Saturday, July 14, 2018

Christianity and Dinosaurs. We Live In A Jurassic World.


I recently saw the movie "Jurassic World-Fallen Kingdom" and I have been thinking a lot about the whole idea of mankind trying to bring back the dinosaurs.

I think the "fallen kingdom" in the title is OURS!  Our kingdom has fallen and I will explain as the blog rolls along, stay with me!

I also got this sweet tyrannosaurus pendant at a yard sale!  I like it because it reminds me of a very important truth that is reflected in the movie. One about the illusion of control and the freedom of the believer in Jesus.

Let's start with today.  At this point in history, dinosaurs are just a bunch of bones.  We found them buried in the dirt and we have been trying to figure out what happened to them and what they may have looked like with actual muscles, skin and internal organs.

We are guessing at a lot of things because we were not around to take selfies with the brachiosaurs of the Jurassic period, so not much evidence as to what they may have looked like on Instagram.

We just have the bones, scattered around and in a general state of disarray.  Something bad happened and  they are all gone.  It looks like it was quick, so they didn't suffer, that should bring comfort to ancient animal rights activists.

It's not good enough for us to just look at the bones. 

We want them back again, so we turn to science. 

Science needs money, money comes from rich people, rich people attach an agenda to their money and so research becomes corrupted and the next thing you know, you are running for your life with a patch of your skinny jeans ripped off your butt, wondering why you wanted to post a #dinoselfie in the first place!

It all went wrong, but why?  The illusion of control and vice of greed.

Let's connect this with the Bible, specifically to the New Testament, our time, our own Jurassic period you might say!

Christianity finds it's basis in the bible.  The scriptures, written over many years by various authors with diverse backgrounds, hang ups and perspectives.  All of the writing in the scriptures points to the Messiah, Jesus.  For thousands of years, the scriptures provided the "bones".  Bones are the structure on which the body is built.  Similar to the dinosaurs, none of us were around during the bible events like parting of the Red Sea, feeding the 5000 and the battle between David and Goliath.  All epic stories that have been preached about and put into movies with cheesy special effects.

On these "bones" we have built our beliefs and have a pretty good general outline of what it's all about.  Just like paleontology, the finer details can be fuzzy and just a guess.  Sometimes they can be the subject of all out division among dehydrated, dusty archaeologists.

Christian people fall into the same situation when we disagree over finer details that we are all just guessing on.  You can fill in your favorite controversy here, everyone has one.  As time marches on, more things written in the bible about future events become clearer and clearer, and truths that were penned in the years before TMZ prove themselves to be reliable again and again.

Here's my main point.

When we think we have a handle on spirituality, God, the Bible, Jesus, faith...etc, that's where we are in for a rude awakening.  When we want to take something that is wild and un-tameable and put in a box for OUR OWN purposes, get ready to run, cause it will eat you alive!

Remember the scene in Jurassic Park where the T-Rex was not showing up for the main characters?  They were all in two vehicles in front of the paddock but the Rex was a no show.  The park then put a goat in the paddock to coax it out of hiding.  At this point Dr. Grant says "T-Rex does not want to be fed, it wants to HUNT!"

Yummy!

It's such an important truth to remember!  The whole plan of God is meant to be wild and spread over all the earth!  It can't be contained and merchandised for entertainment!  It's way bigger and more awesome than anything we could dream up!  When we think we have God all sorted out, something huge will happen to blow our minds!  The Good News of the gospel is not the property of a select few.  It's for everybody.  It's wild.

Working in Christian radio, I see this a lot!  We broadcast songs and messages filled with God's word, it goes out and we don't know who's listening, we have NO CONTROL over who tunes in and when, all we know is what Jesus said, "The seed is The Word of God."  We get it out there, it runs wild and instead of causing chaos, like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, it causes people to have hope and faith!

It's wild!

It breaks loose and chases down those who are on the run!

It's meant to be free!

We need that perspective in our churches, small groups, families and nation!

When we invest in organizations putting out God's Word, that's what's happening!

It's way bigger than us, it's not meant to be caged up, quantified or regulated and it will never be!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Roller Coaster Ride of LIFE!

So Father's Day was a cool one for me.  I learned something!  It was great!  I got to spend time with my kids.  They are all in their 20's and live up North, so anytime we can get together it's fun!  We were at Canada's Wonderland for Wonderjam 2018 and we ended up spending most of the day on rides.
I am not really a thrill ride guy, but this was about to change and a life lesson was coming my way!
We all did something a little out of the ordinary.  We got something called a FastPass.  It is super expensive, but worth it!  You get to skip the line and get on way more things than you would normally due to the long line ups for some of the more popular rides.

I was given the pass without any real notice, so guess what?  I am now on the hook to ride with my kids as much as possible on the scariest rides!  They love all the big drops and now, like it or not, so do I!

We lined up for Leviathan, which is the biggest drop of any roller coaster in the park.  My coaster experience is to encounter sheer terror as soon as the train leaves the station!  The ride is going to happen and you cannot stop it.  You can't wish it away or pretend it isn't happening.  You are about to drop 300ft and go weightless.  I generally think, this is the ONE time the machine will fail!  It will be my car that goes over the edge and off the rails.  The ride gets to the top and then is a white knuckle few minutes of checking my faith and praying to not die.

Then it's over.  That's when you go and get back in line, because you have a FastPass!  You go and do it again!  This is what is expected!  OK so now, I am a little more prepared.  I know the general ride, but the whole thing is still fresh.  We get locked in and here we go.  I loosen up a little and enjoy a few spots.  Then it's over again.  Then it's back in line again.  Now I am a veteran!  I know exactly where to put my hands in the air and just go with it.  You know what?  NOW I'm having fun!


Take a minute or two and watch the ride.  Would you do it?  Depends on how daring you are, but I think, depending on your health, you should try it once.

Here's what I learned.

Life is full of things that you are going to experience whether you like it or not.  When you are born, you are strapped or buckled in and the lap bar has come down.  Off you go!  Here comes the "Heartache Hill".  You hold on through the "Death of a Loved One" curve.  It's a wild ride through the "Bankruptcy Dip".  Oh and then there are times when the whole thing goes upside down!  These are things that either thrill you or terrify you, but they happen to people ALL THE TIME.  After a few times around, life gets a little easier as you learn to trust the ride and know that you are going to make it!  You may not know what bumps and twists are coming but you will be confident enough to know that if you just hold on, it will be OK.

Enjoy the ride!


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Smoking

Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash
It always makes me a bit sad when I drive by a school and see a group of teens standing just off school property, smoking.

Part of me wishes they wouldn't get trapped so early into such a habit, but part of me also wonders how it happened.

Here's something fascinating. 

Tobacco companies are not allowed to advertise their products.  Cigarettes are only available by asking for them from behind a hidden shelf in a convenience store.  The companies who make cigarettes are not allowed to buy internet ads.  You don't see smoking on TV or in movies.

What is drawing in new smokers?  Why are teens choosing to light up and affect the rest of their life?  What pushed them in that direction?

In a word...influence.

I think there is a lesson in here somewhere. 

Not many businesses could survive by having a 0% advertising budget.  (Aside from Costco!) 
Think about this, someone could be steered to begin a lifelong habit that will shorten their life and decrease the quality of their health, simply by the influence of others.

Let's turn it around.

EVERYTHING works this way!

I believe the good things people do to change their lives happen because of an unseen influence.

No one likes to be bossed around or admit that they are copying someone, but nonetheless it's true.

For good or bad we are influencing everyone around us ALL THE TIME!

Jesus Christ had crowds follow Him everywhere, His message spread through those HE influence by His life.  It's still going today!

What would you say were your influences and how do you think you're influencing your world now?


Friday, April 27, 2018

You Can Do What You Want



Here's a bible verse you can remember easily because of the numbers...

John 6:66

Ya, LOOK AT IT!  It's got 666 in it!  The Mark of the Beast, right?

Here's the verse:

"From that time, many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, "Will ye also go away?"

Some people made a decision to "walk no more" with Jesus. 

It's not talking about them getting tired of walking everywhere! 

They did cover a lot of real estate!

 It's talking about learning from Him as a teacher.  The lessons He was teaching them got to be a little too much for some of them and they said "We're done, goodbye."

Here's the interesting part...Jesus LET THEM GO!

He recognized that not everyone was going to follow Him at that time and it did not hurt His ego one bit!  I bet you He didn't write a nasty post on Facebook or spread a rumor about their "lukewarmness".  He also was not dismissive.  Their "club membership" was not revoked.  They were free to come and go whenever they wanted.

Jesus never manipulated anyone into doing anything.  There was no pressure to be part of the gang.

There was only an invitation, then unconditional love and commitment!

Remember the time Peter denied Jesus?  That must have hurt...a lot.

Jesus never gave up on Peter...NEVER!  I am sure of it.

He also never gave up on those people who walked away that day.

He won't ever give up on YOU!

Friday, April 6, 2018

My Precioussssss!

Precious
Our family has had several cats.

They had odd names and quirky personalities.

Names like, "Baby", "Oreo", "Sherman", "Hurley", "Sparta", "Small Eyes", "Saving Private Ryan" and "Tigger".

They all came and went.  But ONE stuck around.  For a lifetime.

He was born on Canada Day 2004 in an house on Regina Street in North Bay.

The owner of the house was a fellow who was doing some work for me and happened to be in jail for drunk and disorderly conduct.  (I guess that's another story in itself.)

He mentioned in one of his phone calls from the slammer, that no one was looking after his house and his cat had kittens and would be hungry.

He was concerned, so out of the goodness of my heart, I went over to his place to have a look.

He had mentioned that the kittens were almost ready to leave momma and be "adopted" if I wanted one.

We discussed it, and thought we would see if one stood out to us as a missing member of the family.

As we expected, the kittens were a bit wild, not having much to do in a virtually abandoned house.

They were all cute, but one had these special ears.

They were big and a little floppy, like they were too big for his head.

He had a bright face and was lively.

Right away I thought, if he's the one, we'll call him Yoda, because of the ears.

I told the family about him and we went and had another meeting.  He was irresistible.

We took him home and decided together on a permanent name.

The big movies at the box office at the time were The Lord Of The Rings films, so in a nod to the ring itself, we called him "Precious"!

For a boy cat, it seemed a little bit feminine, but it really fit.  He was "Presh" for short.

During his first few days at our place we discovered that he must have had to fight his brothers and sisters for any scrap of food he could get.

He ate his own kitten food, but, if any bit of anything fell from our dinner table, he pounced!

He would also jump up on the table and help himself!

He was so quick, that we could hardly grab him before he devoured our human food.

We decided, we need to teach him as lesson early that our food is not for him.

We took some Cayenne pepper and put it on a scrap of food and dropped it on purpose.

That was the last time he came lurking under the table!

His whole life he would squint when anything spicy came near him!

We had him get his proper shots, get neutered and also de-clawed.

He grew and grew.  He was orange and fluffy.  He did not really have much of a voice.

He would sort of cackle.  He also barely purred.  You had to listen very close.

The only time he would really speak up was when someone was doing the dishes!

He found the clattering of plates and silverware very ANNOYING!

He loved the sun.
We knew he was happy, because he was pretty chill.

He chased many laser pointer dots over the years.

He came with us when we moved to Sudbury in 2008.

He adjusted to new surroundings in 6 new places.

He never liked the outdoors.  He was an indoor cat, seldom touching his paws to earth or grass.

He DID like to eat grass like most cats!

He loved being under blankets.

He loved head scratches and rubs under the chin.

He loved lunch meat, popcorn, fruit, bacon and chicken nuggets.

Precious has been living with my daughter, Victoria in Sudbury.

She has taken care of him and taken him to the vet.  Over the last few years he'd been slowing down.

He was on medication.  We knew his time was coming.

In March of this year, he began to act oddly.  He would seek solitude.  The signs of the end.

Just days before...
After 14 years of furry snuggling and bringing joy to our hearts, he passed peacefully in my daughter, Jasmines arms.

We are all sad.

We miss him a lot.

We're comforted by a gang of new cats, "Graham", "Kylo", Gizmo" and the latest..."Jango".

Precious and Jango Christmas 2018

Precious, you were a good kitty.





Monday, March 26, 2018

Haircuts and Fathers


I got a haircut last Saturday...and I got a huge lesson in fathering!

I had to prepare for a comedy show that night, so I wanted to look like at least cared a little about my appearance. 

When I arrived at the barber shop, there were three other people ahead of me and there were only two people doing the cutting and they both had someone in the chair. 

I felt a little impatient because I had other things to do that day that were going to be way more productive than sitting and waiting for a haircut!

I remembered that I had several games on my phone that I could play AND the salon had big screen TV's with my favorite shows on, Pawn Stars and American Pickers.

I settled in to relax while I waited for my turn.

That's when THEY came in!

A young man and his little son.

(I am assuming they were father and son, that's what it seemed like to me as you will discover from the upcoming events.)

In they walked and took off their coats and sat down.

I will say that this little guy was about 5 years old or younger.

He was what I will call "chatty"!

For a human with only a limited number of years under his belt, he had a lot to say!
It wasn't annoying, it was just there was a LOT of talking going on!
This is where the dad in me though about how I would have handled this situation.

When our kids were small, there was no such thing as a smart phone, so that was not an option for distraction while waiting for life to happen.
You had to go to a magazine or something like that.

Here is where I became impressed by this fellows dad skills
.
The whole time his toddler was speaking, he maintained eye contact and had his head and body in the little guys direction.

THE WHOLE TIME!

That kid has his FULL attention!

I watched to see if the guy even had a phone in his hand.  I did not see one.
The tot talked and talked right up until it was time for his haircut.
I was in the chair by this time and I was keeping an eye on what was going on.
The father put the child in the chair and then I saw that he DID have a phone!
He took it out of his pocket to show the barber the cut he wanted for his son.
He then went back and sat down in the little waiting area.

Did he take that time to play a game on his phone?  Update his Facebook?  Tweet?

NO!

He kept the phone off and watched his son get a haircut!  Smiling the whole time!
The kid could look in the mirror and see his dad watching everything going on!
At this point the little guy was not as chatty!
I suspect he was sitting secure in knowing his pop was right there watching.

Wow.

It was not something you see very often and as a father, it reminded me of all times I should have been more attentive to my children.

Thanks buddy, you are a great example to fathers everywhere!

Good Job!

Photo by Tommy van Kessel on Unsplash

Monday, March 5, 2018

Living Water


You never know where you are going to learn something spiritual!

I was in the Water Depot on the weekend, getting our jug filled with alkaline water.

Just a regular thing to do on a Saturday.

I was standing by my jug watching the level rise, when an older man approached me and started a conversation.
He asked me about my choice of alkaline water over reverse osmosis.
I remarked on how there were many health benefits to alkaline water.
He responded by telling me about how he had 4 bouts with cancer and that, cancer cannot grow in your body if you are alkaline.
I was amazed that he looked so good for having overcome cancer!
He said the radiation left him hard of hearing and with some vision issues, but other than that, he felt great!
I told him he looked good, he said he was 80 years old!
I gave him a pat on the shoulder for being a fighter and wished him a great weekend.
I capped my bottle and was on my way.

Here's what I learned.  (It happens.)

This man was a stranger yet he initiated a conversation with enthusiasm.  
He was excited to talk about something he had experienced that was wonderful and horrible at the same time.
He captured my attention.
He shared with an authenticity that drew me in.
I left with something added to my life,  an appreciation of alkaline water and living a healthy life plus inspiration from having encountered someone who went through something very difficult and had a positive attitude.

As a radio host and as a Christian person, there are many lessons here!

1.  Be ready to use any and all situations to be an encouragement and a positive influence. 

Sometimes we just want to get things done or get where we are going and forget about the people we encounter along the way.  The cashier, the other driver, the man on the street playing road hockey with his kids.  They are in your path for a reason.  Be open to taking time to say hello or give them a shout out.

2.  Share your passion.

Excitement cannot be faked.  If you don't believe in something, no one else will believe you when you tell them about it.  This man's word had the ring of experience behind them.  He left a mark on me, and probably the next guy in line behind me!

3.  Your story is worth sharing.

We all have a story.  My grandma watched a lot of TV, and she always called a show "a story".  She would shout "Put a story on!!"  We watch stories on TV, hear about them in the news and read stories in books.  You have one.  More than that, you can write your own ending!  The man I met wrote a different ending to his story than what the doctors told him!

4.  Leave people with something good!

You may meet someone once in your life and never encounter them again.  Think about that!  They may chat with seven negative people before they get to you, you can disrupt the pattern with enthusiasm and joy!

I got more than water that day, I got a refreshing drink of optimism!

How about you?