Monday, April 30, 2007
Some people like weekend retreats and conferences, and some don't. I've seen more good than bad. The only danger of them is that there is often a unique spiritual high. And when the feeling wears off, folks are tempted to nostalgically long for those intense feelings once again. But it can happen to any Christian who longs for the days of yesteryear when the Buffalo roamed freely throughout the countryside and they 'felt' really close to Jesus. Such a longing even to 'feel' closer to Jesus is not a bad thing (David described being with God as highest delight-Psalm 84), but to nostalgically, 'spiritually' tread water until those feelings come back, actually retards our growth. In the movie Forget Paris, Billy Crystal can't understand why his relationship with his spouse lacks the excitement it once had. "It's just not like Paris." Paris marked the spot where the two first met and sparks immediately flew like mullet being chased by a giant snook. But the sparks were eventually smoldered when the infatuation period came to a close. It was not until Billy Crystal heeded the advice of his lover, "Forget Paris," that the two could save their marriage. He had to quit nostalgically longing for a past feeling and instead answer the question, "Do I love this person for who she is, or simply how she made me feel?" Such a question is good to ask in relation to any loved one-be it a spouse, friend, child, parent, etc...But it is also an appropriate reminder for Christians, since we are the bride of Christ. I think continually rereading the gospels to remind us of who Jesus was/is/always will be will make us cherish Him for who He is, sustaining us through our spiritual dry spells. This is but one way in which we need to continually cultivate our 'marriage' to Christ. Eventually we'll love Him more, which will consequently bring us more joy, and enable us to "Forget Paris (or wherever it was when you felt so close)"
Posted by Geoffsnook at 3:10 PM
Thursday, April 26, 2007
A month or so ago, Dave Sturkey (a fellow PCA pastor in the area) and I headed out early to fish the artificial reefs for kingfish. After several hours of being extremely jealous of all the other boats catching fish, we finally nailed a big king. But even greater than the fish itself, was the 'honor' (I know, I'm weird) of being Captain Mel Berman's website "picture of the week." I sought this 'honor' several times, with a variety of species of fish, but he never accepted them. Finally, this Wed, the picture was put up on the website. I don't know why I think its so cool (other than the fact I love fish pictures-primarily with me holding them), but the fact is, I really think it's cool. And because of the picture, I've directed numerous friends and family to the web site. If all of my friends and family couldn't or wouldn't see the picture, I doubt that its posting would give me any joy at all. Because joy is meant to be shared. Each time a friend/family member tells me he or she viewed the picture and shares in my excitement, my joy does nothing but increase. Each time I share it with someone new, my joy increases as well. The joy of Christ becomes greater the more we share it with one another. If we neglect to share the joy of Christ (His character, pursuit of us, forgiveness, what he's teaching us, answered prayer, convictions, etc...), particularly with those within the Church, we limit both their joy and ours. Christianity has to be actively lived out in community (Acts 2:41-44)-not privately as we are proned to do-or else everyone's joy will be threatened. You can click here for the picture, and share the joy. It will be removed from the site on May 2nd, so do it quickly.
Posted by Geoffsnook at 2:01 PM
Monday, April 23, 2007
As I pulled in the parking lot at DeSoto mall, I noticed a lad who had just put on a T-shirt. His clothes were tattered a bit and he looked the opposite of 'clean cut.' My thoughts first went to "This is the difference between a mall in Bradenton and one in Sarasota." In Sarasota, people are well dressed, clean cut, smoke less, look nicer, etc...Well, I got out of my car, left my kayak strapped to the top, and started walking toward Dillards. Then as I approached the glass doors, I saw my reflection, and realized exactly how I appeared. This was my first stop on the way home from my fishing trip. I noticed a man, about 6'2'', with a dirty blue long sleeve, salt stained fishing shirt, cut-off kakhi shorts with a hole in the back enabling all to see my underwear, and some greasy, unkept hair (though fading fast) on top. I was about to walk into Dillards. I looked repulsive, far more than the lad who just put on a T-shirt. And then it hit me like some bad salsa; it's far easier to see dirt on other people than to see it on yourself. It would help me if I looked in the mirror more often before judging others. Maybe that would actually stop the judgment process all together.
Posted by Geoffsnook at 4:58 PM
Thursday, April 19, 2007
This is just a thought, but isn't it weird that some people become afraid of things later in life that they weren't afraid of when they were younger? For example, most kids are scared of the dark, but are not afraid to pet a snake, pick up a frog or lizard, or crush a spider on the prowl. But when we get older, we lose the fear of the dark (for the most part), yet in some ways we become more afraid of a lizard running loose in the house or become scared to do battle with the dreaded spider. I don't think this qualifies as a "Deep Thought," but as "Just a Thought." Reminds me of an old (but I guess they're all old by now) Bob Dylan song My Back Pages when he writes, "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."
Posted by Geoffsnook at 11:15 PM
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I've written several articles for the Bradenton Herald, but only once have they used the correct title. I know they know more about selling papers than I do, but nobody knows how to give a better title than I do. Well, I'm sure there are some people out there more gifted, but titling things is one of my spiritul gifts. I learned that I'm not good at titling art pieces, but when it comes to sermons, papers, or articles, you don't question the Title Master. The Herald doesn't really question, they just change. Anyhow, here's the article, which should have been titled,
"Happy Are Those Who 'Make It Big?'"
"Happy Are Those Who 'Make It Big?'"
Posted by Geoffsnook at 10:50 PM
Thursday, April 12, 2007
If you've never watched the Pursuit of Happyness, I highly recommend it. I recently wrote an article for the Bradenton Herald dealing with some of my reflections on the movie. But this is a different reflection, so please don't stop reading. Is the pursuit of happiness just another 'trivial pursuit?' It certainly is a 'trivial pursuit,' or even harsher, a 'chasing after the wind' (as the writer of Ecclesiastes puts it) if happiness is found solely in the attaining of a goal. The problem is that this really is our mindset much of the time. You might think that money will make you happy. Eventually you'll realize it won't. But the danger is that you graduate (but don't realize it) to more 'spiritually acceptable goals.' For example, Amy and I would like to start a family. Will we be happy only when that family comes to us (via birth or adoption)? Well should a child come to us "in the usual way," we'll get new things to worry about. The health of the child, sex (although I'm more inclined to take a girl now then I was a few years ago) would represent just a few concerns. Then of course, my next goal might be success in school. But is he/she good in sports (I'm thinking of scholarships of course)? What about his/her spiritual condition? Will I only be happy if he/she is growing in faith? What about what college he/she gets in to? Then who they marry-will they make a mistake? Where will they live? Again what about their faith (the most important concern a parent can have)? As you can see, the questions never stop. And as soon as one goal is reached (that is supposed to bring happiness), it is simply replaced by the next question. All along I may never have sought my delight in the Lord. I think its probaby better to do what the bible says, and "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." If I'm not happy now in the Lord, I'll never be happy, not even with a 3 gospel centered, Reformed, Christian kids who grow up to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who take me fishing in their Hewes flat's boats in the offseason. It's true. If God is not our first, and highest delight, we'll never be happy.
Posted by Geoffsnook at 2:29 PM
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
On my kayak fishing forum, I witnessed something I wish I would see more often: an apology. Someone posted a fairly sharp unfounded accusation about a particular man stealing his fishing spots. This triggered a fairly honest and direct response from the accused party. After a series of forum posts siding with the accused, the harsh accuser actually admitted to the accused that he was wrong! An actual apology! Now of course preceding the apology was the standard, "It takes a big man to admit he's wrong (there's always pride mixed in with humility)," but it was an actual apology. Then posts soon followed showing great appreciation for his apology. Two things worth noticing here: 1) apologies are seldom uttered in the church, as far as I've experienced. I wonder if unbelievers apologize more than we do 2.) the response to an apology is more often well received than ill-received. We ought not to be afraid of sinning against others. If we're going to be in relationships and community, we will sin (not excusing it, but it is a reality). Being afraid to apologize is really the bigger problem. We Christians ought to do a lot more apologizing than we currently do. We'd probably be suprised at how many more people will listen to us. And maybe they'll like us more.
Posted by Geoffsnook at 10:37 PM