Halloween – The Curse of Uncertainty – Part II

After having written over the weekend about how much I enjoy the certainty that comes with fundamental Christianity; I run into one of those issues in which I find no certainty, Halloween.

It seems when I was a kid, Halloween was not that big a deal. We threw together some costumes, raided our neighbors’ houses and made off with an unreasonable amount of candy. The next day a queasy stomach and some discussion about which of our neighbors were generous good guys and which were cheap bums, pretty much summed up the event.

Now it seems like such a big deal. My neighbors decorate their yards. Stores begin hawking their ghoulish wares as long before Halloween as they put up Santas before Christmas. And that may be the heart of my discontent. I want Christmas, even in its impure form as celebrated these days, to be clearly THE holiday. I don’t like the challenge being put up by Halloween. To me it seems an obvious good guy/bad guy dichotomy. It’s God versus Satan. In that race I have a clear favorite.

I know that for many, maybe even most,  Halloween is just good clean fun. I admit having fun last night watching Kaydence show off her Flapper costume and her LSU cheerleader costume. Okay I would have preferred a Gator cheerleader, but at least she wasn’t dressed up as a demon, serial killer or politician. But I can’t seem to shake this sense of unease at the popularity of a holiday that tries to put darkness and evil in a positive light. Should Christians celebrate Halloween?   This article sums up the dispute.

I guess if I am forced to answer I would say “no.” But tonight I will turn off the lights so the neighbor kids don’t know I’m home or take my wife out to dinner. It’s become a Sigur tradition to hide from trick-or-treaters and wait for Christmas decorations to replace the ghosts and goblins. But Kaydence sure did look cute in her outfits.

I just hate uncertainty.

Trick or Treat or Don’t. In any case,

Be blessed.

Nick

The Curse of Uncertainty

NOTE: This posting was drafted on Saturday but due to technical difficulties (operator error) it was not posted until now)


I come to you this morning from Coffee Call in Baton Rouge. I have just polished off an order of beignets and I’m working on my cafe au lait with real sugar. It’s comfort food for I am suffering the curse of uncertainty. I didn’t leave the sleep center where I spent the night with the expected diagnosis of sleep apnea, curing breathing apparatus in hand, happy snore free wife in future. Instead, I am told maybe I have sleep apnea and maybe I don’t  Further analysis and possibly another night in the center is in my  future, in short, uncertainty.

I don’t like uncertainty. Certainty is the reason I am a “fundamentalist”  Christian. I am certain Jesus died for me. I am certain I will live with Him forever.  I am certain He is the only way. The certainty that gives me comfort makes the world miserable. Certainty is politically incorrect. Relative truth is in. The Bible as truth is out. My god is as good as your god, that’s in. The one true God, that’s out.

I’m  certain I’m no longer in the In Crowd. I’m certain that’s the way I like it.

Be certain and be blessed.

Nick.

Culture Wars

 11-12Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. 1 Peter 2:11-12 The Message

There is one area of life in which spiritual warfare language already prevails. The  Culture War assumes that  political conflict is based on sets of conflicting cultural values. The two sides are sometimes defined differently: left/right, conservative/liberal, christian/world. This “war” heats up in 4 year cycles. As the Presidential election approaches, the differences between the opposing sides come into focus. Language, and sometimes actions, becomes more strident. The combatants do little to convert “enemies” to their side and, in each election, the “independents” decide the winner. 

It is disturbing how “into it” Christians become. We tend to get caught up in the rhetoric and we often become offensive and, sometimes, nasty.  We lose perspective. Although this struggle is important, we need to keep it in perspective. 

Consider this:

Our salvation is not in politics. Both sides are led by “politicians” whose principal interest is self. On both sides, the leadership is equally flawed and generally unworthy of adulation. 

The war is already won. We don’t read the book enough and tend to forget that, in the end, Jesus wins.

Jesus was not a Republican. He wasn’t a Democrat either. He didn’t teach self-reliance. In fact, He taught we can do nothing on our own and even our best actions are as filthy rags. Scripture teaches that those who don’t work, don’t eat; but it also teaches loving care for orphans and widows. The gospel is about life-changing faith, but is also about living such a loving life that others are attracted.

We need to remember Peter’s words. This world is not our home. Our actions speak louder than our words. We fight abortion best by loving those who face it and caring for it’s victims. We grow the church by living right and not talking loud. 

The war is already won. The goal is not to trample the defeated but to lead them to victory.

Recognize that the real enemy is spiritual and

Be blessed.

Nick

The Air I Breathe

Lots of things can go into making an ordinary day great. I was blessed with several of those things yesterday. My day began with my Wednesday morning prayer and share. This time has become one of the highlights of my week. Every Wednesday morning I meet with some men from my church at McDonald’s in Youngsville. We discuss the Our Daily Bread devotional of the day, what’s going on in our lives and pray for each other. I highly recommend that you find a way to become part of a prayer and share group that meets each week.
Another aspect of a good day is one combining time with the Lord and productive time. I had both yesterday. I was able to accomplish some long put off legal work, listen to lots of worshipful music and produce some video. On the last point, my Pastor reminded me that Jonathan Reaux, our worship leader and youth pastor at Amana had produced some great worship soundtracks. I had a copy of the CD, but frankly hadn’t paid much attention to it. I was blown away. It’s great. 
Check out this worship piece. The Air I Breathe. I hope it blesses you as it did me.
Another key to a good day is great family time. I got to have a dinner out with my wife. The meal wasn’t great, but the company was. Love you Rose.
Finally, any great day ends with a good night’s sleep. If you suffer from insomnia, as I do, you come to appreciate that. I had a great night’s sleep. Thank you Lord.
A great day. It’s as simple as The Air I Breathe. I pray you have a great one today.
Be blessed.
Nick

Getting to know you

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.   But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?   You observe days and months and seasons and years!   I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.   (Galatians 4:8-11)

I spent much of the day yesterday seeking photos of other members of the Kairos 53 team and posting them to the internet. Much of our team “training” is getting to know each other better and I have a terrible time with names. My intent was to provide a photo album with the photos labelled with the name of the team member.

It turned out to be a fun exercise. If you have someone’s email address, you can learn a lot about them on line. Not everything you learn is completely flattering. It’s amazing what information people will put out for the world to see. I think we have a strong natural desire to know others and to be known. My son and grandson both were born with no filter when it comes to strangers. They will talk to anyone. It’s a wonderful trait; but I have to admit that at times it makes me uncomfortable. I think, “that’s a stranger.” “You don’t know who you’re talking to.”

That’s really true. Somehow in our growing up we develop a fear of the unknown and lose that “know and be known” quality. Then how are we to share the gospel? Jesus’ simple plan was to share Himself with twelve and that they would share one-on-one and so forth. In these days of modern technology, internet, texting and  all that, we have become to reliant on impersonal  methods of communication. The Great Commission is based on knowing and being known. The fear of strangers is a tool of Satan in spiritual warfare. To know God and to known by Him is the reason we were created.  That’s what relationship is all about. That knowledge spreads from those who know Him to those who don’t

Now get out there and talk to someone you don’t know. It will bless you and may save their soul.

Be blessed.

Nick

The Challenge of Just Standing

 10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we

Let’s think for a minute what it means to “Stand.”

To stand means we are responsible for a territory. That strikes deep at the heart. Most of us frankly avoid responsibility. If we have to have responsibility we like to “share” it. We don’t witness because that’s the preacher’s responsibility. We don’t teach our children about the Lord, isn’t that the Sunday School teacher’s job? Yet to be told we are to stand means that we are to stand somewhere. 

To stand means we stand at home. It is most difficult to stand among our family. We can stand at church; most of those people only see us a couple of hours a week. We can fake it for that long. But if I have to stand at home that means my wife, my kids, my grand and great grands have to see me stand 24/7.  That’s a full time job. Yes, it is.

To stand means we trust. To “just stand” means while we are responsible for our territory, we aren’t the power behind what happens. We are “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” It’s easy to slip while we are standing Our trust begins to slip from the Lord to something else. We may begin to trust in ourselves. That’s always a mistake. As the political season begins we may begin to believe the answer is in Washington. How’s that working out for you? We may begin to trust in something beside God as our source: our employer, our bank, our government. Stand means to trust in only Him.

To stand means to stand now. Standing isn’t something we did once and that’s it. It doesn’t mean standing some day soon. It means standing now and forever. 

Don’t just sit there.

Stand and be blessed.

Nick

Procrastination – Yet Again

Yesterday I took my grandson home after church and we tackled my store and lock. I had a pick up truck bed full of items to go in the unit and I knew there wasn’t enough room. I had been putting off (procrastinating) removing some items and delivering them to the rightful owner. It’s a long story that doesn’t deserve telling here. Nicky and I tackled the problem, removed the offending items, called the owner, and delivered the items. Bad news is that I then had room for the new stuff that should have probably been thrown away, but is now safely in storage. The entire evolution took a couple of hours at the most. I had put it off for over a year. I have ignored the fact that even having a store and lock is an act of procrastination. It is a sign we are putting off throwing away things that we really don’t need. We just stick them in storage. Later, maybe much later, we’ll get around to throwing them away. It’s kind of like left-overs. At our house we have the procedure of putting left overs in the fridge, growing a little mold and then, when there is no room left, throwing them out. 

I don’t know why I do that. It’s so much easier to tackle a problem head on, when it first rears it’s ugly head. Not only is the job done, but you spare yourself the hours of painful worry about getting it done. About the only person I know that doesn’t seem to do this is my daughter. Probably growing up with me instilled in her a determination not to repeat my errors. Probably not the best child raising technique; but what works…works.

In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of low-priority, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time. Not only do we do unimportant daily life things before things we need to do. But the sad thing is that the material things in our lives at least stare us in the face and force us to at least think about doing what needs to be done. The spiritual stuff is so much easier to ignore. Consider all the things we know we should be doing, but we have put off starting. Beginning a morning devotional, starting a family prayer time, witnessing to somebody…anybody, inviting someone to church, maybe going back to church, encouraging our pastor, encouraging our children’s workers… It’s an endless list. It’s a list of opportunities we haven’t faced. I know I can’t be the only one.

Let’s do this today. Let’s pick one spiritual thing we have been promising ourselves and Our Lord we would do and…. wait for it…. actually do it. 

Do something good for yourself and

Be blessed.

Nick

Dissension

35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Like destruction is the result of warfare in the nature, dissension is the result of warfare in the spiritual realm. Dissension is defined as disagreement among those expected to cooperate. Since Christ gave us a mission, we are expected to cooperate to accomplish that mission. Dissension makes mission impossible to accomplish.

But more Christ promised something greater than simply agreement among His people. He made possible a love so dramatic that it causes ordinary men to desire to participate. So when Satan can stir dissension among the people of God, he wins at least  twice. He destroys the witness of the church while robbing the members of the church of the ability to work together to accomplish its mission. 

But dissension gives Satan victory in another sense. Not only does it destroy witness, and mission, but it steals blessing. Agape love is a selfless love that is only possible when gifted from God. It is a blessing in itself. Anyone who has experienced the glow of selfless love wants never to lose it. There is likely no greater experience than to love the way Jesus loves. Satan hates that. By fueling dissension Satan cripples mission, destroys witness and robs blessing.

He lures us into dissension principally by fueling lashes of anger and encouraging whispers of gossip. There is a reason why it seems more difficult to maintain family peace on route to church than it is while driving to a movie. It should be no surprise when we find ourselves in violent disagreement over matters of no eternal significance with those we love. Gossip is just as easily engaged. How quickly we can move from “sharing” about our lives to gossiping about others.

Spiritual warfare only rarely involves binding and casting demons in possession of persons. However, on a daily basis we need discernment to escape the traps of the tongue which ignite and inflame dissension. It is in these small frequent skirmishes that we are most likely to encounter the Evil One. 

Be alert, pray for a spirit guided tongue and be blessed.

Nick