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Archive for the ‘annoying’ Category

 

“Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

There is a good chance you won’t like this pastor’s-note (p-note) very much, it sticks a finger into your flab. Most of us are much more familiar with abundant flab than with tight buttocks or abs. We know we should, we know we could, and we know we’d be better off if we would, but we don’t, and we won’t and the result is flab, weakness, illness, ungodliness.

Flab does not surrender easily, it is relentless, it keeps coming back. So you have to work to get rid of it and you have to work to keep it away. To win against flab you got embrace ugly words: discipline, exercise, daily, good habits, commitment, pushing yourself, denying yourself. That’s why we look for alternatives, the two minute exercise routine that will offset even the biggest burger and fries, the exercise machine that will overcome gallons of soda, the pill that will make you skinny, fix the diabetes, and gets rid of wrinkles, the electronic gadget that will give you muscles while sitting in your easy chair. Collectively we spend millions trying to bypass the ugly words, we keep listening to the lies of the flab while getting flabbier still.

Our guts, chins, thighs, and butts are not the only things that can get flabby. We can be mentally flabby, spiritually flabby. Dare we, in just one pastor’s note, to stick a finger in that flab too? Let’s. Same aversion to dirty words: discipline, exercise, good habits, commitment, pushing yourself, denying yourself. Same search for a magical and quick fix. Same result, more, abiding, limiting, useless, ungodly flab.

I hate to say it, but a p-note a week will not make you spiritually strong. P-notes make for great for great flab-pokers, but if you want to get rid of the flab at some point you have to embrace discipline, daily exercise, good spiritual habits, lifelong commitment, pushing yourself, denying yourself. The amount of flab or lack thereof is in direct proportion to how much you embrace the words flab considers dirty, useless, obsolete, and threatening.

Both fit body and a sharp mind are enabling, the same is true about godliness. In fact God makes it clear that the most important thing to exercise, to keep from being flabby is godliness. You can get your body-fat down to 2 % and be a mean self-centered person. You can be sharp as a tack mentally and be proud and arrogant. You can be fit and sharp and be utterly godless. But if we train ourselves in godliness we will deal will gluttony, we won’t stay ignorant, and we will deal with hubris. Godliness benefits the entire person but never to selfish ends.

Before I remove my finger from the flab, let me ask you, “How flabby are you? How flabby is your body? How flabby is your mind? And above all how flabby are you when it comes to godliness, to Christlikeness? And when will that change?”

To God be all glory, Pastor Hans

P.S. I am aware this p-note could easily be understood in our culture which is obsessed with youth and certain kind of ideal body image. The question is not who we are in comparison to others and certain cultural norms, but rather who we are in comparison to who God has made us and for what God has enabled us, namely to be men and women who worship him and Jesus Christ and who whose character and behavior is godly trough and through.

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Gophers and ground squirrels committing acts of subterranean terror, wood peckers in senseless destruction drilling holes into my house or by my office, ants trying to take over our home like Russia annexing Crimea, and termites like the NSA in cloaked secrecy chewing away on what is precious to me – my animosity, my loathing, my outcry over these is no secret.

These critters are relentless, the damages attributable to them are significant, and their consciences don’t seem to be all that bothered. I wonder if there is a rodent hell, a wood pecker purgatory, an eternal lake of fire for termites and ants? If not, there should be. This kind of destruction, havoc, senselessness, disrespect, and lack of caring should not go unaccounted for. There should be some kind of justice, shouldn’t there?

But what is our excuse? We are the creature with the most advanced brain, we are capable of figuring things out peacefully, we are able to empathize more deeply than any living thing. It is possible for us to make good choices that go beyond basic instinct, beyond emotion, beyond rage, beyond hatred, beyond what is just good for us. And yet no creature God has made is more  destructive than us, than mankind. We are politically destructive, ecologically destructive, economically destructive, emotionally destructive, personally destructive, and even spiritually destructive. Yet somehow we are prone to cry foul at the very notion that God would hold us accountable, that he would judge us for our evil, our failure to do good, are unwillingness to live for the highest ends of loving God and loving our neighbor.

Another observance of Easter, the recognition and celebration of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, conquering sin and death and rising from the dead, is approaching. I wish there was a gospel for gophers and the like. However, there is a Gospel for you and for me, for people. Unlike me, who has trouble eliminating a few gophers and ants, God could have exterminated us all, and no one could have faulted him because our collective and personal history indicts us. He could have responded with pure and justified hatred towards all of mankind. Somehow he didn’t and instead of withdrawing personally and emotionally He drew closer, and engaged himself deeper. He chose to love, to offer hope, to provide atonement and forgiveness, to conquer what we cannot – our sin and the reality of death.

I have no desire to become a gopher, to dwell among ground squirrels, to be part of a termite colony. As you well know, I have no love for any of them. But God in Christ chose to dwell among us, that’s incredible. On the one hand it brings incredible hope to our moral, existential, and spiritual dilemma; on the other hand it robs us of our last excuse of having no other option than to be who we are.

Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.”
Romans 5:7-10 (NLT)

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

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I don’t remember much from chemistry class. The only thing I really liked was when the teacher made things ignite, blow up, or created havoc with acids. I knew it was going to be a good class when he started to put on his protective gear. It is astounding what can happen when you mix the wrong chemicals – Kabooom.

My oldest brother got into chemistry with one of his buddies. One day he summoned us to the kitchen in the downstairs apartment to give us a demonstration. He had concocted flash powder, the stuff they first used for flash photography. He had a little pile on a board on the counter and small can full sitting about a foot to the side. He lit off the small pile with marvelous results and earned some serious applause. Pleased he poured a second pile double the size of the first one onto the board. It went off in spectacular fashion almost blinding us, and it ignited the can, which spewed a flame upwards like rocket engine on a test stand and burned a serious hole into the ceiling. We thought it was glorious as we stood back up in the smoked filled room, but we also knew it spelled serious trouble. And yes, my Dad didn’t not see any humor in it at all. (My oldest brother never did become a chemist.)

Chemistry is also important in love, romance, and marriage. There are some things that don’t mix, that are volatile, that will burn you, are not safe. Just like it is unwise to light a match around gasoline fumes so it is unwise to ignore certain things when it comes romance and marriage. You and I have to know what will not mix. A good marriage, a happy romance, a healthy relationship does not mix  well with:

  • Any addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs, gambling, porn, sex, video games, or whatever. Proverbs 23:29-35
  • Obsessions and worry. Matthew 6:25-34
  • Violence of any kind. Proverbs 3:31
  • A temper. Proverbs 22:24-25
  • Gossip. Proverbs 20:19
  • Lying, deception, not being truthful. Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Infidelity. Proverbs 6:24, 22:14
  • Foolishness. Proverbs 13:20
  • The love of money, greed. Luke 12:15, 1 Timothy 6:9-10
  • Hurtful words. Proverbs 16:27, 18:8
  • Evil. Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Laziness. Proverbs 18:9,19:15
  • Pride and arrogance. Proverbs 8:13, 11:2, 16:18
  • Bitterness. Ephesians 4:31, Hebrews 12:15
  • Jealousy. Proverbs 27:4
  • Being a control freak. 1 John 4:18
  • Self-centeredness. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
  • Bad company. 1 Corinthians 15:33
  • Lack of character and integrity. Proverbs 10:9, 20:7
  • Not taking responsibility, always blaming others. Genesis 3:8-13
  • Stubbornness. Zechariah 7:11
  • Rudeness. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Negativity. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Self-pity. 1 Corinthians 10:10, Exodus 17:3
  • No sense of humor, the inability to laugh at yourself. Proverbs 17:22

Do you realize all of the above and more are addressed in the Word of God, the Bible? If you are looking for great relationship chemistry maybe it is time to pay attention to what it warns us against and advises us to engage in and look for. The items in the list above are all volatile; they will blow up, burn you, hurt you, and be a source of heartache and pain. Don’t let the feeling of love blind you to them if you are still in the choosing stage. Work hard at none of them being true about yourself, you will choose better if these are important to you to avoid.

Maybe you are saying, “I wish I would have thought about these before I tied the knot.” It certainly is not too late for you to address these personally, make sure that what you bring to your marriage is neither explosive nor destructive. If needed seek help now.

To God be all glory, love you Pastor Hans

P.S. If you are in an unsafe relationship please get out and seek safety.

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Bushtits

Have you ever heard of a Bushtit? It is a tiny brown and gray bird with a cute little face. They weave a sock-like nest out of spider webs, moss, flower pedals, pollen pods, and who knows what else. A pair of them decided to build a nest right near our front door by a wind chime and the Jasmine that’s growing there. I guess they wanted to have a dinner bell they could ring. If you don’t look closely you will miss the nest altogether, it blends in that well.

Living among an amazing variety of birds is one of the joys of living in Don Pedro. The other morning I was sitting on our back deck with a hot cup of tea and in the short time I sat there I counted over twenty different kinds of birds, ranging from a Red-shouldered hawk and Turkey vultures to an Anna’s hummingbird showing of its colors in the morning sun.

As cute as Bushtits are, they are also annoying. They seem to have a fetish for pecking at our windows, especially in the wee hours of morning. It was sort of amazing and cute the first couple of times, but now it just plain annoying, so much so I want to tie their little beaks into knots.

Isn’t it astounding how cute can turn into annoying so quickly? Think of babies. At first food throwing, saying “No!”,and even doing a poo-poo is worthy of being recorded on video, but before you know it is just plain annoying, frustrating, a bad habit. Think of lovers. How often do cute little quirks turn out to be nothing but annoying bad habits? Think of beauty accompanied by snobbishness, intelligence and arrogance, talent/giftedness and laziness, words and unkindness or lies, love and self-centeredness, wealth/riches and stinginess, power and injustice/abuse, abundance and waste, having a heart and not caring, able but not helping. I am sure you could add to the list, and maybe there are a few beaks you would like to tie into a knot.

Some find God, Jesus Christ annoying. Many think Christians are annoying. Few ever consider what annoys God. Generally God/Jesus Christ annoys when there is a clash of values, when the reality of God and Christ is inconvenient to how we want to live, when we dislike the truth and ways of God. Christ clashed (and still clashes) so much so He was ridiculed, despised, rejected, and crucified.

Christians seem to invent ever new ways of being annoying. Too often not because of who Jesus is or the veracity of the Scriptures (the Bible) but rather by not being what the Spirit of God enables us to be (Galatians 5:22-23).

But what annoys God? There are things He hates (Proverbs 6:16-19, 8:13). Can you imagine bringing mankind into existence and being able to say it is all very good only to watch it pervert itself? How would you feel if you created a people with the capacity to worship only to watch them worship anything but the true and living God? Can you imagine creating men and women in you very image, to be and do good, to love, to be godly, to be holy and then watch them write the kind history we have written? This why we read in God’s Word, For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, …” Romans 1:18 (HCSB).

My hope and prayer is that you and I will be as beautiful a people as God has means for us to be, that we will not be living contradictions but rather living examples of what it means to belong to and follow Jesus Christ.

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

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