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What Does This Mean to You?

How did you first interpret the image above? Did you read: "You be for me." or did you read: "You before me" I'm not suggesting that this is some subliminal test to determine whether or not you are a selfish or unselfish person. But I found it disturbing that even though I originally meant to create a graphic that said "you before me" (Philippians 2:4), I found myself reading it the selfish way... and I created it! Perhaps I'm just a selfish person. But maybe this is a good reminder that it is sometimes easy to view those around us as nothing more than a tool to get what we desire. This is not Christ-like thinking. In fact, it's the exact opposite. You've already been given the mind of Christ (if you are "in Christ"). So start thinking like Him. He was actually God, yet didn't think that was something he should clench his fist around. So he willingly took a demotion and chose to be born as a mere morta

The Truth About Opinion Polls

Do you remember when the evening news would report things that recently happened without citing statistics from the most recent poll regarding said events? I can't watch "news networks" anymore without the anchors referring to one poll or another several times in each five minute segment. I feel a little like I am being told what to think, or whether my opinion is valid. Should I feel bad that only 25% of Americans agree with me? Should I have a sense of pride that my opinion is shard by 82% of surveyed homes? This has been a long time coming. Decades ago we began this journey which has slowly eroded the idea of truth and morals in favor of opinion and majority. The actions of government officials are no longer judged by whether or not they are good for the country, but by how they impact the official's popularity rating. Legislation is no longer driven by the nation's best interest, but by impact it will have on re-election. Let me suggest

Chiasmus Alert!

Okay. Most people get absolutely no thrill from discovering chiasms. I suppose many people wouldn't know chiastic structure if they sat on it. But some people like a good chiasm every now and then, and when I come across one in a passage I'm preparing to preach, I get downright giddy. ( Here is a quick tutorial on Biblical chiastic structure ) ( And here is a wikipedia article about it ) Anyway, for those who are interested and enjoy this kind of thing. Here's my rough sketch of Philippians 2:3-8... Do nothing from rivalry or conceit Look out for the interests of others Take for yourself the mind of Jesus WHO WAS GOD He didn't grasp to keep his equality with God He made himself nothing He submitted to death And there it is. I'm sure someone can do (and has done) a better job with this, but I just thought I'd throw it out in case some of you wanted to see this, stew on it, or throw a comment my way...

The Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Tattoo Removal

Lately, there's been a lot of talk about national health care. I imagine eventually the government will figure out this interwebs thing and the Affordable Care Act will become law. Anyway, I’ve been thinking that a piece of this health care plan ought to be government funded tattoo removal. It seems to me that this would be well within the bounds of the “inalienable” rights afforded to us by the constitution. Here’s my thoughts. Tattoos are wonderful things, and there are many people out there who love their tattoos and are so grateful that they were able to get them. They would never even think about removing their tattoos, and that’s great for them. I’m glad they are able to have that kind of relationship with their ink. But… there are some people who, after going to the tattoo parlor, may suffer from what I would call “tattoo regret”. They suddenly realize that what they did the night before could very well have a significant permanent impact on their life. It could inf

Generosity Makes the World Go 'Round

I once had a crazy experience at Barnes and Noble in Muskegon. (by the way, I love this Barnes and Noble; and I love their cafe because they’ll still serve Sumatra unlike that “other” coffee place with the green circle logo!) About 30 minutes before closing time; Marianne, Liam, and I stopped by to grab coffee and read for a bit while we waited for Emma to finish up her Senior High Bible Study thing (SNL). I ordered a grande black coffee (I’m of the mindset that if you need cream or sugar in your coffee, then you don’t really like coffee). The young barista asked if house blend was okay, and being the gracious fellow I am, I said, “sure.” Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough coffee left. He couldn’t quite fill my grande (medium) cup. So he showed me the cup and asked, “Is this okay, or would you rather just have a tall (small)?” I said, “Whatever, tall is fine.” Then he proceeded to pour my coffee out of the grande cup into a tall cup. When he was done, there was about 1/8 inch

When Your Important Things Are Drowning In The Sea Of Good

We went to a yogurt place last night. It's a pay-by-the-pound joint, so after dispensing our preferred flavors of frozen yogurt, we each added toppings and set our finished concoctions on the cashiers scale. While our styrofoam dishes sat on the scale, I noticed a difference between my dish and my son's. I had cappuccino yogurt with a few chocolate chips and a few peanut butter chips tastefully sprinkled on top. I had no idea which flavor my son had chosen because whatever yogurt he had was completely covered by the glut of toppings with which he had filled his bowl. I am certain, though, that he enjoyed his "yogurt." Drowning the main thing in other good things may not be a bad practice in yogurt world. It might actually lead to quite tasty creations. However, in most of life, losing sight of the main thing because of too many other "good" things can have devastating consequences. In the pursuit of money and promotions, some have lost their fami

Okay or Outstanding: Choosing Generosity Over Selfishness and Despair

A lot of time in life, “okay” is good enough. When I get my haircut, I don’t need “outstanding”, I just need “okay.” (I realize that may not be true for everyone) Sometimes, “outstanding” is important. I’m not okay being just an “okay” father to my children, I want to be “outstanding.” I think that a proper perspective of okay and outstanding is a great way to develop contentment and generosity in our lives, while also finding victory over despair and selfishness. Here’s the simple formula: When you GIVE, be satisfied with nothing but outstanding. When you RECEIVE, be satisfied with okay. --------------------- Generosity is the practice of giving your best to others, even when it requires you to sacrifice or to be a servant. Contentment is the art of accepting less than you expect, knowing that it is most likely more than you need. ---------------------- Selfishness is the act of hoarding your resources at the expense of others . It is the polar opposite of generosity. It