Archive for February, 2009

Taxing the Tithe

by on Feb.27, 2009, under Faith in the Public Square

The government is looking for money, and this week it proved that nothing is sacred in its never ending search for new revenue sources. The Chronicle of Philanthrophy reported that the feds are preparing to tap into the offering baskets of churches, synagogues, faith-based ministries and other non-profits whose life blood is the generosity of private donors.

The proposal to cap the annual tax deductible amount that can be given to non-profit organizations isn’t unexpected. In our increasingly secularized and faith-hostile culture it was really only a matter of time. But what does that say about who and where we are as a nation? What does it mean when we discourage generosity toward organizations like the Salvation Army, an acknowleged model of compassion and integrity in favor of corrupt and inefficient government bureaus?

How misplaced are our priorities when we spend billions on a “war” on drugs and then take steps toward disarming organziations like Teen Challenge that actually succeed at restoring drug casualties to productive lives?

Hello? Does this make any sense? More later.

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Never Late

by on Feb.24, 2009, under Life Poems

Life Poems represent various aspects of how God has actively been involved in changing me into the person He has always intended. Never Late reflects on how times of waiting and silence are transformed into strengthened faith.

Silence is the answer
To often panicked prayers,
The time can even come
Of doubt He’s really there.

Why? the shouted question
Why? Why? the echo sounds,
There are no words of comfort
No solace to be found.

Night’s darkness like a blanket
Holds out the morning’s dawn,
Blackness always present
The will to live near gone.

Emotions dead yet living
Share center stage each day,
Their owners never knowing
Which one will have its way.

Why? becomes Why bother?
Why hope when hope is gone?
When nothing done or spoken
Brings change to things for long.

Faith challenged to its limit
Beyond what first was known,
Before the journey started
A walk, it seems, alone.

Sure of what is hoped for?
Convinced of that not seen?
Then slowly, ever slowly
He shows what this can mean.

In times of desperation
When pressures will not wait,
He acts then, as always
Seldom early, never late.

Through whispers spoken softly
With acts of love and care,
Remembered, not forgotten
Yes, He is surely there.

There with Master’s purpose
Refiner’s work to do,
Love compels His action
Until the task is through.

To trust in times of quiet
To live in peace, not fear
The struggle through the silence
Has taught He’s always near.

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by on Feb.24, 2009, under Life Poems

Life Poems represent various aspects of how God has actively been involved in changing me into the person He has always intended. Renewal is about humiliation and how God used it to fashion a spirit of humility. It is my story – of arrogance, failure, a changed heart, and God’s faithfulness. 

Tall and proud the building stood,
Just off the city square,
Down it looked, on all who passed
A gaze with regal air.

Few there were who ventured in
Who dared to look inside,
Those who did viewed empty rooms
Where no one did abide.

No work went on, no lives were lived
The walls well hid its death,
Fresh coats of paint, the whole facade
Spoke just of health and breath.

Yet nothing lasts forever
There comes an end to fraud,
And the Owner of the building
Spoke with His Father, God.

“The value of this place, you know
Is too great to count as loss,
I think it’s time to bring it down
What ever be the cost.”

So the Master set the charges
Well-timed in every place,
They did their work in clouds of dirt,
No building left, just space.

The neighbor buildings standing
Unscarred on either side,
Witnessed the destruction
There was nothing left to hide.

Debris and tons of wreckage
Mounds piled wide and high,
Stood now in place of structure
All viewed by passersby.

Before the dust had settled
There came the tractors’ sound,
To haul away the refuse
To scrape and smooth the ground.
And when this task was finished
The Owner paused to view,
What once was, and would be
And then began anew.

He ordered more machines to cut
And dig the earth away,
Prepare foundation strong and deep
To last until the day.

Away from eyes this job was done
No one knew or saw,
The depth of re-work needed
To excise every flaw.

To build a building solid
One to stand the test,
For ’til this task was finished
The Owner could not rest.

I do not know the form yet
Of the building that will grow,
To replace the one that stood there
But one thing I do know.

It may be small and modest
Without the royal air,
But heart will be inside its walls
There will be life lived there.

Then the Owner will stop and smile
As His work is finally through,
At last He’ll say “Well done”
He has made all things new.

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by on Feb.24, 2009, under Life Poems

Life Poems represent various aspects of how God has actively been involved in changing me into the person He has always intended. Trust is a continuing testimony of His faithfulness to my wife Pam and me. Even in the hard times … He is there, He is faithful, He is God.

Few have known the privilege
Of more than passing pain,
To move beyond the heartbreak
And count the loss as gain.

Strange it seems to many
Who watch but do not know
That all things we encounter
Are there for us to grow.

To shape us more completely
Increase our trust in Him
Remove all imperfection
And turn our hearts from sin.

Teach us what’s important
New lessons every day,
Joy from tribulation
Communion when we pray.

Trust when there’s no reason
Seen from the world’s view,
Learning strength from weakness
In all that we go through.

Suffering into patience
Patience into strength
Strength at last to hope
When He has worked at length.

Life is filled with sorrows
It’s true for rich and poor
Some always seem to prosper
While others just endure.

One will face the tragic
Yet grow in deeper joys,
Another vainly struggles
‘Til pain his faith destroys.

What makes one get yet stronger
And the other lose his way?
New mercies every morning
Or despair with each new day?

Life is more than science
We can’t explain it all,
To understand more fully
Comes only with His call.

We have design and purpose
Shaped by the potter’s hand
To value what’s eternal
And clearly see His plan.

When viewed upon this canvas
Our suffering and our pain
Form a priceless treasure
We have not lost, but gained.

Still it’s never easy
Life’s struggles that we face,
But He understands our problems
He gives unmeasured grace.

So rest in this true promise
It’s Spirit guaranteed
He’ll never, ever, leave you
He’ll always fill your need.

Those times when darkness threatens?
When hope is all but gone?
In faith just start to praise Him
He’ll there renew your song.

Once more you’ll know His presence
And then, again, you’ll be
Aware that present trials
Can’t match eternity.

Remember, trust Him fully
In everything you do,
You’ll find His tender leading
Each day will see you through.

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A Leader

by on Feb.23, 2009, under Life Poems

Life Poems represent various aspects of how God has actively been involved in changing me into the person He has always intended. A Leader shows the transformed view of leadership from a self-serving perspective to a service-focused one. It is a path I still travel every day, and one that brings great peace and satisfaction in knowing that – slowly – I am being made over into His likeness.

A leader, not a servant
Is what I sought to be
A leader, not a servant
Would be my destiny.

For stardom I was suited
More talented than most
Yet God in His great mercy
Dealt wisely with my boast.

A leader, not a servant?
Is this your muddled view?
What’s a leader, if not a servant?
Asked the One who makes hearts new.

He brought my life true models
Of what a leader is
Men and women, always serving
They were completely His.

Fame was not their portion
They did their work unknown
Yet it was filled with power
That comes only from the throne.

The Lord demands our service
If ever we would lead
For only from a servants heart
Can we truly touch the need.

A leader is a servant
This is the truth of grace
So honor Him, and others serve
That is your rightful place.

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