Small

This past week, I needed to work on the weekend to prepare for the short week ahead.  My two youngest wanted to go with me to the office.  I knew it would slow me down, but who could resist those two cute faces?  And there will be a day coming soon that spending time with their dad will not be high on their list of fun times, so we loaded up and headed to an empty office.

The girls drew on windows with dry erase makers, played hide and seek in the empty building and wrote the word “poop” in big letters on my dry erase board in the hopes I wouldn’t see it and it would be there on Monday for others to see.

And then one of them made an observation.  Sitting on my desk is about a 4 inch plastic trophy proclaiming me “#1 Dad”.  A simple, small gift she gave me one Father’s Day.  It was right next to the coffee mug proclaiming “Dad hits it out of the park” she also gave me.  And it was the biggest thrill of the entire trip for her.

As a dad, I often try to give my children the “big” things.  Go big or go home.  But they see things differently.  They want dad.  Seeing those gifts on my desk let her know that she matters to me.  Nothing flashy, nothing big.

Small.

Being allowed to spend some time with dad and seeing he cared enough to display the simple gifts she gave me mattered.

Small.

I once put both items in my desk because we had an “important” visitor.  Never again.

She taught me the importance of small.  Reminding me that for every big moment, there are a 1000 small ones.  Small outweighs big.

I need to live in those small moments, revel in them, celebrate them, rejoice in them.

What small moments do you enjoy the most?

Christianity and America

I’ve been away.  I had decided to stop blogging, as so many others say the things I want to say much better than can I.  But recent events have me needing to express some thoughts.  And since I’ve been away so long and my readership is non-existent, I will express these thoughts here without fear of the reprisals that would come from a social media post.

Paris was devastated by the attacks of some very bad people.  Many people were killed and injured.  Those who survived did so hurting and broken.  And the calls for shunning peoples from countries that are a majority Muslim have been heard loud and clear.

To my great sadness, these same calls have come from the ostensible Christian community.

Fear has caused us to cower and cover.  Draw inward to protect our families and loved ones from those who would commit such brutal, savage acts. We want to banish the perpetrators — and those who we perceive to be like them — from our country, our state, our city and our lives.

I am convinced this is a mistake.

I concede the perpetrators are brutal and savage.  As am I.  They are ruthless and murderous.  As am I.  They are selfish and bloodthirsty.  As am I.

The only difference between me and them is the Gospel.  The transformative power of the Gospel has changed me.  The angry, brutish, evil men and women need this Gospel.  They need to be changed, as was I, from an angry, brutish evil man to a man who has been redeemed by God’s grace.

They need to find the only pure, true love displayed by God the Father in giving us His Son.  They need to understand the joy of serving and suffering for Jesus.  They need the security that comes in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  They need the hope that is found only in the Gospel.

But America wants to close them out, shun them, declare them unfit for our civilized nation.  American Christians want close them out, shun them, declare them unfit for our civilized nation.

We desire safety more than the Gospel.  Our gold is more important than God, our junk eclipses Jesus, our security means more to us than the Spirit.

True Christianity is unsafe and messy and scary because our ministry of reconciliation extends grace to the unsafe and messy and scary.  May God grant us the grace to carry His message to the unsafe, to the messy, to the scary.  And may he tear down our comforts, our possessions and our sanctuaries and place us where His gospel is needed most.

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

That’s Paul’s description of Christians in his letter to Titus.  It’s accurate.  The Gospel has changed us.  It’s powerful, it’s amazing, it’s life changing.  It’s the only thing that can end terrorism and all other evils in this world.

How can you bring the Gospel to those in need?

Customer Disservice

After AT&T introduced the iPhone, they received such an influx of customers they had to change some policies. At the top of the list was the Unlimited Data Plan.

They had certain customers using so much bandwidth, that certain markets, notably New York and San Francisco, ran out of bandwidth.

This resulted in the decision to end the Unlimited Data Plan, with the exception of those who already had it could continue to keep it. However, if you moved away from it, you could not go back.

This past December, my wife decided to surprise me with a new iPhone as a Christmas gift. When she went to the AT&T store, the sales rep offered to upgrade her from the iPhone 3 to the iPhone 4. That was not the purpose of her visit, but like a good salesman, he sold her on the upgrade.

While the sales rep was good, it was his first week on the job and he made a slight error. It seems AT&T’s computer system does not default to the previously selected data plan and the sales rep, being new, didn’t confirm with my wife the plan she was currently using. On her part, my wife incorrectly assumed AT&T was a company with integrity and would not make changes without her approval.

Because we trusted AT&T, we didn’t closely look at every bill, and so did not notice the change. It came to our attention when my wife received a text message informing her she was reaching the end of her data usage for the month. We began to look into why she would receive such a message when she had unlimited data and we discovered what had happened.

So I called their customer service to get the mistake rectified and was denied. It seems it took us too long to discover AT&T’s mistake, so they would not correct it. It seems when AT&T makes a mistake, if you don’t correct it within 90 days, AT&T won’t do the right thing.

So I visited the store where my wife purchased the phone. Certainly they would understand what had happened and make it right. And they did understand. And they tried to make it right. But the bean counters at the corporate headquarters would not do the right thing. I was impressed with the efforts the in-store sales rep went to to try and make this right, but AT&T corporate does not care about customer service.

So, AT&T you will lose my cell phone business. And my home phone business. And my high speed Internet business. And my TV business.

Looking forward to my visit to the Verizon store.

iPhone Coolness

Wow. MadMommaMonk got me an iPhone for Christmas. I found a WordPress app. This post was created on said iPhone. The nerd in me is really excited.

Why Vote?

Because Chuck Norris says to, that’s why.

Exegesis vs Eisegesis

Exegesis may be basically defined as the interpretation of a Biblical text, with an emphasis on sound hermeneutics. So interpreting the Bible to be in harmony with the whole of the text.

Eisegesis may be defined as interpreting the text to include one’s own ideas into the text, sometimes ignoring context and typically is highly subjective.

Last night as I lay in bed with my 19-month-old and 3-year-old, the 19-month-old decided she was going to “spank” her daddy. When I enquired as to why, the 3-year-old announced it was because I didn’t obey her.

I reminder her the Biblical command requires her obedience to me, not mine to her and quoted Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

She responded, “No daddy, it means you need to [o]bey me, too.”

I fear if I don’t take care of this soon, my little eisegete will become a bishop in a liberal denomination

The Christmas Spirit

I have seen several exhortations for me to “get into the Christmas Spirit”.  This phrase seems to carry different meanings in different situations.  From the context, it seems for some it means to make a purchase at a particular store, eat at a particular restaurant, or give to a particular charity.  In other instances it seems to have a meaning regarding how you treat people, animals or plants.

From a horrifying report in the NY Post, it seems the Christmas Spirit is the spirit of the savage.  The crush to get into a Long Island Wal-Mart was so great, a worker was trampled to death by the mob.  In one report, it also mentioned a pregnant woman was knocked down, trampled and miscarried.

This event sickens and saddens me.  Instead of a celebration of the Advent of our Savior, this time has become an opportunity for gross consumerism and materialism.  The god of getting and having things becomes more important than the God of all, so His 6th and 10th commandments are scoffed at so things may be obtained.

And to those who may wish to argue this is an isolated incident with extenuating circumstances and the death was a very freakish occurrence, I would remind you that the 10th commandment is violated in every store and the majority of purchases being made.  Through the catalogs and commercials bombarding us, we teach our children to violate the 10th commandment.  And we give them an example not better than the savages at the Long Island Wal-Mart.

The day after we should be giving thanks for what we have, a display of greed and cruel avarice reminds us of what we are without Christ.  May we all enter a season where we entreat our God to have mercy upon this nation for what we have become.  Let us confess and repent and pray we may avoid God’s judgement for this awful state in which we find ourselves.