Thursday, March 31, 2005

Better Off?

For weeks many people have been saying she will be better off. Of course the she to whom they refer is Teri Schiavo. The many are those who favored removing the ng tube. They offered many reasons, "Who would want to live like that?" "She wouldn't have wanted to live like this." "That isn't a real life." etc. Today I must agree with them about the fact that now she is better off. Teri's Lent has ended, her suffering has ceased, her Easter has come and in the words of the Revelation, "Now her dwelling is with God. He will wipe every tear from her eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Rev. 21:3a&4)

Of course, this can be said of each and every Christian at the time of death. Irregardless of how healthy we are, irregardless of the "quality" of our lives, for Christians death is great gain! So, Teri is better off, as will each of His children be when they are called home what ever "shape" they are in when that time comes.

The real question is are we as a nation better off? The final verdict is still out, but I must admit that at present I am doubtful. Our courts have decreed that the value of life is not intrinsic but pragmatic. Some lives are not worthy of protection but rather are deserving of termination. I suppose it was inevitable, once the courts decide when life begins they will end up deciding when life should end. So, are we better off? Only if this death is not in vain and we as a nation return to the roots of our nation and once again decree in conviction and legislation that we have been "endowed by our creator with life."

RevKev
I Thess. 2:12

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Music

In the past few months I have been on a search for new "Christian" music. For many years the Christian music scene has been dominated by the likes of Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, and a few others. (Not that they are bad mind you, just not for me in 2005) There were many why tried the market but it seemed that there was a lack of quality. There were plenty of schmatlzy, over produced, slicked up, "bands" out there but they all seemed to lack the edge of innovation. I found myself listening to alot of U2 and reading the spirituality that they put into their songs. A few months ago I finised a book titled "Walk On- The Spiritual Journey of U2" It was a great read and directed me on this search for meaning in the music that I was listening to. I learned that the memebers of U2 (minus baseist Adam Clayton) were all active Christians and their songs contained praises to the Lord as well as calls for social activisim. I started spening a lot of time in places like Lighthouse Christian Store, and Sonshine Christian Store and on the internet. I have run accross some great Christian music in the past few months and I would like to share them with you. Some of the artists that I regularly listen to include: Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, Kutless, Switchfoot, Reliant K, Casting Crowns, Bethany Dillon, Hawk Nelson, Overflow, Tree 63, Building 429, Mercy Me, David Crowder Band. I encourage you to check out some of these artists who have dedicated themselves to making music that is pleasing to God.

Monday, March 28, 2005

This Joyful Eastertide: Hastening a Resurrection or Unholy Ground and the Schaivo case.

He is Risen!

My favorite Easter hymn is written by George Woodward, This Joyful Eastertide.

"This joyful Eastertide, away with sin and sorrow! My love,the Crucified, has sprung to life this morrow. Had Christ, who once was slain, not burst his three-day prison, our faith had been in vain. But now has Christ arisen, arisen, arisen, but now has Christ arisen!" True being a Scandinavian I love the Dutch tune, but it is the text that makes this my favorite Easter hymn.

There are many who believe that with the pending death of Teri Schiavo, I am writing this on Easter Monday, this will not be a joyful Eastertide. For those who embrace life, who celebrate Resurrection, let me remind you that it is Christ victory over death, and that alone, that can bring ultimate joy to this situation. Teri who will starve to death, if something is not done by our legal system, is one who at the same time has never been hungry, nor thirsty. A child of God from the waters of baptism, a child of God who has received Christ's body and blood through bread and wine, Teri does not hunger and she shall live forever, even though she dies. This is not my opinion, but Jesus' promise. (John 6:35-58)

Yet, while there is eternal joy in the midst of this tragedy, make no mistakes about it, while Easter says "away with sin and sorrow!" we as a nation have, from the bench, legislated sin and mandated sorrow. While there is much ground to cover in this case in regards to end life issues such as: the difference between passive and active roles, oral vs. written directives, family members offering different testimony in regards to a non-communicative patients desires, family members offering to care for the said patient while other members of the family say for any care to be offered would violate the patients wishes, refusing life extending measures vs. removing them, etc. and we can talk about any of them; The ground on which I want you to mentally rest for a moment is this, The legal system of our nation is requiring the death of a living person who is no more in the act of dying than the one reading this post nor the one writing it and who we do not know for certain, differing testimony has been offered in court, would agree with such action and consider it good, right and salutary.

The judicial branch of our government has gone so far as to place a police officer in a hospital room to prevent a mother from bringing water to her own child, lest she drink and live. The state has required the death of a citizen who would continue to live if she were simply fed and many of our own citizens are calling for the death of another because, "they wouldn't want to live like that."

We aren't dealing, at least in my understanding of this case, with the issue of removing life extending technologies from a person who would die without them. We aren't wrestling over an individuals choice to refuse extreme measures. Rather, we as a nation have condemned a person to death by starvation because short of an execution this is the only way she will die at this time. Are we standing on quick sand here? The powers that be in this case have chosen death, and are quite possibly opening a pandoras box for the thousands of citizens in our nation who find themselves in the same physical condition as Teri and for all of us who will at some time face such circumstances either in person or through family and friends.

Rest on this ground for a moment, reflect, pray seek, God's input (read Dt. 30) and know "Had Christ, who once was slain, not burst his three-day prison, our faith had been in vain. But now has Christ arisen, arisen, arisen, but now has Christ arisen."

revkev
I Thess. 2:12

How to...

I have received a couple of comments asking some "how to" questions. This blog is set up to receive comments only from those who have a registered user name with blogger. You do not have to set up your own blog or URL to post comments on this blog. (You may start your own blog if you like.) You can always find some answers to common questions by going to the help page of blogger.com. Thanks for the comments. Keep them coming.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter A.D. 2005

He Is Risen!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The One Year Bible

As part of my seminary education, all of the students in my program are reading through The One Year Bible. If you are not familiar with this type of Bible it divides the entire text into 365 daily readings. One reading from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, one from the Psalms and one from Proverbs. The readings take about 15min. and at the end of the year you have read the entire Bible. By the end of my seminary training, I will have read through the Bible 4 times. We also have a weekly discussion on-line about the readings and talk about how to apply the readings to our ministries. It is a great tool to help all Christians read, mark and inwardly digest God's word on a daily basis. As Paul writes in 2 Timothy, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17) I would encourage you to find time each day to be in the Word. If you are interest in checking out The One Year Bible you can find it on Amazon.com. The ISBN number for the NIV version that I have is 0-8423-2451-8. Good luck and let me know how it is going for you. In the future I would like to start our own on-line discussion using The One Year Bible. What do you think?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

We're All Terminal

We're all terminal! That was the first thing that came to my mind the minute I heard a news report that said 70% of Californians favor physician assisted "termination" for those who are terminally ill. That poll result and future ones like it will in and of themselves spur on future posts to this blog.


This being my first post however, I wanted to make one simple observation: We're all terminal! In Tombstone, one of my favorite movies, Wyatt Earp is visiting Doc. Holiday in a Colorado sanatorium. As he walks to Doc's bedside Wyatt asks, "So, how are you today?" Holiday's response, "I'm dying, how are you?" "Pretty much the same." quips the retired peace officer. Simple, factual observation by Wyatt, we're all terminal. At some point you will die, as will I.
There is no escaping the fact that we are all terminal. Whether it is Scriptural proclamation, "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23) or practical wisdom, "The only things that are certain are death and taxes" and only one has loopholes; the fact remain, We're all terminal.
This blog, while not serving as the official teaching site for the congregation I serve, will be my personal "Wittenberg Door" upon which I will post those things that intrigue, inspire and irritate me. Among them the Biblical, spiritual, ethical, cultural and political issues of our day; as well as Major League Baseball and movies, especially Tombstone. Of course, the chief issue of inspiration for me is the truth that while we're all terminal, those of us who belong to Christ Jesus, we who have been baptized into HIM (Rom. 3:6), will die in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection unto everlasting life.

We who are terminal and yet have the hope of eternity are called to make a difference in the lives of those who are going to heaven and a dent in the number of those who are going to hell. Hence the name of this blog. We are called to make a difference and a dent until the trumpet sounds for us and by the grace of God in Christ Jesus given us through faith we leave behind the terminal and enter the perpetual. (I Cor. 15:53ff) "For the terminal must cloth itself with the perpetual, and the mortal with immortality. When the terminal has been clothed with the perpetual, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

A stat I'm none to fond of would be that 70% of Californians favor physician assisted "termination" for those who are terminally ill. A stat I love is that 100% of those infected with the terminal disease called sin will live even though they die, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus the Lord. To Him alone be all the glory.

Rev. Kev
I Thess. 2:12

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Are You Ready to Blog?

Greetings to all!! Bethany Lutheran Long Beach has now entered the world of blogging. Come back soon for thoughtful discussion from Pastor Kevin and Vicar Seth!! If you want to leave comments, you will need to register with blogger.com. It is FREE so don't worry! Happy blogging!!


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