There Are Tools, and There Are Tools

A screwdriver is a tool. It’s used to screw things in, or out. It’s not a hammer–though on occasion, when I’ve not had a hammer handy, I’ve used a screwdriver handle to pound nails. It might, or might not, work.

It’s not the best tool for that job.

Just like hammers, and screwdrivers, the Internet is a tool. One wouldn’t use a Phillips head screwdriver to look up restaurant reviews on Yelp. No, for that one uses the Internet. Specifically, one uses either a smartphone app, or a web browser, to access that information.

This may seem a tad silly, but bear with me. I have a point to make:

Just as there is such a thing as the right tool for the right job, so also is there such a thing as a tool misapplied. I mentioned above how I’ve on occasion used a screwdriver for purposes other than which it was designed. Chances are one can get hurt wrongly using a tool. For instance, a meat cleaver cleaves meat–but it can be used to kill. Is the cleaver at fault? No. As an inanimate object it is entirely amoral.

It’s a just a tool.

The culpability resides with the person who has misused that tool. Likewise, guns are tools. Only when handled can they become deadly.

The Internet can be likened to a loaded gun insofar as it is a tool–one which can used for good (looking up useful information), or ill (exploring the darkest corners of human experience). Just because a tool has the potential to be misused does not make that item a bad tool. Because there is such thing.

It’s a tool which has been put to inappropriate use. Something used for nefarious means. (I’m not here addressing items specifically manufacturered to cause harm. Yet even those things are entirely amoral–for it is in their application that they cause said harm).

And the culpability lies with the human who, in so doing, has made of themself the tool.

A tool of sin.

There are tools, and there are tools.

Which one will you be?

Tell Me About Your Cellphone Service

My wife and I are currently under contract with Sprint–whose coverage has been rather less than stellar. Unless, under their “Network Vision” upgrade push, things get drastically better, we’ll likely jump ship in the middle of the year. (At this point, I need to disclose that it’s my fault my family and I are with Sprint. It was a big cost savings. But, as the saying goes, “ya gets what ya pays for”).

Could you:

Tell me who you’ve got

How your service has been

About your coverage,  please?

As we’re looking to make an informed decision, your input truly helps.

Thanks much!

The Polar Express–A Guest Post by Jason Clark

The Polar Express

image

Jason Clark

I was sitting in the theatre beside a 3-year-old boy named Ethan Wilde.  Ethan’s my son.  We were about to watch “The Polar Express.”  I was a little distracted because we just moved to North Carolina.  We were pretty sure God had asked us to.  Pretty sure.  We had spent our savings and were now digging into our “good credit.”  We were beyond strapped and spending eight bucks for the afternoon matinee caused that voice in my head to say: Are you crazy?

A 30-year-old man with a wife and two kids isn’t usually 100% certain of much, but I was about 97% sure I was to spend all my time and resources birthing a ministry, which I would later find out was a lifestyle. God had told me to believe, to stay the course.  But as the money flew out of our bank account, I was more than worried.  I was scared.
Dave Ramsey’s evaluation would have been: Uh, financial suicide.  Now I know Dave Ramsey has saved many people from financial ruin. But this was between me and another Savior; it had nothing to do with financial responsibility.  This was about irresponsible, unsound, downright foolish obedience.  I’ll come back to this a little later…
               
Back to The Polar Express.  If you haven’t seen it, try to; it’s wonderful. It’s about a young boy who, while growing up, loses his ability to believe in God…I mean Santa Claus. Fortunately, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God…I mean three variations of Tom Hanks, band together to guide the boy back into believing. I realize that sounds confusing, but stick with me.

It’s Christmas Eve and instead of dreaming of the best day of the year, the boy is in his bedroom agonizing over the universal question: Does God… sorry, I mean Santa Claus…really exist?  He used to believe, but now in the mind of this blossoming adult, a fat bearded jolly man delivering presents to the entire world’s population in one night seems impossible.  Add in flying reindeer, elves, a North Pole toy factory—it all seems completely foolish. The boy was in danger of becoming a realist.

And then a deep rumbling. It grew louder until it filled his room and even jumped out into our theatre seats.  Like an earthquake, it shook and rattled his shelf of sports trophies. The boy crawls over to his window, peers out and what to his wondering eyes should appear?  An enormous train decked in his front yard.

Dressed in his pajamas and rubber rain boots, he cautiously walks out to the train and meets Jesus… I’m sorry, I mean a train conductor played by Tom Hanks.  The conductor says, “Well…are you coming?”  That’s a question worth remembering.

This amazes the boy.  He really wants to get on the train, but at the same time, the idea terrifies him. Finally, as the train begins to inch forward, his heart wins out and he takes the outstretched hand of the conductor.

And so the journey begins, a grand adventure filled with mountaintops and frozen lakes and howling wolves and dancing waiters balancing hot chocolate. It’s exciting and dangerous all at the same time. Along the way the boy meets the Holy Spirit… I’m sorry, I mean a ghost who oddly resembles Tom Hanks…I mean, no, that’s right – Tom Hanks.

After several breathtaking moments, the train reaches its destination – the North Pole. There are elves everywhere and music, dancing and singing. It is truly a magical place.  I’d like to go there some day.
Everyone is awaiting Santa’s arrival, which signals the official start of Christmas. The Elves are singing Christmas songs. Some are whispering “Is He here?” and some are yelling, “Do you see Him?”  The anticipation is almost unbearable.

The reindeer harnessed to Santa’s sleigh are going wild! Their master is coming! They can sense it! The sleigh bells are ringing and all who believe in Santa can hear them, their pristine crystal tones adding to the beautiful chaotic anticipation. The children that made the journey are there too. The air is electric.

And then there is the boy.  He had all but decided that Santa was not real and yet wants – with his whole heart – to be wrong. Surrounded by a sea of believers, the boy dares to hope; in fact, hope is everywhere, and it’s contagious.
A slow hush falls on the crowd, and all eyes became focused on a building at the end of the square. The doors burst open. There is a bright light and within the doorframe a silhouette. Suddenly the whole square erupts.  “There He is!” shouts an elf. “I see Him!” says one of the girls, but the boy, pressed by the crowd, can’t see and still can’t hear the sleigh bells.  Why can’t he hear? Desperate, he jumps and presses his way through the sea of elves to the front. And then, there He is, God… I’m sorry, I mean Santa Claus, who is also played by Tom Hanks…

Suddenly the boy hears everything: the bells, the worshipping elves, the celebrating kids, the dancing reindeer. And I’m sitting beside my son, and I’m trying desperately to hide my face from the little girl next to me.  Why?  Cause I’m balling my eyes out and whispering I believe, I believe, I believe… I love you Lord, and I believe…

I’ve been given a promise from God.  But sometimes holding on to it can be rather difficult. Life moves along, things happen; the world is a very busy and noisy place. It’s easy to wake up one day and find you’re just not sure anymore. Believing has become a lost art and the promise has become a mountain that seems un-scale-able. In fact, it has often seemed the harder I try to summit the farther the peak is from me. But I’m convinced that the “God lived life” is one of learning how to believe. It’s learning how to cling to God and keep His promises alive in your heart.

In the movie it took the conductor, the ghost, and Santa working together to woo the child. One man played all three characters, a trinity working in unison, until ultimately the boy made the decision to believe. The boy’s heart had wanted to believe from the very start. And that desire was enough to push him into the perilous journey…

The little boy in The Polar Express, the one who stopped believing? I identify with him. Yeah, that was me, my story.

I chased the promise for so long, I lost sight of the Promise Giver. Somewhere along the way I had stopped believing. I became exhausted, unmotivated and unsure where once I had been positive. Life became random and dull. In one sense I still did what I thought God had created me to do but it no longer held meaning. I started filtering every experience through an attitude of hopelessness until every bump in the road was expected, while every triumph was fleeting. The fact was, I had begun living a life where the glass was neither half full nor half empty. It was just… half.

But years ago I made a decision that I am going to be a believer, whether it looks good or not, whether it feels good or not. I have made a decision to say yes. Now I’m putting all my money on the promise giver and following Him where He leads me, like moving my family to North Carolina and financially disappointing Dave Ramsey. Believing that God is good, that He is faithful, that He can be trusted, it’s really the only way to continue moving forward in my own story. It’s also the only way to experience fullness of life, immense joy and fulfillment.

Is it possible that God is asking you the same question the conductor asked the boy: Well…are you coming?

About Jason
Jason Clark is a singer/songwriter, author, speaker, and pastor. Jason’s passion is to know the love of God more each day. He lives to see a generation step into their identity as sons and daughters of the King and establish His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children. Jason’s new book Prone To Love is available now: Jason Clark Is

This ‘N That

You may have noticed that things have been a bit sparse around here of late. All I can say is, because life.

In the last couple of weeks:

I’ve changed jobs.

I became the parent of a first-time Girl Scout (yes, that means cookie sales, Virginia).

My wife has been dealing with health challenges. And everyone knows that when momma’s down the family comes to grinding hault. (If you could pray for her, I’d appreciate it very much).

Theny family came down mega-hard with the “crud.” While I didn’t get it, I was a lot more tired than usual. My get-up-and-go got up and went… somewhere.

Maybe over the rainbow. Who knows. I just know that since entering my forties that neither my energy, nor my focus, is in Kansas anymore.

Is that the enough Wizard of Oz references for one post? Can I get a ruling?

I’m woefully behind on both blog reading and writing. I owe both friend,  Tim, and author Shawn Smucker,  reviews of their respective books.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to work I go!

See you around the Internets, friends.

Ciao for now,

Chad

Past Imperfect: Let It Go

We all have pasts of one sort, or another. Living well does not mean denying those things, nor does it mean being crippled by shame.

There comes a time to “let it go.”

In recovery, I learned that we are only as sick as our secrets. This is undeniably true. Secrets held onto have a way of festering, of eating us up inside. Maybe it was something we had done. Maybe it was something done to us. Something said about us.

The reasons we keep secrets are many, but there is freedom to be found by letting go…

At the top of the list is shame. By confessing, we cut the Accuser off at the knees. He doesn’t have ammo to shoot us with. He can’t shame us for that which is no longer hidden.

Remember, “it was for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore no longer be entangled in a yoke of slavery.”

One the many means of contiuing entanglement is simply believing the same voices we have always listened to. Whether that’s a parent, grandparent, friend, mentor, peer, what have you.

We do ourselves no favors when we continue to elevate the same old voices over what God says about us. A good place to start is Romans:

“Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Make no mistake, friends: the mind is the battleground, where each day is either won, or lost. My advice you is: “Choose you this day, whom you will serve.”

Will it be voices that tell you to hide, that you’re no good? The voices which seek to shame you into silence?

Or the voice which says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock?”

The choice is yours.

Let it go.

Page 10 of 161« First...«89101112»203040...Last »
WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera
Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE
show
 
close
rss Follow on Twitter facebook myspace linkedin flickr vimeo youtube apple bebo
%d bloggers like this: