Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Passing of a Missionary Giant--Ralph Winter

The following article appeared in the LA Times.

Ralph D. Winter dies at 84; Christian missionary was one of America's most influential evangelicals

By Claire Noland

May 24, 2009

Ralph D. Winter, a Christian missionary who was named one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals by Time magazine in 2005, died Wednesday at his home in Pasadena after battling multiple myeloma and lymphoma. He was 84.

Winter stepped onto the world stage in 1974 at the International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland. There he issued a call for other Protestant evangelists to proselytize to the world's "unreached people," those who had not been exposed to Christianity.

In identifying mission fields, Winter looked for "ethnic pockets," isolated areas where language, ethnicity, culture and social status as well as religion had hindered the spread of the Christian Gospel.

He began his career as a Presbyterian missionary in Guatemala in 1956. Ten years later he returned to the United States to become professor of missions at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. At Fuller he trained missionaries, sharing with students his experiences working with the indigenous Maya people of Latin America.

In 1976 he decided to leave the classroom to become a strategist for Christian outreach, founding the interdenominational U.S. Center for World Mission on the former campus of Pasadena Nazarene College. A year after establishing a research institute there, he founded the related William Carey International University.

By 2005 he was included along with such figures as Rick Warren and James Dobson in Time's compilation of influential American evangelicals.

Winter was born in South Pasadena in December 1924, the middle son of Hugo H. Winter, a prominent freeway designer with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, and his wife, Hazel.

He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering at Caltech before serving in the Navy during World War II.

After his discharge, Winter switched gears and studied for a doctorate in linguistics, anthropology and mathematical statistics at Cornell. He then attended Columbia, where he received a master's degree in teaching English as a second language, and Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1956.

By then he was prepared for his missionary calling to Guatemala, setting out with his wife, Roberta, a registered nurse whom he had married in 1951. They had four daughters, all of whom became involved in missionary work. Roberta died in 2001.

Winter is survived by his second wife, Barbara; daughters Elizabeth Gill, Rebecca Lewis, Linda Dorr and Patricia Johnson; 14 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and two brothers, Paul, a structural engineer, and David, president of Westmont College in Santa Barbara.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Paddock Family Reunion

Paddock Family Reunion—June 18-24

No matter how far we travel, Colorado will always be home for us. There is a very good chance we will be buried in Kansas, but Colorado will always be home. We still have family there and it is not possible to undo 45 years of living there.

Arletta let it be known that it was time for a family reunion. Her concern was for grandchildren that are growing up and leaving home. She felt that this year might be the last year we could get everyone together in one spot. Grand Junction is the logical place. That is central to California where Becca is and to those of us who live in Oklahoma and Kansas. Vicki was able to get good prices on tickets from Alaska, so Grand Junction was a good spot for her as well. The Paddock children took on the responsibility of planning and organizing the entire event and did a great job.

Our activities began Thursday night with an evening visit at Tad's. Our newest great-granddaughter, Ollie, was there and we delight to see her and the other members of the family who had driven or flown in. My evening was spent trying to locate a lost hotel reservation. Holiday Inn had my confirmation number but no room or hotel to match the number. Bottom line—no place to stay. But a humble servant of Holiday Inn somewhere in Pakistan found us reservations in a brand new hotel in Grand Junction. He did ask if I were depressed or suicidal because they were looking for truck drivers. When we got there it had been open all of three days.

The big excitement began on Friday when we caravanned out to Highline Lake near Loma, Colorado. We used to joke about the Loma Mall which was basically a country store. We also joked about the Loma International airport. A favorite story of mine about the airport goes like this: They were testing a new jet plane larger than the 747. (In fact, the Russians went on to build this plane. You can see it online). They fired up the plane and it started down the runway with a huge cloud of black smoke billowing out of the engines. All of a sudden the engines died and the plane came to a stop at the end of the runway. The engineers for the Loma Institute of Technology ran down the runway to find out what happened. The pilot rolled down the window and his voice boomed out over the desert—"Ran out of coal."

When we lived in Colorado in the 1970s and 80s the Highline Lake was a large puddle in the midst of sagebrush with a sand fringe around the edge. We had a lot of fun at the lake, but it was no paradise. By 2009 some dramatic changes had occurred. Grass had been planted, trees grown up, restrooms, and outdoor tables and shelters all over the place. It even boasts a nice campground for overnights. At 10:00 am the campground was full. The day was cool and the water cold. Still the children enjoyed playing in the water while the older generation sat around, ate and talked over old times. We stayed until 5:00 pm at the Lake and then retired to Tad's for the evening.

Saturday morning found us again at Goodpastures for another great breakfast. We took the Mercedes with a Hemi to a great car wash that took 9 minutes to do the wash, but when it was done the car was spotless. We had picked up a good deal of road crud on the trip from Denver to Grand Junction. Eventually we were back to Tad's for more visiting and final preparations for the Family Picnic at the Long Family Memorial Park near Central High School. Several years ago William Long gave the county the acreage for a huge park next to Central High School. The park is ½ mile long and a quarter mile wide. But the catch to the gift was simple. The county had three years to develop the park or the land reverted to the family. The county got on the ball and built a beautiful park complete with walking paths, sports' facilities, and picnic shelters.

The guest list at the family picnic included all of our children, their spouses, and grandchildren, except for one spouse and two grandchildren. Of course we had our first great-granddaughter there. All of my sister's children (Susan died several years ago) were there. Some of the Linscotts live in the Grand Junction area and one daughter, Debbie, drove in from Oregon. We had a chance to catch up on the lives of these nieces and nephews. We also met some of the new additions to this part of the family. All were doing well. My only brother, Doug and his wife Tommye were there. Arletta's older sister, Chrissie, came with some of her children. One of Marty's old buddies, Scot Bell, came to visit. And then a great surprise, Chris Clark, came to the reception. We were glad to see him again. It was a cold day in Grand Junction even in June and we finally went home around 5:30.

Sunday was the highlight of the reunion for me. We went to church at the Clifton Christian Church. My spiritual roots are in that church. We saw a few old friends including Eleanor Burckhalter who invited me to church in 1957. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude. In church I had my entire family, including most of the grandchildren. It was a powerful moment.

Sunday afternoon Tad fired up the grill and did his usual great job of grilling steaks. We took family pictures and then the party began to break up. Marty and Alisha and their crew started for Kansas. Arletta and I left for Moab Utah to spend time with my brother.

I want to offer a special thanks to our children for putting together a wonderful time. It was the greatest gift they could have given.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

CO2 and Global Warming--Christian Science Monitor

Don't treat C02 as a pollutant
From higher energy bills to lost jobs, the impact of carbon regulations will hurt us far more than CO2 itself ever could.

By Mark W. Hendrickson
from the June 23, 2009 edition
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GROVE CITY, PA. - A few days before this year's Earth Day, America's ideological greens received a present they have been desiring for years: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – responding to a 2007 US Supreme Court ruling – officially designated carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant. That spurred Democrats in Congress to push a major climate change bill. In the next 25 years, their massive cap-and-trade scheme would, according to a Heritage Foundation study, inflict gross domestic product losses of $9.4 trillion, raise an average family's energy bill by $1,241, and destroy some 1,145,000 jobs. Democrats want it passed by July 4.

Get ready for a veritable Pandora's box of complications.

A generation ago, it was considered great progress against pollution when catalytic converters were added to automobile engines to change poisonous carbon monoxide to benign carbon dioxide. Now, CO2 has been demoted.

The EPA's characterization of CO2 as a pollutant brings into question the natural order of things. By the EPA's logic, either God or Mother Nature (whichever creator you believe in) seriously goofed. After all, CO2 is the base of our food chain. "Pollutants" are supposed to be harmful to life, not helpful to it, aren't they?

Of course, it is true (although environmentalists often ignore it when trying to ban such useful chemicals as pesticides, insecticides, Alar, PCBs, and others) that "the dose makes the poison." Too much oxygen, for example, poses danger to human life. So what is the "right" concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere? There is no right answer to this question. The concentration of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere fluctuated greatly long before humans appeared on Earth, and that concentration has fluctuated since then, too.

The current concentration is approximately 385 parts per million. Some scientists maintain that 1,000 parts per million would provide an ideal atmosphere for plant life, accelerating plant growth and multiplying yields, thereby sustaining far more animal and human life than is currently possible. Whatever standard the EPA selects will be arbitrary.

"Forget about the plants," say the greens. "What we're trying to control is how warm Earth's atmosphere gets." To which I reply, "With all due respect, are you kidding me?"

As with a "right" concentration of CO2, what is the "right" average global temperature? For 7,000 of the past 10,000 years, Earth was cooler than it is now; mankind prospers more in warm climates than cold climates; and the Antarctic icecap was significantly larger during the warmer mid-Holocene period than it is today. Are you sure warmer is bad or wrong?

And how do you propose to regulate Earth's temperature when as much as three-quarters of the variability is due to variations in solar activity, with the remaining one-quarter due to changes in Earth's orbit, axis, and albedo (reflectivity)? This truly is "mission impossible." Mankind can no more regulate Earth's temperature than it can the tides.

Even if the "greenhouse effect" were greater than it actually is, the EPA and Congress would be powerless to alter it for several reasons:

1. Human activity accounts for less than 4 percent of global CO2 emissions.

2. CO2 itself accounts for only 10 or 20 percent of the greenhouse effect. This discloses the capricious nature of the EPA's decision to classify CO2 as a pollutant, for if CO2 is a pollutant because it is a greenhouse gas, then the most common greenhouse gas of all – water vapor, which accounts for more than three-quarters of the atmosphere's greenhouse effect – should be regulated, too. The EPA isn't going after water vapor, of course, because then everyone would realize how absurd climate-control regulation really is.

3. Even if Americans were to eliminate their CO2 emissions completely, total human emissions of CO2 would still increase as billions of people around the world continue to develop economically.

Clearly, it is beyond the ken of mortals to answer the metaquestions about the right concentration of CO2, or the optimal global average temperature, or to control CO2 levels in the atmosphere. I feel sorry for the professionals at the EPA who are now expected to come up with answers for these unanswerable questions.

However, I do not feel sorry for the political appointees, like climate czar Carol Browner, because it looks as if they are about to get what they evidently want – the power to increase their power over Americans' lives and pocketbooks via CO2 emission regulations.

From higher energy bills to lost jobs, the impact of CO2 regulations will hurt us far more than CO2 itself ever could. Let's nail shut the lid on this Pandora's box before it swings wide open.

Mark W. Hendrickson is an adjunct faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College, where this essay was first published.

Monday, June 8, 2009

John Grisham’s The Appeal

I am a faithful John Grisham fan. I have enjoyed every book he has written. That holds true for his book The Appeal. I would encourage you to read the book in background for the article that I am putting into this post on my blog. What John Grisham reminds us is that justice is being bought and sold in our country just like every other political aspect from the presidency to the local commissioners. If I really want to have a voice in government then a nice campaign gift opens the door to my opinions and if necessary, my protection in legal matters. But read the book. John Grisham does a much better job of telling the story than me.

Here is the article from Associated Press, dated June 8, 2009. Dateline: Washington [D.C.]

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that elected judges must step aside from cases when large campaign contributions from interested parties create the appearance of bias.

By a 5-4 vote in a case from West Virginia, the court said that a judge who remained involved in a lawsuit filed against the company of the most generous supporter of his election deprived the other side of the constitutional right to a fair trial.

With multimillion dollar judicial election campaigns on the rise, the court's decision could have widespread significance. Justice at Stake, which tracks campaign spending in judicial elections, says judges are elected in 39 states and the candidates for the highest state courts have raised $168 million since 2000.

The West Virginia case involved more than $3 million spent by the chief executive of Massey Energy Co. to help elect state Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin. At the time, Massey was appealing a verdict, which now totals $82.7 million with interest, in a dispute with a local coal company. Benjamin refused to step aside from the case, despite repeated requests, and was part of a 3-2 decision to overturn the verdict.

"Not every campaign contribution by a litigant or attorney creates a probability of bias that requires a judge's recusal, but this is an exceptional case," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his opinion for the court.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Resurrection Meals

[Message delivered to the Zeandale Community Church on May 3, 2009]

Using the thoughts of Eugene Peterson from his book Living the Resurrection I have chosen today to look at the idea of the resurrection meals. Preparation of food and eating occupy a significant part of our time. Does the Bible give us any insights as to the meaning of these events in our daily life? When we look at some of the meals Jesus participated in, we realize that meals occupy an important place.

Many years ago in Grand Junction, Colorado we had a wonderful couple along with their children move to town. Dick Wilson, along with his wife Velva, became instant friends. We would enjoy a number of heartaches, but even more a great deal of joy with this family.

One great experience we had with the Wilsons occurred when we were having a revival at the Northeast Christian Church. We had invited a great evangelist—Dr. Charles Crane—and were enjoying a week of services. Charles decided that he would like to have the evening meal after services. So around 9:00 pm every night we went to a different home for supper. On Thursday night of the meeting we went to lunch with John and Margaret Ball. John had grilled t-bone steaks and we had a great meal with them. Then my mother called. She really liked Charles Crane and wanted to bring in a snack before the services that night. The "snack" turned out to be big hamburgers on homemade buns and all the trimmings—potato salad and baked beans. Then after the meeting we were to go to the Wilsons for supper. Of course we were all stuffed at this point, but we could not turn down the meal at the Wilsons. Velva outdid herself and fixed a Thanksgiving dinner, turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings. It was a fabulous meal. Their daughter who was a bit shy made a German chocolate cake that was out of this world. When Charles Crane finished his last bite of cake and I knew he was very full, I said to the Wilson daughter, "Dr. Crane was hoping he could have one more, nice large piece of that German chocolate cake." The girl was excited and brought out another generous serving of cake. Charles politely moaned, but ate the cake.

When the Paddocks moved to Rifle to provide ministry for a church that was coming out of the Disciples' Movement, we were living in the parsonage next to the church building. Early one Sunday morning Dick and Velva arrived with a complete surprise breakfast. We had a good time and a lot of laughs as a result.

Only recently did I learn the significance of such events. And that's what we want to talk about.

Let's look at Peterson's presentation:

Ordinary meals

Twice the story of Jesus' resurrection includes meals. "The unimaginable transcendence of the resurrection is assimilated into the most routine and ordinary of actions—eating a meal. We have a long tradition among Christians, given shape and content by our Scriptures, that practices the preparing, serving, and eating of meals as formational for living the resurrection."

First meal:

  • Two people, perhaps man and wife, walking to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32)
  • They have plenty of time to go into depth on any subject as they walk along
  • Talked about:
    • The trial and crucifixion of Jesus
    • Their own feelings about him—"The immense authority and sense of divine presence they associated with him."
    • Expectations aroused
      • "We hoped he would be the one who would deliver Israel."
    • The rumors in Jerusalem
      • Women who claimed they could not find the body
      • Women saw angels who told them he was alive
      • Others (men) went to the tomb and confirmed it was empty
      • But at that point the couple does not know if anyone actually saw Jesus
  • Jesus comes alongside
    • The couple from Emmaus are unaware of who this person is. "They were in the presence of resurrection, walking in the land of the living, and didn't know it."
    • Jesus puts all that happened in the framework of Scriptures.
    • As the couple listened they were not "getting the big picture." See v. 32
  • The couple asked Jesus to join them for a meal.
    • Stopped at the bakery and picked up a loaf of bread
    • Purchased a bottle of wine
    • That would be supper—bread and wine
  • Time for a flashback—review the background
    • The couple had just returned from Passover, the feast that normally lasted a week. "This great Hebrew feast of salvation, with all the energy and drama attending it." You have
      • Ritual
      • The place
      • Memories
      • Stories
      • Songs
      • Your Jewish identity reaffirmed
    • Then sudden desecration
      • A man that you highly respected and who was recognized as a prophet, a holy man, is brutally beaten and crucified at the behest of the mob that are stirred up by the Jewish leaders, the godfather high priest and his gang of Mafia members.
      • Then you hear rumors of angels and resurrection. "On successive days in Jerusalem you were hurled from celebration to anguish to bewilderment. Your whole world spun out of control."
      • Finally you are on your way home, back to peace and tranquility. Your nerves are beginning to settle when this stranger comes along and begins to put together the pieces of the puzzle. Finally, you are at rest knowing the big picture.
      • You buy a loaf of bread and a skin of wine. You invite the stranger home for supper
        • You pour the wine
        • But the stranger takes the bread, blesses it, and breaks it.
        • Suddenly you realize—"this is Jesus."
    • Breakfast on the beach—gospel of John
      • Seven of the eleven apostles are there, having gone fishing
      • Caught nothing
      • Jesus directed them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat—result: 153 fish
      • John is the first to realize the stranger on the beach is Jesus.
      • Peter jumps in the water and swims to shore. "Don't you just love it when people with spiritual experiences leave you to clean up the dishes?"
      • On shore Jesus has a breakfast ready of bread and grilled fish.

"Christian practice in matters of spiritual formation goes badly astray when it attempts to construct or organize ways of spirituality apart from the ordinariness of life."

The meals were not a religious occasion, not metaphorical, but real meals. Recognition of the resurrection is delayed.

"Jesus is host, always. We are never 'in charge,' of our spiritual formation. We don't decide the menu. We don't customize the details according to our tastes and appetites. But at the same time we are completely present and participatory, engaged in the actual formation-by-resurrection itself."

We are rapidly losing 'the culture at the table."

The common meal:

  • The way we take care of our physical need for food
  • Our social need for conversation
  • Cultural need to carry on traditions and convey values.
  • The meal is
    • Inclusive
    • Comprehensive
  • The experience of sacrifice. Something had to die for almost every part of the meal
    • "Eating a meal involves us in a complex, sacrificial world of giving and receiving. Life feeds life. We are not self-sufficient. We live by life, and life is given to us."
  • The world of the meal has greatly diminished.
    • "Fast-food means there is little leisure time for conversation."
    • Explosion of restaurants—less preparation time at home.
    • The invasion of television
    • Instant microwave meals

The shape of the liturgy—the Lord's Supper

Jesus and meals:

  • Taking
  • Blessed
  • Broke
  • Gave

The events:

  • Feeding the 5000
  • Feeding the 4000
  • The Passover/Lord's Supper
  • Emmaus

Jesus takes what we bring to him—"our bread, our fish, our wine, our goats, our sheep, our sins, our virtues, our work, our leisure, our strength, our weakness, our hunger, our thirst, whatever we are."

Jesus blesses and gives thanks for what we bring. Remember he said to Andrew, "Five loaves and two fish? Is that all you come up with?"

Jesus breaks what we bring. "All too often we come to the table with our best manners and a pose of impenetrable self-sufficiency. We're all surface, all role—polished and poised performers in the game of life." Jesus is after what is within, including our inadequacies. He does not allow us to be self-enclosed or to be self-sufficient. Jesus gives back what we brought, but it is no longer what we brought. Every meal is an extension of the Lord's Supper.

Now, how does this work out for us today?

First, I want to emphasize the simplicity of the meals Jesus served.

  • Feeding of the 5000—bread and sardines
  • Feeding of the 4000—bread and sardines
  • Lord's Supper—bread and wine
  • Road to Emmaus—bread and wine
  • By the Sea of Galilee—bread and grilled fish

Because Jesus was involved these became special events. Jesus wants to be in our special events. He wants to take the simple and turn it into the profound. He wants us to have resurrection experiences.

Note some recent events at Zeandale:

  • The Soup supper and hymn sing—on a Sunday evening and our crowd was as big as the morning service. We had a great selection of soups, nothing fancy, but everything good. The following hymn-sing lasted for over an hour and even when it was "officially" over, one of the church pianists pulled up to the out-of-tune piano in the basement and the hymn-sing went on for another 45 minutes. No one was anxious to go home. The interaction and pure enjoyment kept them there. It was a resurrection event.
  • Not much later we had our famous Easter breakfast. We have people come to this breakfast that are never seen again until the next year. But there is so much resurrection experience going on. On Saturday the men of the church get together and prepare for the breakfast. There is a great time of fellowship accompanying the cinnamon roll preparation. All get excited like small children waiting for the first sample to come from the oven. Then on Easter Sunday at 8:00 am the men are busy again and the fellowship is rich. It is a resurrection event.
  • Recently we had a choir party to celebrate the end of another season. People came early and stayed late. We officially started at 6:30 pm, and our last visitors left shortly before 10:00.
  • Two years ago, our second daughter graduated from Washburn School of Law. It was a big family event. For her graduation dinner she wanted Navajo tacos. The trick to this is making the Navajo fry-bread upon which the taco makings are placed. Two of our sons rolled out and cooked the fry-bread outdoors. It was a resurrection experience for them as they live a thousand miles apart and seldom see each other. Another resurrection event was taking place in the kitchen where Arletta and our daughters and ladies from the Zeandale church were busy preparing the rest of the meal. The preparation was followed by the meal and then by the afterglow where people just hung around and visited with one another. Probably 40-50 people were involved.

The message is plain. When we let Jesus become part of an event, it becomes a resurrection event. Probably more so that some church services. Jesus had a desire to interact with people where they lived. They didn't have to come to him with predetermined conditions for fellowship. He ate with them the food they had. He blessed the menu and saw that it met the needs of all present. Somehow we need to have more such resurrection meals. Most of all we need to recognize that in the meal and the fellowship we are experiencing the resurrection.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Resurrection Experience and the Sabbath

The Resurrection Experience and the Sabbath

Because I was in the midst of a series on Spiritual Warfare prior to Easter, and on Easter Sunday we always have a cantata, I decided to have a series on the resurrection after Easter. My inspiration comes from Eugene Peterson's excellent little book, Living the Resurrection, (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2006). The first week we talked about the wonder element of the resurrection and looked at the story from the viewpoint of the four authors of the Gospels. All of them stressed the matter of the wonder of the resurrection and how unprepared people were for the event. The resurrection knocked out cold the guards who guarded the tomb and left the first responders—women—in a state of amazed awe. None had planned for the event. Peterson' point is that resurrection wonder cannot be planned or programmed. But we must be in position to receive it and we can't do it by multitasking and working day and night. We have to make room for God. More than just room. We need to determine that we will be in a close relationship with Him all the time.

The next event we wish to explore is the relationship of the resurrection experience to the Sabbath.

To begin with we need to see what the Bible teaches about the Sabbath. The first time the Sabbath is discussed is in relationship to God and the creation of the world. Simply, after God spent six days in the process of creation, he rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3).

The first statement in regard to the observation of the Sabbath is found in Exodus 16:23-25 where the regulations for the gathering of manna are given. The people were to gather one portion of manna for each person each day. But on the sixth day they were to gather a double portion. There would be no manna available on the seventh day.

The actual law regarding the Sabbath is found in the Ten Commandments—"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." Later in Exodus 31:12-16, Moses outlines the Sabbath Laws:

12 And the Lord said to Moses, 13 "You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, 'Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord.  Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever.

Note that the Sabbath was a sign that indicated the relationship between Yahweh and Israel. It was a reminder that Yahweh had sanctified them and they belonged to Him. Every seven days they were to observe the Sabbath to remind themselves of their relationship to God. And all they were to do was rest. No cooking, ladies. No fires to be built. No travel. Livestock could be cared for. Babies could be delivered. Circumcision could be performed since babies come on their own schedule and are not particular about arriving on the Sabbath. But other than that it was a day of rest.

Those who claim to observe the Sabbath today fail to recognize the real purpose behind the Sabbath.

Peterson emphasizes that the first picture we have of God in the Bible is a picture of God at work. He is not discussed in some abstract theological tome, but instead is found at work. In Genesis 1:1-31 he is busy creating the world. From the beginning God put his mark of approval on the workplace. Even Adam and Eve had work in that they were to care for the Garden of Eden. We do not know what they were to do, but they had work. After the fall the work level increased dramatically for Adam and for all future human beings. God designed human beings to work. They are at their best when they are at work.

God also observed a Sabbath after he finished his work of creation.

The big issue is how to bring God into the workplace. In every area of employment, including Christian organizations, it is necessary to bring God into the workplace. Even Christian workers can become so involved in technology and programs, that they begin to forget the place of God in their lives.

We have become so wrapped up in technology that we subconsciously believe we really do not need God anymore or at least we are too busy to give Him any of our time.

Working with college students I never cease to be amazed at their efforts to cheat. College professors face an annual challenge to try to keep students from cheating. Recently I assigned students to read William Young's book, The Shack, and write a review of it. What I neglected to consider was the number of book reviews that are on the internet. So I have no idea how many used book reviews from the internet and may never have read the book. One student even copied a negative review verbatim on the assumption I would not detect it.

I do not allow computers in my classes because several years ago I had an issue with students using Instant Messaging and joking among themselves while I was discussed the Passion of Christ. To the outside observer it would appear that the Passion of Christ was a big joke we should laugh at. I determined at that point no more computers. Then this year I learned that when students are allowed to have computers in class, they spend their time on Facebook rather than paying attention to the lecture. One student on Facebook confessed to another student they were using Facebook in class. When I confronted the student about the confession, the student said, "Oh Dr. Paddock, I never did that in your classes."

What does this have to do with the Sabbath? If a person is so involved in technology that he/she cannot pay attention in a college class, then how can they possibly hear God?

This year at the time of Lent, an Italian cleric in Italy asked his congregation to give up text-messaging for the forty days of lent. I can assure you that college students would consider that an act of personal suicide, not to be able to text-message for 40 days. Even though they are asked to put their cell phones away, they move to the back row and stealthily text message back and forth continuously.

I would suggest that to observe the Sabbath principle we need to bring under control our use of technology. I have started turning off my computer at 4:00 pm on Friday and not looking at it again until Saturday night or Sunday morning. As often as I have done this I am amazed of how little I missed. If people need to contact me, they can use the old fashioned telephone. I still have one. There are very few emergencies. I see people literally addicted to their Blackberries and I-phones. They are constantly working them, anywhere, everywhere. I seriously doubt that God is going to speak to you through the I-phone. Turn it off! Let it rest! Let your mind rest! Observe a Sabbath from technology.

Years ago I found myself wore out all the time. My wife encouraged me to go to a doctor. He gave me a complete physical and declared me physically fit. Then he told me this. As a minister and a college professor you are working seven days a week. You are under the control of your telephone. Your church people can call you at any time and expect you to answer the call. You need to get out of town, away from the telephone.

We didn't have much money, but we got in our car and drove out of town for the day. There were lots of places to go where we didn't need to spend any money. No telephone, no demands, no students and we were able to enjoy each other. My vim, vigor, and vitalis soon returned. I never forgot that lesson.

God intended us to work only six days a week and then have a day off where we can commune with God. I encourage you to do exactly that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Trip to Colorado March 26-30

We discovered on very short notice that the World Missions Crusade was to be the weekend of March 27-29. We thank Dene Johnson, minister at Rifle, Colorado, and a former student from IBC, for sending us his newsletter that told of the event. It was not a lengthy debate about whether we should go or not. Three things moved to make a positive decision in this direction:

  • We would have an opportunity to make contact with numerous old friends and colleagues. I'm guessing that we did meet around 200 of them as well as their children.
  • We would represent MCC at the conference.
  • We would get to see our new great-granddaughter in Grand Junction.

We won't tell you which of these items was the most important.

Our trip to Grand Junction is described as follows:

To say that our trip to Colorado was exciting would be an understatement. Disneyland or Six Flags over Manhattan couldn't have produced as spectacular an event as we experienced. I'll try to verbalize it so that you can enjoy the experience as well.

 Oh yes, this was one of the God-things that Christians always like to talk about. Some are spreading rumors that I am a Christian. In order to dispel those rumors, I'll admit to it gladly. 

 The first piece of the puzzle came when our oldest son Geoffrey called to say that he thought he could get time off to go with us to Colorado. Would we like him to come along? The answer was simple: Of course we would like to have him. So after playing a late night ball game, he drove to Manhattan and arrived about 2:00 am on Thursday morning. 

 Prior to leaving I had some serious reservations about going. The weather reports indicated a bad storm coming into western Kansas. Then I saw reports of a coming bad storm in the mountains of Colorado. Not exactly the formula for a great trip. No beautiful scenery.  

 I got up at 5:30 and cared for the zoo, ate breakfast, prepared coffee for my class (Mr. Ingmire needs to look into the problem of so many students drinking coffee in the 8:00 am classes), and went to school. 

I taught my class and then proceeded home.

 Geoffrey and Arletta had the car loaded. I tied my computer to the roof so that it would stay cool (joke). We left around 10:30 am from Manhattan. Breakfast at Mac's lounge and then on the road. 

 Weather was beautiful as we went, temperature 58 degrees. 

 With no significant excitement we drove to Hays where we refueled and had lunch at Arby's. But we noticed that the wind changed and the temperature began to drop, but the sky was still clear. As we went by Colby and Goodland the local radio stations were warning people to hunker down, stay off the roads, and get ready for the big blow. Lots of that white stuff on the way. But we continued on. 

 Geoffrey was now driving. He got a call from a friend in the Denver area who told him that I-70 was closed from the Kansas border to Tower Road (just outside Denver).  But we continued on. 

 When we got to the Kansas border the weather was deteriorating with a little blowing snow from the north across traffic. Perfect for drifting. Traffic was moving along and so we continued also most of the time in the passing lane. 

 At this point let me give a sales pitch for the Chrysler 300. Without chains we made the entire trip. Only on one very slick stretch did we have any slippage. Other than that the car climbed Lookout Mountain, Eisenhower Tunnel and Vail Pass without a bit of hesitancy. Of course that could be due to the Pirelli racing tires I installed on the car recently. The car is Arletta's and she said she wanted racing tires so that she could really "enjoy" the car. But that car performed marvelously. 

 We arrived at Limon in a blizzard. The roads were still open. We stopped to take on petrol and make one other important stop. The snow was really blowing now. But the clerk in the store told Geoffrey, "I-70 is now open." Later we would find out I-70 had been closed up to that time. So maybe our guardian angel had made arrangements for our continued progress. We will give Him the credit. 

 We pulled out on I-70 again into the blizzard, but the road was still drivable. As went along we saw numerous snowplows and highway patrol cars, all going east. The gates were open and the barriers down (although we may have crossed the barriers on top of the snow. We are now driving a Chrysler 300 Snowcat. 

 The trip from Burlington to Denver was exciting. Part of the time we could only see 100 feet down the road. The wind was blowing across the highway and there were occasional slick spots. But our angel driver did a great job of keeping the big 300 under control. Around Strasburg we ran into ice on the road and even the 300 fishtailed a little. 

Finally around 5:00 PM we made it to Denver. We ate supper at the only restaurant in town--the Village Inn. We have eaten at the Village Inn off Federal Blvd since 1960.  Actually the rest of the trip was not bad.

 We then began climbing the passes out of Denver. The storm had basically passed and CDOT had done a good job of cleaning the roads. Roads were snow packed, but not slick. The Pirelli racing tires bit into the snow and took up the passes and helped control the downward passage.   

 We did run into some more bad roads outside of Glenwood Spring. 

 Finally we arrived in Grand Junction about 12:30 CDT. Tad and Nick had waited up for us. I sent them updates along the way so that they knew where we were. 

 For the entire trip we were either just behind or just ahead of a storm. Our angel was busy. The news reported today that Denver really got dumped on last night. If we had stopped in Denver we would still be there.  

 A special thanks to Geoffrey and his mountain driving skills.  All of our boys are pros when it comes to driving in the mountains. And we do appreciate them.  Our girls also know how to drive in the snow. If they didn't they would definitely be stay at home girls. 

 We did have a wonderful time at the conference. I was among the original people who started this conference back in the 1960s. Erskine E. Scates was a missionary visionary and he wanted the churches of Western Colorado to be involved in missions. As a result "The World Vision Crusade" was inaugurated. Down through the years we had the best of missionary speakers and programs. I am sure that many were influenced to not only go to the mission field, but to support missions with funds and prayers. I can remember well the stirring services we had. 

This year the featured speaker was David Butts, a prayer guru. He did a marvelous job discussing the role of spiritual warfare and the place of prayer. He gave me the ammunition for several future sermons inasmuch as I am in a series of messages on spiritual warfare. 

We also spent time with our family in Grand Junction, the Mama, the Papa, the Grandma, the Grandpa, the Uncle (Nick) and ultimately the great granddaughter, Olivia Jean Paddock, "Ollie." We oohed and aahed at her by the hour, watching her every movement. "Ollie" is certainly in love with her Grandpa Tad. She has him wrapped around her finger already. My brother and his wife, Doug and Tommye Paddock, came from Moab Utah and we had a great afternoon together on Sunday. 

The trip home was much less eventful than the trip to Colorado. On Sunday afternoon high winds hit the Grand Valley followed by an inch of snow. That gave us cause for concern, but our concern was unfounded. Our trip went well all the way to Manhattan. 

Reflecting on the weekend, I marveled at the support we received from our boys. It was a great family experience. First, our oldest boy, Geoffrey, took off work so that he could help his parents get to Colorado. Marty took off work to stay at our house with his own children whom we normally watch when his wife is teaching. In fact Marty and Alisha stayed at the house and took care of the zoo while we were gone. Much appreciated, Marty. Finally, Tad and Gloria treated us like royalty. Great food, great hospitality. Special coffee was brought just for the old Grandpa and Tad prepared gourmet meals. We just want our boys to know they are appreciated and a source of joy and pride as we grow older. Thanks boys!