Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tornado Relief

All these recent earthquakes and seismic activities have made me reflect on this past Spring here in Oklahoma.  It was eventful and terrible to put it simply.  A great friend of mine, Nick Napoli, put together this video of FBC's relief efforts the day after the May 2011 tornado outbreak.

It truly is amazing what a community can do when they work together.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I love dogs

My wife and I have a 1 1/2 year old, 90 lb., hilarious black lab.  She brings us joy in so many ways.  She easily forgets, forgives, is ridiculously loyal, and comforts us when we are sad.  I love our dog.

It is interesting to me how people get so carried away with loving our pets.  Sure sometimes (maybe most times) they make better companions than people, but would we ever truly put an animal companion above a human?  A human being who is made in the very image of God?

Well, we did.  Yesterday 75% of Norman said they want to spend $3 million to build a better shelter for animals.

I guess my real question is can a Christian really vote to pass a $3 million bond to create a better and bigger facility for animals in Norman while nearly 700 human beings are without homes?

When I drive south on I-35 from OKC and see the billboard that says "living on the streets is a lonely place" and there's a black and white picture of a dog (a German Shepherd I think) laying down on cement I want to say, "yes, living on the streets is a lonely place for my friends Roger, Paul, Dennis, Josh, Robin, Eleanor, Adam, Mike, Gary, Richard, Kayla, ...".  I could introduce you to 200 people that I know who would be incredibly thankful for a $3 million bond for a new shelter.

But would a shelter like that pass as unanimously?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Good Samaritan Style

A few months ago one of our ministry workers came running in the office saying that a man was lying in our West covered stairwell.  She didn't know if he was alive or dead, conscious or unconscious.  I was called to the scene, opened the door to the outside steps, and approached the extremely thin man checking for signs of life.  
He awoke in a fluster and said, "Hey Joey."  I was taken aback because at first I did not recognize him.  Through the haze of inebriation he explained that he attends our Sunday Lunch every week.

I found myself feeling extreme compassion for this individual.  He stays in a tent within a wooded area of the city and he is a slave to the substance of alcohol.  In his drunken stupor he found his way to our church, a place where I think he subconsciously knew he would be safe.  

Instead of calling the police (which would have gotten him nowhere but deeper in debt with fines he cannot pay) I sat with him, gave him crackers and water to sober him up, and one of our secretaries came out with a first aid kit to dress the gash on his forehead.  After our secretary left, he and I had a candid conversation about his addiction, his current life situation, and the truth of Jesus' gospel that calls us to a life of freedom and love.  I told him how important he was.

By sitting with him I hoped to show that he was not forgotten in society.  By giving him food and water and dressing his wounds we hoped to show we care for his physical situation (a new earth).  And by speaking the Truth in his life I hoped to remind him of who he is as a child of God (a new heaven).

We cannot separate the physical and spiritual needs of this world.  Jesus never did, so why should we?

Revelation 21:1  "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea existed no longer."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fundraiser, Raising Funds, Fund Raising

"Money makes the world go round."
I think it was the Dalai Lama who said that...maybe not.
All my life I have fought the urge to earn money because I saw how it corrupted people.
I saw money holding people captive in enormous houses.
I saw money numbing people to the injustices all around them with the promise of comfort.
I saw money make people do crazy things such as marry the wrong person and ruin family relationships.

But there came a time in my life when I realized money wasn't doing any of these things.  It is actually a form of idolatry that consumes people to a point of willing slavery.  I know now money is a tool.  Not that money is any less dangerous, because it is completely and life threateningly dangerous.  However, God uses it to make great things happen in this world.  He uses it as a agent of freedom when it was intended as a mechanism of bondage.

I am growing a beard and raising money for a great cause.
Consider showing that something you've been given (and could potentially ruin you) can be given away freely because you are not its slave.  Give to the United Way and support my stubble.

Click here to DONATE a few bucks