If I Had Lots of $$$$

I was thinking what I’d like to buy if I had loads of cash, i.e. I won the lottery or a distant rich relative kicked the proverbial bucket.

Note: This is all for fun and none of it has any bearing whatsoever on reality.

I’d like to buy:

1) A red mini-cooper (preferably one with a British flag emblem either on the roof or on the side-view mirrors).

2) A Mac Book Pro.

3) One of those houses either on West Main Street, Fair Street, or one of those side streets around the heart of historic downtown Franklin.

4) The complete series of Friends on blu ray.

5) One of those ultra lightweight carbon bikes.

6) An upgraded DSLR camera that shoots HD (maybe a Leica camera even?)

7) A sizeable donation to Freedom’s Promise (who works with the victims of sex trafficking in Cambodia).

8) Being able to anonymously buy people’s dinners and pay their bills.

9) A really old Bible from the 1700’s.

10) A really old coin from the 1700’s.

11) Anything from the 1700’s.

12) A vacation in Scotland, Ireland, and England.

13) A cruise around the Mediterranean.

14) A newer and spiffier iPad with improved WiFi.

15) To stay one night at both the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

16) One of those portable DVD players.

17) More vintage transistor radios to add to my burgeoning collection.

18) One really old and really big radio that still works (like the one in A Christmas Story).

I think that covers it. At least it covers all that I can think of in my tired old brain at 11:03 on a Saturday night on this first day of August in the year of our Lord 2015.

 

 

The Continuing Saga of Me Watching Downton Abbey

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Yes. I admit it. I am addicted to Downton Abbey.

It’s a lot like Dark Shadows, except that everyone is English. And there are no vampires. Yet. But it does have that melodramatic soap opera feel to it sometimes. But the characters are so richly realized and the dialogue is (mostly) authentic and witty and moving.

To my count, they’ve already killed off at least five cast members. One more vanished mysteriously in the dead of night. And oh yeah, I should probably have thrown in a spoiler alert notice before I told you all that.

It makes me want to go back to the Biltmore Estate (which is the closest to a castle this side of the Pond). Either that or I win the freakin’ lottery so I can afford to go check out Highclere Castle in jolly ol’ England.

But more than anything, I really and truly cherish the honest portrayal in the relationships on the show. It makes me want to strive for that authenticity in my own relationships.

Most of all, a part of me likes to see the bad guy get what’s coming to him and see those who try to do right finally rewarded for all their efforts.

If I were to make a spiritual analogy, I’d say that I’m glad to know that in Jesus the bad guys do get their comeuppance and those good guys win in the end. I’d also say that none of us are really good on our own but the love of Jesus as displayed on the cross makes us so.

That is, if I were to make a spiritual analogy out of Downton Abbey.

Fountain Ramah Church Part II

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I went back to Fountain Ramah Church today. I knew exactly where to turn and what to look for this time, so my route wasn’t quite so scenic, if you know what I mean.

The main pastor, Blaise Katshing, spoke about how we should allow ourselves to be colonized by God. It struck me as weird when he said it the first time, like maybe I heard him wrong. But the more heard him speak about it, the more it made sense.

When a country colonizes another, like England did with India a long time ago, the idea was to have the locals learn the customs and language of the colonists. For India, it meant that they learned to speak English, act English, and take on English practices and customs.

If we are colonized by God, it means that He takes over completely. We learn to speak in God’s language and to think like He does. Just like the Indians became English subjects, so we who are colonized by God now belong to the Kingdom of God.

It means that we carry the Kingdom of God in us because the Kingdom of God is the presence and rule of God. And if we have been taken over by God, it means God now reigns and rules in us.

When we speak, we speak God’s words. Wherever we walk, it is God walking. Whomever we touch, it is God’s healing hands we touch with. That’s what it means to be colonized by God.

I love that church and I love the people that I meet there. I have never known people who grasp as much what it means to be the family of God as these people. I have never felt so welcomed in any place as this place.

I believe that revivial will come from places like this, where the people are crying out to God for a breakthrough and not settling for the Christian status quo, but people who are desperate for God to move in and around them. People who thirst and hunger for God more than anything else in this world.

 

Redemption (It’s Never Too Late to Come Home)

For my 50th blog, I wanted to talk about something close to my heart. That something is the subject of redemption. Especially since I and all those who trust in Christ have been redeemed.

Some definitions I found of the word redeem are: “1) to recover ownership of by paying a specified sum, 2) to pay off (a promissory note, for example), 3) to turn in (coupons, for example) and receive something in exchange, 4) to fulfill (a pledge, for example), 5). to convert into cash: redeem stocks, 6) to set free; rescue or ransom, 7) to save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences. 7)  to make up for: the low price of the clothes dryer redeems its lack of special features.8)  to restore the honor, worth, or reputation of.”

But it’s one thing to know about redemption in an academic sense and an entirely different notion to know experientially what it means to be redeemed. To know that Jesus can take something worthless and turn it into something priceless is cause by itself for worship. To know that no one is beyond His reach is cause for eternal devotion.

The thief on the cross proves that no one is ever a lost cause or a hopeless case. Not even in his dying moments was he too far gone to be saved. Such is the case for anyone in my life (or your life). No one is too depraved to be forgiven. There is no one who has left the path who can never come back.

If you are the one who has crossed every line and blown every chance, there”s still hope. You can never stray so far away that there is no way to get Home again. If you aren’t the one who has lost his or her way, but know someone who has, know that there is never a time to quit praying and reaching out and believing in faith for that person.

I love this quote from John Newton, who himself was a slave trader who was redeemed and became a great hymn writer and leader in the abolition movement in England. As he lay on his death bed, he said to a minister friend, ‎”True, I’m going on before you, but you’ll soon come after me. When you arrive, our friendship will no doubt cause you to inquire for me. But I can tell you already where you’ll most likely find me–I’ll be sitting at the feet of the thief whom Jesus saved in His dying moments on the cross!”

Remember it’s never too late to come Home. Even if you’ve lost your way, Jesus knows how to get you Home. After all, He is the Way. Don’t lose hope for that loved one. Even in his or her last breath, there’s still a chance for redemption.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.