Archive for March, 2007

Instincts

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Since one of my hobbies/passions/obsessions is fishing and hunting I tend to take note of weather, birds flying, animal behavior, tracks, road kill and other kinds of quirky everyday events that no one else seems to think about.

So, the other night I stepped outside to pet the dog, who is my personal duck and goose retriever, and I hear the distinctive "barks and squawks" of a flight of snow geese. At this time hunting season is over and Spring is in full swing so the geese are headed back north. I feebly squinted into the night sky hope to catch the silhouette of a "V" winging by, but the goose sounds were all that let me know they were up there.

One of the connections that sportsmen feel to their sport is a sense of awe and mystery. As I listened for a few minutes the geese drifted on by and it struck me, "how do they know it's time to go north?" Biologists will tell you it is in their DNA based on years of evolution, another factor is the length of sunlight during the day and the moon phase plus the weather, oh, and the forage conditions and on and on.

Another is that of instincts. It is hard for me, a scientific layman, to see the connection between instincts and evolution. Of the principles that I know, survival of the fittest generally deals with physiological changes. The instinct seems much different, deeper. So when I think of fish, birds and animals in general instinct is a mysterious, powerful trait…that God thought up and created.

That night I stood there briefly wondering about my own sense of "timing" and the little bit I play in God's story and I thought, my instincts tell me there is a God. And He is good, loving and personal.

The seven deadly sins

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Weeks ago maybe months ago I started to blog about the list of seven deadly sins. Now, Verizon comes out with a TV commercial naming them. They stole my thunder. I'm enVious.

Why don't we talk about this list of sins? I hear sermons, read articles and study lessons covering some of our culture's pet sins, alcoholism, pornography or terrorism. Several pod-casts I've listened to lately mentioned these same topics, too. That got me thinking about the "seven deadly sins." I guess that's a little weird.

I did a little research and found the list of the "deadly" sins and it seems pretty clear that if one could focus on staying away from this magnificent 7, we could pretty much limit the effect of some of our pet sins. Just look at the list: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. When was the last time you heard a sermon on one of these. Oh, that's right no one likes a sermon on sin.

Working to identify and battle these sins would definitely move us in the right direction towards holiness and slow the cultural decay around us. Maybe we've gone too long ignoring these "deadly" sins because they are too personal, even I don't like hearing a sermon on laziness. Maybe what we've tried to do is divert attention and conviction so that the focus is on someone else's sin and their consequences. I realize there is no difference between sins because sin is sin. It all is the same in God's eyes.

Or what if we focused on holiness and made Christlikeness our goal. As these 7 sins were identified in history there were 7 opposite, character forming traits: purity, self-control, generosity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility…sounds like a list in Galatians 5. In student ministry I was often asked, "how far is too far?" Instead of focusing on how close we can get to sin, what about Jesus? How close can we get to Him?

May we be careful with our lives and take sin as seriously as God does and move ever closer to Jesus. 

1 every 25 seconds

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

I read a report the other day that Google receives 1 job application to work for the company every 25 seconds! The report went on to tell why. It's the benefits: free shuttle service, free meals, childcare, pets at work, time off, etc…

In fact yesterday, I saw another story on TV about Google and their employees and these benefits. The employees with their pets were mentioning things like how much they liked looking at his "best" friend during the day and another quipped about bad days being easier with their pet around.

Make the comparison to Christianity and benefits. I know the Church has often institutionalized religion around the world, but I'm not thinking just about the Church (although I believe without a doubt church is a real benefit). The benefits of eternal life with God, a present relationship with God, true freedom from guilt and shame, forgiveness and grace, true fellowship within a church, knowing your life's purpose, satisfaction and fulfillment in God's plans and a myriad of other benefits should outweigh the benefits of a 9 to 5 job, right? Then, why don't we experience the "growth," potential and realized, like a company providing "temporary, earthly" benefits? The finger is pointing at me, I know. There is a lot "advertised" by our lives and I can't help but wonder, "would anyone want to be a part of this "work" if they watched me?"  Or, "Do I really enjoy the benefits?"

1 every 25 seconds, heaven would be a more crowded place if changes were to happen.