Monday, September 21, 2020

Vanishes

Listen carefully, those of you who make your plans and say, “We are traveling to this city in the next few days. We’ll stay there for one year while our business explodes and revenue is up.”  The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes [away]. It would be best to say, “If it is the Lord’s will and we live long enough, we hope to do this project or pursue that dream.”  But your current speech indicates an arrogance that does not acknowledge the One who controls the universe, and this kind of big talking is the epitome of evil. (James 4:13-16, VOICE)

Along with the Bible, country artist mega-stars, Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks, provide us with this important combined message. “Since you can’t predict tomorrow, live your life passionately today, and never forget to let those you love know regularly. “ To brag that you have some special insight into your future, is foolish and vain.

Only one Individual knows the unexpected turns of your existence, He is willing to guide you with His all-knowing wisdom. Your heavenly Father is just a prayer away. Read the wonderful lyrics below by two extraordinary country artist, and remember Who truly loves you, and provides divine guidance through both the good and bad times.

"Live Like You Were Dyin'" by Tim McGraw

He said, "I was in my early 40s,
With a lot of life before me,
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime.
I spent most of the next days
Lookin' at the X-rays,
Talkin' 'bout the options
And talkin' 'bout sweet time."

I asked him, "When it sank in that this might really be the real end,
How's it hit you, when you get that kind of news?"
Man what'd you do?"
And he said,

"I went sky divin',
I went rocky mountain climbin',
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying."

And he said, "Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying."

He said, "I was finally the husband
That most the time I wasn't,
And I became a friend a friend would like to have.
And all of a sudden goin' fishing
Wasn't such an imposition.
And I went three times that year I lost my dad.
Well I finally read the good book,
And I took a good long hard look
At what I'd do if I could do it all again.
And then...

I went sky divin',
I went rocky mountain climbin',
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying."

And he said, "Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying."

Like tomorrow was a gift
And you've got eternity
To think about what you'd do with it,
What did you do with it,
What can I do with it,
What would I do with it.

Sky divin',
I went rocky mountain climbin',
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I watched an eagle as it was flyin'.

And he said, "Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin'."

To live like you were dyin'.
To live like you were dyin'.
To live like you were dyin'.
To live like you were dyin'.

 

 

"If Tomorrow Never Comes" by Garth Brooks

Sometimes late at night
I lie awake and watch her sleeping
She's lost in peaceful dreams
So I turn out the lights and lay there in the dark
And the thought crosses my mind
If I never wake up in the morning
Would she ever doubt
The way I feel about her in my heart

If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she's my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes

'Cause I've lost loved ones in my life
Who never knew how much I loved them
Now I live with the regret
That my true feelings for them never were revealed
So I made a promise to myself
To say each day how much she means to me
And avoid that circumstance
Where there's no second chance to tell her how I feel

'Cause if tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she's my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes

So tell that someone that you love
Just what you're thinking of
If tomorrow never comes

 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

United as One

 So by the seventh month, the Israelites had moved back to their own hometowns. At that time all the people met together in Jerusalem. They were all united as one people. Then Jeshua son of Jozadak and the priests with him, along with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and the people with him, built the altar of the God of Israel. They built the altar of the God of Israel so that they could offer sacrifices on it. They built it just as it says in the Law of Moses. Moses was God’s special servant.

They were afraid of the other people living near them, but that didn’t stop them. They built the altar on its old foundation and offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord. They offered sacrifices in the morning and in the evening. Then they celebrated the Festival of Shelters just as the Law of Moses said. They offered the right number of burnt offerings for each day of the festival. After that they began offering the continual burnt offerings each day and the offerings for the New Moon and all the other festivals that were commanded by the Lord. The people also began giving any other gifts they wanted to give to the Lord. So on the first day of the seventh month, these Israelites again began offering sacrifices to the Lord. This was done, even though the Lord’s Temple had not been rebuilt.

Then those who had come back from captivity gave money to the stonecutters and carpenters. They also gave food, wine, and olive oil. They used these things to pay the people of Tyre and Sidon to bring cedar logs from Lebanon. They wanted to bring the logs in ships to the seacoast town of Joppa as they did for the first Temple. King Cyrus of Persia gave permission for them to do this.

So in the second month of the second year after they came to the Temple in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak began the work. Their brothers, the priests, Levites, and everyone who came back to Jerusalem from captivity began working with them. They chose Levites who were 20 years old and older to be the leaders in the building of the Lord’s Temple. These were the men who supervised the work of building the Lord’s Temple: Jeshua and his sons, Kadmiel and his sons (the descendants of Judah), the sons of Henadad and their brothers, the Levites. 10 The builders finished laying the foundation for the Lord’s Temple. When the foundation was finished, the priests put on their special clothing. Then they got their trumpets, and the sons of Asaph got their cymbals. They all took their places to praise the Lord. This was done the way King David of Israel had ordered in the past. 11 They sang songs of praise and thanksgiving, taking turns in singing each part.[c] They sang,

“The Lord is good.
    His faithful love will last forever.”

Then all the people cheered—they gave a loud shout and praised the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid.

12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and family leaders, who could remember seeing the first Temple, began to cry aloud. They cried while the others there shouted for joy. 13 The sound could be heard far away. All of them made so much noise that no one could tell the difference between the shouts of joy and the crying. (Ezra 3:1-13, ERV)

How do you rebuild you life on God (as you get closer to Him)?

1.      Build on His forgiveness (grace)-You can’t be accepted by God full of your sin. Back in Ezra’s time an animal had to be killed to gain forgiveness of sins. Jesus sacrifice on the cross stopped this practice eternally. He is the Lamb slain for the forgiveness of your sins. Only He can get you to Heaven, and not your own goodness. (See Ezra 3:1-3 above)

“If you offer one of your cattle as a burnt offering, it must be a bull that has nothing wrong with it. You must take the animal to the entrance of the Meeting Tent where the Lord will accept the offering. You must put your hand on the animal’s head while it is being killed. So the Lord will accept it as your burnt offering to make you pure. (Leviticus 1:3-4, ERV)

2.   Build on God’s Word- The Bible is your blueprint for rebuilding your life. (See Ezra 3:2-6 above)

16 All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction, instruction, and training for a life that is right 17 so that God’s people may be up to the task ahead and have all they need to accomplish every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, VOICE)

24 “Whoever hears these teachings of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house. But it did not fall because it was built on rock. (Matthew 7:24-25, ERV)


3.   Build with God’s People-The body of Christ (church) is multigenerational and multicultural. Different people are needed to accomplish different tasks. There’s room for you in the church. (See Ezra 3:7-13 above)


For his “body” has been formed in his image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love. (Ephesians 4:16, TPT)

19 Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who comes from God and dwells inside of you? You do not own yourself. 20 You have been purchased at a great price, so use your body to bring glory to God. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, VOICE)

Before God can do rebuilding in your heart (and life), a good cleaning job needs to be done as all kinds of "junk" is eliminated.

God’s work of rebuilding in your life is done through community with others believers (and not alone). There His work is done faster as you obey and serve Him.[i]



[i] Inspired by the sermon “Rebuild: The Comeback” (installment two) Sunday September 13, 2020, Pastor Dave Jansen, CenterPoint Gahanna.  All CenterPoint churches are open in-person at 10am. They will continue to meet online at facebook.com/centerpointchurches or centerpointchurches.com/live.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Question

“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'” (Martin Luther King, Jr. )

Though I am social in groups of people, I am a loner at heart. I enjoy my times of solitude to do the things that are important to me (like writing for this blog). I know it’s time to connect with other people when I start questioning my purpose for being here on Earth. For me (most the time), being around other people puts my mood in a much better place.

A benefit of being around other people is the opportunity to serve them. You forget your own problems as you realize that possibly others are dealing with a lot more than you are. As much as I might like to think I can do my life by myself, it’s just not possible. People need the socialization of other people (no matter how that happens).

If you’re a loner (like me), the only way you (or I) will ever feel more comfortable around people, is to be around them frequently. 1 Romans 12:16 (ERV) gives this advice about the benefits of being connected in community with others: Live together in peace with each other. Don’t be proud, but be willing to be friends with people who are not important to others. Don’t think of yourself as smarter than everyone else.” Being around others can be the best thing that ever happened to you. Just give it a try.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Identity

“Transgender [is] a person whose gender identity differs from the sex the person... identified as having at birth.” (Merriam-Webster)

Have you ever become friends with someone whose sense of humor was so much like yours that you often forgot that you were not the same person? For me, that is “Ronnelle,” who works in automobile insurance.  One night after our weekly book club; I made this statement to him.”You know I am waiting for you to give me a controversial topic for my blog that almost everyone has an opinion on.”  As I should have known, Ronnelle’s one word answer was just what I was looking for, “transgender.”

On the limited amount of knowledge I have on transgender lifestyle, my opinion breaks down into this school of thought. I would say most people in any religious (spiritual, denominational) community would use a verse like Genesis 5:2 (VOICE) to be against transgender: He created them male and female; and after creating them, God put a special blessing on them and named them “humanity.”Many Christians would assume God put them in the gender body He wanted them in by design, and on purpose. Could it also be (for those with transgender issues) that God placed you in the “wrong” body to teach you some valuable life lesson?

Personally, I can’t imagine what it would feel like your entire life that something isn’t quite right. You wonder who the real you really is. Prayers to God to make you like everyone else seemed to go unanswered.  You wonder if God is hearing your desperate prayers. I believe this quote by Anon expresses how transgender people feel at the core of their being,” All I want to know no matter what gender I am you’ll still love me like you did before.”

Luke 6:31 (VOICE) is the gold standard on how to treat everyone on Earth. Think of the kindness you wish others would show you; do the same for them. Are you doing it (without prejudice)? Please note to protect the identity of the real individual used in this story (on a sensitive topic); details have been altered. 



 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Sociologists Say

“Sociologists say it’s common for people to perceive that God is like the fatherly figures in their lives. If dad is caring, patient and concerned then children will believe God has those same characteristics. And the opposite holds true when a father is harsh, judgmental, or absent.” (Leah Misch, Washington Times)

Males are complicated creatures (whether females believe it or not). Some males are readily visible (or vocal) with how they feel. For others, it may take some investigating to find out what’s below the surface of how they feel. For most men that are fathers (like me), fatherhood is an important part of their life, and is not taken on a surface level. My daughter, Allena, has stirred up more emotions in me than I felt were ever possible in this stage of my manhood.

Let me ask you an important question (no matter whether you are male or female): “What was your relationship like with the man you recognized as your father?” Was it a blessing to you, or a burden to your development as a human being? When you think of your relationship to your heavenly Father,  are the two almost identical? Chances are they mirror each other.

That’s a scary thought to me. I am willing to admit as a father that I have not always been the loving Christ-like example that I needed to be. Adjectives that have been descriptive of my emotions (past and present) are sullen, angry, and vindictive. Hopefully, anything good my daughter got from me; Jesus was part of it. 

As her father, I want Allena’s relationship with God to be stronger (and more intimate) than mine is. Fathers, if a child’s viewpoint of God is based on how they see you. Fathers, what divine message are you giving them, and will they be a stumbling block or a source of hope for the rest of their life? It is never to late to make changes in you (if it needs to happen).[i]


[i] This post is dedicated to my own father, Robert E. Kinker, pictured below with my mother (as dating teenagers).
 
 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Shepherds

The church is not a campus but a community. Pastors are not [chief executive officers] CEOs. They are shepherds.” (Dillon Burroughs)

Let’s be honest with each other. We all make assumptions (major or minor) about other human beings. Assumptions can be on almost anything. As perfect as I might like to believe I am, as a skinner older man (due to bariatric surgery); I have to be cautious not to make assumptions on the character of larger people.

Philippians 2:3 (TPT) tells us all how to act in the area of making assumptions about other people. (This is great biblical advice I need to follow, too). Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves.”

If I had to pick one profession that is full of assumptions, it would be that of a pastor. I believe this is a calling from God (that not everyone can do). Over the years I can’t tell you the number of times people I have met that believe I am a pastor (or should be training to be one). I want less drama in my life at my current age. Can you just imagine a church with me in charge of it? The thought gives me a headache. Growing up my family was charter members of my childhood church. My parents, siblings, and I got to know the pastor (and his family) on a much more personal, intimate level(the Dinoffs of Fellowship Baptist Church, Columbus, OH) than most of the congregation did.

This is a job for those who want to be difference makers. Unfortunately, people can be critical of leaders and their families). Though the pastor and his family are fallible humans, people can sometimes have perfection expectations that don’t allow for a lot of grace (at times). Being a pastor of a church (large or small) comes with duties like delegating responsibility, making sure events are run in a timely and in an efficient manner, and dealing with the life events and fluctuating emotions of a congregation.

If you have a regular church you attend, do me a favor. Be an encourager to your pastor (instead of an enemy). Let him know you care about him, and support all the good he is trying to do for your church community. He will appreciate it (for sure).[i]



[i] This post is dedicated to my own pastor, Dave Jansen of CenterPoint Church Gahanna in Gahanna, Oh.
 
 
My pastor, Dave Jansen
 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Hang On

“Bipolar is like being in a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you can predict drop-offs and others you just have to hang on because the next turn sends you into an unexpected spiral. Sometimes you are laughing and throwing your hands in the air and then other times you are clinging, simply holding on for dear life screaming at the top your lungs.” (HealthyPlace)

Though I have been assured by two mental health professionals that I do not have Disassociate Identity Disorder (DID or multiple personalities), you will need to decide  that for yourself at the conclusion of this post. Even when I am properly medicated, I am a man of complex emotions (just ask my wife, daughter, and three Chihuahuas). I am a lot like a shiny multi-faceted diamond; there are many sides to my personality that make up the total me. So that my loving ever-patient wife, Bobbi, can keep track of who I am regularly, she has jokingly numbered (and identified) who she is communicating with:

FACET #1 “Blunt Robert”-This is the me that gets angry, loud, defensive to protect my opinion, and can often be verbally abusive out of fear. Those that have met this side of me find him rather intimidating and overwhelming. He's not good with patience. According to Bobbi, I look like Satan when I'm in irritation mode (red-faced and loud). I'm big on furious ultimatives, dares Bobbi to follow through on promises, vindictive in using Bobbi's own words against her, and do not take her correction well. When I feel it is needed, fight in public spaces is not a problem.(Most the time, I don't like negative energy of this facet of me.)

FACET #2 “Nice Robert”-This is the polite me that loves to serve others by making life pleasant for those around me. This side of me loves to verbally connect with others as I find our commonalities. This would be the instructive teacher (and leader) in me. This Robert communicates on Facebook a lot. He is also the person my family and friends are mainly associated with. This Robert can't do enough to make Bobbi happy.

FACET #3 “Normal Robert”- This is the unselfish, charming family man my wife married and Allena’s loving father. This is the optimistic, encouraging me presented on my blog. This is the me that loves to empathize with anyone’s challenges. This is the Robert present the majority of the time in social events.

FACET #4 “Paranoid Robert”- This version of me is rather jaded, and questions everything in life. He does not deal positively with generalities about his personality. He does enjoy being in an atmosphere where he can provide unique insights on whatever topic is being discussed at the moment. This version of Robert is curious about life in general (which positively aids him in writing and blogging).

For those of you who know me well, maybe you can better understand the unique child of God I am now (and always will be) with an unforgettable personality.

 

 

 

Vanishes

Listen carefully, those of you who make your plans and say, “We are traveling to this city in the next few days. We’ll stay there for one...