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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beta Conference

Last week I spent 3 days in Austin.  Our state convention, along with the good folks at Lifeway, were putting on a series of conferences for ministers of education.  It was one of the better conferences I have been to.  We were given a ton of resources, along with several good ideas.  It was inspiring and refreshing, and you can't ask for more than that.

On the way back home I stopped by the LBJ Presidential Library.  I'm not a huge fan of his Great Society, but I am a fan of history.  Johnson served during some of our nation's most turbulent years, and his presidency was a consequential one.

Maybe it's just how I'm wired, but I don't know why anyone would want to be president.   Nothing about it appeals to me.  Regardless of party or platform, a president can always depend on criticism, cynicism, and lots of second-guessing.  These men deserve our respect, and our prayers.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Louisville Sluggers

For the past 2 weekends we have hosted a team from Louisville, KY at our HMC.  They came down to work with Dr. Camacho in Mexico, and needed a place to stay as they were passing through.  This was a delightful team, and their presence was a big blessing to me.  Not only because it was a bit of a fluke that we met (long story), but because they were willing to go into Mexico to work.  

This issue of team safety is a tricky one.  I have been a senior pastor, and am a parent, so I understand the need for caution.  These leaders (youth guys, for example) often have to answer to pastors, deacons, and several sets of parents.  But for the life of me I can't help but wonder if we are overdoing it.  In other words, will the world ever be reached with the safe, comfortable, and thoroughly predictable brand of Christianity that we practice here in the U.S.?

In any case, the team worked with the approximately 200 kids at the children's home, and did some construction work as well.  It was a great week for them, and they are already planning to come back next year.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This Is Freedom?

But at least we're liberated!  (link)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Getting Away With It

Over the past few years we've seen a huge upswing in the number of true crime shows on TV.  There's "48 Hours" and "Dateline" on the networks, with a slew of others on the various cable channels.

A typical case might go like this: an attractive woman lives with her husband and two kids in Anytown, USA.  All who know her describe her as an excellent mother, loving daughter, and loyal friend.  She and her husband have been married for 12 years, and are enjoying the good life in suburbia.

One day the woman is found brutally murdered in her home.  Who could possibly have wanted her dead?  She had no enemies, and everybody who met her loved her.  It must've been a robbery gone bad.

But it doesn't take investigators long to discover the dark truth about this family.  Seems that the victim had confided in friends that her marriage was in trouble, and suspected that her husband had been having an affair.  She just couldn't take it anymore, and would be leaving him soon.  The grieving husband denies all this, but with a little digging the cops soon find that he had indeed been seeing someone on the side, and they have the e-mails, pictures, and phone records to prove it.  Faced with undeniable evidence, the husband admits that, yes, he has been looking elsewhere for companionship lately, but that doesn't make him a murderer.

Something- a receipt, a bit of security camera footage, a fingerprint - always gives him away.  He has done the unthinkable: he has murdered the mother of his kids.  He is summarily arrested, tried, and (virtually always on these shows) found guilty.  He usually won't admit to actually committing the crime, though, even after he is convicted.  And so the show ends with the husband in prison, having lost his entire family (and lover), defiantly vowing to appeal this miscarriage of justice until his dying breath.

Now some may find these crime-as-entertainment shows a little macabre, but I confess that I find them fascinating.  Why do men do what they do?  How did the cops find the killer?  What techniques did they use?  Did the accused actually do it, and could I have voted "guilty" if I were on the jury?

But by far the most common question I ask myself is this: how in the world did they think they could get away with this??  (Note to would-be killers: the cops will check your cell phone records.  And bank records.  And e-mails.  And if you've taken out a $2,000,000 insurance policy on your wife 2 weeks before she "slips" in the bathtub, someone will find that suspicious.)

Let's consider a biblical parallel: how many times did God warn Israel of what would happen if she strayed from what was right?  How many prophets and miracles did He employ to make His point?  How many years did he give them to repent once they did stray?  The answer doesn't matter; they were going to get away with it.

In my opinion we are witnessing the same thing on a national scale today, and it's happening very quickly.  We add a trillion dollars to our national debt every 9 months, the family is disintegrating before our eyes, and about 20% of our fellow citizens profess no religion whatsoever.  Can we get away with this?  Will we be able to simply bury the old, repressive ways of our forebears, to then find joy and bliss with other enlightened brethren in this new secular paradise?  I wouldn't bet on it.  In fact, I'd say the Judge will have something to say about that.