Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Well, it's that time of the year again -- New Year's! It's another chance to begin clean with a new slate -- a time we can all resolve to be better, do better, and live better lives. All of the errors of the past year are wiped clean with a flip of a calendar page. Everybody has permission to start anew.

Yep. New Year's resolutions are here. I personally don't spend a lot of time resolving to stop habits I have acquired or beginning those I haven't. I usually try to announce resolutions I know I have a fairly good chance at keeping -- for example this year I think I will resolve to

1. play more golf.
2. watch more football.
3. switch to light beer (at least when there is not a regular one to be found).
4. cheer on the Cubs (It takes a special team to have a bad millennium.)
5. pray for the president.

In theory, you gotta love New Year's resolutions. You get a "do over" -- a chance to start fresh. I get that every morning when I wake up. I have a new day, one I haven't messed up yet. I can do some good! Yet each night I go to sleep with the good I would do undone and the evil I would not do done. While there are things about me that seem habitual, there are others that change all the time. One thing that never changes, however, is the comfort Jesus gives me as He forgives me each day, wiping away my sin, giving me a clean slate. That is awesome!

What will you do today?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Will You Leave Behind?

"But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." -- Benjamin Franklin

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice." -- Old Indian Saying

"If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live on after he's dead, then maybe he was a great man." -- James Dean

Death is a certain -- we will all die. But what will we leave behind?

For some of us, we are intent on leaving behind wealth -- money, stocks, bonds, land, and houses -- an accumulated fortune that will provide for our family. For others -- leaving behind a good name, a reputation for honesty, decency, kindness, and generosity is the most important thing. While yet others might want to leave behind monuments dedicated to all their good deeds and accomplishments.

All these are well and good, but all of these legacies end for that generation when that generation passes. It's just the way it works.

St. Paul reminds us "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

The only eternal we experience is eternal life in Christ. One great gift we can leave behind for the next generation is a witness to our faith: a life spent walking with Christ, words of God's love spoken to our family and friends, deeds that match our faith. We can witness to our faith and pass that on - what a great gift that is!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Go Green

It seems as if everywhere you turn today people are telling you to "Go Green." No, it is not a cheer to motivate the Michigan State Spartans, nor is it kudos to Kermit the Frog, but rather it is an exhortation to conserve resources, use earth-friendly products, and reduce emissions.

Green is a good thing, isn't it? We should all be careful users of the limited natural resources we have. We need to care for the outdoor environment. (Genesis 2:15 - "Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.") To insure there will be clean air and water for our children and our children's children just makes sense.

It seems that today, however, we are closing in on having regulations and laws passed that will further legislate the issue for industries and individuals. Some would say it's the only way to insure the future of the environment; others would say we don't need another set of laws. But if we rely on people to voluntarily do the right thing, will they? And what is the right thing? Will people learn to be better caretakers of the environment if we pass laws and affix penalties? What's the best way to get the point across that taking care of the earth is good for us now and good for us in the future?

I am having a hard time getting my arms around this one. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Christmas Letter

Does anybody really read Christmas cards? I'm not talking about a quick glance to see from whom the greeting originated. I mean read it, enjoy the words, etc. How exciting can the pre-written word by some card writer really be? Of course, "Season's Greetings" cards are even worse. If you are like me, Christmas cards aren't the priority when opening the mail. I usually go for the Craftsman® tool sale circular followed closely by the Bass Pro Shops® flyer. On the other hand, Christmas cards do remind us that somebody out there sees some redeeming quality in us, or at least our family. With that in mind, I will eventually look them over and even read a few.

What really catches my attention is the "Christmas letter" - you know - the once-a-year missive rattling off the events of the previous twelve months. I have yet to read a letter that starts out, "Well, this was an average year - the kids passed with a "C" average and nobody did anything worthy of mention. Merry Christmas!" However, I have read the long letter that started out, "On January 3 we.... On January 10 we...." And then proceeded to recap all 52 weeks. That was a fun read.

I figure we all have a need to feel special once in awhile. I don't think there is anything bad about sharing the good news of the family. That is why I like reading the Christmas story. That story shows me just how special I am. And why is that? Because God sent His only Son for the whole world - and that includes you and me. When the One who created the universe gives you the gift of His only Son, well, it don't get any more special than that!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Christmas List

Some things I've learned about Christmas gifts:

1. When buying clothes for your wife, size does matter -- go small!
2. You better buy batteries.
3. One must be exceptionally cautious if purchasing a gift for your wife at Auto Zone. Lowe's is a safer bet; get it at Macy's and you're golden.
4. Gift assembly on Christmas Eve generally strains a marriage.
5. There is nothing easy about E-Z Credit.

It is better to receive a very specific list of items that would give happiness to the gift receiver. The list should include sizes, colors, brand names or, in a perfect world, the SKU (stock-keeping unit) number. An electronic list with pictures usually gets priority.

We can rejoice that we have received one Christmas gift that is just the right size, works flawlessly every time, and is absolutely perfect for everybody -- the real gift of Christmas...our Savior!

I have found that reading the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke to the family on Christmas Eve really puts the whole Christmas gift thing in perspective.

What about you?