Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It Needs to Become Personal - The Hole in Our Gospel

If you read in a newspaper about hundreds of children dying of malnutrition in a famine in Africa, you might pause for a moment of genuine sadness - but wouldn't you finally turn the page, read the sports section, check the tv listings, and go about your daily routine? But imagine for a moment that you somehow discovered one of these starving African children dying on your front doorstep the very next morning as you left for church. Would you not stop everything, pick up the child, rush her to the emergency room, offering to pay whatever it might cost to save her life? You would almost certainly respond with urgency as one human being to another, and that far away famine you had read about the night before would very suddenly become intensely personal. You see, our problem is that the plight of the suffering children in a far-off land simply hasn't gotten personal for us. We may hear about them with sorrow, but we haven't really been able to look at them as if they were our own children. If we could, then we would surely grieve more deeply in our spirits. We would weep for their parents, and we would respond with far greater urgency.
- The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, page 108.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

One Man Dies and Another is Born

My father is an intelligent, opinionated, well-read, seminary-trained bi-vocational pastor who spends most of his days writing computer code for a large international company, even though he would rather be preaching the Word full-time and would undoubtedly enjoy spending a lot more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

Since today is his birthday, you should go visit his blog to wish him well and to read up on what he has been posting there. He is quick to point out that the date of his birth is also the date John Calvin died, although that event happened 445 years prior to my father's arrival.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Music - Israel Houghton

Over the past few day, I've been listening to Israel Houghton and am loving it. Particularly, I have been struck by the song "Surely Goodness". (lyrics here) Go ahead and give it a listen. If that melody isn't stuck in your head for a while then you need to go back listen one more time. Meditate on that chorus, as those lyrics as they come from Psalm 23:6. Oh, and the splash of Philippians 1:6 in the bridge towards the end is great.

Another great song from the same album is "Just Wanna Say" (lyrics here).

Those are some great truths wrapped up in some catchy rythms.
This is what I am thinking about today. (Philippians 4:8)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Holmes for a New Millenium?

Evidently, Hollywood has decided that one of the things it will give to the world this year is what would appear to be a bastardized version of the great Sherlock Holmes. Between the ever-present sexual references and the testosterone filled fight scenes, I doubt that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would recognize his most famed creation.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Abortion: China and America

Lisa and I were talking last night about abortion, which was generated by watching this video, which has made the rounds of the internet over the past few days:

I had watched the original sermon segment back in January and found John Piper’s plea to be moving, genuine and compelling.

As Lisa and I talked about the issue of abortion, I referenced an issue I had read about regarding selective abortion practices in China. In early April, the Chinese government acknowledged in the British Medical Journal that most couples in China were selectively aborting female babies in order to attempt to have a male child in the future. As a result, China is facing a generational shortage of females going forward. In fact, it appears that the gender gap in China is intensifying over the past several years and shows no sign of abating. The ramifications of this dramatic increase in the male population in the future are far-reaching and have raised some serious concerns for the Chinese government.

It appears that this issue is a direct result of policy changes the Chinese government made in the mid 1980s, which placed limits on the number of children, the citizens could have. With the arrival of affordable technology and a great amount of governmental funding, the residents of China were given readily available access to not only test for the sex of their unborn baby but to have the abortion procedure performed as well at local clinics when the sex of the child was determined to be female.

And so, within the span of twenty years, the nation of China has implemented governmental policy restricting their citizens rights, the government of China has provided the means to abort the unwanted children and now the government of China is facing an unprecedented social, demographic and economic barrier in the coming years.

How is the Chinese government going to deal with this upcoming issue?
There hasn’t been a direction determined yet, but they have stated that “some imaginative and extreme solutions have been suggested”. What does that mean? How do you interpret “extreme” when the government that is talking has already promoted and provided the means to kill literally millions of Chinese girls every year for the past decade?

Some might say "Well that is over in China and they are a little bit crazy and their government is oppressive, but that could never happen here in the United States of America. We know what we are doing and we are levelheaded and science-driven. We have freedom and liberty to choose to act in ways that our government cannot demand of us".

In America, we hear people screaming about women’s rights and the freedom to choose what to do with their own bodies. I’m wondering what happened to the rights of the approximately 500,000 American girls that are aborted every year and thus denied their right to choose anything...

China is leading the way in policy-driven and government-funded family structure. Abraham Lincoln spoke of the united States Government as being “of the people, by the people and for the people”. Oh, how we have strayed far from that noble thought. The American government has determined that the people who need protection the most are the people it finances the killing of and, as a result, promotes the ongoing slaughter of future generations of Americans.

We are a weaker nation as a result of the ongoing horrific practice of abortion and it doesn’t take many years before you find that your country is reaping the seeds that have been sown. In this case, we are killing the seeds before they are sown and robbing our nation and the world of millions of beautiful children who could one day change the world.

The future of a nation that promotes abortion so heavily is not bright.
Just ask China.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's in a Name?

In “Romeo and Juliet”, William Shakespeare penned a statement that is often repeated:
“What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”

Used to identify us more frequently than any other differentiator, our name carries with it a variety of characteristics, opinions, behaviors, attitudes and activities that have been attached to it based on prior experience or perceived reasoning. It’s not required that these attributes are always appropriately designated, but it stands to reason that if the majority of people who interact with you regularly say the same thing about you when your name comes up, there is probably more than a hint of truth in their perception of who you are.

And so, most people have a vested interest in what kind of attitude or information is attached to their name. Living in this digital information age, it is common to Google your own name to see what the popular search engine returns. Here are a couple of result from Googling my own name:

If you were to search for “Jeremy”, you will find the first result to be that of a popular song Pearl Jam, which is simply titled “Jeremy”. In this song, as well as the video that launched it to popularity, the storyline follows a disturbed and ostracized boy who ends up killing himself in front of his class. Hence, for a time, whenever I would be introduced to someone, I would inevitably her the line “Jeremy spoke in class today…” Thankfully, this song does not in any way reflect my life.

If you were to search for “Jeremy Walker”, you will find the top resulting web page to be that of a film publicist. While I think such a job could be attainable, I do not find it a desirable occupation, nor do I have the necessary talents or qualifications for it. This query will also return numerous websites and images of a guy named Jeremy Walker who is, to the best of my limited knowledge, a male model and possibly also a gay porn star. Obviously, this is not the lifestyle path of my choice, nor do I have physique to warrant anyone taking photos of me without a shirt on. Wowsers!

Searching for “Jeremy * Walker” (with the * representing either my middle initial or complete middle name) returns what appear to be some fairly innocuous results. There’s something comforting about knowing that this representation of your name is not readily attached to the image of a naked man posing for the camera. I take solace in this fact and hope that means there are better things to come from the Jeremy * Walkers of this world.

So, according to Google, there could be a lot tied up in my name that has nothing to do with me. This is the case for everyone. How we perceive them might be totally wrong. What we have heard about them through other people could be a complete misrepresentation of who they really are. Instead of jumping to immediate conclusions based on initial interactions and predetermined prejudices, we should be willing to give them a chance to forge their own name in whatever way they desire.

I, for one, am hopeful that I will be granted that opportunity in the future…

Here’s hoping that I strive daily to live up to my name, which is derived from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah (יִרְמְיָהוּ), which means “Yahweh has lifted” or “God’s chosen”.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Crisis of Credit

I came across this vide a few months ago and finally found it again.
It really helped me gain a better understanding of what was happening in the economy with regards to the "housing bubble" and "credit crisis".
It's worth the 10 minutes it will cost you.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.
(HT: Jeff Shinabarger)