“To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Corinthian 9:22)

Over Thanksgiving weekend I had my acting debut, I was asked to guest-star in Brandon’s newest video production. It was a project for a video course he is taking in college. He choose to spoof “The Da Vinci Code” with one called “The Baptist Code.” I get to play the pastor of a church that is not exactly open to change. The video also features, Brian, Jessica and Brandon’s friend Matt. There is lots of silliness and it is all played for laughs but is kind of like the old Joke: How many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Change who said anything about change?” Anyway this inflexibility is not just a condition of those who go to churches that have a particular denominational label on them.

We who are followers of Christ face a seeming dilemma. In some areas we are to be completely inflexible. That which is clearly revealed in the Word of God is to be defended. However we can defend our areas of preference at the same level and in essence make non-absolutes, absolutes. Our opinions or prejudices can become dogma or on the other hand the truth can be compromised for pragmatic ends. So where is the balance? I am impressed with the Apostle Paul. He would allow himself to be stoned or run out of town rather than back down on the truth, while at the same time was more than willing to give up the eating of meat or shave his head in order to complete his ministry. So how does one come to understand where to draw the lines, where to be unmoveable and where to bend? While this answer and its biblical basis is beyond the scope of this essay, I would offer one bit of advice: Take a look at your motivation. The Pharisees the most over inflexible people in world history were wrongly motivated. They did what they did or what they did not do to make themselves look better. They were motivated by human pride rather than glorifying God. When I can set aside my selfish desire to be king of the mountain and focus exclusively on making a big deal out of God, I usually can find the way. Try it, it no doubt will work for you too.

Use this link if you would like to view “The Baptist Code” video.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)

I love Google Earth, if you haven’t tried it you are missing some real fun and it is free. (http://earth.google.com/). It has satellite and aerial pictures stitched together to make 3-D model of the earth and you can zoom in on any place you like. You can search using names; zip codes etc. and you can overlay road maps and other info. You can also tilt the maps to give you a 3-D look at the terrain below. The series of images above is of the Waggoner Home as seen via Google Earth. Actually from this vantage point all that own is really very unimpressive. Just another non-descript house on a little hill top among so may others. I am quite sure I am the only person who has every hunted for it. It is kind of the reverse of David’s thoughts above. Different perspective (looking down rather than up) but the emotion is still the same. How is it that man being so insignificant in light of all that is, what is the significance of man that God even notices? Why does He bother, why does He care? Why does He extend His care? The real answer is that our significance does not come from us, but from Him. We are His design, His creation, His plan, His purpose, His project, His objects of Love, His bearers of His glory. It really is all about Him.

I have been working on plans for a writing project for 2007, and one of my section titles is: “God is God, God is Great, and You Ain’t Him.” There are times when I need to reconnect with the Google Earth point of view. When I get judgmental of others, I need to remember, He is quite capable of that without my help. When I get bothered that things don’t go my way, I need to remember that His will and ways are perfect. When I get to hogging the glory, I need to remember that all glory belongs to Him. These are just a few of the ways that I tend to act like I am in charge. But I am just a tiny little creature that without Him, would be all but lost in the cosmos. It really is all about Him.

I know you get lots of Christmas newsletters detailing family comings and goings from your friends. Here is ours. At least we are delivering this one without killing any trees. If you are inclined to read about the Waggoners then use this link to get a PDF version of the 2006 Family Newsletter.

By the way… have a blessed Christmas.

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)