In all aspects of life

In all aspects of life

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Homosexuality, sin, and God's grace

By God's law I am a lot of things. A liar, an adulterer, a glutton, a thief, and I'm sure the list could go on. I've don't many things that make me worthy of eternal damnation. But, by no doing of my own, Christ came to earth as a child and lived the life I could not live, so that I would have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him. Now, by God's grace I am none of those things. I am a child of the most high God. The one and only God.

It seems that a lot of Christian theology has focused on homosexuality, and that if homosexuals are to be saved they must be heterosexuals. I would not take that position. That would be like saying a glutton can no longer eat or a liar no longer talk. It would be a very quiet world as we all starved to death. No, I think the only thing a homosexual ( or heterosexual for that matter) has to do to be saved is accept God's gift of grace and forgiveness. And they, just like me, will become a child of the most high God. Then they begin their walk with Christ. They(we) work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The Holy Spirit guides us, leads us, and comforts us. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and leads us to repentance. I do believe the Bible lays out that homosexual sex is a sin. As is any sex outside of marriage. Or lying. Stealing. Gluttony. Etc... The Holy Spirit leads us each in our lives, and that's why there are some differing beliefs within the evangelical Church, but the basics are agreed upon. Our sin. Our repentance. God's forgiveness. Just as I am no longer an adulterer, liar, glutton, or thief, a homosexual is no longer to be thought of as a homosexual, but as a child of God. Though they may identify with the LGBT community, that is not who they are. Much like a Christian attending AA meetings. If they have repented they are God's child. We all like to be around people we can relate to. I have nothing in common with bull riders who listen to country music. Except we are both alive and breathing. Our conversation would be pretty short. But a football fan? A runner? We could talk for hours. 

I feel like I am getting wordy and sidetracked. Everyone is able to be brought into the family of God. And when we are our behaviors and desires change. This is not to say a homosexual becomes a heterosexual. But I believe the Holy Spirit will be their strength to see them through the trying times of life, just as He does for all believers. 

God wants us to deliver his message of love, life, and hope. Not to send messages of hate. We are to follow Jesus' example. And I don't think Jesus ever shouted to people how much he hated them. He was maybe close with the religious leaders who were defiling the temple, but I would say that wasn't even a message of hate, but anger at belittling something holy. 

Let's share God's message of forgiveness. Especially this time of year when we celebrate the birth of our savior. It's a great time to be thankful and share that thankfulness with others.

Merry Christmas! Christ was born for you.

Monday, December 9, 2013


You remember when you were little and the only thing you wanted to do was watch cartoons, read a book, ride your bike, or whatever your favorite activity was? I was a teenager around the time the internet was getting popular, and one of my favorite things to do was login to Yahoo! games and play cribbage or pool. I could play those games for hours on end. Looking back, it was a great waste of time since it did not improve my skill at either game. If I wasn't doing that, I would play some other game, football, racing, etc...but I mostly spent my at home time playing games on the computer. Then, whenever I would get into trouble (which wasn't much) and I would get grounded. Ugh. That was the worst. "No computer for two weeks!" It was almost certainly a death sentence. How would all those other online cribbage players make it if I wasn't there to play with them? Oddly enough, at this point in my life I would love to be able to turn off all the electronic gadgets in my life for two weeks and take a break. 

Since I have grown up a bit in the past ten years, however marginally that may be, I have grown to have other interests besides playing games on the computer. (candy crush doesn't count, does it?) in the last two years I have really grown to enjoy running. I only started as a way to lose weight and get into the USAF. I ran pretty consistently for 5-6 months, shed 25lbs with the help of food control and weight lifting, and I even ran some 5k and 10k races. That was a huge accomplishment for me, considering when I started to run I couldn't make one lap around the indoor track and the local YMCA, which I think is 1/14 of a mile. As life had it, joining the military, moving a bunch, and being very busy I didn't prioritize running and didn't do much for 10 months. Then I saw an advertisement for a half marathon on the base I work on and thought that was the perfect inspiration to get going again. I halfheartedly trained and managed to get through the race. After finishing I told Allyson there is no way I would ever want to run farther than 13.1 miles. 

It so happened that Allyson met a nice lady who was cheering on her husband at the half marathon, and the two found they had lots in common. And, also that her husband wanted a running buddy to do some longer runs with. I said I would give it a try, not knowing what 'longer runs' meant exactly. We started with a 7 miler. Not too bad. It was a couple weeks post race and I hadn't run much, but if made it. Come to find out my new found running buddy had a few marathons under his belt. Eight actually. He said would like to do another as well. I knew I was in trouble. We continued running together and made it back to 13 mile runs when talk of the Paris marathon came up. Long story short, we both signed up, along with another friend of mine. 

Race day came, and I was feeling excited. Like I had just opened that new computer game to play. "What would it be like?" "Will I make my goal time?" "Will I get hurt?" "Cramp?" And off we go. I felt great the first 16 miles. And then I stopped feeling good. The last 8 miles were terrible. Way over my projected time. So much so that my running buddy was getting worried about me. But I finished, got my medal and told myself that was all I needed. A little less than a week later, after I had promised not to do another marathon, a curious thing happened...I felt a twinge. "I could do better." And me and my other running pal decided to sign up for another marathon. After some more bad race prep I finished even slower than the last time. And to make matters worse, it was a night marathon and I didn't finish until midnight. I was beat. Sworn off marathons. In fact I even took a couple months off running. 

But I couldn't shake it. "I can do better." And I started training again. Miraculously, up to this point I had not been injured at all. I started some intense training. And I was "gettin' it" in training. I was running faster, more miles, and loving it. I did a 15 mile run and had one of my best paces. Then I came home and hobbled around the house for a day. I haven't run since. That was two months ago come Sunday. And Sunday was supposed to be marathon #3. Not happening. All I want to do is go for a run. A nice 10 miler. I don't know what it is about 10 miles, but it's a magical distance. It's empowering. 

Instead of running I have signed up for races. In hopes that one day I will run again. I feel like I am once again grounded from my favorite activity. "How will I survive without a run today?" Somehow I've made it. But my mood is a little more dim. You see, running started as a way to get in shape. And I do still use it for that. But it's also become more. It's become my way to de-stress. It's how I slow my mind down. Running the trails is when I plan my future. When I pray. When I connect with God. It's become my definition. It's who I am. I am a runner. And sometime soon, I will be back at it, running with a vengeance. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The magic of Christmas

There is a jolly ol' Saint Nick who has no greater pleasure in the world than to deliver toys and gifts to children all over the world. And his little elf helpers are giddy with delight at the opportunity to help him in any way that they can. 

At least this is what some people think is the magic of Christmas. Or perhaps they take the mythical people put of the equation and boil it down to giving. That is somewhat closer. 

My wife and I have decided that we are not going to present Saint Nick to our child as part of Christmas. Not because it's a bad story. But we feel it takes away from the importance of the day. This time of the year is not about the things that we want, or even the things we want to give. To minimize it in that way is a prominent tragedy in our society. 

So then what is the magic of Christmas if not any of the above? In order to understand the magnitude of this holiday we need to understand a couple of things about God first. First is that God is all powerful. He is not one of many, or one of a few. He is THE ONE and only one. He has created everything that is seen and unseen to his glory. Secondly, God is a holy God. There is no blemish in who He is or what He does. Thirdly, (this is actually about humans and not God) we are a sinful people. No one deserves Gods grace. We have all offended a Holy God. 

Now, back to the magic part. (I use that term loosely here) The all powerful and Holy God loves mankind with such a deep compassionate love that he sent His child, Jesus Christ, to the earth, as a man, to fulfill the perfect law of God and take upon himself all of our sin. This is not something that had to be done, nor something we deserved. It is only by Gods love and mercy that He has decided to share this gift with us. 

And so it is at this time of the year we recognize the miracle of Christ being born in order to save us from our sin. That is what we want to impart to our children. That we are sinners that need to be saved by Gods grace. Yes, we give gifts to one another and to family and friends, but this is not at all the main focus of Christmas. The focus is on Gods extraordinary grace that he has shared with us, which is a very real story.