The story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue always puzzled me. How was it possible for a king to erect a statue and then demand that everyone bow down to it? (Daniel 3:1,5). The whole story seemed silly. And that was before the Veggie Tales video version, which substituted the statue with a chocolate bunny. Have you heard the “Bunny Song”? “The bunny, the bunny, yeah, I love the bunny. I gave everything that I had for the bunny!”
My husband and I recently saw a friend we hadn’t seen in a while. Standing outside the gym where he worked out, he highlighted the facility’s offerings. His words revealed his sense of ownership of the exercise facility. Though he wasn’t a financial stockholder, he had found identity, purpose, and a place to belong amid the mats lined with barbells and other strength-training equipment. This place had become his community and a big part of his life.
An article published in Fortune magazine addressed the values of some young adults—attitudes which pervade much of today’s culture, including the church. “On the Fast Track to the Good Life” noted that many young adults view success as being at the top of a major corporation, believe in themselves and their abilities and lack humility, view any relationship that slows their ascent up the corporate ladder as an anchor preventing their success, don’t value loyalty, and believe little can be learned from previous generations.
Although we’re 5 years apart, people often confuse me with my older sister. From the staff at my favorite coffee shop to my sister’s nursing students, we have many stories of people who try to ask me a medical question or who talk to her about writing. The mix-up seems humorous to us, because we don’t see the similarities that others view so clearly.
We got really good,” Raleigh Becket bragged. He and his brother piloted a “Jaeger,” a huge battle robot that fought massive, dinosaurlike creatures named Kaiju as depicted in the movie Pacific Rim. In their arrogance, the brothers defied orders and went on a reckless mission battling a huge Kaiju alone. The massive beast destroyed their Jaeger, causing it to come crashing down in defeat. Raleigh’s brother was then killed by the monster while his brother could only watch in horror.
In the classic 1991 animated movie Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is the town’s strapping, egotistical hero. He’s a “manly man” admired by the locals and desired by many of the town’s younger women. Most seem to be huge fans of Gaston and overlook his obnoxious ways, except for the young and beautiful Belle.
Writer and media consultant Phil Cooke was on a business trip to Calgary, Canada. More than a thousand miles from home, he thought he was walking around in total anonymity until someone tapped him on the shoulder and asked, “Aren’t you Phil Cooke?” The man who made the inquiry had read Cooke’s books and followed him through social media. Phil wasn’t doing anything that could have damaged his reputation, but the interaction did remind him of the unfortunate stories of executives, pastors, politicians, and others who have crossed a moral line when they thought no one was watching.
While I was helping to organize donations of clothing for a church event, I paused to touch a cashmere sweater’s soft grey cloth. When I realized it would fit me, I considered the possibility of owning it—for free! Volunteers were allowed first dibs on the donations. Cashmere is an expensive fabric, and although I have enough sweaters, this one was calling my name. After some inner turmoil, I finally offered the item to a fellow worker, who joyfully accepted it.
As a Christian radio broadcaster, I get to encourage listeners by presenting truths from God’s Word, and—in the process—I’m also encouraged and built up in my faith. Berni Dymet, a broadcaster, author, and speaker, recently tweeted that he’d recorded a number of radio messages and that he’d been ministered to as he read the Word of God out loud. Hearing God’s Word is a powerful antidote to the very real struggles of everyday life.
For many years my wife and I put off doing some major remodeling to our home. Finally, the carpeting that was more that 35 years old and the kitchen cabinet doors that were falling apart caught up with us. So this year we employed operation clean start! It was out with the old and in with the new as the main floor of our home received an extreme makeover. Now that the process of restoration is nearly finished, it’s amazing to see and experience the difference!
When I was a kid, my mom and I would often go to the grocery store together. As she taught me how to compare prices to find the best deal, she would stroll up each aisle with a list of items in one hand and a calculator in the other. She knew how to make each coin count and how to find the best deal. Now, as my husband and I step out into the unknown as church planters, I face a palpable fear of the uncertainties—some of which are financial. No matter how tightly I hold the calculator, however, I can’t control the future.
In the film High Fidelity, a character named Rob Gordon lamented his history of passivity. “I guess it made more sense to commit to nothing, keep my options open” he said. “And that’s suicide by tiny, tiny increments.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could fit God into a box? When we want to do or say something that’s not Christlike, we could simply place Him in it and shut the lid. Perhaps we’d like to do so just before cursing during a bad traffic jam or when we’re checking something out on Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter that isn’t appropriate. After our dalliance with sin, we could simply bring God back out.
Scene 1: Elijah is on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:16-39). The prophet has declared a test. He and the prophets of Baal will each erect an altar and call to their respective gods. The one who sets the altar on fire will be revealed as the one true God (1 Kings 18:24).