Top 10 Posts of 2012

Christian life with Jesus Christ1) Love Like Jesus series: The most popular posts of 2012 begin with a series. Jesus commanded us to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NKJV) But He never provided instruction as to how we’re to love–or did he? Posts from the new Love Like Jesus series examine every encounter Jesus had with a person or a group, in chronological order. Each interaction is analyzed and a way for you to make application in your own life is provided.

You can check out the top Love Like Jesus post by clicking on Love Like Jesus–Love the UnlovableOr check out the whole series by clicking on Love Like Jesus.

2) Senna Part 2–Teach Us to Number Our DaysOne of the most compelling stories I’ve ever heard is that of Formula 1 race car driver Ayrton Senna. I was surprised to find I’m not alone. Senna Part 2–Teach Us to Number Our Days is one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written. We can learn some valuable lessons from his life. If you’re interested in Ayrton Senna, you might also like Senna Part 1–Senna vs. Prost–Esau Ran to Jacob.

3) Sex and Your Future–Trading 45 Minutes for 1,000 YearsContinue reading

Churches unite to help thousands of stranded passengers in Moscow’s airports

Stranded at Moscow airport

Apparently the U.S. isn’t the only country dealing with flight delays. Due to a recent ice storm that hit a large area of Central Russia hundreds of flights have been delayed. The airport in Moscow is designed to hold around 3,000 people but the crowds have swollen to 10,000 due to the flight delays. Interestingly, in this nation that not so long ago claimed atheism as their national religion, Churches and Synagogues have stepped up to assist with food, bottles of water, and perhaps most appreciated of all, bunches of those moist towlette thingies. If you’re interested you can read more at Churches unite to help thousands of stranded passengers in Moscow’s airports | Russia | RIA Novosti.

How great is it to see God’s people in action.

This is how it should be because the Bible tells us that…

…the fruit of the Spirit is love…

Galatians 5:22

Bennett Christmas 2010

Bennett Family Christmas 2010

Bennett Family Christmas 2010

I’ve been away for a few weeks this month. One week was spent at a conference on Emergency Cardiac Care and another with my family celebrating Christmas.

As is often the case with the lives of the Bennetts, our Christmas celebration turned into an adventure. We attempted to drive to Crater Lake National Park but ten miles or so North of Fort Klamath we encountered a white out. I’ve never experienced anything like it, even while growing up in Illinois. Everything was just, well, white. After some debate we turned around — OK so I was the only one who wanted to continue, but we did debate, even if it was five against one. We wound up at a snow park where we enjoyed some great sledding and took this photo. The dogs loved the snow.

The Emergency Cardiac Care conference was interesting because they had fifty survivors in attendance. These were people who were revived by CPR, and/or defibrillation, and/or cath lab intervention. Hearing their stories reminded me of Christ’s intervention that saved me.

My thanks to David Smith and Nathaniel Bennett for their guest posts during my absence.

This week you’ll see a short post on Genesis 6:16, then beginning Sunday I’ll continue blogging through the Bible taking up where we left off at Genesis chapter 7.

May God richly bless you this Christmas season!

…don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Romans 6:3-4

In Him,

kurt

Luke 1 — You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus

Photo by drproehl

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

…no word from God will ever fail.”

Luke 1:30-35, 37

There he sat in the lounge chair, snacking on munchies with his friends while watching one of his favorite movies. They were more than friends really. After working twenty-four hour shifts with these men, after saving lives with these men, after fighting fire with these men, they were his family. It always felt good to be around them. He was completely relaxed, completely at peace, and completely content when the bell went off.

“Beep, beep, beep,” the pre-alert sounded. “Structure fire, flames and smoke seen from an upper floor of a highrise. Address is…” As was often the case, the tone of the female dispatcher’s voice said as much or more about the call than her actual words. This wasn’t a false alarm or burned toast. This was the genuine article.

He moved quickly and easily from the lounge chair and made for the apparatus bay where his fire engine waited. Like a mother duck with ducklings, the Captain unconsciously listened for the noises of his crew making their way to the engine. First running, then the sounds of his men donning their protective gear, then the sounds of doors slamming – one door, the driver’s, then another, then another. As he entered the cab himself he heard the engine start, he heard the bay door open as he looked down to zip up his turnout coat, then he heard the siren.

“8102 responding,” he said into the radio as he simultaneously pushed the responding button on his mobile computer.

“Do you know where we’re going?” he asked the engineer. As usual he did.

The headsets came on and one of his firefighters asked, “What do you think Cap?”

“Sounds like the real deal to me,” the Captain replied. “We could be first in. Be prepared.”

“First in.” First in had special implications. Incidents that start well usually go well. Incidents that don’t start well…

“What are we taking up?” one of the firefighters asked. The crew reviewed the list of equipment that they’d need to take with them: two inch and three quarter hose packs, thermal imaging camera, irons for forcible entry…

It was barely more than five minutes when they heard the dispatcher say, “Units responding to the highrise fire, we have a report of multiple trapped victims on the fire floor and on the floors above.”

“Copy,” the Captain said into the radio. His adrenaline was already pumping but this last bit of information felt like an electric shock.

They turned a corner and there it was: perhaps fifteen or twenty floors up, multiple floors well involved with fire. People hanging out of windows. He took the briefest moment to steel himself for what was to come, then he gave his report, “8102 is on scene at a thirty story apartment building with at least three floors well involved, possibly floors fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. We have victims hanging out of windows. 8102 is going to the lowest fire floor. 8153, it looks like we’ll need at least ten alarms.”

“Central copies, multiple floors well involved. 8102 we just received a report of a floor collapse on the seventeenth floor.”

“Copy, floor collapse on the seventeenth,” the Captain said. Then to his crew he said, “Let’s do it.”

They bailed off the engine, entered the building, and began making their way up the stairwell to the fifteenth floor. On their way up, they shouted and directed people to the way of safety.

“8102,” the dispatcher called.

“8102, go ahead,” the Captain answered.

“8102, we have reports of two more floors collapsing. It appears to be the fifteenth and sixteenth floors. We also have a report of fire showing on the roof.”

“Copy,” the Captain said trying to catch his breath enough to speak as he climbed the staircase.

“Cap?” It was his youngest firefighter, “Cap, are we going to make it?”

“We’ll save as many as we can.”

“OK but will we make it?”

The Captain knew they had to climb as far up into the highrise as possible. He knew he couldn’t save them all. He knew they’d have to save as many as they could.

And he knew they probably weren’t coming back.

“We’ll save as many as we can.” he said. The young firefighter could hear the determination in his voice…

Before Jesus was born into this world to save us, He enjoyed a wonderful and amazing life in heaven with the Father. He enjoyed a life that was filled with glory but He chose to forfeit all of that to come down to earth. (John 17:5) He chose to come in order to save as many as He could. He chose to come even though He knew it meant His own death.

Like the fire Captain in our story, what a devastating choice that was for Jesus.

But what a glorious choice that is for you and for me.

The fire Captain left the comfort of his fire station to go up into the highrise to save as many as he could, knowing that death awaited him. Jesus left His life in heaven with the Father to come down into the earth to save as many as He could.

Praise God in the highest for in spite of the terrible death that awaited Him, Jesus chose to come for you and for me, to save us, for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

Paul, speaking of Jesus, said,

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:6-8

Thank you Lord for choosing to come down to save us.

Glory to God in the highest!

Merry Christmas!


References:

Bible Gateway

Jon Courson

Photo by drproehl

Genesis 1:14-19 — The Fourth Day of Creation

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

Genesis 1:14 – 19

Given this mornings lunar eclipse I thought it appropriate to repost from Genesis 1:14-19. The total eclipse began at 2:40 AM and lasted 72 minutes. You can read about it in the Washington Post article Lunar eclipse coincides with winter solstice.

On the fourth day God created the sun and the moon. The sun speaks of the great light of the world, Jesus Christ, for He said, “I am the light of the world…” (John 8:12) And the moon speaks of the lesser light, you and I, for Jesus also said, of His people, “You are the light of the world…” (Matthew 5:14) The only reason the moon shines is because it reflects the light of the sun and in like manner the only reason we shine, as a light of the world, is because we reflect Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you saw these two lights interact early this morning during the eclipse. A great and important lesson is found in here. When the world comes between the sun and the moon we on earth experience an eclipse and the light of the sun is blocked from people’s view. That is exactly what happens to me when I get caught up in the things of this world. When I become consumed by my performance at work, by a desire to prosper financially, by a pension for entertainment, or other things of the world. When I allow the world to come between me and my Lord, my own light is eclipsed, and I fail to reflect the great light of Jesus Christ. The same is true for any Christian. The same is true for you.

Remember that you and I are the church and as the church goes, so goes the world.

Let nothing come between you and Jesus.

For more go to Ray Stedman’s teaching on Genesis 1:14 – 19 or Jon Courson’s teaching on Genesis 1.

Don’t Go Rafting Without a Baptist in the Boat

This is just too funny not to share. In case you’ve never heard her before, when she says “Left Brain” she’s referring to her husband. Check it out.

Genesis 2:18 — It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) Here we are in only the second chapter of the Bible and already God is declaring that it is not good to be isolated. God in His wisdom of course knows that isolation is associated with all kinds of problems. In fact, according to the Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, isolation as a predictor of mortality is comparable with cigarette smoking — your risk of dying increases by 2 – 3 times if you’re isolated vs. if you’re socially connected. Besides mortality — depression, illness, and a host of other problems accompany isolation.

Your spiritual life is also very connected to the dynamic of isolation vs. social connection. Just watch the lives of those who attempt to walk their Christian walk apart from attending church vs. those who do attend. Pick someone you know who says that their way of connecting with God is through the enjoyment of nature, or by hanging out with Christian friends, or by self study. Of course there’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but, at the same time pick another who you know attends church, say, 2 or more times a week. You’ll find the difference in the depth of relationship with God between these two to be striking. By and large, you’ll find the church goer to be happier as well. According to author and speaker Dr. Kevin Gilmartin, those who attend church regularly are 40% more likely to be happy than those who don’t. (See previous posts: Congregate and Rest)

“I will make a helper suitable for him.” God’s desire for Adam was to make a helper for him because Adam alone can’t live the blessed life that God has in mind for him without Eve. Furthermore man can’t execute his part of God’s plan for mankind here on earth without women. God gave Adam His plan and agenda, but both Adam and his wife Eve are to work together, as a team, to live out God’s plan and to advance God’s agenda. Adam, the husband, has been put in a position of leadership and Eve, the wife, has been put in a position of service. Not that Adam wouldn’t serve Eve because any great leader will serve those he leads. (Traveler and the Chaplain, p. 56), But Eve has been formally appointed, by God, to be Adam’s helper. In the world’s view this certainly has a negative connotation, but in Gods view, in Christ’s view, the helper is esteemed highly for Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said,

“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Mark 9:33-35



References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

David Guzik

J. Vernon McGee

Jon Courson

Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine

Kurt Bennett, Traveler and the Chaplain, p. 56, Enoch Publishing 2009

Genesis 2:10-15 — God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work

A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:10-15

The second two rivers mentioned, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, we know of today. We know their location, in fact, you can go to Bing Maps right now and find the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates, just to the North of Basrah, in Iraq, which I’ve marked on the map with an orange push pin. Interestingly, the headwaters of these two rivers are not very far apart — both are found in East Central Turkey. Although we don’t know the location of the other two rivers, perhaps, the location of the Tigris and Euphrates headwaters gives us a clue as to the location, or former location of the Garden of Eden.

In Genesis 2:15 we read, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” I was reading an article recently on stress that listed the top 10 stressors in life. Guess what? Retirement made the top 10! Here in Genesis 2:15 we see that God has created this perfect environment for Adam and notice that, included in the perfect environment, is work! God has designed us to work. Over the years as I’ve watched friends deal with unemployment and retirement I’ve seen all kinds of problems as a result of leading a life without it, without work. According to the American Journal of Public Health men who are unemployed experience more somitization (similar to hypochondriasis), anxiety, and depression than those who are employed. The unemployed also take more medications, visit their doctors more, and spend more time in bed sick even when the unemployed and employed receive the same number of diagnoses.

In Mark chapter 1 Jesus saw some of the disciples working, they were fishing to be exact. As he passed by them He called to them and said, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17) Perhaps God has blessed you in such a way that you’re in a position where you don’t have to work. That’s great! God is good. He’s given you time that most others don’t have. I want to encourage you to use it for His glory. I know of a number of people in this position — several use their time volunteering at a dump in Mexico, they minister to the impoverished people there, several others I know have dedicated themselves to helping in their church. Use your time to influence people for God’s kingdom. Use your time to fish for men!

If you are perhaps younger, and you have to work to provide for your family, as I do, then give thanks to God for your job if you’re employed. And if you’re not employed, I want to encourage you to work as God desires you to. A number of years ago a friend of mine worked a job in a cabinet shop for less money than what he would have made had he collected unemployment. Some said that he was a fool to take less money, just so he could continue to work, but during this time, I could see the Lord doing a work in this man. His attitude and his work ethic were growing. Conversely, I’ve watched friends take their unemployment and enter into a downward spiral of inactivity. Their initiative eroded away. If you can’t find work for pay, then work for free. Help in the children’s ministry, find a widow or someone fatherless who’s in need and help them — these are things that are pure and faultless in God’s sight. (James 1:27)

As with everything God directs us to do, we’ll be at our best, at our healthiest, and at our happiest when we’re in the flow of God’s will.

God wants you to work.



References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

American Journal of Public Health

Those Who Never Saw the Light of Day

This man, who’s mother decided not to abort against the advice of her doctors, is Andrea Bocelli, an Italian tenor who has sold more than 70,000,000 copies of his albums. He is the greatest selling classical music artist of all time. He was voted one of People magazine’s 50 most beautiful people and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

How many great men and women has God sent into the world, who never saw the light of day, because a different decision was made? Men and women, who would have been even greater than Bocelli perhaps. Men and women who would have discovered the cure for cancer perhaps. Men and women who God sent to this world to bless us.

Choose life.

your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:16

To see one of Bocelli’s most popular performances, view the video below.

References:

Wiki on Bocelli

BibleGateway.com