Friday, March 27, 2009

Evidence of Christ

Here is the second of my Lenten devotionals.

John 12:37-41 (New International Version)
Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them." Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.

It is almost impossible to believe that these folks had difficulty believing in Jesus even though they had seen his works with their very eyes. They walked with him, saw numerous miracles; watched as lives were changed, yet still they did not believe. Like many today, they were spiritually blind. Lives are still changed; miracles still happen and yet man still struggles to believe.

The frightening reality for Christians today is that the consequence of continued unbelief is the hardening of man’s heart. When man chooses to reject God, even though he is presented with the gospel and sees the work of the Lord, it becomes more difficult for men to “see with their eyes” or “understand with their hearts”. Spiritual blindness is the inevitable outcome.

So, what are our responsibilities as followers of Christ? Matthew is pretty specific.
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. “ Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

Aware that those who are lost often look to believers for evidence of Christ, should cause Christians to pause and search our hearts, confident that we are the beacons God can use to open the eyes of the lost. It means taking stock of our thoughts, actions and speech and weighing them against the holiness God calls us to. It means taking our commission to reach the lost seriously as a daily calling.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday - UTube: A view of 21st Century Students

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
-Alvin Toffler-

A friend of mine had to send the link to this YouTube video to my home email, because I couldn't view it on my computer at school. YouTube is blocked, of course. My question this; how are we preparing students for success in the 21st century? There is no way that educators, without a renewed commitment to the study of technology in the classroom, can adequately engage learners today. Gone is the "we learned it that way and it worked for us" mentality of the past. Gone is the "back to basics" mentality because the basics have changed dramatically. I teach middle school writing. I talk to my students every day about "real writing" and how what we are learning is transferred to situations in life that require writing skills, yet I am unable to access my blog at school to show the students, let alone allow them to participate in, the "real life" application of blogging. What's wrong with this picture?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In Honor of 70

My dad turns 70 today. It doesn’t seem like it. I used to think 70 was really old, but he doesn’t seem “old”; perhaps that is because he doesn’t act old. He still works a 40-hour a week part-time job. He plays golf. He keeps up with technology. He drives a convertible. No, he doesn’t act “old” at all.

More than these outward signs, he is still compassionate, articulate and witty. He truly cares about the folks he ministers to and loves the church, which he serves. Growing up in a parsonage wasn’t always easy. You tend to be put on a pedestal and required to live up to other’s standards, but my father has never thought like that. He has always been his own person and allowed us; even celebrated, our individuality.

Memories I cherish with my dad are as deep as they are wide. I remember going with him to watch the Cardinals play at Busch Stadium, or tagging along to church softball games. We’ve watched Cornhusker football together. He is the reason I understand golf and hockey. His one failure was attempting to teach me to drive a standard transmission; to preserve our sanity and relationship he was wise enough to release me into the hands of a friend for instruction.

I know he prays for us, he continually guides our family spiritually and then without fear has released us to become who God has intended us to be. He has always been and continues to be my best council, chief supporter and biggest fan. He has loved our mother in a way that demonstrates undying love. He cares for his ailing mother with compassion and strength. How wonderful is that? But the greatest gift my father has ever given to me is the capacity to love people, to forgive without requiring penance, and to be devoted to God first and foremost.

So today I honor his love, his life and his ministry. Happy Birthday Dad!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday - UTube: It's Not On the Test

A bit of education humor. It would be funny, if much of it weren't true. The video would have been much better with---I don't know---Bono? Enjoy.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Photo Meme

This was an interesting meme from Annie. Want to participate? Here are the guidelines:

Open your photo files and...
  • Post the 6th picture in your 6th folder.
  • Post that picture on your blog along with the story that goes with it.
This is a photo of two very special men in my life, my brother and nephew at the Don Cuttill Memorial Golf Tournament. It represents all the love and support they have given to me since Don's death. This is an annual event memorializing a great man and raising money for a worthy cause: Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lenten Season!

Easter is my favorite time of year. It speaks of hope and faith. It is a time of renewal and challenge. It was with honor that I was asked to create two writings for my church's Easter devotional. Here is the first of the two:

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

As Lent begins, we, as followers of Christ, overflow with the hope of the resurrection and a renewing of our faith. Have you ever stopped to think how essential faith is to our Christian walk? Not merely the knowledge of Christ; not simply believing in Christ, but I am talking about radically and actively applying faith to our lives. Faith is not only vital to pleasing God; it is the very essence of our relationship with Him.

Many times those of us who call ourselves Christians lack the faith essential to pleasing God. This radical faith allows us to say to God, “Change me. Make me uncomfortable. Cause me to take action. Use me, whatever it takes.” Instead we are content with living a safe-faith, a safe Christian existence where going to church every Sunday and praying before meals is enough. The challenge for Christians today is to step out of the comfort of our “just enough” faith and seek the extreme faith of earnestly seeking God.

This faith is unwavering; it bears its foundation in actively, consistently, and passionately seeking a relationship with Christ. A relationship that demands more than the minimum from us; a faith that requires spending time in His word, in prayer and conforming to His will. This is not a faith of obligation, but an active, vibrant faith we choose because we long to know and please Christ.

Happy Birthday Mamaw!!

Grandmothers and roses are much the same. Each are God's masterpieces with different names.
-- Author Unknown

Happy 89th Birthday Mamaw!