Sunday, March 21, 2010

Two Dudes and a Urinal

I know the title of this blog is enough to make anyone stop and go "uhh." But let me explain...

We just got back from our annual trek to Pensacola, FL and we were welcomed back to Oklahoma with snow. I know Saturday was the first official day of Spring but it would seem as though no one told Oklahoma it was now officially Spring. From 75 and white beaches to 30 and snow, wow is all I can say.

So on with the two dudes and the urinal...

If you have ever been on a long road trip, then you can understand the term "pack light". This is a term, I have recently learned, that teenage girls are not able to understand. I said "pack light" and they heard "mwa mwa mwa mwa mwa mwa", you know the sound that Charlie Brown's teacher made every time she talked. So before we can even get on the road I spend the first "official" two hours of our vacation playing a game of tetris with our luggage on top of our car.

So with luggage packed, a stack of DVD's for the passengers, my trusty itouch, and a full tank of gas we start our journey almost mid morning last Saturday. The trip, in-spite of the rough start, was uneventful and everything was going great. We stopped every couple of hours so we could stretch and walk around have a few laughs and keep moving towards Pensacola Beach, a vacation at last, no phones, no worries just a stress free drive to the coast...

The scenery was great, the conversation was good, and the weather was warming a little at each stop the further south we went. We said to ourselves, "this is amazing, this is great what could go wrong..." Have you ever asked a question, that after looking back at it you wish you could take it back? Yeah, me too and that one was it.

So we make a stop in Bunkie, LA for drinks, restroom, snacks, the usual stuff. We all head in to the store and go our separate ways at the door, each of us on a mission. My mission was the bathroom because of a 6 shot Americano from Starbucks. There were a lot of people at this place and like the women, the men were taking turns in the bathroom too. When all of a sudden there are two guys to my right yelling at each other over who's turn it is to use the urinal. It would seem one came in with what was an "emergency" for him cutting in front of another guy. I'm thinking that this can't really be happening, can it?

So everything escalates, from a few harsh words to a full yelling match and then it happens... "THWACK!" The older guy hits the younger guy and I'm thinking to myself, "this really isn't happening is it?" But it is. I try to get out of the way, thankful for once that I'm not a part of or the the cause of this.

What I didn't know was my whole family who were in the store heard all of the ruckus and they came running towards the bathroom to try and get a glimpse of the guys at each other thinking the whole time is was me at the center of it....

So this one little event would mark a week full of other little events that I would sit back and look at with one simple thought.."wow, really?...."

But God used all of this during the week in my bible study and He kept bringing me back to this same verse in Habakkuk 2:20 "But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him."

No matter what was going on around me,
God was still in control.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Living in an out-of-control world

As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, That's enough for now! You may leave. Acts 24:25

Paul went all over the Roman Empire preaching the grace of God and the salvation that comes only through faith in Jesus. He was quite emphatic about God’s mercy, both in his arguments and in his letters. We are saved by grace alone. So why, when defending himself to Felix, did he speak of righteousness, self control and the judgment to come? Why didn't he speak of grace?

Maybe Paul meant to portray himself as a lawful citizen, not a troublemaker who would stir up Felix’s territory. Maybe he was trying to tap into whatever moral sentiment had attracted Felix to his Jewish wife. But a likelier reason one that is very relevant to our times is that Felix was a Roman, largely unacquainted with the law and satisfied with the options of the Roman pantheon. The empires religion had numerous patron gods to pick and choose from, most with their own easy morality. In such a lifestyle, grace means nothing. Conviction must come first. Righteousness, self control, and judgment must be taught.

What does grace mean in our society? Our generation? In the minds of those who are convinced of their sinfulness, it is like a refreshing oasis of relief from a dry spiritual desert. But for those who have embraced a fuzzy, relative morality the 'whatever you like' ethics of our age, grace means nothing.

Why would a generation that has defined its own easy standards need a merciful God? What is there to forgive? That's why we must live in a way that conveys Gods purity not holier than thou judgment, but a radical, sacred, change of lifestyle. Instead of fearing that our friends will respond as Felix did, we should rather fear a generation that has lost any concept of sin. Self control is a foreign idea in our society.

Live in a way that makes your friends, family, and co-workers want what you have. Live in a way the your life will stand apart, and your world just might see its need for God.