Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Ben Stein's Last Column...For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called 'Monday Night At Morton's.' (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.) Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.

Ben Stein's Last Column...============================================
How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I 'slug' it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is 'eonlineFINAL,' and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again...Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to..How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a 'star' we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit , Iraq . He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad . He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordinance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded.. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad .The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse.. Now you have my idea of a real hero.I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me.. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York .

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is not believing that God can.

It is knowing that God will. By Ben Stein

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids" by Bob Hostetler

1) Salvation--"Lord, let salvation spring up within my child, that he may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. (Is 45:8; 2Tim 2:10)

2) Growth in Grace--"I pray that my child may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18)

3) Honesty and Integrity--"May integrity and honesty be his virtue and his protection." (Ps 25:21)

4) Courage--"May my child always be strong and courageous in his character and in his actions." (Deut 31:6)

5) Purity--"Create in him a pure heart, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in his actions. (Ps 51:10)

6) Humility--"God, please cultivate in my child the ability to show true humility toward all." (Titus 3:2)

7) A Servant's Heart--"God, please help my child develop a servant's heart, that he may serve wholeheartedly, as if he was serving the Lord, not men." Col 3:23)

8) Passion for God--"Lord, please instill in my son a soul that 'followeth hard after thee'(Ps 63:8 KJV), one that clings passionately to you."

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Goal of Life - Gladly Making Others Glad in God

Our fellowship group at church is studying a John Piper series - Don't Waste Your Life. We followed the study - The Treasure Principle with this series. It just seemed to make sense to follow a study that pressed us on where and how we spend our resources that God has entrusted to us with one that digs deeper into the heart.

This week's chapter that we are studying is the title of this blog. It is really good.

Pastor Erik's sermon on Sunday really pressed this whole week in on me. I have so many people around me to share the gospel with. Why don't I do it????? Why am I not bold in my faith. Hasn't God done a REMARKABLE work in my life? Shouldn't I shout this from the rooftops?

Here are some items from the lesson that really stuck in like a dagger to me...

Do we lean toward Mercy?
Do we default to grace?
Do we have a forgiving spirit?
Without these we will walk away from need and waste our lives.

Piper states that the motive for a forgiving person should be that we have been forgiven by God when we did not deserve it. "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" Ephesians 4:32

Forgiving is essentially God's way of removing the great obstacle to our fellowship with him.

If we experience forgiveness as the free and undeserved gift of joy in God, then we will be carried by this joy, with love, into a world of sin and suffering. Our aim there will be that others, through Jesus Christ, will find forgiveness and everlasting joy in God.

We cannot make anyone glad in God
Joy in God is a fruit of the Holy Spirit - It is the work of God. It is the effect of God's grace. Joy is awakened in the heart of God when God graciously opens our eyes to see the glory of Christ in the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4)

It is the effect of God's grace: "We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity" 2 Corinthians 8:1-2

:Joy in God is awakened in the heart of God when God graciously opens our eyes to see the glory of Christ in the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4)"

Without thus joy in God, there would be no salvation. So when we speak of making someone glad in God, we include the plan and grace of God "which he have us in Christ Jesus before the ages began" (2 Timothy 1:9). I include the all-sufficient redeeming work of Christ in death and resurrection (Romans 3:24-26). We include the divine work of the new birth that gives is a new nature (John 3:3-7 and 1 Peter 1:3 and 23). We include the God-given change of mind called repentance that turns away from sin and turns to God for help (2 Timothy 2:25; Acts 3:19 and 26:20). We include the faith in Jesus Christ that embraces him as the savior and Lord supreme treasure of life (Philippians 3:7-9). We include the progressive change into Christlikeness called sanctification (Romans 6:22; 8:29). We include the entire life of love that counts it more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20: 35).

When we speak of gladness in God, therefore, I mean a gladness that has roots in God's eternal decree, was purchased by the blood of Christ, springs up in the newborn heart because of God's Spirit, awakens in repentance and faith, constitutes the essence of sanctification and Christlikeness, and gives rise to a life of love and a passion for redeeming the world after the image of God. Gladness in God is a massive reality planned and purchased and produced by God in the lives of his elect for the Glory of his name.

I will post the link to Erik's sermon once it is online - it was awesome. How quickly I forget where the Lord has brought me and what he has brought me from......

Friday, January 09, 2009

Happy New Year!

I have been so slack with my blog since last summer. Updating friends and family and recording memories through my Blog are things I hope to achieve this year - in addition to my ten "goals" for 2009. I am not crazy about FaceBook - just due to the time it takes away from my family - so all of you who keep asking me to join FaceBook - I am rebelling. You will have to check here to find out about my life....

I have spent alot of time this week thinking about 2009. Glad that 2008 is over truthfully. It was a very hard year. Daddy diagnosed with Lung Cancer. Daddy suffers a short time and passed away from Lung Cancer. Laurie and mom have kidney transplant. I am diagnosed with Adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalance and begin treatment. All the while, God was so faithful through the trial, but I am glad for a breather from it.

I have made my own goals for 2009 - you will see that they are mostly Christ centered. I can't do it without him - in my own strength I fail. Every time.

Here are my Top 10 Goals for 2009

1) Be more diligent with my quiet time in God’s word – spend time with my Lord daily

2) To guide my family into having a cheerful, Christ centered and glorified home

3) To serve everywhere – work, home, school with a joyful spirit. Say no to the unnecessary and yes to the necessary

4) To show more hospitality – invite friends over more often for Christ centered conversation

5) Get moving daily – get some form of exercise every day

6) To love others in a real and meaningful way – to really listen and help if needed

7) To show my husband that I love him more often and not just talk about date nights - do it

8) To show the girls that I love them with my TIME, not just words

9) PRAY -- diligently for my children, my husband, our business, my church, my pastors, my small group, my children’s teachers and school, my extended family

10) MONEY - Assess where my treasure lies daily. Before I make a purchase, ask if this is something that is necessary, fits into our budget and glorifies God

Here are some things that I gleaned to pray for this week from my study and thoughts into my goals. I did not write them - got some from Pastor John Piper and some from Pastor CJ Mahaney's girls on Girl Talk.

Praying for other Christians -for Spiritual Strength:
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family [1] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Praying for myself so that you're praying in sync with the way God works:
1. For the desire of my heart to be toward God and his Word.
Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to gain. (Psalm 119:36)
2. For the eyes of my heart to be opened.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law. (Psalm 119:18)
3. For my heart to be enlightened with these “wonders.”
[I pray] that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. (Ephesians 1:18)
4. For my heart to be united, not divided, for God.
O Lord, I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. (Psalm 86:11)
5. For my heart to be satisfied with God and not with the world.
O satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)
6. For strength in this joy, and endurance during the dark seasons.
[I pray that God] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. (Ephesians 3:16)
7. For visible good deeds and works of love to others.
[I pray that you] will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord...bearing fruit in every good work. (Colossians 1:10)
8. For God to be glorified.
Hallowed be thy name. (Matthew 6:9)
9. In Jesus’ name.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? (Romans 8:32)

Praying for my kids:
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. (Matthew 19:13-15)

That they will respond in faith to Jesus’ faithful, persistent call.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

That they will experience sanctification through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and will increasingly desire to fulfill the greatest commandments.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)

That they will not be unequally yoked in intimate relationships, especially marriage.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

That their thoughts will be pure.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

That their hearts will be stirred to give generously to the Lord's work.
All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord. (Exodus 35:29)

That when the time is right, they will GO!
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Will post again next week...


Books I Am Reading

  • Humility by CJ Mahaney
  • Praying Life by Paul Miller