Chinese Drywall (pt.1)

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” – 1 Timothy 4:16

I never thought it would happen to me.

Just the other day, I was thinking and thanking God that out of the dozens of houses in our neighborhood that have been gutted because of Chinese drywall, ours was safe.

“Bummer for them!” I thought, grateful that I wouldn’t have to pack my things, clear them out and wait for months while the place where I live is literally ripped apart to extract the toxic substance so many have been afflicted with.

Then I got the report from my roommate, the homeowner. “They found a few panels and we’ll know in three weeks how bad it is and what happens next.”

I never thought it would happen to me.

I have Chinese drywall.

Now begins the waiting in anticipation of the final report.  How bad is it?  How long until we have to leave so the remediation teams can do their work?  How long will it take, and above all else, how could things have looked so good on the outside but be so toxic on the inside?  Why didn’t we see it coming?

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Religion, relationship, service and sin (pt.3)

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” – James 1:27

I learned something interesting about puffins the other day. You know, puffins.  Cute little birds with faces like French mimes.  Apparently, puffins have a gland near the base of their tail that produces a special oil that they coat their feathers with.  This oil helps their feathers stay waterproof and it actually helps them float. Without the oil, the water will soak in and they will simply sink.

Also the other day, I read a beautiful prayer, a prayer of Jesus. In the Gospel of John, chapter 17, Jesus prays to His Father, and in the middle of it, He says these words, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)  Jesus prays that His followers would not be removed from the culture they find themselves in, but that they would be preserved in the midst of it. In a sense, He asks that they would be unstained from the world.

Read moreReligion, relationship, service and sin (pt.3)

Religion, relationship, service and sin (pt.2)

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” – James 1:27

sad_personJames has been called the most practical book in the Bible, and indeed, it is full of great specifics about how to properly live out this relationship we have with God.  If worship is a lifestyle, then James is a how-to-guide for the type of lifestyle God desires for us.  In this context, look at what he says “pure” religion is: “…to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…”

Now, there are a couple of ways to look at this.  The first is to take it at face value, and conclude that if you don’t take time out of your schedule and drive to an orphanage or the home of a woman who has lost her husband, you aren’t doing a very good job of living for God.  There are multiple problems with this.

Read moreReligion, relationship, service and sin (pt.2)

Religion, relationship, service and sin (pt.1)

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” – James 1:27

little_girl_praying_med

It’s become somewhat of a buzz-phrase in church circles lately, “Worship is a lifestyle”.  The point of the phrase is obvious: don’t relegate your idea of “worship” to simply singing a few songs in a church service, but rather, understand that everything we do is, in essence, “worship”.  Every dollar we spend, every hour we commit, every reaction we display, all of it is pointing to someone or something that is our highest glory and greatest treasure. Furthermore, as we read the Bible we find this common thread woven through its pages, that the whole reason we even exist is to bring glory to our Creator and enjoy His presence in doing so.  We were created to worship.

Think about it then.  If we were created for a specific purpose, then it follows that the directions given to us by the Creator would naturally be designed to lead us in to that purpose.  These are the stories, principles, commands and laws found in Scripture.  These are the signposts along the road to lead us to our destiny.  In fact, one could even say that if you took all of those factors and put them together, you might get…

Read moreReligion, relationship, service and sin (pt.1)

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