This is the first in a three part series on living according to the principles God expects for His people. It was originally presented on May 26, 2013, during the Memorial Day worship service at New River Fellowship in Franklin, TN.
Running with the Marines
Long-distance running has been one of my favorite activities. I am not too old to try a marathon one day, but so far I must remain content with completing several half marathons. My favorite race is the Marine Corps Historic Half in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It truly is a community event. The race starts at the exposition center high up on the ridge west of Fredericksburg, and for about eight miles runs gently downhill through the historic city and past Mary Washington University until it reaches the Rappahannock River. All along the way there are bands playing, choirs singing, school and church groups handing out water, a children’s drum chorus from a local school, and of course Marines everywhere. They mark the course, direct the runners, provide first aid when necessary, and cheer on everyone just by their presence. There is something very special about a Marine, and even in a long race like a half marathon the sight of that uniform brings encouragement and confidence. And the runners do need it, particularly as the miles add up. Once the course reaches Sophia St. next to the river, it runs level for about two and a half miles, and the cheering crowds begin to thin out. About the time the runners pass the VFW post, the only people there to offer encouragement are a couple of representatives from the Rappahannock Nation, beating drums to remind everyone that long ago all the land was theirs. Please click here to continue reading
Continuing from Fox Byte #2, how do we learn what God’s definition of order is? How do we learn anything? Reading is a good way to learn, but most people I know are not really interested in reading more than they have to. The truth is, the way we learn best is from other people – hanging out with them, watching them, listening to them, trying to imitate them. Do you suppose God designed us to learn that way?
The Bible tells us that God gave human beings a list of rules so we would understand how to relate to Him and how to treat each other (see Matthew 22:34-40, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, and Leviticus 19:18). We call them mitzvot, or commandments. Good things happen when we keep God’s commandments. We call those good things blessings. However, learning about the commandments takes some effort, and living by them takes even more effort. After all, they are not written like a novel. Most of them are in the first five books of the Bible, which Christians call the Pentateuch and Jews call the Torah. Reading them is sometimes like reading a legal document, and sometimes it’s hard to see how these commandments apply to people today. Please click here to continue reading
Two people who make my job at the Alamo more challenging are John Wayne and Walt Disney. Their popular movie versions of the battle of the Alamo have influenced three generations, but they are full of myth, legend, and factual error. That is why Alamo visitors are often disappointed to learn that what they had believed as truth is not truth at all.
This is especially the case concerning that famous Tennessee frontiersman, hunter, and politician, David Crockett. During his life he made great effort to lift himself above his humble beginnings as a poor backwoods man and break into cultured society. That is why he preferred to call himself David. Yet he never could get away from the stereotype of “Davy Crockett” the great hunter. Today people remember the frontier character who died at the Alamo, not the Congressman from Tennessee who was a champion of the poor. This was illustrated by a conversation I had recently with a visitor at the Alamo. After seeing our Crockett exhibits on display, she asked me, “Why do you call him David Crockett?” I answered, “Because that’s what he called himself.” Then she asked, “Why do we call him ‘Davy Crockett’?” I answered, “Because Walt Disney told us to.”Please click here to continue reading
To build on the Fox Byte #1, let’s assume that you decide you do believe this Supreme Being made the universe and everything in it. Now what? Why did God make all this? Why did God make you? We get close to the answer when we realize that God put humans in charge of all the earth (Genesis 1:28-30). But what does that mean? Maybe there’s an answer in these words:
“Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)
The very first words in the Bible are, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1). If you believe that, then you shouldn’t have any trouble believing the rest of the book. But do you believe it? Let’s break it down a bit and see:
− “In the beginning” means this happened at the very start of something, but we don’t exactly know what yet.
− “God”. Now we know who the actor is. It’s some being identified as “God”. But what exactly did this God do?
− “Created”. Looks like this God made something. Specifically, God made something out of nothing, because that’s what “created” means. But what did God create? Please click here to continue reading