Good Vision

Last night, watching T.V. there was a scene in which an older man pleads the case of a group of people to allow them to hold on to life and dignity. His impassioned plea persuades the authorities. Later on the man’s son says, “You did a good thing back there. You didn’t have to, and a lot of people wouldn’t have done it. I am proud of you.” At this, a mist forms in the old man’s eyes and in trembling voice he says, “I appreciate that you see me that way.”

We sometimes discount the good we do and the good that we affect because we know ‘the real’ person that we are. We know the struggles, sins, failures and even dark emotions that, though very real, never draw a breath beyond the basement of our souls. But when we choose what is good, when we stand up for the oppressed, when we speak for those who have no voice—it is good. And when we do what is good, it pleases our Master.

The Old Book tells us “… how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:38). When we do good in the world we are, in some small way, being like Him. And don’t tell me that doing good ‘in some small way’ isn’t enough. The story of Telemicus is about changing the world by doing good in a seemingly small way. Jesus said giving a cup of water in His name isn’t overlooked.

The point Id like to make here is this. The old man appreciated that someone saw his good act and said so. If you see someone do good, tell them. Tell your dad that you’re proud of him for being a stand up guy. Tell your mom that her patience is impressive. Tell your kids that you love their integrity. Let your friend know that you value their faithfulness. They will appreciate that you see them that way.

telemicus out

A Sweet Sweet Spirit

On Friday, January 1st, a good friend passed from death to life. Andrea Canady battled leukemia for 23 months. During that time, she prevailed for several months. However, as if summoning reinforcements from hell, the cancer returned with a vengeance. I wish I would have known Andrea better. I’ve worked for her husband Mack twice in my career—when I was very new to the industry and for the last almost seven years. He really taught me the business and still teaches me today. The lessons of late are more about life than about drafting.

I’ve known the Canady family since 1983. Their kids, Andy and Heather, I knew when they were little. Now they have children of their own. Throughout the years, Andrea always supported and loved Mack, tempered him when he was fierce about something, gave wise godly counsel and seemed always to have a sweet sweet spirit. When she was going through treatments and would stop by the office, she always stopped and expressed her trust in God. My wife had a recurrence of a blood disease the same week that Andrea received her diagnosis of leukemia. Even while sick, Andrea always asked how Rhonda was doing.

Mack has been a good friend and mentor to me for many years. When his son Andy and I were both working for him and involved in ministry efforts at our churches, he always allowed us the flexibility to do both – even when it was not convenient or profitable to him. Going through this time dealing with Andrea’s illness, Mack never complained. When he talked, he has been open about his fear and his anger but without bitterness. I’ve seen in him a steadiness and faithfulness that is noble. That spirit doesn’t come from our nature it comes from God.

These articles that I post are primarily to point out that a person of noble character can make a difference in the world. In many ways, Mack and Andrea are one person and their character is noble. They certainly have made a difference in my life. I’m not sure how it happens on the other side of this life. But when she walked through the gates of heaven and met those who were waiting for her, I expect that somewhere in the background the angels were singing and the sweet sweet spirit of Andrea Kidd Canady was home.

telemicus out

Note: There will be a memorial service for Andrea at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday January 9th at First Baptist Church in Rockwall.

When They Had Seen Him

What have you seen; what have you experienced in your life that changed you? I figured out that some girls were pretty when I was in the first grade. When I was nine years old, I met the quarterback of Dallas Cowboys, Don Meredith. I saw mountains for the first time when I was twelve. I visited the Lincoln Monument when I was fourteen. I kissed a girl for the first time on July the 4th, 1975. I heard David Powers preach for the first time when I was sixteen years old. All of these experiences changed me, but none of these experiences compared to seeing my children born.

There is something about seeing a new born baby that shakes the world.

We say, “Did you hear? Mary had her baby! Yes, it was a big boy; eight pounds, ten ounces. Twenty two inches long. Has his father’s ears… poor thing.” When it’s our baby… we want to tell everyone. We pass out cigars; sometimes real, sometimes pink or blue bubble gum, but we pass them out. We show off pictures; some people show off sonograms even before the baby is born! We send out announcements—yes with pictures. And we make plans.

The wise among us start saving for college and planning for the future. The idealistic buy ball gloves, golf clubs and tennis racquets. We dream of scholarships and championships, because there is no limit to what this child might do. We see all the possibilities and promise of a clean slate and a new life.

When the shepherds who were living out in the fields and minding their own business, got the news, they went to check it out. They found the baby swaddled and lying in a manger. Dr. Luke wrote, “When they had seen him, they spread the word…” (Luke 2:17). You see when we really see Him, we also will spread the Word. The next thing he said was, “everyone was amazed.” Jesus is still amazing the world. They find it’s incredible that they can know God personally. They find it beyond belief that He will forgive their sins and give them salvation—free! They find it amazing that a baby born in a manger could change their hearts and the whole world.

This is our time. This is the season for us to spread the Word. Merry Christmas.

telemicus out

Phoning It In

According to the Urban Dictionary, phoning it in is to “perform an act in a perfunctory, uncommitted fashion, as if it didn’t matter.” I’m wondering today how many of us are phoning it in when it comes to life.

I heard a person talking earlier and he was asking an associate if he was busy. The associate said, “Well I’m looking at a grocery store sales ad. When I finish this I have a Target ad to look at.” Phoning it in. There is of course a little of that in every office, but for some, it’s a way of life. Zig Ziglar once said, “A lot of people stop looking for work as soon as they find a job.” If you have a job, work at it. Do more than is asked. Invest your life into your work while you’re there.

But this problem reaches far beyond work.

Parents often phone it in when it comes to parenting. Kids wonder through life detached from their parents. Providing our children a place to stay and some food to eat is not parenting. I’m against the hovering mom and the bodyguard dad, but kids need connection and engagement. I take Caleb to get donuts once a week. We catch a midnight movie (yes on school nights) from time to time. We do Fantasy Football together. Last night he came in my office when I was reading; I put down my book and the 14-year-old Boy sat in my lap and talked for a bit.

Spouses can fall into the habit of phoning it in as well. We get busy, stress wears on us and we sometimes are just beaten down with the demands of life. We forget to connect. No… that’s not right. We decide that the work of connection is too demanding. We take the absence of conflict as a fair trade for friendship, romance and even love. We need all of these. So laugh, flirt, romance and love; when these disappear, there is a phoning it in problem somewhere.

Lots of folks phone it in at church. Showing up is paying your dues. If you drop money in the basket, you did your duty and more. Supporting ministry, engaging real effort to serve others, looking for opportunities to bless those who are struggling, these are spiritual investments. The Old Book says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” Eccl 9:10. If your spiritual life is sitting in the pew, singing songs, enduring a lesson and suffering through Bible class – this is phoning it in.

No, I’m not great at this… probably why I’m writing. I just get the sense that sometimes we focus on the wrong things and phone it in where it really matters. What inspires us to greatness is not the guy who was adequate… it’s the guy who was exceptional. Seeing that girl who seems to love God more than air makes us wonder what we are missing. We envy couples who have a lot of miles on them and still have that light of romance in their eyes. My guess is that these folks ain’t phoning it in.

telemicus out

Think Noble Things of God

One of my mentors is a fellow named Jim McGuiggan. He is a minister who knows suffering and yet he says often, “Think noble things of God.” His web site is on my Blog Roll, you should visit there – he’s far deeper than I am.

It’s easy to blame God.

When things don’t work out in our favor, when the diagnosis is bad, when our kids don’t get well, when we don’t get the job, when our cause doesn’t triumph, when our team doesn’t win, it’s easy to blame Him. It’s not that it’s his fault… it’s that He could have done ‘something’ and He just didn’t want to. We sometimes temper our anger by the fear that He could choose to make our lives worse. We suffer the injustice and like a child who sticks her tongue out once the bedroom door is closed, our frustration bubbles beneath the surface. We think bad of God.

One of the things that Jim taught me is from Job 4:17. Job is suffering and believes it to be unjust. His friend Eliphaz shows up and says this, “Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?” You see it’s easy to blame God or to question His goodness, but when we do this, we make ourselves out to be more righteous and more pure than He is. And we know that can’t be right. So our frustration and anger continue to percolate under the surface of our hearts.

Children can not know the hurt of a parent who makes choices that will bring pain into their lives. They don’t have the perspective of time or experience. Yet we say ‘no’ sometimes; we discipline and sometimes punish. We delay and, on occasion even allow misery because even though we are flawed humans, we know what is best for our children. We do love them. God has a perspective that is eternal while ours is temporal. He perfect in love, we are flawed in love. He is full of wisdom, while ours is spotty at best. He is altogether Holy and we are holy only in Him. We can’t know, see or imagine the love that drives Him.

The Old Book says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). If ever a man was good, God is better. If we were ever patient, He is more so. If we can forgive an offense, He forgives more of them and more often. We get frustrated by His answers, or lack of answers, in about three questions. Yet he answers, forgives, disciplines, praises and blesses us countless times always in perfect love… even when it hurts us. Please watch this video and remember… Think noble things of God.

telemicus out

What Would Love Say

Do you remember the children’s nursery rhyme that starts with, “Sticks and stones may break my bones…?” What you soon learn about that rhyme is that it isn’t true. Words can hurt and they often do.

They are the wicked lashes of whips that rip the flesh from our emotional backs and leave us scarred for life. They form chains that bind us down and hold us captive to accusations and lies. Because of them, we construct prison walls to keep us safely out of reach from people for our protection. We gather them up and build our own arsenal of verbal weaponry to use on any who we feel threaten us. Words most certainly can hurt you.

This is why James wrote, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom” (2:12). The law that gives freedom is the law of love. Love demands that our words be gentle and kind. Love desires that our words and actions be compassionate and merciful. Of course, those who know me are screaming, “How can you say such things? You spout unkind, fierce, rude, judgmental political comments all the time.” I have to say this is sometimes true.

However, when I rail politically, it is generally not personal, but rather ideologically. For example, when I hate on the New York Yankees, it’s not personal, I don’t know any of them. But I hate what they represent in my world, from my own point of view. I am not trying to win converts to my side on these things, I’m cheering my own team. A cheerleader at a ballgame is not there to convince the opponents fans to change allegiance. Cheering our side inspires. I want people who agree with me to make some noise!

I have a couple of friends who are strongly in the camp of the political opposition from my own. Though they disagree with me, argue and challenge me, we do not attack each other personally. Mike and Bruce are good people who think different than I at times, that doesn’t make them Philistines. I don’t treat them, nor do they treat me, with disrespect.

Love calls us to realize that our words and actions will be judged by our own hearts and by the hearts of those who hear our words and receive our actions. Remember that love judges both our words and our actions. I hope I do better this week than last.

telemicus out

Did God Choose Obama?

These thoughts stem from someone who said to me, ‘The Bible says that God establishes all authority. If he chose Obama you should quit talking bad about his policies and get behind him or be quiet; or do you not trust God with this?” My feeling is that God also put Herod in place… but John the Baptist still opposed him publicly for his immorality. There is no doubt that we who are Christians and Americans are Christians first. In following Christ, where are our responsibilities regarding patriotism and morality?

The primary passage of this discussion says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1). To disagree, even passionately, with leadership or authorities is not rebellion. Neither is it a lack of trust in God. We are not the children of the president and he is not above challenge even if established in that office by God.

God is sovereign.

Here is the short version of my argument. God, in his wisdom gave us the privilege of choosing our own leaders. About 130 million people participated in this selection process. The majority of those people claim a belief in God. When God allowed Israel to choose a king, (though he was against it) He told them, “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses (Deuteronomy 17:14-15 – emphasis mine).

You see if God gives his children the opportunity to choose their own leaders, he expects them to appoint the ones He chooses. So the responsibility is on us to seek God, to know his will and to appoint those who would honor Him. Because he chose us, through us, he establishes our leaders. We have a responsibility whomever we choose, to hold them accountable for the decisions they make.

But the truth is we neglect our responsibilities. We vote our comfort. We did not challenge the over the top spending of the Bush administration, because we were comfortable. But now the pressure is on. The comfort is lost and the spending went from over the top to ten degrees past insanity. The current friction began with concern over our comfort. But when people began to examine all that Obama intends to do and the amount of money it will take, it stopped being about comfort and started being about policies. This is largely because bad policies affect our comfort.

I don’t think Americans at Town Hall Meetings and Tea Parties showed up because they suddenly saw that our choice was not God’s choice. I wish this were true. People chose Obama because of flash, narrative, and the ‘hope and change’ mantra. But the hope is false and the change is bad. My contention is that his policies are bad for America and are dishonorable toward God and Christ.

Did God choose Obama – no, He established him. When He entrusted us with the honor of appointing our leaders, He established the ones we chose. For better or worse – God gives us what we demand. This is not true in every country, but it is true in ours. When we choose our leaders, God is allowing us to affirm Him as our Lord. When the Israelite people demanded a king – God said to Samuel, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king” (1 Samuel 8:7). Did we as a people, in selecting the current leaders, appoint the one that God chose?

No Prevent Defense

The left wing political powers of this country have been pushing, shoving, cramming, jamming, forcing and pounding government run healthcare down our throats since early spring. When the people asked them to tap the breaks and be wise, they were met with annoyed resistance. Americans do not take well to be shushed by the politicians they vote into office… so on April 15th they took to the streets in the form of “Tea Parties” and protested the belligerent actions of their over-reaching government.

The Left considered the ‘Tea Parties’ a cute and meaningless tantrum of the right wing conservatives and dismissed them as little more than a nuisance. But the more they were ignored by the Left, the more outraged the Right became and the strength of their resolve grew. The citizens of the tea parties became the citizens of the Town Hall Meetings in August. Once again, the left dismissed them and pressed on with their agenda. The plan was for the biggest take over of American business sector in history to take place in August without resistance. But the people prevailed.

Since taking office in January, the government has taken over the automobile industry, banks, student loan programs, more of the mortgage industry and it’s fighting with every moment of everyday to get its long cold claws on America’s health care. The people have done well in resisting the government’s takeover, and exposing the corruption they find in the current administration (i.e. Van Jones, the Czars and ACORN.)

However, the Left can no longer ignore the people, so they have shifted from just being on the offensive – they’ve gone to a no huddle tactic. The leader of the left is on television as much as possible. He’s made two nationally televised speeches, appeared on almost all T.V. news shows, he even tried talking to the school kids. There has never been a bigger push by an administration to push a piece of legislation through that people wanted less.

So while the Left is in ‘No-huddle Offense’ the Right seems to have decided to play ‘Prevent Defense’ – this is a mistake. Someone rightly said, “The only thing that the prevent defense is good for is preventing victory.” This is the time to Blitz! This is the time to put in fresh players with new energy and greater resolve to crush this thing for the last time – (until the next time.) If we simply function in prevent mode… we will lose.

The terror attacks broken up in Dallas, Springfield, Denver, New York and Philadelphia are a reminder that the role of government is to protect the nation from our enemies. It is NOT to provide our healthcare, housing, automobiles or cupcakes! The Left is so confident, so arrogant, and so audacious that they told us the play they are running and they are daring us to stop it. One of their leaders said, “Healthcare will be passed before the members go home for Thanksgiving.”

Will we take the fight to them, or will we play the prevent defense? Call everyone you know who loves this country and tell them to get in the game. Write Congressmen and Senators. Get informed and educate yourself on the issues. Don’t prevent victory by being passive. That whistle you just heard stopped the clock. This is the Two Minute Warning. No prevent defense… Victory!

telemicus out

A More Civil War

One hundred forty-six years ago, Abraham Lincoln changed American history with a three-minute speech on the battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. America is experiencing now the nearest thing to a civil war that I have seen since the protests of the 1960’s. It is a conflict, not of flesh and blood, not between north and south . . . it is a conflict of ideology.

The conflict is formulated around the current attempt of the federal government to take over the health care system. They have attempted to re-frame the discussion by changing terminology, but at its core, the war is over freedom and the right to self-determination. This bill takes freedom from people and places it irrevocably in the hands of the government.

In honor of the 16th President, and our continuing quest for freedom, I submit this piece as a tribute and as a rallying cry for citizens to stand up and be heard in this more civil, albeit very real conflict.

~

Seven score and six years ago, during the days of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln called forth in this country a new birth of freedom. Its aim, to preserve this nation conceived in liberty and its dedication to the idea that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a more civil war. The test of our day is not the preservation of the Union, but rather, the preservation of the ideals of our Constitution, the principles of our Republic and the Liberty of our way of Life.

Those who assemble at town meetings and call their representatives, those who speak up for the oppressed and for those who cannot speak, those who write articles and join in debate, these are the brave soldiers of our divergence. The enemy we fight is in the philosophy of the current administration and those who would slowly, but with fierce determination, chip away the foundation of our Republic—Freedom. The freedoms we defend are guaranteed by the Constitution. They have been, and are to this day, being purchased by the blood of Patriots. “It is altogether fitting and proper that we do this.”

Patriotism is not simply to love our country. To love, support and defend the ideals and philosophies that established, protected and advanced the principles of American liberty; to believe in and stand with the brave men and women who fight to defend the rights guaranteed by our Constitution, this is Patriotism.

May we now stand with renewed resolve that our Freedoms will not be taken, that our voices will not be silenced, and that our children will not be burdened with the tyranny of our debt. Let our adversaries be assured that our Patriotism shall not diminish and “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” May God bless the people of the United States of America. May we continue to be a free people and may we choose wisely when next commissioned the honor of free people to select our leaders.

~

telemicus out

A Tiny Knight

Last week the family sat down together and watched The Tale of Despereaux. It’s a great story. I love this mouse. He has so many traits that I lack and hope to develop in my warped little soul. He is gentle, kind, chivalric, brave, smart, selfless and noble. I’m not saying that I’m none of those things, but I guess I’m not enough of those things.

Despereaux is born with a different heart than other mice. He lives life on the edge. He enjoys stealing cheese from mouse traps. He is un-self conscious. When he meets Princess Pea, she asks,

“Are you a rat?”

“No!” he replied.

“Well are you a mouse?”

He blinks and declares, “I’m a gentleman.”

When his parents sent him off to school, the teacher flashed a picture of a carving knife and the entire class cowered, but not Despereaux. The teacher said,

“You didn’t cower.”

“It looks like a sword.”

“It’s a carving knife.”

“It’s beautiful!”

The Principal called Despereaux’s parents in for a conference. He told them, “He wouldn’t cower. Wouldn’t cower, wouldn’t scurry . . . He drew pictures of cats in his notebook.” Eventually, because Despereaux will not conform, he is banished to the dungeon. There’s an interesting line in the written version of this tale, “Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.”

You see this is truly the nature of life. If you will not conform, you will be an outcast. If you don’t think what others want you to think, fear what others think you should fear, if you live in freedom when others embrace bondage, because it is the safe way to live; if you wont accept the “cats” that are in the world and go along with their tyranny—you my friend are in for a very interesting fate indeed; sometimes involving rats!

I wont tell you the story or how it ends, I encourage you to watch the movie (or better yet, read the book.) Become in your own little soul, like Despereaux. Be a gentle person, brave and noble, don’t ever cower and watch out for the rats!

telemicus out