Monthly Archives: December 2010
We live in the information age. That’s not news to anyone. And it’s changing all the time. In 2006 there were 2.7 billion google searches. In 2008 there were 31 billion google searches. I have no idea how many there were in 2009 or 2010 but you can bet it was more.
In fact, before you read anymore of this post check out this piece called Did you Know?
Pretty intense, eh!
I don’t have the skill or ability to analyze the complexity of the information age, social media fascination, and facebook effect.
As I reflected on this I thought about a few things that won’t change and that provide inner security for me. Maybe they will encourage you too and cause you to put together your own list of ‘what won’t change in a changing world’.
Alvin Toffler, who wrote the best-selling book Future Shock says that when people go through rapid times of change they need what he calls, “islands of stability”. Those are things that do not change in your life.
God made human beings to be very adaptable and flexible. But, when everything is flying off the wall, coming unglued, and the hurricanes of change are blowing through our lives, we need to have something that does not change. As we face the 21st century and the new millennium, we’ve got to be able to say, “I know a lot of things are going to change around me, but I know these things for sure. I can count on this and this and this.”
Is there anything like that in the world? Are there any islands of stability? My guess is there are probably some things in your life that you thought were unchangeable two or three years ago but have already changed. And they weren’t reliable. Is there anything that never, ever changes?
The Bible says that there are a few things that will not change in 2011 or any time soon.
I would like to offer a few ‘islands of stability’ that won’t change in 2011 as it relates to the present and future.
1) The character of God doesn’t change. The prophet Malachi says of God, “I the LORD, do not change” His wisdom doesn’t change. His love doesn’t change. His holiness doesn’t change.
2)Jesus is the hope of the world and that never changes. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is the one in whom people can put their hope and experience lasting and meaningful change through His Spirit.
3) The authority and power of the Bible will not change. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away.” Or the prophet Isaiah asserted, “The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
4) The power of prayer does not change. Jesus said that ‘people ought to always pray and not lose heart.’ Existentialist Soren Kierkegaard said of prayer, “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” After 35 years of praying, I believe that.
Generation X author Douglas Coupland gives us a reason to prayyears ago in his book Life After God, My secret is that I need God–that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem to be capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love.
5) The human condition doesn’t change. How true is that. Although technology is speeding everything, we humans seem to be very breakable. In fact, the word ‘brokenness’ is a very popular word in church and non church circles. People are broken and need ‘fixin’.
6) The mission Jesus left His people to make disciples of all nations does not change. This doesn’t mean to go and ‘convert’ people, but it does mean we as disciples of Jesus live integrated, congruent lives that draw positive attention to God and not away from Him. The bottom line is that if the world were full of people like Jesus, just imagine what kind of world it would be!
What would you add to the list? Feel free to post your thought.
As this year wraps up my wife Rosetta and I spent some time thinking about lessons we have learned this year or lessons we have re-learned. Some of these are simple and others are quite profound and require constant attention. Not sure if anyone reads this blog but if you do I hope you will find something encouraging here as well as something useful in your journey through life, with God, and others.
As 2010 draws to a close, we would like to share with you a few things we learned this past year, some of our favourite books read this year and some photos representing the highlights of the year:
Luch’s list of things being learned and re-learned:
→ Nothing on earth matters to me more than my bride of almost 35 years, and my three sons and two daughters in law. All of them are my greatest claim to fame.
→ When it comes to dealing with conflict in relationships, don’t be a conflict avoider, and choose to pursue understanding and reconciliation if it depends on me.
→ Know who you are, like who you are, be who you are, and don’t poop on yourself. Do everything you can to discover your gifts and abilities, and put them into action.
→ Discipline myself at least six days a week to keep physically fit and to follow Rosetta’s pattern of healthy eating.
→ Diligently guard against envy and jealousy.
→ Avoid pride and boastfulness in all my relationships.
→ Focus on my unique contribution to the cause, and not on my position.
→ Treat people with respect even when you feel you have been disrespected.
→ Keep a high view of the body of Christ and Kingdom of God even if your church situation isn’t ideal. Work towards building disciples and not institutions.
→ Live my life well with my attitudes, my responses, my treatment of others, and all my work dealings.
Rosetta’s list of things being learned and re-learned:
→ The greatest human gifts to me are my husband, my sons, my daughter-in-laws and my mom and my dad.
→ It’s important to be involved with people who can’t repay me.
→ Many friends and family are dealing with brokenheartedness. I can pray for many of them but can only be an alongsider to some of them.
→ The world is a beautiful place. Thanks to our son Michael for taking us to see some beautiful places in the UK.
→ As I get older, it’s requiring daily focus to stay healthy and keep the pounds off. It’s important to eat clean and exercise daily.
→ The outdoors–fresh air and sunshine–restore me emotionally.
→ As much as possible, deal with “water under the bridge” in my close relationships.
→ I love staying connected to 2,000 years of church history. “Perpetua and Felicitas, St. Benedict, St. Francis, Martin Luther and Augustine of Hippo–you have, along with other pillars of faith and devotion, disturbingly challenged my soul.”
→ God is very merciful and I need to trust him every day.
→ “Don’t be overly righteous, don’t be overly wise, why kill myself?” (Ecclesiastes 7)
Some of Luch’s Top Reads in 2010
Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing—Soren Kierkegaard (19th century philosopher)
The Prayers of Soren Kierkegaard—Alister Hannay
The Grace Awakening –Charles Swindoll
The Reason for God—Tim Keller
The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person—E. Stanley Jones
After You Believe—N. T.Wright
The Insider—Jim Petersen and Mike Shamy
Embracing the Mysterious God—James Emery White
The Next Christians—Gabe Lyons
The Orthodox Heretic—Peter Rollins
Will This Rock in Rio?–Ken Lottis
Rosetta’s Top Reads in 2010
The Orthodox Heretic—Peter Rollins
Will This Rock in Rio?–Ken Lottis
Eat to Live–Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Prayer—Finding The Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster
In the Name of Jesus, Henri Nouwen,
History of Christianity, Justo Gonzales
The Divine Hours, Phyllis Tickle
The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard
I rarely if ever read 1000 page fiction novels, but several of my friends urged me last summer, “Luch, you’ve got to read Ken Follett’s ‘The Pillars of the Earth’. It ‘s about God and people and corruption and sex, and so much more in the 12th century. And since my son was going to be spending 4 months in England, I decided I must get to know more about old English culture, in this historically based novel.
I decided to take a shot and engrossed myself in Follett’s fast moving page turner. Over two months in the summer I enjoyed living in the 12th century with abbots, and poor people, corrupt and noble kings and queens, and experiencing the new age dawning in England’s 12th century. The story follows Prior Philip, a devout monk with a dream to build a great cathedral and his architect Tom along with the timeless struggle of good versus evil, ambition, lust and power.
Of particular interest to me is Ken Follett’s religious upbringing and why he wrote the book. Here’s introduction to his 1999 edition.
“Nothing happens the way you plan it.
A lot of people were surprised by The Pillars of the Earth, including me. I was known as a thriller writer. In the book business, when you have had a success, the smart thing to do is write the same sort of thing once a year for the rest of your life. Clowns should not try to play Hamlet; pop stars should not write symphonies. I should not have risked my reputation by writing something out of character and overambitious.
What’s more, I don’t believe in God. I’m not what you would call a spiritual person. According to my agent, my greatest problem as a writer is that I’m not a tortured soul. The last thing anyone would have expected from me was a story about building a church
So Pillars was an unlikely book for me to write – and I almost didn’t. I started it, then dropped it, and did not look at it again for ten years.
This is how it happened.
When I was a boy, all my family belonged to a Puritan religious group called the Plymouth Brethren. For us, a church was a bare room with rows of chairs around a central table. Paintings, statues and all forms of decoration were banned. The sect also discouraged members from visiting rival churches. So I grew up pretty much ignorant of Europe’s wealth of gorgeous church architecture.”
Having grown up in more of a ‘high church’ background, meaning church with cathedrals and liturgies, I found Follett’s description of his own upbringing fascinating since he came from the opposite side. His book really helped me to appreciate the passion and vision that very ordinary people had to construct something of significance that would outlast them.
The resurgence of interest in this book also comes with the recently released 8 part mini series also available on DVD. A TV/DVD series can never do justice to a book, but this one does not disappoint.
During this break between Christmas and the start of 2011, I am enjoying this dvd series.
You will love this. Thanks Mikey for introducing me to beautifully inspiring music.
Very quiet this morning. It’s just me and my beautiful bride, and my youngest son, at home. We have just celebrated our ‘real’ Christmas family celebration yesterday morning with my two married sons and their wives–Adrian and Amy (the A Team) and Vince and Flavia , my wife Rosetta, and youngest Michael. A night of charades, raucous laughter, punctuated by meaningful conversations, made our Christmas days exceptionally wonderful.
With deceased parents and a deceased brother, I am tempted to dwell on the pain of what I have lost, but I choose to remember the many wonderful memories with my Mamma and Babbo, and brother Bruno, learn from the difficult times of which there were numerous, and I choose to create new memories with my growing family, who I know love me but remind me often that I am ‘challenging’. -:) I can’t imagine my life without any of my family. They love me as I am but love me too much to leave me as I am. I suspect their honesty to their Dad and their unconditional love for me, are my greatest gifts this day, besides my Saviour Jesus.
To make this season’s celebration of the ‘day’ even more meaningful, I have been listening to some artists my son Michael introduced me to, “Sleeping At Last”. This group offers their Christmas collection as a free download of their music.
I am giving it to you today to enjoy.
I am joining the blogging world in an effort to keep in touch with all of my friends and family.
Stop by now and then to read, hear, and see my thoughts about how I see the world.
Here’s a little something for you to ponder on this Christmas Eve.