More devotions

Even though I’ve been working on some other web projects, I’m proud to say that I’ve kept up my work on the devotions site.  All of June’s devotions are up and I hope to make good headway on July early next week.  I find it hard to believe that the devotions site has been running for two years already and I’m proud of the site’s performance.  Originally I expected to to get all of the devotions up within a year – one week at a time – but that proved to be too much.  Getting married last year proved to be a big distraction.  Who would have thought?  When I’m finished with July’s devotions I’ll have an entire year of devotions online.

After July I won’t be finished with devotions however.  I plan on taking some time to work on a few other web projects, like the 140 more articles/commentaries I need to write for my gospel site.  That alone is the equivalent of four to five months of devotions.  But when I come back to writing devotions I have some more themed ideas.  They won’t necessarily follow a month’s timeline but will still be set up to read one a day.

Also I have already reserved the domain name for another devotions site.  It won’t contain any new information but rather it will be a reposting of existing devotions.  I plan on using a blog format that will post a new devotion each day so that if you like you can make the site your homepage so you read a new devotion every day when you visit.  I’m tempted to launch the site now since I have the material for it but January feels like a much better time to be launching a devotional site.  That way the new material won’t abuptly stop in the middle of the year either.  By the end of next year I hope to have at least six more months worth of devotions ready to post for the following year as well.  At least that’s the plan.  That’s kind of a way down the road and there’s no telling what may happen in the meantime.

It’s Maction Time!

What on earth is maction?  It is a new term for “massive action.”  I was recently talking to a friend and he said that he had set aside the month of June for maction.  He has a second child coming in August so pretty much whatever he hopes to accomplish in the next few months needs to be done now.

I’ve been absolutely wore out lately with church stuff.  Hospital visits always take a toll on me and I’ve had someone in the hospital for the last three weeks.  It all started with three people in the hospital which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary expect my church isn’t that big.  But I’ve also noticed before that hospital visits come in bunches.  I can go months without anyone in the hospital and suddenly I’ll have a group of them. 

All of this has left me worn out and feeling like I haven’t gotten much done lately.  It’s also a foolish time to take on any more projects.  Yesterday I decided to take on a new project on a whim however.  My whims have been some of the greatest ideas I’ve ever had and have been the cause of some of my greatest online successes.  Despite the fact that I had decided to focus all of my online work on Christian websites from now on, I took on an entertainment project.  Hoping to be ahead of the curve, I’m setting up a network of sites devoted to 3D technology.  If it doesn’t catch on I’m not too concerned because I don’t have too much invested in it.

Just having a change of pace has felt really good though.  I love the work I do as a pastor and I love what I do online.  If I had the option of doing them for free I would.  But it is nice to take on a new project that has no religious significance.  That way there is no real pressure to even complete the project if I don’t feel like it.  If the project fails, I won’t lose any sleep over it either because there is no significance to it other than an opportunity to supplement my income online.

While I’m energized I hope to get the bulk of the work done for the new sites.  Unlike the other projects that I’ve taken on recently, this one is meant to be short term.  This means that right now is time for maction.  Even though there’s not religious significance I’ll post the links here when the sites are completed just in case anyone is curious.  (And it helps my search engine ranking when there are more links too. 🙂 )


Just about everyone that I’ve talked to has been under a great deal of stress this week.  I don’t know if it is the start of summer that has done it or if it is the end of school for most students or what it is.  It has been a very odd week.

I usually handle stress very well.  I am not wired like most pastors who have a very ordered type A personality.  I’m much more laid back and take things as they come.  But even I have been feeling a lot of stress for the last few weeks.  Ironically, I was even on vacation last week but couldn’t escape a lot of the problems that I was supposed to vacate.  This week I saw the effects of my built up stress when I went to the doctor – my blood pressure was much higher than normal.  Usually my blood pressure is the only good thing I have going for me.

When we’re feeling stressed – and I have to preach to myself right now as well – we need to remember that God is in control no matter what.  He has promised to provide for our needs.  Beyond that, we’ll survive and He will give us the strength to handle whatever comes our way.  We are promised to never have more than we can handle.  This is an easy promise to believe in because when God is with us, we can handle anything.

Spiritual but not religious

CNN has an interesting article  I’ve been mentioning this in my sermons for probably at least five years.  More and more people are defining themselves as spiritual but not religious.  They believe in god but it is a god of their own making and he is born out of a frustration with organized religion.

Organized religion has its faults whether Catholic or Protestant or any of non Christian faith.  There are plenty of hypocrits and corruption at every level of religion.  The truth is that Christians are sinful like everyone else and while Christianity offers a better way to live life and true Christians have the Holy Spirit to guide them, Christians are still far from perfect.

The biggest problem with the spiritual but not religious idea is that it is a new age idolatry.  The god you believe in is one of your own making.  Don’t like the idea of sinners going to hell?  Then you simply choose not to believe in it.  You accept the things about god that you like and dismiss what you don’t.  It has a new name but it has really been going on since the beginning of time.

If you take this idea a bit further than these spiritualists are willing to take it, then you’ll see the absurdity of the notion.  “I believe that when I die, god will turn me into my favorite animal and heaven will be spent frolicing in the woods/field/stream.”  Of course this sounds absurd because there is no basis for believing this.  But that is the problem with the spiritual but not religious concept.  There is no basis for the belief.  You can’t pick and choose ideas from Christianity, Buddhism, and Judaism and decide that this is what you believe.  The religions are incompatible.  I really don’t know how to put it in any other way than that. 

The other problem with spiritual but not religious is that every person believe that they are going to their version of heaven.  It seems pretty obvious that a person is not going to choose to believe that they are hellbound if they decide what the standards for heaven are.  If there are no absolute rules, then a person will always set the bar below where they currently are.  They will point to people who are far worse than them – thieves, murderers, child molesters – and claim that those are the people who are hellbound.  But people like themselves who are relatively good and who try to live a good life will certainly go to heaven.  Without absolute standards for right and wrong, how does anyone know what is wrong?  It comes down to conscience which is a poor indicator because it can be ignored and twisted.

Organized religion is far from perfect because it doesn’t always operate the way that God intended for it.  But it is better than the alternative.  Spirituality that is chosen based on what feels right will only lead to trouble.  Without standards of right and wrong, we’ll choose the lowest common denominator and stop aspiring to be better people.