Whose Birthday is December 25?

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So, I learned something new this week.

Sir Issac Newton, the English physicist and mathematician, was born on December 25th.  I did not know that.

I learned this because Neil deGrasse Tyson, the well known American astrophysicist and author, tweeted about it on Christmas Day.

In fact, he tweeted out several things, about Christmas, Newton and Santa.  You can see screen captures of his tweets below.

His tweets caused quite a bit of outrage among many people; but mostly, I suspect, Christians.  There is a link below to one of the news stories about it; just google it and you’ll find plenty more if you desire.

I suppose some of the folks were upset because they took his comments to be disrespectful, antagonizing or both.

I’ve looked at his tweets several times, and while to me they seem mostly benign, I suppose this is a case where different people can read them differently.

But for the sake of discussion, let’s assume the tweets were meant to be snarky, offensive, derisive and mean-spiritied.

My response is the same:  who cares?  And why would we expect any different?

We live in a society that is hypocritical, judgmental, rude, uncaring, selfish and self-absorbed.

And that’s just those of us claiming to be Christians.

There are plenty of folks in our pluralistic society, both famous and not, that speak and act derisively about and towards Christians.

But so what?  It was largely the same in Jesus’ time as well.

I just think that for those of us who proclaim to be followers of Jesus, the right reaction to such comments, even assuming they are intended to be offensive, etc, is grace.

Grace.

Perhaps we need to reacquaint ourselves with Jesus’ command that we turn the other cheek? Love our enemies?  Do good to those who hate us?

Yup, Jesus commands us to do all that in Luke 6:27-36.  Remember?

So why aren’t we doing that?

Why do we allow ourselves to get upset when folks say such things about Jesus or his followers today?  We shouldn’t.

What we should do is remember that Jesus loved all people.  So much so, that we believe he sacrificed his life for all of us.

Isn’t that the example we should be striving for?

We shouldn’t get mad or upset; or reply with nasty tweets of our own; or self-righteously holding ourselves up as better than the assumed offender.

Grace.  Simple grace.

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Article Link:  Neil deGrasse Tyson sparks Internet fight with Christmas tweets
Scripture link:   Luke 6:27-36
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

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Co-Sign A Loan? Uh, No!

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Why do bank’s or other lenders want co-signers?

Because they’re pretty sure they’ll need one!

Banks and other lenders are in the business of making money.  If they lose out too often, the go out of business.  So, when they are concerned about someone who wants a loan for a car or just about anything else, they’ll ask for a co-signer.

What they’re saying is they EXPECT it’s pretty likely the person taking the loan WON’T PAY IT BACK!

And when that happens, the co-signer is on the hook.  It protects the bank; not the person borrowing!

Did you know the Bible actually says it’s STUPID to co-sign or guarantee someone else’s loan?

It does!

Don’t co-sign a loan for anyone, for anything.  It’s “stupid,” “poor judgement” and “poor sense.”

Don’t believe the Bible says that?  Take a look.

For more really, really good advice on staying out of debt, building wealth and being generous, take a look at Dave Ramsey’s website.  It’s got tons of good information.

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Scripture link:  Proverbs 17:18 (Yea, it’s in the Bible!)
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

Stop Buying Crap You Don’t Need

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Today, Black Friday, is the largest shopping day of the year.  In some ways, its become a bigger “holiday” than Thanksgiving.

People go out insanely early, some even camping out in line for hours, to get shopping bargains.  Stores and malls are crowded.  It’s crazy.

I’ve never been a big Black Friday shopper.  In fact, quite the opposite is how happening.

Exactly a year ago a significant change began taking place in my life.  On vacation in Florida, I began reading about simplicity and minimalism.  I read just about everything I could find, and discovered something my soul had long been searching for, I just didn’t recognize it.

LESS IS MORE.

I have found that all the stuff I had was weighing me down; it was a hinderance; it was visually distracting; and most of the crap I had I didn’t even need or use.

So, over the last year I have simplified, minimized and significantly reduced the number of “things,” the “stuff” I have.

I’ve not just decluttered, but de-owned.

And I’m far better for it.

If you stop and actually LOOK at everything you own, you’ll be shocked.  I was.  It’s staggering the amount of stuff we have.  And most of it you don’t need and don’t use.

I have found much joy and freedom in reducing the amount of stuff I have.  I think you would too.

So, below are some links to the most useful reading I found on simplicity and minimalism.  Take a look, you might be surprised at what you find.

Scripture link: Ecclesiastes 5:10 (Amazing, huh?  Yea, its in the Bible!)
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

Buy More Stuff?

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That season is upon us.  Yup, THAT season.  And I’m not talking about the Christmas season where Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.

I’m talking about the Black Friday season.  The go-to-the-mall-and-buy-more-tons-of-crap-we-don’t-need-season.

We live in a culture where we are CONSTANTLY bombarded with advertisements, all meant to convince us to by more stuff.  And it works.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.

And buried in those really clever and often entertaining ads, is the message that if we just buy this particular product, life will be better.  We’ll be happy.

Problem is, it’s been going on our entire lives, and we’re no more happy than we were before we bought most of the crap we already have.

If we are dependent on stuff to make us happy we will continue to be caught in a viscous, never-ending cycle of buying the newest, latest-and-greatest, whatever it is.

It doesn’t work.  It just doesn’t work.

And deep down, when we really think about it, when we critically analyze it, we know its true.

All we have to do is look in our closets, our attics, our basements, our drawers, and our storage units.  There’s all that STUFF and we’re still not happy.

Heck, I bet you even forgot about much of the stuff you already have!

Truth is, stuff can’t ever make us happy.  Because if it did, we’d already be happier than we can imagine.

So if more stuff can’t make us happy, what can?

 

Scripture link:  Ecclesiastes 5:10 (Amazing, huh?  Yea, its in the Bible!)
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

 

 

Shut Up

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SHUT.   UP.           Yes, you.          STOP TALKING.

I know, I know.   That seems like an odd thing for a pastor to say.

Well, I’m not a typical pastor.

And honestly, an opening line and title screaming SHUT UP is mostly designed to get your attention. It’s marketing, for lack of a better word.

And now you’re reading this, so it seems it worked.

Although you might think I was screaming SHUT UP to you, I might as well be talking to myself.   Because I have, upon occasion, been not unfairly accused of enjoying the sounds of my own voice.

Despite occasionally having diarrhea of the mouth, there is a wonderful quote I have always liked that is often attributed to President Abraham Lincoln, though I couldn’t find a clear and credible source verifying he said such a thing.

I paraphrase it this way: “Better to shut up and have everyone assume you are a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

As funny as I think that is, I also think there is a wonderfully wise message contained therein.   And that is very simply, we often do better by listening than by talking.

We can show people we care by simply listening to them.

We don’t have to have something witty to say in return; we don’t have to be able to solve whatever problem we are hearing about.

Just listen.

Take a few minutes and listen.

You’ll be amazed at not only what you learn, but how you can better connect with people.

Scripture link:  Proverbs 17:28  (Amazing, huh?  Yea, it’s in the bible.)
Photo Credit:  Pixabay.com