The Boardroom (Parts 3 and 4 of 9)

He didn’t have to worry for long as a woman pulled open the doors and greeted him warmly. The meeting would be held in this room. It was dominated by an oak table that looked as if it was as heavy as it was elegant. The walls were a dimly lit dark red and all the accents were either of wood or carefully chosen complimentry colors. All in all, he had seen similar meeting rooms at his work place, so seeing one here felt slightly out of place.

“I’m Mrs. Wright, the hostess,” the woman began warmly. She resembled the only actress in Hollywood that was respected for her movies and charities mostly because there was no blemish on her record. The long, curly brown hair had been accented with her slightly red make-up that was all the more subtle in the light. She stood tall in a knock-off dress of that actresses favorite designer and almost matching high-heels. Mr. Green had the distinct impression that the woman would have been as successful in Hollywood as she was in her present work. Mrs. Wright continued, “I was so honored to discover that the meeting was to be held here. I had almost forgotten about this room, but as far as a last-minute environment can be put together, my staff did very well. So it seems half of us are here. Your seat is beside mine.”

“How did you know that? Neither of us have met before.” Mr. Green asked.

She smiled sweetly, “By process of elimination. One guest is already seated, one guest I know, and you must therefore be Mr. Green, neither seated yet nor known to me. Now we do have some sustanence for your pleasure, freshly brewed Chai tea, crisp hothouse cucumber sandwiches, aldar smoked salmon sandwiches, and an array of cookies.”

It was quite a spread. Mr. Green passed up the sandwiches and took a double helping of cookies to wash down the Chai tea. He noted that the seated guest looked familiar, but he couldn’t place where he knew him. While waiting, Mr. Green sipped the too hot tea and wondered just what was going on. Not long after he was seated, the last two guests walked in as if they owned the place. The man sat at the head of the table. The woman talked with Mrs. Wright before taking her seat on the opposite side of Mrs. Wright. After a few minutes the man stood up and called the meeting to order.

“I am Professor Oaken. I borrowed my alias from the classic ‘July 4th: Intergalatic Independance Day’ The rest of your alias were drawn by lot from a staffer’s lost baseball cap. None of us can tell each other who we are, but all of us carry the necessary credentials. To my right is Ms. Veracruz and Dr. Wong. To my left is Mrs. Wright and Mr. Green. As we are all well aware, recent events have forces to make the educational system give a few concessions namely, religion will be taught in high schools nationwide at the beginning of the next calendar school year. Mrs. Wright?” The man stated.

The Boardroom (Parts 1 and 2 of 9)

“Your presence is hereby requested at Creek High School. You will be known as Mr. Green. Your knowledge and a respectful suit are all you need bring.”

The mysterious parchment note read. As if to accent the message, it was all written carefully by hand in green ink. It was an elegant touch.

Mr. Green had lived in the city all his life, he had even attended Creek’s rival, Fairview. Fortunately, there was a map that displayed the route and location of the meeting included in the same envelope as the note. Perhaps it was irony when Mr. Green pulled into Creek High School’s parking lot in his green pick-up truck.

Some years had passed since he jogged onto the football field as a rival ready for battle, however it was a different feeling entering the school as a guest. It had always seemed like a school more fit for the relaxed countryside, although it was an island of trees in the city. The greenhouses, the fields, the landscaping, and the buildings of the complex did not show the school’s long history. In the decades since the school was merely a one-room classroom, the buildings had been destroyed and rebuilt several times.

The place was exquisite and luxurious, it was most certainly the halls of education for the sons and daughters of the wealthiest neighborhoods of the city.

His map told him to traverse the hallway beside the cafeteria. Windows were everywhere, to little gardens that border the cafeteria and to the spacious classrooms as well as the immense library. Beyond the northern garden was a small door, like those of closets and other areas closed off to the students.

His eyes were filled with curiousity as he entered that room. Firstly, he saw a waiting room with a secretary’s desk that led to a little hallway with an office or two on both sides. The doors were open to reveal small spaces, empty desks, and cob-webbed chairs. The far end of the hallway held two spectacular wooden doors, ornately carved. There was light and warmth escaping from the other side. He stood a second wondering how best to enter, should he push open both doors to make an entrance?

Obedience Today

Cambria – Hebrews 4:6-11, “6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
   “Today, if you hear his voice,
      do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”

There is nothing like just enough rest. We’re designed for the need to rest. The effects of getting less than optimal sleep over a long period of time is culmulative. God is our rest, not simply sleep, but tranquility. Our fast-paced world may not honor Sabbath-rests, but we should simply for our own good. Of course, proper rest is contingent on obedience and God’s rest demands it.

Psalm 95:7-8, ” 7 for he is our God
       and we are the people of his pasture,
       the flock under his care.
       Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, 
       as you did that day at Massah in the desert,”

Remember the Israelites during their wandering? It was a time of testing and quarelling. Many names they gave various places reflect that. Elsewhere in the New Testament, it was explained that the Israelites passing through the Red Sea was their baptism and the 40 years in the wilderness was their walk with God on the way to the Promised Land. The original generation that saw God’s hand upon Egypt didn’t make it. Their obedience was not according to God’s standards, but their own. Don’t harden your heart, or you too will miss out on the Promised Land.

The time of God’s favor and the day of salvation is right now.

Calisto MT – (I’ve read ‘Bad Christians Happen to Good People: How We Have Failed Each Other and How We Can Reverse The Damage’ by Dave Burchett to get a better idea of what I’m up against. I plan to read his follow-up book: ‘Bring ’em Back Alive: A Healing Plan For Those Wounded by the Church’ soon. I understand perfectly well the implications of the points in the book. I’ve been in three denominations and have seen for myself the pain that it causes. At one point we were so tired of going to the church we left the decisions about which one to somebody else. At any rate, I remember being told that there was once a group of mediators who would resolves situations that the church itself can’t settle. I think we had better start training people to be mediators – biblically – because there are alot of denominations and people who have sworn of churches because of them and the people therein.)

2 Corinthians 6:1-2, “1As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2For he says,
   “In the time of my favor I heard you,
      and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

It’s been said by many that they have plenty of time to be a Christian after they live like they want for a while. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, but too many believe it is. If you want to to be a Christian eventually, why not start today? Now you’ll recieve many more blessings than you would if it were later.

Isaiah 49:8, ” 8 This is what the LORD says:
       “In the time of my favor I will answer you,
       and in the day of salvation I will help you;
       I will keep you and will make you
       to be a covenant for the people,
       to restore the land
       and to reassign its desolate inheritances,”

Those of us who have read the end of the book know this: If you wait until the last minute, you may not be able to change your mind. This is the day of salvation and the time of His favor, there’s no better time to come to Him.

The Big Trap

Californian FB – (It’s been some time since I last visted my uncle, but I remember well the trap he made to deal with the wild pig population on the farm. He had a solid and high fence put up with a slide-down gate supported open by a loose beam. He would put down corn all around the beam and he explained that the pigs would run into the circular fence so eager to get to the food, they run into themselves and the loose beam, knocking it down in the process which closes the gate. That year, we had some excellent smoked ham and there was plenty to go around.) Rome knew that it’s days were numbered, but buying more time was a simple matter of providing food and entertainment, a buffet of either and both for the price of free. It reminds me of story that should be taught …

Back in the old days, there were swamps interspersed throughout the states. One such swamp – Okee for short – had a particular problem with visciously wild (or wildly viscious) pigs. People tried for years to hunt them out the old fashioned way, but to no avail. One day however, a young man asked for two things: 1: a truck load of bags of corn and 2: directions to the infamous pig-filled swamp. Every few weeks thereafter, he would ask for corn, until some time later he had a much different request. He wanted the locals to help him haul in the pigs that he had captured alive. They inquired as to the details of this unbelievable feat. It was a sizable reply, but since I’m boiling down the story to its bones, essentially the man replied that he had been putting the corn into the clearings where it in no way threatetened the pigs until they had been trained to go to the clearings for their food. (for it was much easier than doing what wild pigs to do get their food), as time progressed he built the fence around them, allowing them plenty of oppurtunities to escape and so they felt that they did not need to. Just that day he finished the fence by securing the gate. Now the pigs – three dozen of them – were trapped.

Rome used the same trick, more or less. Only to keep their citizens from realizing their fence, they entertained them. When the barbarians over-ran the outer reaches of Rome’s empire, it’s citizens were entertained and fed – for free. When Rome had lost whole towns, provinces, and countries to the ravaging wild-men, their citizens were entertained and fed – for free. When the doom was upon them only then it was too late. The people were fed and entertained, but caught unaware as the empire was halved and began its slow descent into death, destruction, and despair. At least the people were fed and entertained. I wouldn’t put it past Satan to use the same trick on his enemies.

But there’s no way, with the immense history of the world known to us would America allow itself to be fed and entertained as it spirals into a slow descent into dealth, destruction and despair. No, we are not over run by barbarians, and doom-bringing wild-men. Ignoring the fact that the average democracy lasts only two hundred years and never survives a moral decay into faithlessness. I’m certain that we would, we probably, maybe even might, okay, we won’t stop giving ourselves bonuses from the treasury, rewarding worklessness, and entertaining the masses, but we just might meet such tough circumstances that we will return to God who can give us the only true freedom.

A Dismal Report: Bad News Arrives at Bad Times

Calibri – I guess the apostles were always dismayed to hear a bad report from the churches they had invested so much of themselves into. Now I feel the same way. The church building that established me in my faith and houses a wonderful church family now suffers.

The details even I don’t know them all, but it follows the usual progression. This is a time where action is needed but nobody wishes to do anything about it. So when it was required for contracts to be signed, they went along with it. Then when it became necessary for worship members to dress the part, it was okay. Now that they are mandated to give a certain amount, they can do nothing but agree.

Condemnation, intimidation, and all sorts of things that have no place in God’s house are everyday plaguing that building and those worshipping within. And who, you might wonder is the guilty party. Those who refuse to take action but are angered by the radical changes, those complacent in the status quo but are unwilling to tend to their brothers and sisters concerns, or the leader that steered his boat into traditionalism and legalism only common in the most extremely fundalmentalst sects of that denomination?

So as you can see, my heart is broken that my old church family, full of wonderful people suffers, is hurt emotionally and spiritually, but are paralyzed by their fear. I know that the afore meantioned leader is devoted to God somewhere in that heart, but having been given a church at a young age didn’t give him the oppurtunity to learn to lean on him. He is in charge. He steers the church. It’s his boat. However, he has forgotten that his boat was purchased, built, and established in the blood of God’s son.

So I knew that when I heard “nasty” was used to destribe the situation, it was an understatement. This is now a time of trial and testing, especially for the leader, but for the passengers as well. Are they too connected to the church boat and are forsaking the church fellowship in many of the other churches? Are the unwilling to get involved to be the Nathan to the David that is leading them? Are they going to remain on the sinking boat? Will they only resort to prayer?

I know from the Bible that some wayward disciples have been handed over so that they may come to realize their error and be saved. Would God do the same to His wayward church? I know that this problem is a wound in a close-knit church, one that everbody feels. It’s going to have casualties. I may already be counted among them.

The healing process may be even be more disasterous depending on how long this slide into extreme fundalmentalsim lasts and how far it is allowed to go. I just hope that bitterness can be overcome by forgiveness. And people who swore off church don’t forsake the fellowship for the sake of the mistake of one leader who has temporarily forgotten to serve God first and the denomination last.

Gonna Goin’ On Doin’ Good

Bookman Old Style – (The day is comming. We moved to Indiana knowing that it was merely a stepping stone to get to the other side of the creek. Ten years later, we will finally begin the process of jumping to the other side. We’re going to stay put until the school year is out, then we’ll move on down to the retirement property. I’ll help build my parents their place, it’s the least I can do. I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’ll remain available to God. The puppies are learning how to escape.)

Considering the state of all the states, there couldn’t be a better time to discuss the topic of doing good. Reading through several verses, I realized that:

 

1.) Doing good requires persistance, it’s like a pineapple fruit. If you plant it today, you’d have to wait three years to see your fruit growing and a little longer for it to be ripe enough to harvest. When we think of doing good, it’s volunteering or something that can go down on the resume. Then there are the mission trips and building projects that get entire Sundays devoted to where you went and what you did.

Romans 2:7, “7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”

Galatians 6:9-10, “9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

 

2.) The people were instructed to do good so that nobody could have anything bad to say about them. Has anybody ever been condemed for doing too much good and being too helpful? Nope! It’s a pure joy to have somebody do those menial tasks you dislike to free you to do bigger and better things. Have you heard the things people say about Christianity? We’re just not doing enough good.

Titus 2:7-8, “7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”

1 Peter 2:12, 15, “12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us…15For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

 

3.) We’re to do good to all people, including fellow believers. There are no exceptions.

4.) Doing good ought to be learned by example.

In the New Testament, Tabitha was always doing good and helping the poor. Cornelius gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. Jesus did a whole lot of good everywhere He went.

 

5.) Doing good glorifies God.

6.) Doing good means that you’ll never be out of work or unproductive.

Titus 3:1-2, 8, 14, “1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men…8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone…14Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.”

 

7.) Doing good pleases God. What could be better than that?

Hebrews 13:15-16, “15Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Wrong Motives

Book Antiqua – (To borrow from Howie Do It, I rank my mood at cyan three. The computer is suffering from extensive changes caused by a teenager. I’ve found a toy called the Mindflex – if you focus on the ball while wearing the headband, you can move it up or down. There are a few hoops and what looks to be a funnel on the playing field. It reminded me of the TNG episode where the crew got addicted to a similar game only it was an electronic headseat as opposed as to the actual ball suspended by brain-wave activated jets of air. Too bad it was designed for eight-year-olds and will set you back eighty dollars.)

James 4:1-3, “1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

It’s taken me a little time to think out just what sort of motives we need to ask with. I mean, it’s not like we should pray, “I pray that you give me tic-tacs so I can cure her bad breath.” or “I pray that he takes a bath so it will be more pleasant for us to sit next to him at church.” It’s so easy for us to pray for the things we want, why would we pray for anything else? We know all the verses. God being a good father gives to us generously as we are His children. We don’t always get what we want though. We’ve seen what happens to children who do, hence the phrase ‘spoiled rotten’. So what are the right motives? His.

We should ask God for whatever we want, but we should ask Him according to His will. We shouldn’t expect every pleasure and whim to be fulfilled, but every need will be met. The hardest part is asking knowing that you’re going to use what you’ll recieve on nothing that’ll please you, but that will please Him. What are His motives? What pleases Him? He sent Jesus so that all might be saved. We can’t save everybody from everything, but the land of material blessings could learn to share with its brothers and sisters world wide to help fulfil their needs. There are people here that are in need. When we ask Him, we must believe and not doubt. We’re dealing with a living God who gives us the rain we need in its season, surely he will give us what we need. The more we follow Him, the more we will want what He wants, so I think, the more we would see Him giving in our day to day lives.

Plot Extremes

Bodoni MT – In this house, we like our disaster movies. Categories Six and Seven are two such movies. In the sequel, Category Seven, a television ministry plays heavily into the plot. One worker in the ministry decides to use a recent headline as inspiration for a series of actions right out of the Book of Genesis. Fortunately, no harm came to the innocents, but one cannot ignore the man’s theology. He believed that he needed to prove his love for God and to thank Him for His salvation by doing something to call people’s attention to God.

Anybody else might have joined a relief operation or signed up for a mission trip. He had to take things to an extreme. It’s not difficult to imagine how this could have happened. A leader in the ministry publicly praised a person for sending them the deed to his house and assured him that he would have a home in heaven. People will go to one of two extremes in the absence of Biblical teachings. They will give everything or they will give nothing. They will do something outrageous or they will do nothing at all.

James 2:14-26, “14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
 18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
      Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

 20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

 25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

‘To Kill An American’

Berlin Sans FB – You probably missed this in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is. So they would know when they found one.

(Good one, mate!!!!)

‘An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan.The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.

The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. Americans welcome the best of everything…the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.

The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It’s been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.