It was a warm, sunny, summer day in Northeast Indiana. The factory where my dad worked was having a company-wide picnic in the city park next to the zoo. Part of the festivities was free admission to the zoo, and we gladly took advantage of the ...
It was a warm, sunny, summer day in Northeast Indiana. The factory where my dad worked was having a company-wide picnic in the city park next to the zoo. Part of the festivities was free admission to the zoo, and we gladly took advantage of the situation; strolling past exhibits of spider monkeys, prairie dogs, and venomous snakes. In one cage, all by itself, was a mountain lion. In front of the small group of people gathered at the cage, a teenaged boy was locking eyes with the cat and quickly moving back and forth, with the mountain lion jumping side to side to keep up with him. I turned to my father and said, "That's sad. He shouldn't be teasing the lion like that." My dad said "Nah, he likes it. That cat's having fun."
Fast forward 20 minutes or so. I was walking through the zoo on my own, having convinced my parents that animal-watching was far more beneficial than having seconds of now-warm potato salad. I found myself in front of the mountain lion's cage and decided it looked bored and needed some of that chase-the-boy-back-and-forth action. Less than 60 seconds later, I was being firmly reprimanded by a zoo employee for teasing the big cat. "But my dad said -," I choked out before quickly walking out of the zoo with tears on my cheeks, feeling embarrassed and ashamed and somehow betrayed.
* * * * * * *
Truth is...there comes a time in most folks' lives when they realize their parent is only human, after all. It's shocking and disappointing, but it's also part of growing up and a step toward appreciating that parent in a new way.
[And with this, we come to the end of 2nd Chapter of Acts' first album, With Footnotes.] Peter made his appeal to them and with many other words he urged them, saying, "Save yourselves from the punishment coming to this wicked people!" Many of them believed his message and were baptized; about three thousand people were added to the group that day. They spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers. Many miracles and wonders were done through the apostles, and this caused everyone to be filled with awe. All the believers continued together in close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another. They would sell their property and possessions and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed. Every day they continued to meet as a group in the temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating the food with glad and humble hearts, praising God, and enjoying the food will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
I wake up in the mornin' and start cryin'
All the folks around me are dying
Oh, they never heard
About Jesus, the Living Word
Why can't they hear the Good News?
Well because they're too busy watchin' T.V.
Never takin' time to read in the real book of life
All they know is war and killin'
Yet their spirit's dead ain't filled
They haven't received the Light
They're just walkin' in the night
Father, I know you can hear my prayer
About all of those people that are dyin' way out there
Open my ears and tell me what to do
So I can do my part and get your Holy Word through
Truth is...While most of what happens in this blog assumes a certain level of belief and faith amongst the readers, I also admit to a hope for those who don't believe and aren't people of faith to come along for the ride with hearts willing to be transformed by Christ.
There are plenty of opinions floating around about the Bible...
The Bible is a collection of oral traditions put in writing...ancient myths given credence through publication.
The Bible is a book of lies, foisted upon humanity as a bid for control.
The Bible proves itself, through contradiction and illogic, to be a faulty, man-made work of fiction.
There is more handwritten manuscript support for the Bible's contents than any other piece of ancient literature. (By far.)
Millions of people attribute a positive change in their lives to the teachings of the Bible.
Perhaps the Bible's longevity, integrity, and effectiveness are partly due to the truth of what Alistair Begg has said about it:
The Bible is one book, written by one Author, with one subject: Jesus Christ and the salvation God...provides through Him.
Truth is...our faith is better grounded on the God of the Bible than on the Bible that talks about God, but when Jesus gives testimony to its trustworthiness, it wouldn't hurt to pay attention: It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned. (Luke 16:17 NLT)
It would be pretty easy to be jealous of the apparent ease of existence for the financially-successful among us. To be able to purchase whatever one fancied without regard to the price tag? Who wouldn't want that? However... It seems to be so common that it's almost a cliche: The sharp-as-a-tack business person who loses their grip on what's really important in life.
Ray Stevens sang about it in his song "Mr. Businessman" way back in 1968.
Itemize the things you covet
As you squander through your life
Bigger cars, bigger houses
Term insurance for your wife
Tuesday evenings with your harlot
And on Wednesdays, it's your charlatan analyst
He's high upon your list
You've got air-conditioned sinuses
And dark disturbing doubt about religion
And you keep those cards and letters going out
While your secretary's tempting you
Your morals are exempting you from guilt and shame
Heaven knows you're not to blame
You better take care of business, Mr. Businessman
What's your plan?
Get down to business, Mr. Businessman
If you can
Before it's too late and you throw your life away
Did you see your children growing up today
And did you hear the music of their laughter
As they set about to play?
Did you catch the fragrance of those roses in your garden?
Did the morning sunlight warm your soul
Brighten up your day?
Do you qualify to be alive
Or is the limit of your senses so as only to survive?
Peter said to them, "Turn away from your sins, each one of you, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God's gift, the Holy Spirit. For God's promise was made to you and your children, and to all who are far away - all whom the Lord our God calls to himself."
"All my ways need a grave." That's the proper response to Peter's instruction to "Turn away from your sins each one of you, and be baptized." That's a correct interpretation of Paul's words in Romans 6:3-6...
Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.
Truth is...It's hard to listen to this song without feeling some of the longing with which it was written and sung.