Value of Life, Part 2

Value of Life, Part 2

The other night I watched  America’s Got Talent. On the show of Champions was a man from
Europe who was a comedian. He was funny. I laughed. His stage name is “Lost Voice Guy”. He
is a comedian who cannot talk. He has some type of disability that prevents him from speaking.
He uses a computer to speak his jokes. Is his life viable? What is life worth? Before I was
conceived, God knew me, we are told by the Psalmist. Life has value, not because of what it can
do, but because it is. Life has value not because we the people deem someone valuable, but
because life is valuable. The one living the life is not what determines its value, the simple fact
of life makes life valuable. A criminal’s life is not less valuable than a saint. What one does with
life is not what determines value, it is that it exists that determines life’s value. Abortion, by its
very essence, de-values life because it does not consider that life is valuable by is very existence.
We should never celebrate the loss of life. Life is a miracle, created and formed by God. We
should treasure it, not celebrate its destruction.

Value of Life Blog

Value of Life

What is life? There has been a lot of coverage in the news lately of the two bills, one passed, and
one defeated, about the expansion of abortion. In New York, they passed a bill that allows for
abortion up to the point of delivery. This was celebrated in New York by turning the tower pink
as a sign of growth and celebration for women’s rights. I don’t want to spend this blog talking
about women’s rights. That is a battle that has been fought. What I do want to speak about is the
de-valuing of human life. The bill that was defeated was in Virginia where it appeared by the
video that the Governor was advocating for infanticide if the baby was not considered viable
once it was born. Viable. That is now what life has become. What is viable? Who decides if it is
viable? How long is an acceptable amount of time before you realize a baby is not viable? To
me, the questions are the wrong questions. The question that needs to be asked an answered is:
what is the value of life?

No Surprises

No Surprises

JANUARY 10, 2017

 

I am reading through the Bible again this year.  I am using a chronological plan, something I have never done before.  Nine days in and it is not much different than starting at the beginning and reading to the end, but I can look ahead and see the plan is going to be different than the usual one.  There are no surprises, no mistakes, no odd happenings to throw me.  I have a schedule and I can look ahead to find out where I am going.  Unlike my life where I can only see the moment, my reading plan is well organized and complete.  Life is filled with twists and turns, unknowns and surprises; so how do I respond to them?  Faith! I know that what lies ahead of me may be unknown to me, but not to God.  So, I just keep walking forward, planning, preparing, yet ready for the surprise I never saw coming.  But when it does, I find that God is already there.

Culture Wars

CULTURE WARS

The 4th of July is just around the corner and it causes me to consider how different our country is from the one I called home as a child.  In 1967, Detroit burned because of conflict between whites and blacks.  I remember my dad taking me to a baseball game in 1968 in downtown Detroit seeing buildings still smoldering because of the fires that destroyed so much of that city.  The Kent State riots, the Vietnam War fall-out and the government corruption were all front-page news during my early years.  I thought I understood the unrest then.  I thought I understood the pain people fought against in that culture.  Today, I see a great divide.  I see people hating others and not even willing to discuss our differences.  We have become a people of hate and anger and intolerance.  I still love my country.  I still love living here and can’t imagine living someone else, but I wonder where we are heading.  I don’t have a solution for health care.  I don’t really know how to solve many of the issues we are facing today as a people.  But I do know one thing; “if my people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14) As Christians, we can complain and point fingers at the disintegration of our culture, but as II Chronicles tells us, it is the people of God that are to humble themselves, pray and seek the face of God and turn from their wicked ways, then God will act.  The burden is on us as Christians to ask God to move in our land.

McBain Baptist church located in McBain, MI 49657 offers spiritual guidance and communion for the community

Summer Change

I have a quote in my office from Dave Jacobs, a pastor, teacher and coach.  It says: “Your church is perfectly designed to get the results it’s currently getting.  If you want something different, you’ll probably need to do something different.”  I like that quote, not because it is about church, but because it is about life.  We have all probably heard by now the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  So, when I think of that quote, I think much wider than church.  I think of life, and how to be something other than what I am right now I must change.  If I want to be thinner I need to change my diet and exercise plan.  If I want to improve my reading ability, I need to read books.  If I want to be a better hunter, I need to learn how better hunters hunt.  If I want to be a better cook, I might need to take a cooking class.  Change is difficult because it demands us to do something that is unlike what we have been doing.  So how can I become a better cook, golfer, husband, wife, mother, father, child, driver?  I must be willing to do something different than what I am doing now.  Here is my challenge: pick something this summer that you want to change, and then change your habits in order to reach the desired outcome.

McBain Baptist church located in McBain, MI 49657 offers spiritual guidance and communion for the community

You’re Not Like Me

In my last post, we approached the subject, how am I supposed to worship when I am surrounded by so many who think differently than me? Here is the little secret that maybe all of you know, but few of us accept: everyone in the world is different than me. We all think differently and respond differently. So, our response to worship should also be different than everyone around me. Paul uses the analogy in I Corinthians about all of us being a part of the body and no part is more essential than any other part. All parts must play their designed role or the body does not function properly. If we understand how significant that thought is, then we will understand that even though I have a particular set of standards and expectation in worship, I must understand the person sitting next to me has a different set of standards and expectations. I can then come to a worship service not with an expectation that all that happens is for me, but all that happens is for us. Within that concept lies my ability to then absorb all that is odd or different for me and still not allow it to ruin my sincere desire to meet with God.

blog post

Why Can’t People Be More Like Me?

Since I have a set of rules that I use to govern my life and I like my rules and at times it bothers me when other people don’t follow my agenda; I must learn how to adjust my life to accept those who think and live differently than me. In my ministry life, I have seen the great music conflict arise, subside and arise again. Before we go to much further I must tell you that I love music, but only certain types of music. When I am in church I have a very small package of music types that I enjoy and the rest of them can be used by some other church. My problem, even as a pastor, who picks the music for my church, is, that I don’t get to pick just the songs I want to sing. Each week as I select songs I have to consider what the rest of the church wants. Have you ever tried to pick songs everyone will like? “We sing to many of those hymns”, “we sing to many of those 7-11 songs”, “why do we have to sing at all”, “where are the other instruments”, “they are too fast, too slow”, are just a few of the lines I get on a regular basis. These come from good, godly people who are truly intent on trying to worship God. The problem isn’t our tastes in music, nor is it in our lack of desire to worship. The problem exists when we think our way is the only way. How do I find comfort, peace and joy when I come to church surrounded by people who have a very different agenda than me?

My Agenda

My Agenda

In my last post, we wondered how we got here as a church. Why it seems the focus of church has become more about me and less about us. I finished that post with a question: How did we get here? Here is my feeble attempt at an answer.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have agendas for life. We like to drive a certain way, eat at certain times, watch certain TV programs and vote for certain candidates based on important issues to us. There is nothing wrong with having agendas. We need them to function and perform daily tasks. The problem with our agendas is when we think they should be everyone’s agenda. We get bothered when people drive slower than we want them to. We don’t agree with how other people schedule their lives or vote for the “wrong” person. We want things to be the way we want them to be and the truth is, we should. If we didn’t, then that would mean that what we do and believe is wrong. No person structures his life in a fashion that he believes is wrong and unacceptable. We all govern our existence by rules that we think are right and appropriate. If we didn’t, that would be rather foolish. The problem isn’t our agendas, but it is when we think our agendas are the only agendas. So, what do we do with that?

God is all you need

The Disappearing Church

I have been in church ministry now for nearly 30 years. I have heard, seen and experienced many difficult things during these years. Presently, I know of two local churches that are having a difficult time and it breaks my heart to see such trouble. I have had my own share of stress while leading a church. As I reflect on these times, I find myself wondering why these trials happen? Maybe it is because we have a misunderstanding of what church is. I wonder if we have made our church an idol? I wonder if we no longer see church as a place to ministry to sick people, and only see it as a place to care for my own soul. Have we made our church a place we protect, guard, elevate and demand personal action from? If so, it is our idol. Church was never meant to be a place for me, but a place for us. It was never meant to be a place where I get fed, but a place where we get fed. It is a place where we come together and worship God, renew our spirit in serving God, and pray for those who need God. Somehow and somewhere along the way we have turned it into a place that caters to my needs. How did we get here?

Government

Who Rules?

WHO RULES?

On Sunday, April 30th I will be preaching on the role of government in our lives. As I scan my FB account, I am amazed at how people talk about our leaders. I certainly have my political bias, but I also understand a Biblical perspective that is far more significant than what I think of the decisions made by our elected leaders. I have never met anyone who does exactly what I think they should do in every situation. I have never met anyone who agrees with me on every possible topic. So how do I respond to those in government who have very different standards than me? I submit to their authority because they are established by God. When I understand that God is on the throne and no one, I mean no one, can act outside His sovereignty, then I am at peace with the world. Do I wish all decisions were made to accommodate me and align themselves perfectly with my beliefs? Sure, but I need to understand that, it is not my will that I long to have done on this earth, but His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

 

- Pastor Doug