eats bacon!"

Bacon is the favorite food of this child. But I don't think Jesus ate bacon. Like other good little Jewish boys living 2000 years ago, pork was not on the menu!

But when Jesus came to earth through the virgin womb of Mary, he came to draw people to himself...into a Christian relationship. We call it Christianity. What Jesus came to do was not Jewish at all. He lived in a Jewish environment with Jewish parents in Jewish places eating a Jewish diet. He kept the Jewish law and read the Jewish scriptures.

But Jesus is the portal into something brand new! We aren't saved by faith in the law but by grace through faith in Christ. We have a New Testament to go with the Old Testament. God became "Father" and even "Daddy" (Abba) to all who will believe through Christ.

And we now have fish and bacon! I'm thinkin' there might be BLTs at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

I think Riley got it right.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Remote Control

My, I'm lazy. You can gauge a man's laziness by counting the number of remote controls sitting on the table next to his chair. I have three. One operates the stereo components, the VCR, and TV; one operates the DirecTV receiver with TIVO; and one operates the DVD player. I've just never been able to find one remote that really is "universal."

This may speak more to my lack of funds (or my good stewardship of the funds I do have) than to the existence of a remote that does everything.

I was doing a little online window shopping last night for remote controls. The universal remote wore out. That says a lot, too! How many times can one push a button on the remote before the button stops functioning? That's a question for the wise old owl. A-one, A-two, A-three...

A remote's not much good if it doesn't work. About all there is to do with it is throw it at the TV and hope you hit the channel select button. Or give it to your young son who doesn't really know what one is supposed to do! We did that a few years ago but he's too smart for that trick now.

I'm thinking I might just leave it sitting on the table next to my chair. I already have three...that's pretty lazy. Having four would make people think I'm a super couch potato. I have a few more remotes in drawers around the house. I'll have a remote for everything. Forget the universal remote; they never work everything anyway. And I'll get one of those saddlebag-looking things that fit on the arm of the chair. Or western holsters...swap the six-shooters for remote controls. "Fastest Clicker in the West." I'll be famous!

Speaking of "clicker," I remember the first remote control I ever saw. My grandfather, Dado, would use it to change between Lawrence Welk, HeeHaw, and John Chandler's weather. And it really clicked. Loud. He didn't let the kids use it. Even when remotes first hit the market, it was obvious they were only to be operated by men. So us grandkids were mesmerized. Especially the boys. We knew we would inherit the "clicker" someday - and the right to use it.

So I was window shopping online and found a universal remote for $260. It connects through your computer to a website that has a setup wizard. For $260, the wizard ought to come in the box! Just stuff him right in there.

I just can't see spending $260 for a remote control to operate audio/video equipment that didn't cost that much. I hate to admit it, but I don't think one piece in the entertainment center cost that much. Not only am I lazy, I'm cheap. Wouldn't that be like hiring a NASCAR driver to drive a Pinto? Wouldn't that be like shooting rats with a 12-gauge duck gun? Wouldn't that be like eating a filet on a paper plate?

How about I just get a $19.99 remote and spend the other $240.01 on something else? Or start a fund for the next 20 remotes I need to buy? Wouldn't twenty-one $19.99 remotes last longer than one $260 remote?

So what does this thing do? How lazy does a man have to be to need one of these? Or how technologically challenged does he have to be to need one that will do all this? Why not just plug the TV into the Clapper? Clap On, Clap Off.

I imagine that a $260 remote control must do a lot of things. It converts your 21" TV into a 108" plasma wall. It replaces your CD collection with live musicians. You won't need your DVDs anymore because the remote transports you to the premier of every movie you want to see. It does not, however, operate a VCR or cassette player. Such primitive technology is beneath it.

Oh, and it vacuums the house and takes out the trash. If you can remember where you left it.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I just received a call from my 4-year-old's K4 teacher. Seems I have a very talkative boy. The trail of discipline is that the teacher first corrects him, then writes his name on the board, then puts him in time out for 5 minutes, then puts him in time out for 15 minutes, then calls his daddy. Yikes!

So, I have to determine the proper discipline to enact upon him to bring about the desired result of being quiet and paying attention to the teacher when appropriate.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." That's Proverbs 1:7.

The fear of the Lord is an awesome respect for God that leads to an great understanding of who he is. Knowing God is the beginning of all knowledge. How can one know anything about the universe until they know the creator of it? How can one truly know the workings of the human body until they know its designer? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.

As knowledge fills our minds we begin to implement some of it; hopefully, we implement a lot of it. Wisdom is the implementation of our knowledge. You can have abundant knowledge but still be a fool if you fail to implement your knowledge. Knowledge, by itself, is not much; there's not much useful in simply knowing. The advantage is in the implementation!

Now, to the point of this post. Discipline is the steady, increasing implementation of knowledge. I'm not too smart when it comes to health; my knowledge is lacking. I know I should lose weight but I am not wise about it. You can tell because I don't implement what little knowledge I have. There have been times when I have implemented this knowlege and lost a significant amount of weight. But I've yet to show discipline by consistently applying this knowledge and keeping the weight off.

It takes discipline to lose weight. It takes discipline to learn a second language. It takes discipline to be a follower of Christ ("If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.")

And it takes discipline to not talk while the teacher is talking.