Saturday, August 18, 2018

Impatience and a 40 MPH Speed Limit

I guess you’d say I’m an impatient person. Sometimes I yell at the microwave: Come on! One minute – are you KIDDING me!

I realize this is not one of my finer qualities. I like to excuse myself by saying, well, I just want to get things done. I don’t have time to dawdle. (How annoying is that, with the undercurrent of ugly pride? Okay, you got me.)

Anyhow I’m trying. I know patience is not only a virtue but a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in me. Although some of the spiritual fruit seem to be developing awfully slowly. (Come ON! Oh, oops…)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A New Book

I'm happy to announce I have a new book out - Leaning into the Wind - a collection of stories about Jesus and about family, with some humor and a little fiction mixed in.

From the back of the book

From a birthday paragliding adventure to a meditation on the death of a beloved pet, Leaning into the Wind reflects on the grace of God through all the seasons of life. Steeped in the love of family and a deep reverence for the sovereignty of God, Jim Carpenter tells stories about God's grace shining through our brokenness and pain.

You will find a laugh or two (Exploding Dog Food, My First Colonoscopy), some inspiring stories about the greatness of Jesus (Miracles Before Time Began, How God Healed My Son), and some overall encouragement for your own journey of faith (Don't Pull the Wagon Over Yet, Thanking Yourself Out of a Bad Mood).

Hope you like it. You can find it on Amazon. (Just paperback for now, but Kindle's coming.)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Don’t Spike the Ball before You Reach the End Zone: A Reflection on Finishing Well

Winning early is not the same as finishing well. Everyone has a story about some hotshot who wowed his company/school/coach and then flamed out before ever reaching the finishing line. The Bible has stories about such people, too.

I want to learn from those whose early success was marred (or erased) by a later implosion of professional or personal failure.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Another Reason to Look Forward to Heaven

The main reason to look forward to heaven is the presence of Christ. When Jesus prayed for "His sheep," He emphasized that the highest blessing the Father could bestow on them is to bring them into His glorious presence forever: Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

Anyone who truly loves Christ needs no other motivation to long for heaven. Like the Psalmist said, “Whom have I in heaven but you?” (Psalm 73:25a)

Yet there are other reasons to look forward to heaven.

Friday, July 13, 2018

No Bias in Agent Smirk. His Heart is Pure!

This week I listened to the testimony of an FBI agent before a Senate Committee. I bet you know who I’m talking about. Rather than use his actual name (which temptingly rhymes with words I shouldn’t use), I’ll call him Peter Smirk.

Mr. Smirk’s bias for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump was on clear display in text messages he shared with his mistress, another FBI agent. When faced with the evidence, he -  unbelievably - defended himself by proclaiming that he is an incredible patriot and would never, ever act out of bias.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Is Extravagant Worship Simply Wasteful?

Many years ago I saw a documentary about volcanoes. There were plenty of shots of glowing lava moving moltenly and inexorably down the face of the mountain. But the image that has stayed with me was of a very wealthy businessman (I know he was very wealthy because that’s what the narrator said) hurling his super-expensive wrist watch into the lava. The watch thrower, the narrator further explained, did it as an act of worship to honor the god of the volcano.

(By the way, remember the “Deep Thoughts” of Jack Handey from early SNL: If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let 'em go, because man, they're gone. So don’t have second thoughts about your Rolex.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Why God is Happy

God is happy.

The Bible gives us ample reason to rejoice that our God is happy. For example, when Nehemiah encouraged the people of Israel, he reminded them that “the joy of the Lord” was their strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

When Jesus told the Parable of the Talents, the faithful servant heard this judgment from the master: Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master (Matthew 25:23, my emphasis). The master's joy!