Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Super Bowls and Purpose in Life

Since the Super Bowl is fast-approaching I thought I would post a picture from last year's big game. This is Matthew and I watching the Patriots defeat the Eagles. By the way, I won $50 from my football pool on the Super Bowl last year. That made for a great Valentine's date for Karina and I. This year I will be winning nothing.
It is interesting how quicly time goes. A lot has happened since one year ago, but I have trouble when I try to truly determine how I am different than I was twelve months previous. Moses, in Psalm 90, cried out for God to "teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom." I have recently been challenging the guys I am discipling (and myself) to be more purposeful in how I plan my weeks. I think, though, it is time for me to look even beyond that. It is one thing to not feel bad about wasting time. It is quite another thing to get to Super Bowl season 2007 (choose any arbitrary date) and be happy about the way I stewarded that year that God gave me.
Happy viewing and happy purposeful planning.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pics Posting

I thought I would get back to putting some pics up, so here is one from our glorious California trip. Uncle Chris showed Mattew how to toss a leaf, while Grandpa Froggy provided moral support. This was the park that we Franklins grew up going to play at. It was fun to take Matthew there. He also got to bear witness to the second highest mountain in the world: Mount Boney.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Overconcerned with Not Majoring on the Minors?

I taught a class at our church during the month of August. It was called "My Conviction Could Beat Up Your Conviction."
It was all about being gracious toward others when we disagree on non-essential matters of the Christian faith. It was a clever revisiting of the long-used expression: Don't Major on the Minors. It was a wonderful class. There was a lot of response; positive and negative, liberating and frustrating, calm and heated. It was beneficial to many, though, to consider how we interact with people even if we genuinely believe they are incorrect in things that God says are on the lesser scale of importance.
Is it possible of my generation, though, that we are so concerned with this principle (not majoring on the minors) that we overdo it? Are we so laid-back and desiring peace that we cheapen things that should be further on the MAJOR scale? Are we following a Jesus-like model of grace, or are we just lazy and accomodating? Hmmm. Maybe we need to not give ourselves too much credit for being gracious if we are just indulging the flesh and not being bold.
I am not saying that we need to swing back to fighting about all kinds of gray areas. I am saying that we have something good here, in that we seem to be revisiting what is major and what is not. Still, we could easily fall off the other side of the horse and end up standing for nothing. That is equally terrifying as it would be to fight and kill for the wrong thing.

Which side are you leaning on?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The NFL, Galatians, and Freedom

The NFL Playoffs are happening and I, along with most of the country, have been watching and enjoying. Back before a single regular season game was played, I predicted that the Colts and the Panthers would play in the Super Bowl. While to my surprise, and everyone else's, the Colts mailed it in last week, I still have the Panthers and I'm pretty happy about that. Good stuff.
When I think about sports, I think about something that I love, but also something that can consume my life, and that can be bad (stating the obvious). When I'm drudging through my week (it can happen even when you're doing what you love), sometimes I just think about how I want the weekend to come so I can feast on sports, which is the NFL playoffs right now. I think of watching football as FREEDOM (meant to be said with a Scottish accent and blue war paint).
Freedom. Jesus says that he offers freedom. But it sounds like a dirty trick because I have to assume that his freedom has a lot more rules than my freedom does. That just has to be the way it works. I want freedom that is real freedom. You know, freedom that allows me to do whatever I want. Jesus probably wants me to be free to do whatever he says. So, sadly enough, I tend to think that true freedom can only be found in escaping from Christ. I don't necessarily mean with sin. I just mean that I want to fulfill all my requirements as a follower of Jesus so that I can roam free and do whatever I want. Sound familiar, or is this just me?
I am currently memorizing Galatians 5 (a verse a day; good stuff). I still am not beyong verse 1 in my meditations. "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." "Experience freedom!" is what Paul is shouting. He is speaking specifically to the Galatians about not entering back into a life under the law of Moses (and law in general, I believe). Why would they want to enter into slavery? Only because they do not see it as slavery, but as freedom. They would have been free from the offense of Christ (check out verse 11). They would be free from heart-felt religion and replace it with containable rules. They think it would be freedom, but it would be slavery.
Sometimes I think football is freedom, but it is really slavery. I think this about TV, reading, sleep, rest, fun(?)! One time on a day off I was watching TV, making an elaborate snack, and reading a book. Karina laughed and said, "You sure are working hard at relaxing." She was right. How ironic! I enter into slavery instead of experiencing freedom in Christ. Sin is the same. 2 Peter 2 talks about false teachers who give their hearers license to sin however they want. He says that they promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves because you are a slave to whatever has mastery over you. If I cannot say no to Football, it is my master. If I cannot say no to reading, it is my master. If I cannot say no to lust or gossip or selfish thoughts, sin is my master.
But does Jesus offer true freedom? The freedom of living in a way that I will nto regret. That sounds pretty good. The freedom to experience life now instead of longing for what's next. That sounds good too. The freedom to walk hand in hand, trusting my teacher and master to show me the way. I like that. I trust Jesus. I think he has proven that he knows what he's doing.
I now find that I am constantly asking myself, "That thing you want to do, will that really turn out to be slavery?" Well, will it?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dan's Favorites of 2005

Here's Mine, What's Yours?

Favorite Movie from 2005:
Batman Begins
Favorite Fiction Book Read for the First Time in 2005:
Peace Like a River
Favorite Nonfiction Book Read for the First Time in 2005:
The Four Loves
Favorite Book Read for the Second Time in 2005:
Mystic River
Favorite Book Read for the Umpteenth Time in 2005:
The Man Who Was Thursday
Favorite Family Moment from 2005:
The three of us going out to the family beach cabin in June
Favorite '24' Moment of 2005:
Tony saving Jack in the greatest re-entry of any 24 character ever!
Favorite Ministry Moment of 2005:
All my meetings with the guys (Josh, Eric, and CJ)
Favorite Lesson Learned from Jesus in 2005:
We are to strive to be great, not greater
than others (Matthew 19-20)

Favorite California Moment of 2005:
Eating outdoors at Longboards with Chris and Rubie in December (I miss God's country)
Favorite Concert Attended in 2005:
U2 (okay, so it was the only one, but it still would be the greatest if I attended 50)
Favorite Sports Moment Watched from 2005:
Robert Horry draining 3's at clutch moments in Game 5 of the Finals
Favorite 'Matthew' Moment of 2005:
When he sarcastically said "Okay" (his first word) in his caveman voice after we told him "No"
Favorite Married Memory of 2005:
Walking and talking with Karina during our trip to the beach cabin in June
Favorite Bible Verse from 2005:
James 3:13: "Who among you is wise and understanding? Let
him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom."

Hope you enjoyed 2005. Feel free to write in some of your favorites.