Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Yesterday, I went to the urologist, who took an x-ray and said, "Kidney stone? What kidney stone???"
Well, he didn't exactly say that. He said, "You must have passed it without knowing it."
How often have you ever known anybody who passed a stone without knowing it? Doesn't happen very often, does it?
The other stone is still way up in the kidney, and the urologist said it could take years, and that I shouldn't worry about it much at the moment. In a day or so, we'll do a dietary analysis (you can just guess how that's done) to see what the food or drink factors (I think it'll end up being coffee) were that caused the stone.
Thanks for your prayers! I feel fine--God is good!
Monday, October 26, 2009
By Rev. Greg Smith
He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored (Luke 6:10).
Saturday, October 24, 2009
John Napier was a famous mathematician and theologian who lived in Scotland between the years 1550 and 1617. As the seventh Laird of Merchiston, he was known for his wealth as well as his intelligence. He published many theological and mathematical works that awed his readers. He was the inventor of logarithms, and divining rods that were used as multiplication tables. John’s grandson, Dr. Patrick Napier, immigrated to the new colony in Virginia, where he was a surgeon at Jamestown.
Patrick Henry, who lived from 1736 to 1799, was that famous American patriot who gave the speech that ended with “Give me liberty, or give me death!” He was one of the great minds that inspired the American Revolution. Patrick Henry lived at Red Hill in Charlotte County, and Scotchtown in Hanover County. I was fortunate enough to live near each of these at different times in my life.
Chief Red Bird (aka Aaron Brock) was a Cherokee Indian who lived in what is now known as Clay County, Kentucky, in the late 1700s. When fighting broke out between Indians and European settlers, Red Bird sought peace. As a result, he and a friend were brutally tomahawked to death. Their deaths almost started a war, with the French and Indians on one side, and the Americans on the other. The war was averted by treaties, which were later broken by the whites.
Phoebe Moses was a young sharp-shooting performer who was born in Darke County, Ohio, in 1860. Changing her name to Annie Oakley, she amazed audiences throughout Europe and America. Once, she shot the ashes from the cigarette of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Joining Colonel Cody’s Wild West Show, she became known as Little Sure Shot, and performed with Buffalo Bill Cody and Sitting Bull.
What do all these characters from history have in common? Me! I am directly related to each of them—and I’m proud of it! But I have to keep my family in proper perspective. While the past is something to celebrate, it cannot save me—now matter how interesting my ancestors may have been.
In the book of Philippians, Paul bragged that he was a Hebrew of Hebrews—blameless according the Law, a follower of tradition, a citizen of both Israel and Rome. He had quite a pedigree, but he said, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done… Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us (3:7, 13-14).”
It’s tempting to either let your past bog you down, or to try to ride its coattails into glory. Christians must do neither of these things. Instead, we must press on to the future that God has in store for us. Is your past holding you bound? Release it to God. Have you relied on your heritage for your salvation, rather than trusting in Christ to save you? Reach, instead, for God. Only by pressing on can you free yourself of the past and reach the blessings of the future.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Here are our three youngest, gathered around an old-fashioned apple juicer on a friend's farm. We spent last weekend doing farm stuff, like making home made apple cider, and visiting just-born calves. Here's a picture of my animal lover and a newborn (the same day) calf.
Today, we went to Carter's Mountain Orchard and got a 36-pound pumpkin to carve.
Daniel thinks Lydia's pretty funny as a worm wriggling out of an apple.
Lydia thought he was even funnier.
Fall is my favorite season of the year. Lots of family fun, but without all the expectations of the holidays. It's been a good week, and I anticipate it's going to get better.
Monday, October 12, 2009
“Garbage In, Garbage Out”
By Rev. Greg Smith
September 18 saw tragedy in Farmville, when four people were brutally murdered. 16 year-old Emma Niederbrock; her Longwood professor mother Debra Kelly, 53; her 50 year-old father Mark Niederbrock, who was a Presbyterian pastor; and her 18 year-old friend Melanie Wells of Inwood, West Virginia were butchered in Kelly’s home. The alleged killer is Emma’s boyfriend, Richard McCroskey, of Castro Valley, California. McCroskey also went by the rapper name of Syko Sam when he performed his horrorcore music.
If you’re like me, you may never have heard of horrorcore before reading about Syko Sam. Back in the 1980s when I was a teenager, Ozzy Ozbourne put on a gruesome show, but most of it was hype. Today, a new style of music makes Ozzy look like the Telletubbies.
Horrorcore is a sub-genre of hip hop music that is basically a slasher film put to music. Its themes focus on murder, Satanism, cannibalism, suicide, rape, and murder. Imagine if every day were Halloween, and you can begin to get into the mindset of horrorcore. The difference is that unlike a once-a-year holiday, or an occasionally watched violent movie (which can be detrimental enough to mental and spiritual health), music is something that fills most people’s lives. We listen at work, at home, in the car, almost everywhere we go. Music is all-pervasive, and can alter a person’s mood faster than a psychotropic drug.
The list of serial killers and mass murderers who were influenced by violent music is long. From Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker who slaughtered 25 people in the 1980s, to Richard Paul White’s butchery earlier in this decade, many murderers attribute their brutal killings to the influence of groups like AC/DC, Metallica, and more.
Strange, you never hear a serial killer saying he was led to murder by Mozart or Casting Crowns.
The truth is, our mothers were right when they said, “Garbage in, garbage out.” The things we put into our minds, good or bad, have a way of working themselves into our lives. That’s why the apostle Paul says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8 NIV).”
Of course, music is not the only contributor to the mindset of killers like these. Many, like “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz, (see his website here to see how he has now become a Christian) also cite the occult as an influence . Blogger Paul Calcagno, an actor who now regrets making a video by the horrorcore rapper “Sicktanik tha Soulless,” knew McCroskey, and alleges that the murderer’s actions were influenced by the Son of Sam killings, and occultic involvement. A fascination with evil, obsession with death, and attraction to violence lead to acts which fulfill dark fantasies.
Perhaps you or your children may never be led to such depths by violent music and movies. But why pollute your mind with things that clearly aren’t of God? If God has called believers to be holy, why not make our entertainment holy as well?
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
“The Grass that Suffers: Denial and Pride”
By Rev. Greg Smith
They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, "What were you discussing on the way?" But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest (Mark 9:33-34).
Jesus “took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me (Vv 36-37a).’” You have to understand the place of children in Jesus’ day to truly appreciate what He was saying. Children had no rights. They were property. They were cheap labor, disposable, and easily replaceable. Jesus said we are to welcome the lowliest of the lowly in His name. Even if you think the one you’re arguing with has no rights, treat them well, and you will have welcomed Christ.
These are pictures of me baptizing my 7-year-old son Daniel. He was so excited!
Yikes! That water was cold!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Yes, this is a real stand-up ash tray with a no-smoking sign on it. What were they thinking?
It reminds me of all the mixed messages we send everyday.
- When Christians say "Love the sinner, hate the sin," and then turn around and treat people in a hateful way because of their sin;
- When people say "We should be open-minded about everything," when by definition that means being open to both truth and lies;
- When we say "Do as I say, not as I do."
What mixed messages do you hate to hear? Leave a comment, and let me know.