Keeping it Green

Who is responsible for maintaining God’s good creation? Why, we are friends.

thGenesis 1:26-28 reads this way:

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Mankind is to rule over the earth; he is to subdue the earth. Man has bee given dominion over the creation.

The first part of this command (the “Be Fruitful” part) is certainly being taken care of nicely. The world’s population, as of mid-October, was estimated to be more than 7,000,000,000. 

Subduing the earth involves much more. We have been placed in charge of the earth as stewards. The earth does not belong to us; it is the Lord’s, including everything in it. Psalm 24:1 states “The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof the world and those who dwell therein.”  So, for us, it’s not a matter of ownership, but of management. We are to care for the earth and use it for our own needs.

Gen. 2:15 tells us, “ The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”  There you have it. This is the cultural mandate and mankind’s job description in a nutshell. Work it and take care of it. Then verses 16-17 add  “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Mankind was to enjoy the fruit of the earth and of his labors, but he was not to sin against God. Work. Take care of the earth, enjoy what it provides. That’s dominion.
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Oh no, not another one!

OK, I know. I know. I just asked you to do a survey for me less than 10 days ago. The process was so flawed, however, that I have a new – even shorter one for you. This is just for the readers (you two know who you are) of the  blog. The last one involved people at several blogs and websites. We got lots of responses, but cannot separate them out as to which readers answered what. My fault. I haven’t written a real survey since my doctoral thesth-4is, and that was a long time ago.

So, here is the new one. This is EXCLUSIVE for you, my readers. I don’t want all the personal stuff about income, household members, what’s in your medicine cabinet, or whether you own any guns. Just the general stuff telling who you are and what you’d like to see at my blog. I honestly do want to give you content that will be helpful to you – or at least enjoyable.

So, here we go again. Here’s the link to the new and improved, world’s finest survey. Please fill it out soon.

THANK YOU for your kind indulgence.

 

Re-inventing the Blog and the Life Work

Sandra and I have been working on how to continue in our ministry after leaving the field in Prague. We have pondered and prayed. We have sought expert help in tech areas and in the personal realm. We have even created a short survey to help us find out what YOU might think about this. It’s not too late to respond, by the way. Simply click here or the survey.

As we go along in this process, there are many questions to be answered in order to move to whatever the next step is. We have recognized that we both need to be doing more writing and speaking. Sandra is already pretty far along in her writing, being published regwheelularly in a number of places. I’m still searching, though, for my niche.

At the top of this blog I promise “Digital Dialogue, News, and General Banter.” While there has been some news, which I enjoy analyzing from my own perspective, there has been little dialogue or banter (Banter: noun, an exchange of light, playful, teasing remarks; good-natured raillery). Mostly it’s been monologue. That’s when someone speaks and others may or may not listen (or in this case, read). Is that what you want, readers?

Part of the problem is that there simply aren’t that many readers. Some of those that are on board may simply be here by inertia. Life is busy, so a lot of folks skim blogs but don’t get involved. But, I wonder. Is it that I’m not writing and sharing things that are of interest to the readers we do have? My view, to this point is that my strengths are in the areas of Biblical exposition that impacts our daily lives, and analysis of news from both Biblical and historical perspectives. Occasionally, of course, I throw in a shameless plug for our book, Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship (available in both kindle and paperback formats here . Oops, there I go again.

Seriously folks, I do believe that God is calling me to share my thinking. I no longer preach every week, so blogging and writing books and articles would seem to be the way to carry on. (BTW, there is one serious book project in the works for me at the moment. No details yet).

So, here is the interactive part. There are several things I am asking you to do for me.

  • If you like this blog, please tell other people. Tell your neighbors, your relatives, your friends (even your enemies!). Share posts with them; get them involved.
  • Get involved yourself. Let’s get rid of the monologue and start dialoguing.
  • Tell me what you would like to see here. What kind of articles would you like to see? What topics are of most interest to you? Would you like to see more guest posts? If so, from whom? (How about YOU?).
  • PRAY for me, for Sandra, and for the work of our ministry, Lifework Forum.
  • Respond here (not at facebook or by email). This may encourage others to join the discussion. There’s a lot going on in the world and in the US. What does it mean for us? For you? Don’t be afraid to get political. Obviously, we can talk about religion. Just remember to be civil.
  • Fill in the survey mentioned above.
  • Did I mention PRAY for us?
  • Did I forget to ask you to get involved? Become part of this enterprise, friends.
  • BTW, I’ve been told that blog posts should always have bulleted or numbered items.

There we have it. It’s a new era, new way of doing things for me. I’d like to involve you. Why not join in and help shape the discussion.

 

Is God Still Green?

Some time back, I began a series of essays regarding Global Warming, Ecology, and related topics, titled “Is God Green.” The next installment begins here as we consider the creation of the universe.

First things first. (Read Gen. 1:1, 11, 21, 27; Mark 13:18-19; John 1:1-3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16th). If we are to believe the Bible (and I do), then we need to start from the fact that God made everything. He is the Creator. He made the atmosphere, the trees, the rivers – everything. Is God Green? You betcha. Darwin did not create the earth. Nor did Al Gore or Michael Moore. Aliens are not responsible for all that has been created. God did it.

Christians have long accepted this. A study of the creeds of the church will show this. For instance:

  • “It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create or make of nothing the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. 4).
  • “In the beginning of time, when no creature had any being, God, by his word alone, in the space of six days, created all things….” (Irish Articles of Irish Episcopal Church, 1600)
  • “. . . In this one God, who ‘worketh all in all,’ we believe. Him we confess as the Creator of all things, visible and invisible; who in six days created and prepared ‘heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein.'” (Dordecht Confession – Mennonites, 1632).

So, that’s the beginning. That’s the foundation. God created the earth, the planets; the solar system. Now what? Maintenance. Who’s job is that?

NEXT TIME, friends.

Annual Anti-Halloween Rant

reformation-dayI’ve always been uncomfortable about a holiday that makes light of witches, goblins, and death. The holiday which is celebrated by many in this country at the end of October is viewed as nothing but a little fun, but there are other ways to have fun.

In God’s Word we are told,

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.  Any one who does these things is detestable to the LORD….” (Deut. 18:10-12a).

That’s quite a catalog of dabbling on the dark side. While we do not claim that those who dress up as witches are joining them in their detestable practices, we must still ask the question, “why emulate these things which God detests?”

This is why I recommend, instead of the prevailing holiday, a commemoration of the beginnings of the Reformation. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the University Church in Wittenburg, Germany. This set off the chain of events we today know as the Reformation.

Many heroes of the faith stood up against a corrupt church and tainted governments during the sixteenth century. They brought the church back to believing in Christ as the Head of the Church and the Bible as His Word. They also were responsible for the acceptance of the Bible being printed in the languages of the people. The Reformation has spawned many remarkable movements, including free education and modern governmental systems.

As with every historical movement, the Reformation had its excesses. Wars were fought, brothers offended, exiled and excommunicated. The Reformation, however, was a movement of saintly men and women being moved by the Holy Spirit of God.

I propose that this be the holiday we all celebrate at the end of the month. If you’re invited to a costume party, why not go as a sixteenth century character. Do some research; be able to tell people about your character. Even better, why not throw a Reformation Party. Sixteenth century snacks (no knives and forks), clothing, maybe even games could be a part of your party. This seems a finer way to honor God’s people than that other alternative.

I’m Available!

Friends and Neighbors,

Having returned from the mission field in Eastern Europe I am living in southern Maine again (York County, to be a bit more precise). I am currently available for pulpit supply and to speak at seminars and conferences.lovelace06

My experiences are broad and geographically wide. I was a pastor for thirty years. I have been a teacher of History and Political science in high school and junior high and I have been a mentor to seminary students. I have taught ethics and public speaking in a community college. I have lectured at conferences in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Africa. I have also been a political journalist and recently published a book, with my wife, regarding Christian worship (Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship). I served in the US Navy.

My resumé is available here at this website. Simply go to the front page and click on Resumé.

Book Excerpt

Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship is not a “how-to” book. While it does, indeed, have some practical tips to encourage those who are in the process of bringing their children to corporate worship with them, it includes much more. The book begins with a Scriptural survey regarding families in worship and includes many personal anecdotes and observations. Here’s an excerpt:

ImageWorship in the corporate setting provides the opportunity to blend and multiply our love and devotion to God with brothers and sisters of every economic or ethnic group, physical aspect or ability, intellectual capacity or academic standing, emotional development or spiritual maturity, and a host of other variations. We would suggest that this divinely‑ordained diversity also includes a wide range of ages. The diversity of those who gather to worship wonderfully reflects the humanity God created and the very Godhead itself.

The book is available in both paperback and kindle format at http://childreninchurch.com.