Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Why I am giving up facebook for Lent...

Well, today is Ash Wednesday.  Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent in the church calendar.  It is a time of self-reflection and it is a time of fasting in preparation for the victory of Easter.  And today marks the very first time I have ever specifically, "given up" anything for Lent.

You see, I am of the opinion that if God is telling you through the Word or conscience that a particular behavior, activity, or some other thing is outside the boundaries of God's desires for us, then we ought not wait for a season of the church year.  So, deal with it straight away whether it is the Christmas, Easter, Advent, Pentecost, or Epiphany seasons....

But it hit me like a ton of bricks today.  Facebook has lately done me no good.  You see, as a church we have a Facebook account.  I often blog on Facebook.  I have read good articles and kept up with friends on Facebook.  Therefore, please do not read this as if I think that Facebook is bad - I most certainly do not.  Facebook is a tool - and I would say a good one at that.

However, as of late, Facebook has been an impediment to my peace and joy.  Let me explain.

I have many friends with wide diverse opinions on a great many things.  This is good and healthy.  However, as of late their differing opinions on politics, religion, morality, etc...has gotten to me internally.  I have caught myself feeling and thinking, "ugh..."  More times than not, I have left trolling on Facebook feeling pained and irritated.

Worse than that, my wife will be sitting on the couch three feet from me and I will be trolling Facebook feeling irritated when the woman God has given as my best friend and helpmate sits just three feet away.

So, there you go - Facebook is not evil or bad - but I have been letting it get to me in a bad way.  Therefore, Lord, I repent.  And to help me get things back in check I will be fasting Facebook for the season of Lent.

I am telling you this simply to let you know so you'll know why I might not be commenting or messaging back on Facebook - but also to let you know that we pastors too need to focus on repentance just like everyone else.  When things get outta wack, we need adjustment.

Thank you Lord for your grace - and see you at Easter!

Your friend,

Chris Ogne

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cam Newton

1st Timothy 5:1-3

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father. Treat younger men like brothers,  older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity.  Honor widows who are truly widows.

I don't know why it hit me so, but I am going to be honest - my heart goes out to Cam Newton.  I were probably expecting something different - but honestly, it does.

Here is the thing.  I respect people that are constantly thrown into the media spotlight.  I truly do.  I cannot imagine having so much of my life on public display.  I imagine the work, the effort, the late nights, and all the preparation that goes into being on a Super Bowl team.  I also imagine the emotions after a loss.  So...I just think we ought to give the guy some grace.

And just so you know, I was rooting for the Denver Broncos.  I, like many others, wanted to see the great Peyton Manning go out with a win. [That is, if he is going out...]  Yet, I really do think people are being extremely hard on Cam.  And yes, I think I know why - he's a showboat.  He jumps up after every two yard gain and gets excited.  As the saying goes, "if you can act like that when you need to know how to lose..."  And, to be honest, I agree.  This entire experience, I am sure, will teach him just that - how to be a gracious loser.  But I think I am going to let God do that to Cam; I am not so sure he needs me to rub his nose in it.  I am not so sure he needs the media to rub his nose in it either.  Nothing is more embarrassing than having to deal with yourself the day after you acted foolishly.  I am sure that is what is going on.  He regrets his behavior.

Brothers and sisters, have you and I ever acted foolishly in high tension situations?  Have we ever allowed emotion to get the better of us?  Have we ever been ashamed of how we emotionally reacted to any given situation?  My goodness, I have later regretted how I let a dumb board game affect me!  A board game is not to be compared with the pressure and tension of the most anticipated sports event on the planet.  Can you imagine if in those high tension situations we had cameras in our face and we were being peppered with questions?  My goodness, I can barely contain myself sometimes when I see the political meme's on facebook and I want to comment on every one of them!

I am a Detroit Lions fan.  Two of the most amazing Lions players are Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson.  Both of these men are quiet, let their play be seen on the field, and exhibit nothing but humility and sportsmanship.  I always remember Barry Sanders scoring touchdowns and then simply flipping the ball to the ref.  He always acted like he had been there before.  That was awesome.  Calvin Johnson has that same kind of sportsmanship.

Yet, we also drafted and until this year had the man I dub discount double-step [for stepping on Aaron Rodgers] - Ndamukong Suh - on our football team.  He often acted foolishly both on and off the field.  Yet, because he was on the team I loved I often gave him grace.  Even when he said in his famous press conference, "the man upstairs knows!" in reference to his now infamous stomp on the Packer lineman.  I can remember thinking, "yes...Ndamukong...the man upstairs does know...and so do's on video tape..."  Yet - I still rooted for the guy - because he was on my team.

I guess my point is this - as Christians we're to treat the young men like brothers.  The guys we like - the guys on our team - we stand ready to give grace too.  I think we ought to do it to the guys we do not like too.  Someone pretty important said, [that would be Jesus], "if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  Sinners love those who love them..."  As Christians I simply think we ought to give people in the public eye more grace - especially when they are acting out of emotion.

It is a good lesson to our kids to show them and say, " a good sport - this is what it looks like when we are not..."  But I also think it is a good lesson for our kids when we say, "hey...we all get worked up - and he was just sad and frustrated...let's give the guy a break..."

Just my two cents.

God bless,

Chris Ogne