Sunday, September 20, 2009


In my inbox, among the spam, jokes, cute animal pictures and e-bills, there are usually a few sensational chain emails forwarded by well intentioned friends. The topic usually involves something like an attack on Christianity, the latest political scandal, a new type of crime or a newly discovered health hazard of a particular food or product.

Usually, I delete these emails once I realize that they are probably just urban legends. Occasionally, though, they come from someone whom I consider a reliable source and the content seems at least plausible. So, I dig deeper. A quick check on or reveals whether or not the email is valid. Unfortunately, most of the time it is not. I am always relieved that I did not forward the email to all of my friends without checking first. And, I’m always surprised that the friend who sent it to me didn’t do the same thing.

We have to be so careful about what we accept as truth. While I think it’s important to have an open mind, that does not mean that we should blindly accept everything we hear as fact…even when it comes from a source we respect. Teachers, parents, bosses, spouses and preachers are human beings and, as such, prone to make mistakes. Even scripture, when taken out of context can be used inaccurately.

Proverbs 3 (21-23) contains the following admonition, “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble”
Let’s pray that God will provide us with sound judgment and discernment so we’ll be better able to filter out truth from untruth.

And, by the way…it does say, “In God We Trust” on the side of the new gold coins, lemon slices in restaurants really can be nasty, petro express is not owned by Citgo, and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will not burn off your skin. Hope this helps!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Inside-out Worship

On a recent Sunday morning, as usual, we were late getting to church. The kids, Alton and I all rushed through the parking lot, into the building and then quickly and quietly entered the sanctuary. After finding a place to sit we began singing along with the last few moments of praise and worship music. The worship leader then asked us to bow our heads and join him in a word of prayer. As I lowered my head, I discovered, to my horror, that my shirt was on inside out! I quickly felt the back of my collar and sure enough, there was the tag, hanging out for everyone to see. While the rest of the congregation prayed, I slipped back out of the sanctuary and headed to the restroom to correct my “wardrobe malfunction”. I then made my way back to my seat thinking to myself how grossly unprepared I was for worship.

It struck me that my inside-out shirt was really an outward sign of an inward condition. My soul is pretty disheveled when I make my way into church on Sunday, because I haven’t spent nearly enough time getting ready for worship. I like to sleep in on Sundays and then ease into the day, sipping coffee and surfing the ‘net. Then, at the last possible moment, I end up rushing to get ready for church and out the door.

There is something in the “every Sunday-ness” of church that’s led my heart to believe that, as long as I actually make it to church, I’m good to go. My inside-out shirt spoke volumes about the fallacy of that line of thinking. Especailly when I compare the condition of my heart with these words in Hebrews 10:22 “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water”

What can we do to better prepare for worship? Well, I’m clearly not an authority on these matters, but I’m thinking that a good night’s sleep is a good place to start. The Jews begin the Sabbath on Saturday at sundown, that’s not a bad idea! Also, it couldn’t hurt to spend some time reading the Bible and praying prior to heading out the door. These are the things that prepare our hearts for God’s message. These are the things that “Let us Draw Near”.