Valen

Last week I took Caleb to see the new movie, Eragon. If you’re a fan of this type movie, its good and don’t listen to the critics. There are many good things about the film… but this story is about the aftermath. On the way home from the movie I was telling Cale that the book was written by a 17 year old boy. Caleb was surprised that there was a book. He reads a lot, (gets that and other good things from his dad,) and his interest was peaked right away. So on Saturday we stopped by a store and looked at the books. He was looking at Eragon and wanted to read it, but the sequel is out as well, its called Eldest. So he was struggling with which one to get. Then it happened. What Caleb calls, his Christmas Miracle. A teenage girl saw him looking at these two sizable books and heard him arguing with himself about which one to get. She spoke up and said, “Tell you what, if you’ll buy the sequel, I buy you the first one for you for Christmas.” He couldn’t believe it. He said, “For real!?” The clouds parted. A light from heaven shown all around and Angels sang. She said, “Sure, I’ll do that for you.” 

She was a total stranger. We found out later that her name was Valen. She told us that she liked to encourage kids to read and this was something that she did as a practice.  Caleb wont soon forget her. I hope if he ever writes a book, the heroin of his story is named Valen. She displayed nobility in a number of ways. She listened to a child. She admired what was good. She practiced giving. She initiated the blessing. She was selfless and gave only her first name. She did not seek attention or acknowledgement. She asked nothing in return.   Caleb couldn’t believe that a total stranger would give to him simply because. When Jesus Christ was born, the Angel proclaimed… “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of

David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”           Luke 2:11   It was news that was too good not to be true. And to those  who believed he gave the right to become children of God. Isn’t that good news? This holiday season; display the noble heart of our Master. Give in order to bless. Be a Valen in someone’s life.   telemicus out

I Need a Famine

John Stossel does those, Give Me a Break programs on ABC. I like them because most of the time he is saying things the rest of us think but don’t have a platform to speak about. Like why when you buy a box of Pop Tarts – and the box is 30% empty. Like we’re to dumb to know they’re doing this to us. Give me a break. Well I think there comes a time for each of us when we’ve had enough and we simply need a break. I’m a news junkie. I listen to talk radio a lot. Love to watch FOX News. I enjoy railing on liberal media and their deceptions. I love sports, politics and religious talk. And I’m tired of all of it. I need a famine in regard to these things. It’s been a week since I watched, read or listened to the news, saw a little sports and only did bible study and worship, no religious talk. 

Famines can be dangerous though. In the Old Book, famine always represents God’s judgment on a people. And worse than a famine of food is the famine of hearing God’s word. God warns us through the Prophet Amos, “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land– not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.” Amos 8:11   A self-imposed famine from the things that bog us down is a good thing. What’s in your life that you need to set aside for a while? Are there some people you need a break from? Have you been experiencing a famine from hearing God? Perhaps those other things are crowding him out.  

I don’t know how long I will stay clear of all that stuff, but I have a ways to go. So consider this free advice from a friend. Take a famine from the things that burden your heart and allow the things of God to fill in the gaps. The things you don’t hear will free you… the things you hear from God will amaze and inspire you. telemicus out

One Year Later

It was one year ago this week, (or something close to this week,) that I began a weekly blog called, The Telemicus Files. It is mostly to point friends and family to thoughts on spiritual things. As I told you from the beginning, this is not meant to be a deep theological endeavor, its meant to help us think a little and to see that nobility is sewn into the fabric of our souls because God is that way by the nature of his character and we bear his image. So how was this past year for you? Do you feel that you grew as a person? Are you closer to being your true self than you were a year ago? Are you more content than you were? Are you happier? Did you find a better measure of health? Are you closer to God? Do you know Him better? Do you know more of His Word than a year ago? Did you get in shape? Did you find purpose for your life? 

Paul told a group of new Christians in some of the cities where they had established churches, “We must go through many hardships to enter the

kingdom of God.”  Acts 14:22   I’ve found this to be very true. But it’s a glorious journey. The hurt serves us well. It builds our character. It strengthens our reliance on God. It burns away those things in us that are not of God. It’s been a tough year in many respects, but I’m grateful for the difficulties. They helped me. I hope yours helped you. It was supposed to.   If it’s been a tough year for you, press on and take hold of that for which God took hold of you. He did not call you for nothing. Be courageous and face hardship with resolve and a grin when you can manage it. He who called you is faithful. telemicus out

A Staement of Trust

Years ago, Billy Joel did a song called, A Matter of Trust. Good song! Trust is easy – until it’s put to a test. When the circumstances are not what we have in mind, our trust becomes a precarious cliff that we walk the edge of until we either move to secure ground or dive headlong into the abyss.  But our trust is not simply the words we say, it is more than that. Our trust is a statement to everyone around us. It speaks not only to where we are in our living, but it also speaks about the one in whom we trust. If I say that I trust my daughter, but then I constantly check up on everything she does, not only do I not trust her, but I testify that my words cannot be trusted. (I am a believer in the “trust but verify” policy with teens. To verify is wise – to be stalker of your own child is disingenuous at best.) 

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,“Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” Numbers 20:12   They did not trust God “enough” to honor him as Holy. Their actions said something about God to the Israelites. It said, “We don’t honor God as Holy.” It said, “Don’t trust him that far.” This experience came at great cost. They were not allowed to fulfill their calling. 

I’ve found this to be true in my life recently. I told the Lord, “Do what you think best, I trust you.” I was ok with his decision. But the results were not what I expected and that angered me. I didn’t trust him enough. To trust the Lord is to trust beyond than the immediate situation and into the eventualities that will result. When we display displeasure with God’s decisions or the results of his decisions, we do not honor him as Holy.  I’ve repented of my distrust. I’m working to change my heart. I trust the Lord. I want to honor Him as Holy to everyone, especially my kids. The noble heart does not make another person look bad in order to own its own feelings.  telemicus out

A Good Year

A Good Year is a movie about a rich stock trader, Max Skinner, who has learned to love nothing and no one but money. In his childhood, he spent summers with his Uncle Henry in

France. In the course of his busy, materialistic life, he stopped making contact with Henry. After ten years of unintended separation, he receives word that his Uncle Henry has died.  As the only living relative, Max is to inherit his Uncle’s estate. The estate is a home and vineyard in Province. He goes there to sign papers related to the settling of the estate with the intentions of selling the property.   As he spends time at Henry’s home, he relives moments when they were together. He tells someone later that all his memories of childhood happen with 100 feet of that house. They ask him, “Are they good memories?” He says, “They’re grand.” His love for Henry is re-borne and his love for life is awakened.  Circumstances change and his one-day trip to

France turns into a week. A beautiful girl, Fanny Chenal, arrests Max’s attention, but she thinks nothing of him. He works very hard to win her attention having greatly offended her without even knowing it. She resists but eventually agrees to a date. When they talk of his intentions for the vineyard he tells her, “This place just doesn’t fit my life.” She gently says, “No Max, it is your life that does not fit this place.” This movie grabbed my heart more than any I’ve seen in a long time. I guess it’s partly the nostalgia, partly the romance and in some part, it is seeing lives change when courage meets opportunity. To face the truth about ourselves and bravely fight the enemies of joy and happiness is a great challenge.  Of course, God plays a role in this process. I know a great many Christians who trudge unhappily through life because they are afraid to face truth. Rob Bell says, “God owns all truth.” This is true even of the most awful things in your life. Truth is always positive – even if it’s bad, even if it hurts. 

If happiness is a place then is it that happiness doesn’t fit your life or is it that your life does not fit happiness. It’s a month until the new year. Courageously face difficult truths of your life. Ask and answer hard questions that can set your happiness free and make 2007 – A Good Year. telemicus out

Waiting for Something to Happen

Did you ever experience one of those periods of life when it seemed you were waiting for something to happen that would move life forward somehow. You looked down the road of your life . . . looking for a sign you couldn’t name or an answer to a prayer you dare not ask. Jackson Browne starts out the song, Lives in the Balance, with these words, “I’ve been waiting for something to happen, for a week or a month or a year…”   It seems that many of us live in the expectation of “something”. I told my sister Jodi this morning that my days of respite in the worlds of close friends, politics and sports seemed to have passed for now. So what is the way of living in the world when we are waiting for that illusive something? Not sure I have all the answers but I found one recently. In I Samuel 23, there is a story about David during the days when he was running from Saul. Jonathan is a great figure in scripture. Sometime I’ll tell you why, but note this. “While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.” 1 Samuel 23:15-16  In recent times, I’ve reconnected with an old friend. Talking about old times, finding out what happened in their life and the lives people you used to know, finding joy in grand memories and realizing that years don’t diminish love or appreciation for those who used to bring a smile, these help us find strength in life and in the Lord.   I realize that in my life and my friends, there have been some tough days… still are. But we live in the context of God’s plan and his love. He leads us back to places of refreshing and joy. There we find strength while we wait for something to happen. telemicus out

People Can Change

I had been wanting to watch this movie since it came out, but it just didn’t make the top of the list… until last Friday. On the way home, I stopped at the DVD store and picked up 16 Blocks. It’s a good movie about police corruption. Jack Mosley, (Bruce Willis) is a beaten down alcohol driven cop who is given the assignment to take the witness, Eddie, (Mos Def) to testify before the grand jury. The dirty cops intend to make sure that he never makes it the 16 blocks to the courthouse. Eddie is a low level criminal who is annoyingly likable. But he has come to a junction in his life and has determined to make a change. Jack is sure that people don’t change. We learn in the course of the film that Jack is one of cops that Eddie’s testimony will take down. While they are in a hostage situation, Jack manages to help Eddie escape. As he contemplates what is about to happen to Jack, Eddie turns and goes back to convince him that people can change.  

The Old Book says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (II Corinthians 5:17).   Although Jack was a corrupt cop, he was noble in heart. Through his encounter with Eddie, he also resolved that he would stand up and do what was right. Eddie taught Jack– or reminded him, that people can change, that it is never too late to do the right thing.  

You will meet someone this week that needs to change. They’ll need to know that you’re pulling for them. They’ll need your support. They’ll need assurance that people can change. I’m counting on the truth that people can change. A year ago, I determined that I needed to change. I did some hard work and faced some hard truths, and I’m not finished, but make no mistake, by the grace of God, people can change. telemicus out

Fake Raisin Bran

When I was a boy, my sisters and I would usually spend some time each summer at our grandma’s house in northeast Oklahoma

. She lived out in the country. I always liked going there. Granddad had lots stuff that a boy would find cool. My favorite thing was a lamp that sat on the table beside his chair. The lamp had a picture of a train on the shade. When it was on, it looked like it was moving… but it wasn’t.  I’ve always loved Raisin Bran. Kellogg’s not Post. On one of our visits grandma asked if I wanted some cereal, I asked, “What kind do you have?” Hoping for Captain Crunch or Boo

Berry… Cheerios at least, I was very disappointed when she offered words I had never heard of as cereal. After several offerings that did nothing for me, she said some magical words, “Well I guess you could have Raisin Bran.” Eureka!! This will work. Then she sat a bowl and spoon on the table and brought a strange box out that said, “Bran Flakes” and another familiar red box with a woman on the front… raisins. I protested, “That’s not Raisin Bran.”  In the Old Book, the Lord often warns his people to be wary of things and people that are false. The Psalmist wrote, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false” (Psalm 24:3-4). The Lord requires authenticity, purity and honesty.   The culture we live in is replete with cheap imitations. We encounter bogus friends, back stabbing brothers, forged documents, false prophets and even off brand products. In all things: political leaders, pastors, teachers, love, friendship or even religion – choose quality, demand purity, expect honesty and never settle for fake Raisin Bran. telemicus out

What Boys Need

Well this week Brittany

and I caught the film School for Scoundrels. It’s not going to be nominated for any awards. Its funny, a bit course and slightly lame. The plot of the movie is that Dr. P runs a school for wimps. He teaches them how to stand up for themselves and be confident. The hero of the film is Roger, played by Jon Heder. He is one of the wimps but becomes the star student. Dr. P always attacks the strongest student because of his competitive streak. The school is not really for scoundrels, but it is run by one.  Driving away from the theater, I said to Britt, “What’s sad is that there really is a need for a school that teaches guys to be real men. I have to say that I also watched

Lake House this week… a 100% chick flick – and a good one. I like romance. I think men should cry. I’m not saying they should be calloused, harsh, overbearing mean spirited ogres. We see churches and parents try to teach their boys all kinds of things these days, but the Bible tells us to teach them only two things; God’s Word and self control. “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.” Titus 2:6   Last night was a great night. Caleb had a football game. He plays for The Lightening. It is a team of 11-12 year olds. Caleb wont be 11 till next month. He is one of the smaller boys out there. He plays offensive end. Last night on the last play of the game, they called a pass play to Caleb. He ran the pattern exactly right. The ball was thrown perfectly on target. Caleb caught the ball and a half second later, a boy a full foot taller and certainly 30 pounds heavier, smashed into him driving him to the ground. Caleb got up without even a whimper and walked off the field. 

The Lightening didn’t win the game, but Caleb won. He took a hard hit from a bigger foe and walked away. I told him after the game that I felt bad about encouraging him to join a team where he was smaller than everyone else. It’s been a tough season for him. But he didn’t quit. The struggle will serve him well. I’m going to do my best to make sure that he never needs a school to teach him to be a man. He’s a tender, caring little guy who has learned to take a hit, and I’m proud of him for that.  telemicus out

Dont Forget Marian

This past week our souls were once again assaulted by evil. And once again the nobility that God placed within the heart of humans by his own will, in his own image shined through and over the evil that was so weakly displayed. For this spineless man, (no I wont use his name) whose greatest courage was the cowardly act of assaulting little girls was found to be less than human and certainly less than courageous. On October 2nd the peace and gentleness of the Amish world was attacked by an outsider who intended evil. When it became clear that intended to kill, Marian Fisher, a 13-year-old young woman, bravely asked the pathetic man to kill her first – thinking that it might give the other girls a chance to live. Marian displayed the noble heart that resides within us – not because we are good or strong or because we choose it, but because we are made in the image of God. And even with our weaknesses and frailties, He shines through.  

A couple of weeks ago the satirist Bill Maher, an unabashed hater of religion was on T.V. and, as is his custom, he was speaking ill of the Christians. Maher proclaimed, “If Christians would act like Jesus instead of acting like Christians that would be fine.” So I have this message for Maher. Take note of the Amish people who ministered to the family of the killer. Take note of the way they cared for each other and the love they demonstrated in the name of Christ. Don’t forget Marian Fisher. She acted like Jesus. Don’t forget how she was brave in the most terrifying situation we can imagine. Don’t forget that she loved others more than her own life. She was living what she believed.  

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:13    Be sure to tell your kids about Marian Fisher. Make sure they know that the ability to live as Christ would in the world is in them because God’s Spirit lives within them. Remind them to display a noble godly heart in the world. And don’t forget Marian. telemicus out