The Belly Brigade

anyoneThe Belly Brigade has only one requirement to enter, and it’s not a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly—that’s Santa Claus. By the way, there are only 59 days until Christmas.

Unlike most amusement parks, there are no height restrictions. You cannot be too tall or too short to participant. height-restrictions-apply...

When it comes to speed, you do not have to be like NFL quarterback, Geno Smith who has run the 40 yard dash in 4.59 seconds. You can’t be too fast or too slow.speed

You do not need the beauty of Miss America, the voice of country singer George Strait, or the agility of Olympic Champion Michael Phelps, and you do not need an IQ level that gains you membership into Mensa, the high IQ society.

You join the Belly Brigade when you meet the requirement of just one boot camp basic experience that is summarized in the word—SPLANCHOLOGY.

A form of this word is found in Matthew 9:36 where it describes the emotions of Jesus: When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.

Splanchology is that kick-in-the-gut-moment when you feel the needs of another deep down inside of yourself.

Jesus was a Splanchologist in every sense of the word. When He looked at people He was moved with compassion because He could see their needs and feel their pain.

By the way, the Belly Brigade has no age restrictions. I joined on May 25, 1965 when I was 12 years old. I didn’t know how to describe the-kick-in the gut-feeling that overwhelmed me, but I do know that I was moved with compassion for my mother and my two brothers, and they were Splanchologists for me as well.

Then Jesus, the Splanchologist, said to His disciples: The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers (more Splanchologists) into His harvest (Mt.9:37).

What the world needs is not more hanging judges or bounty hunters, but more people who will see the needs of others, be moved with compassion, start to work in the harvest, and in so doing—enlist in the Belly Brigade.
Think About It!

A White Flag of Surrender

flagWhenever a battle is fought, it usually ends with either a victory dance or a white flag of surrender. On Monday of this week, I raised the white flag.

The first of many skirmishes that would inflict pain on my body began in the summer of 1965. I was playing third base and fielded a ground ball with my nose. The result was a broken nose and the start of what became a rather bad habit—I have broken my nose several times.

As a result of these injuries, breathing through my nose was difficult, and I could not sleep on my right side; so, I decided to undergo a minor procedure that would correct the problem.

My surgery has reminded of the truth of what Paul said to the church at Corinth: if one member of the body suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

While I have experienced some discomfort from my surgery, I have not had any real pain. I have, however, become keenly aware of just how much influence a small member of the body can have on the rest of the body.

The same is true for a church as a whole: We are many members, but we are still just one body. If one part of the body suffers, the rest of the body will eventually feel the pain.

As Paul said in Romans 12, we need to: Detest evil; cling to what is good. Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.

If we have a member of our body suffering, we need to try to help alleviate their pain, and if a part of our body is honored, we need to join in the celebration.
Think About It!


Words of Steel

ironThere is one thing that we all have in common, and it will either be used for the good or the detriment of society. Influence is a power that we knowingly or unknowingly exert upon the life of others.

Solomon spoke of the power of influence in Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Since I used to make knives, I know that the way to sharpen iron is to rub it against another piece of steel or some other object.

When sharpening a knife it is important to use the right amount of pressure, to keep the grind line straight, and to align it to the correct degree. If too much pressure is applied, the knife can be damaged; if the grind line is not straight, the knife will not cut smoothly; and, if the knife is held at the wrong degree, it will either become dull or easily lose its sharp edge.

The same is true with our influence. The words we speak will be either a source of encouragement or discouragement. Solomon said: “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).”

We need to think about the way we speak to a friend, a family, or a co-worker. What do they hear in our words? Are they hearing words that build them up or that tear them down?

When I read the New Testament, I see that we are to use influence to:
• Do good to each other (Galatians 6:10)
• Bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
• Forgive each other (Colossians 3:13)
• Restore each other (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20)
• Encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
• Admonish and exhort each other (Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 3:13)
• Pursue peace and Build up each other (Romans 14:19)
• Stir one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Paul knew the power of influence, and he encouraged Timothy to use his: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2).”

Does the light of your influence blind the eyes of others, or is it a lamp to their feet and a light to their path (Ps 119:105)?