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God's Creativity and Spring

While Vermont may have the most colorful fall, I am convinced that Virginia has the most beautiful spring.  This past week has been as colorful as I can remember it.  The dogwood is covered in white blossoms, and the redbuds have bloomed.  Redbuds are an interesting tree, because the entire branch is covered with little blossoms.  In one inch there may be 15 exquisitely created pink blossoms.  It is a wonder to look at.  And then there are the azaleas, bushes covered with flowers.  They don't last long, but the sight of thousands of flowers blooming at once is so beautiful.  And don't forget the little yellow dandelion, popping up everywhere.  (Yes, I have been digging them out, but miss one and hundreds of seeds are spread across the lawn.)  And then there is the wisteria, that have hundreds of blossoms.  So many different colors and all blooming at once.  Just beauty. 
So thank the Creator for His wonderful workmanship.

The Church as a Community

     Today I went to church in a retirement center (recreational vehicle (RV) and mobile home) in southern California, near Palm Springs.  I talked to a Canadian who for the last two years has come down here for three months.  He and his wife used to go to Mexico, but now they go to California.
     He said that there were two principal reasons for going to California instead of to Mexico.  First, the church in California is much better.  Here the Word of God is faithfully preached.  The preaching is expository - a book of the Bible is selected, and the chaplain preaches through the scripture.  He does not cherry pick what he wants, but he preaches all of the Word of God.  Second, in California, there is a sense of belonging to a community.  The people often stayed only one or two weeks in Mexico, so there was no sense of belonging.   In the California retirement center, most people stay for about three months, some for four or five months.  Because the retirees stayed longer, there was a sense of community.  Also, the retirees, like birds, keep coming back to the same retirement center, year after year.  The people get together and develop friendships. 
     I travel a lot, and when I visit different churches, although the people are often friendly, there is no sense of community.  I am here, there, and everywhere, and then disappear.  On travel, there is no friendship or accountability.
      So my challenge to my reader is "Do you belong to a church community?"  If  you do, great.  If you don't, I urge you to join a community, a friendship group.  Don't church shop for months on end.  Pick a church and settle down.  There are many blessings that you will bring, and you will also be blessed by the community. 

What are you watching?

We don't have a television at home.  Never had, and I doubt that we will be getting one soon.  At the hotel where I am staying, there are 57 channels.  I just went though them all, and 17 were showing advertisements. So about 30% of the time is advertisements.  Okay, maybe I did my snapshot at the wrong time, but still, do you need to be bombarded with so many advertisements, urging you, coaxing you, enticing you to buy something that until you saw the advertisement you did not know you needed it? 
    My next complaint is the shows themselves are really horrendous.  Is it worth your time watching a show on seeing what a guy finds in an abandoned stowage unit?  Or the History Channel has an entire show for an hour on something really mundane.  It would be one thing to depict the great things that influenced the world, but most of the time it is on obscure things that are not really history.  Then there are the comedy shows that mock Christianity.  Why spend time watching something that tears down what you believe?  And CNN is the definition of repetition.  Over and over again the same story is presented.  Rarely is the story in depth, and it is the same at 7 AM as it was at 6 AM, and will be repeated at 8 and 8:30 AM, and at 9 AM, etc.
     So my challenge to you is to turn off the television.  It spews blasphemies and often will mock your faith.  It often has nothing important to say.  So turn off the TV and enjoy a good book.  Turn off the TV and spend some time talking to real humans. 

Joel Rosenberg's book, The 12th Imam.

     I just finished reading Joel Rosenberg's book, The 12th Imam.  Let me introduce Joel Rosenberg. He is a Christian author whose books have been widely read; over one million of his books have been bought.  He writes very well, and his books are page turners.  I brought it aboard ship, and finished the book in a couple of nights.  His books are easy to read and understand.
     His basic premise in the book is that today's Israel is God's chosen nation.  I do not agree with that premise.  But he also writes that God is working in the Muslim community, often through visions and dreams.  Most Muslims will not read the Bible and are closed minded.  That is why you won't find Bible book stores in Iran or Saudi Arabia.  So God has apparently been using other means to reach the Islamic community, and that is through visions.  Many have been coming to Christ because of that.
    Bottom line:  get his books and read them and think and talk about them.  They are great conversation starters.