Two Meals = $4.28

Last year I went to the local NHL club’s final home game. I was intrigued so I went to the season ticket counter to ask about the costs of game tickets. While I couldn’t justify the high costs I did notice that the lady had a huge stack of free taco coupons on her counter. She said I was welcome to as many as I liked so I took about 25.

Today when I needed to get lunch on the way to work (I was working late) I stopped by that taco place and bought a couple small items and got the free taco. The total was $2.38 for three value menu items. Bonus blessing: the manager who took my payment let me keep the coupon for next time! I then went across the street to redeem another coupon for a free 44 ounce drink and there the carhop also let me keep my coupon (I did not ask!)

At dinner time I decided to go back to that same taco place as I had a coupon for a free item of any kind (not a meal) and chose a steak burrito. (They took the coupon this time!) Then I went to another place and got some tots to go with it. I spent $2 on dinner.

So $4.28 got me three value items, a steak burrito, a 44 ounce drink and tots plus I still have the free taco coupon! I know that I would be tempted to dismiss these kinds of things as the fruit of my labor. After all, I sent in the feedback that got the free item of any kind, and I picked up the free taco coupons and I took the survey for the free drink. But how can I do anything without God sustaining me? Doesn’t he hold all things together and didn’t he give me all my faculties and abilities?

Could anyone get all these things without God? No. But you could think so. But the missing piece in theology like that is that God is good to all of us – even those who don’t want to recongize it.

So praise God for a full day’s worth of food for less than $5!

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Violence and Christians

I watched the movie the End if the Spear about missionaries that are killed in Ecuador in the middle of last century. After, the son of one of the missionaries comes to live with the tribe that murdered them. Ultimately, many were saved because of the sacrifice of these five men.

I’m telling you this because of one line from the movie. As the soon to be speared father is leaving. To go meet this tribe for the first time, his young boy asks the father to defend himself if the tribe attacks, which they were known to do to outsiders. The missionary demurred saying to the child, “These men aren’t ready to die but I am.”

One of the pivitol moments in the salvation of the murders is when they were spearing the missionaries and the missionaries refused to fight back even though they had weapons. “Why didn’t they shoot us?” One tribesman asks in wonder. Not killing was so foreign to their culture that the lack of defense shocked them into realizing there was another way. A radical non-violent way.

I Know God is in control. But I Don’t Trust God.

God is real. There really is a massively big, super powerful being that created everything, knows everything and is in control of everything. I believe this. And it scares me.

I’m not afraid of God because I believe He loves me. Well, I work to believe that. I want to believe that.

I don’t struggle with this because I think I’m unloveable. Actually, I most likely suffer from the opposing viewpoint too often. I think I’m great. Fat and egotistical, but great.

I’m afraid of God because I don’t trust him. Let me give you an example of why:

Several years ago I was getting coffee with my friend Christopher at a Starbucks. We worked together so could take breaks together occasionally.  Christopher, who is a Christian, was in a funk at the time and wasn’t going to church.

As I was talking to him about this, sitting in the super comfortable chairs in the center of the cafe, a lady who had been there when we got in and was sitting nearby doing homework sat up and asked us if we were Christians. I said yes. Christopher said sorta.

And it was on. This lady took Christopher to task for backsliding and not taking God seriously. It was awesome. She was so gutsy and honest! Calling out a stranger in the middle of Starbucks?! (Angels in Heaven were no doubt doing the We Will Rock You thing clapping and stomping.)

I was mesmerized and needed to know more about her. I asked who she was and how she came to be there today. She said she was a cheerleader coach. (Whaaaaaat?!)

She said that at practice one of the girls had fallen and broke their ankle so she left early and decided to get a head start on some college course work. Then she said she forgot her wallet at home and so had to drive back to get it and then it was late and she needed a coffee so she got off the first exit looking for a Starbucks. There she sat when we walked in and started discussing Christopher and his churchlessness.

As we left one of us – this lady or me – said to Christopher, “God must really love you to make all these things happen just to get you to come back to Him.”

That is a powerful story about God works all things out for His glory and our good. It is a store about God being in control. God was in control years earlier when this lady was learning to be a cheerleader herself after seeing, hearing or reading about her cousin, sister or mom do it. He was in control when when that person learned to live cheer. He was in control decades before when cheerleading was introduced to high schools. And way before that when humans learned to dance. You get the idea.

God was also in control when that girl fell and broke her ankle.

I’m afraid of God’s control because I’m afraid of being that girl in someone else’s story. It’s trust that I lack. Trust that He has my good in mind as well and is control of ordering my steps in such a way that if I were the cheerleader the rest of the story works out better than it ever would have.

Trust. The reason I don’t trust is because I want to be in control. The reason I want to be in control is because I’m selfish.

When I spoke to friends recently about this lack of trust I found that this was a universal doubt. One friend said, “That’s the story of mankind going all the way back to the garden. The first sin was really all about rusting God. ‘Did God really say you would die?'”

How do we fix this then? How do we learn to trust. That same friend said, “This is why the Jews passed down all the stories in the Bible. The repeated what God had done to show God’s consistency. How He was always three for them.”

Another friend suggested that we focus on God’s character, “When I feel this way I read about who God is. I focus on His love and His promises to us.”

Born Again

With a title like that you may expect something religious in this post. You may even come to think of this post as sacriligious after you recognize that I’m not talking about something religious. To be clear: this post is not about believing in God.

It’s about this blog. Over the last six years I’ve used Blogger for all of my posts. A couple of things have happened over the last couple years that have convinced me to switch to a self-hosted blog. First, Blogger sucks for customization. If you’ve ever used Blogger you know that’s true. The best plugs ins and themese are WordPress conversions. So why not use WordPress instead? Why indeed.

Second, I’ve learned a lot over the last few years working on other people’s websites. It started with Springhouse Worship & Arts Center, which I helped move through three different web sites before settling on a WordPress theme hosted by GoDaddy. When I first started working on that website (then SmyrnaAssembly.org) I had little idea what I was doing. But with help, a trip to a conference in Franklin, TN, and with a ton of help from Brian Entzminger (especially with the WordPress site, which he now manages) I figured out enough to step out and help other sites. I’ve since worked on EatMoreSnacks.com – my first eCommerce website – and then ShootPhotography.com – my first art site, which also includes eCommerce.

Finally, I wanted a do-over. With six years of blog posts I know that some of the things I posted back when no longer reflect my beliefs accurately. Sometimes I think we bloggers come to see our posts as a sort of diary and view deleting or modifying the posts unfaithful to history. I no longer feel that way. I wanted a new start and I get to have one. All my old posts are here and I’m gonna go through and re-read them and see if they are worthy of being published now. If they are you’ll see them. If not, do me a favor and forget they ever existed (that’s what I’m gonna try to do.)

Welcome to the born again AshertopiA! I hope you find the visit worth your time. Let me know.

Scott Asher