Awe-Inspired Goosebumps

usaf-thumb-450x355I was watching Kansas City play Houston last night, and during a commercial break I peeked at a video on YouTube.  It featured military jets flying low to the ground, and it reminded me of my time in the Air Force.

There were times that I didn’t want to drive through the guard shack and risk having my vehicle searched by the military police, so I would sneak on and off base through a little-known passage.  To navigate this route, I had to drive by the end of the runway.

Whenever a pilot saw my vehicle at the end of the tarmac, he would hug the deck until he was almost on top of me and then go full throttle. To be rattled by the power of the jets was an exhilarating and awe-inspiring experience, that left me covered with goosebumps.

I’m not sure if Isaiah was ever covered with goosebumps, but I do know that He had an awe-inspiring experience when he saw the Lord in His splendor and glory and heard the voice of angels:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” Isaiah cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” ~Isaiah 6

To emphasize the majesty, purity, and holiness of God, Isaiah didn’t say God is holy; he said God is holy, holy, holy.  This means the holy Creator is wholly unlike His creation:

  • He has never felt the pain of a stubbed toe.
  • The ups and downs of the stock market never worries Him.
  • He has never had an infection and never had a shot of penicillin.
  • His resources are limitless.
  • He has never been puzzled by a puzzle.

Our holy God invites the whole of His creation to approach Him in a time of need: We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin; therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. ~Hebrews 4:14-16

It’s awe-inspiring to think that our mountain moving, mercy-filled, and gracious God, invites you and me into the realm of His glory with three simple words— “Come to me.”

Food by the Truckload

redtIn January of 2015, Ford sold 54,370 trucks.  According to estimates by Ford, the company will be able to build more than 700,000 F-150s annually through the combined production of the Dearborn and Kansas City factories.

This is good news, because the average American eats close to two truckloads of food each year. Based on the weight of the food, you will have to fill the bed of a ½ ton truck twice a year for every person living in your house.

Based on food consumption data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American will annually consume about:

  • 630 pounds of milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream per year. Of this number, cheese accounts for about 31 pounds and ice cream for 17 pounds.
  • 195 pounds of meat
  • 250 eggs
  • 200 pounds of wheat and other grains. Of this number, 53 pounds is bread.
  • 280 pounds of fruit
  • 428 pounds of vegetables.

 

There’s another truth about the eating habits of the average American—most have more concerne for what fills their plate than that which fills their soul.  Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

The “bread” from God is not measured by calories; it’s measured by the clock.  Paul said to redeem the time and to, “be very careful how you live—not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, and  taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is (Ephesians 5:15-17).

This is bread that’s needed by the truckload.  How often do you backup to the Bible for a load of fresh bread, or do you back away and grow stale?

The Quotable and Notable Game of Baseball

two_boys_bat_largerWhen I was a kid, many of my Summer days were spent at makeshift ball diamonds at Graham Park, Skelly School or the water tower by Tom’s house.  The evening hours would find most of us at the ball diamonds by McDonald’s Stadium—as in Jim McDonald, not the golden arches.

I have a pretty good understanding about the ins and outs of baseball, but one thing has troubled me for many years:  Why does everybody stand up and sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” when we’re already there?  

This is what I do at 4 AM of a morning:  I give a lot of profound thought to the perplexing mysteries of the universe.  I also try to search and discover the true meaning and purpose of life.

I may have found some answers to secrets of life in the quotes below.  Read these and study the stats on today’s sports page, and you might stay busy until game time:

  • There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens. ~Tommy Lasorda
  • Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher I ever saw. He always pitches when the other team doesn’t score any runs. ~ Tim McCarver
  • Ninety percent of this game is half mental. ~ Yogi Berra
  • There are two theories on hitting the knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither one of them works. ~Charlie Lau
  • The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until the ball stops rolling and then to pick it up. ~ Bob Uecker
  • I watch a lot of baseball on radio. ~ President Gerald Ford
  • I can remember a sports writer asking me for a quote and I didn’t know what a quote was.  I thought it was some kind of soft drink.                ~Joe DiMaggio

Here’s one final quote to illustrate the lack of sophistication in those who don’t love the game:  “The baseball mania has run its course. It has no future as a professional endeavor (Cincinnati Gazette editorial, 1879).”

A Blue Denim Gospel

IMG_0623I’m a blue jeans sort of guy, and I’ve never been much for pomp and circumstance.  Most days of the week, with the exception of Sunday, you’ll probably see me wearing a pair of blue jeans crafted by Lee.

When I slip my britches on of a morning, I see the label to the left.  It speaks of over 125 years of craftsmanship and authentic quality.  When I read this label, I’m reminded of the way God works in the lives of His children.

“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” ~Ephesians 2:10

Each of us are the unique creation of the Master Craftsman.  We reflect the authentic quality of His love, and we are the instruments through which His grace and mercy flow into the lives of others.

When you look at this verse in the words of The Voice, you get a better understanding of the workings of God: “We are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.”

You aren’t some barely legible and hastily scribbled note on a brown paper sack.  You’re a carefully etched piece of poetry written by the hand of God, and the rhyme and rhythm of your life is the evidence of His workmanship.

You truly are a piece of art.

Step Up To The Plate and Take A Swing

pMLB2-19389877dtThis is the time of year when some guys go into some sort of a sports-like-hibernation.  Football season had ended, and they blankly stare at the TV screen yearning for the next kickoff.

Not me, I love the game of baseball, and I watch several games each week.  My fondness for Americas’ game is due to the many memories of my dad and the times we spent together on a baseball field.  He coached, his boys played, and the family rotated from one field to another playing and watching games.

Weather permitting, I played baseball almost 7 days a week. My buddies and I would ride our bikes to a designated field or park and choose up sides and the game was on.

There were usually 3 or 4 of the boys who were the best of the best, and all the other boys wanted to play on their team.  You wanted them to pick you because your odds of winning were much better when you were on their team.

While I was reminiscing about this favorite summer pastime, I thought of John 15:6.  Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

The greatest All Star of all times has chosen you to play on His team. He promises to equip you and empower you to accomplish His will.

The game has begun, so why not step up into the batter’s box and take a swing or two?

Silencing Sound

I’m watching the Royals and the Orioles play game one of the American League Championship Series, and I just reached for the remote. The chants of the crowd that are an invigorating sound to most fans is just nauseating noise to me.

As a result of a head injury in 1972, I have trouble tolerating noise that is prolonged and loud. Whether it is eating in a restaurant or listening to music, what is relaxing to many of you is painful to me. This is why research that focuses on “silencing sound” is interesting to me.

Researchers have discovered that noise cancellation can be achieved by a principle called “subtraction by addition.” Unpleasant acoustic waves are neutralized when an opposing wave is produced to counter the original sound wave. This “subtraction by addition” equals digital silence.

We live in a hyper-active world that is filled with noise pollution and a mindset of louder is better. Like Elijah, we think we have to have an earth-shattering grandstand event to meet our needs and to keep us going. Elijah thought God would appear to him in an amazing manner like a powerful wind, an earthquake, or a blazing fire, but God came to him in a still small voice (I Kings 19).

When Elijah subtracted his preconceived notions about God, he began to discover what he had been missing—the presence of God. To know the presence of God, practice the principle of Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Turn down the volume, turn off the technology, mute the phone, and focus on God. You may discover that silence is really is golden.

I almost forgot, a little over four hours after I started writing this, the Royals defeated the Orioles in the 10th inning. Hmmm…a Kansas City versus St. Louis would make for a great World Series.