Wednesday, November 24, 2010
We meet again, the children of the Pilgrims, to remember our fathers. The two centuries and more which interpose to hide them from our eye – centuries so brilliant with progress, so crowded with incidents, so fertile in accumulations – dissolve for the moment as a curtain of cloud, and we are once more at their side. The grand and pathetic series of their story unrolls itself about us, vivid as if with the life of yesterday. All the stages by which they were slowly formed from the general mind and character of England, the tenderness of conscience, the sense of duty, force of will, trust in God, the love of truth, and the spirit of liberty by which they were advanced from Englishmen to Pilgrims, from Pilgrims to the founders of a free church, and the fathers of a free people, in a new world, come before us.
The voyage of the “Mayflower;” the landing; the slow winter’s night of disease and famine in which so many, the god, the beautiful, the brave, sank down and died, giving place at last to the spring-dawn of health and plenty, - come before us. The meeting with the old red race on the hill beyond the brook; the treaty of peace unbroken for half a century; the organization of a Republican form of government in the “Mayflower’s” cabin; the planting of these kindred , coeval, and auxiliary institutions, without which such a government could no more live than the uprooted tree can put forth leaf and flower, - come before us. And with these come institutions to diffuse pure religion, good learning, austere morality, plain living, and high thinking; the laying deep and sure, far down on the Rock of Ages, the foundation-stone of the imperial structure whose dome now swells towards Heaven.
All these things, high, holy, and beautiful, come thronging fresh on our memories, such as we have heard them from our mother’s lips; such as we have heard them from history kings, of religion, and of liberty. They gather themselves about us, familiar, certainly, but of an interest that can never die, - an interest heightened by their relations to that eventful future into which they have expanded, and through whose light they shine.
It is their festival we have come to keep to-day. It is their tabernacle we have come to build. It is not ourselves, our present, or our future; it is not political economy, or political philosophy, of which you would have me to-day say a word. We would speak of certain valiant, good peculiar men, our fathers. We would wipe the dust from a few old, noble urns. We would recall the forms and lineaments of the honored dead, - forms and feathers which the grave has not changed; over which the grave has no power; robed in the vestments and all radiant with the hues of an assured immortality.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The purpose of a Godly vision should be to glorify God by enjoying Him. I often hear or read about families or college students going into an enormous amount of debt to secure a degree and we call this a vision. We as a society are on a hamster wheel of education. We need this education to secure a better job so we can make enough money to provide said better education for our children and so on. When does the cycle stop? Should I instead ask, what kind of education is most able to drive us to the Godly vision He has set for us and those we love?
In the book of proverbs God’s word says true wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. This wisdom begins with the fear of God Himself. Are we educating our children to fear God or are we educating them to fear failing to secure the worlds ideal?
My point being, are we training our children to desire the things of the world? Dare I say that we might be driving them toward the worldly pursuit of a better job, fancier car, the right house in the right neighborhood etc…? Are we helping them fill their lives so full of the stuff the world says they need to have; that we are helping them shut out what is truly important?
How do we get off the roller coaster? One way we saw to stop this cycle was to home school our children. We are able to teach our children from a Biblical worldview. Searching the Word to find what might be God’s best choice for each one. We can teach them daily that fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and education is a gift that can help us grow into men and women who can use this education to bring glory to their Creator. I pray it will make them wiser than I.
Whose standards are we measuring against? Should we not be concerned with God’s standards alone? I will be held accountable for the things my children are taught. As I stumble through this life, I can only claim God’s word as my standard and thus, if He so wills, my children will do all He has taught them for the generation to follow.
Monday, November 8, 2010
I believe she hit the nail on the head. As Proverbs 29:18 clearly states, all of God’s people need to have vision. We always need to look to the future and strive to work to the glory of God. If our visions are Godly, He will bless them.
I do not know how many times I have heard the catch phrase “one day at a time” and have had to bite my tongue. In one sense this can be a valid statement. . On the other hand, we are not to be revolutionaries in coming up with the new and improved ways to define God’s way of doing things. Ecclesiastes is adamant that there is nothing new under the sun. However, we need to be visionaries as we take dominion of the Earth for the King of kings.
How do we become “plodding Christians” as we become visionaries for the kingdom? If I may, we need to have visions that are Godly. What do I mean by this? As we secure a vision, we must ask the Creator what His vision for us is. He will guide. That is His promise. Here is what I believe He has shown me:
The first commands to Adam in the Garden of Eden are (Gen. 1:28) be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth.
1. Get that vision of subduing the earth, or at least our corner of it.
3. We do this by raising children to the glory of God. Having them catch the same vision, holding tightly to their heart strings and guiding them along.
4. At the end of the Old Testament the Bible says that if we as fathers do not turn our hearts toward our children and our children do not turn their hearts toward their fathers, God will strike the land with a decree of utter destruction. God’s word is clear; He wants Godly offspring to further the kingdom vision. We mustn’t strive for the worlds defining lifestyle. We must trust the Lord’s best for us is at hand. Whether it looks perfect or not…
5. I look forward to sitting at the great banquet table with my Father where we get to eat the fatted calf that was raised on the hill, the one in a thousand that I was managing for Him, and as I pass the dishes around I notice all those that I had lived with and discussed the Gospel with as I walked this proving ground. What a blessing to pass that simple vision on to my children.
Monday, September 20, 2010
It is very easy to think this way. We can pull scriptures out of context to meet our own needs. We live out our lives in our own ways and may even make a very good case for whether or not to wear a Red Sox head covering Vs Yankees Head covering, wash your hands with water or use sanitizer only, drink only Welch’s grape juice, read only scripture (maybe the New Living Translation), no age segregated teachings, or even elders that are right out of seminary approaching a church in need of leadership but the young man knows he does not meet the qualifications due the fact he is not married with children, and the list goes on.
What are we to do in a fallen world as ours? Go to scripture where truth is found! Allow the Spirit that lives within shed the light. By all means, read the dead guys that have finished the race well. Always have a body close by that is ready and willing to hold you close and lift you up in prayer. Our actions should be the catalyst used to hold others accountable in the areas that are somewhat non-descript in scripture. We need not place our selves on pedestals to point out the problems with everyone else. God bless and find the joy in the Lord, His burden is light. Glorify God by enjoying Him and all He has created!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
“Find your calling” and “follow your dreams” are two frequently used phrases when dealing with young men (and women) that are looking for their path in life. They’re often interchanged as meaning relatively the same thing; however, I believe that they are completely different.
Here’s an example:
Bob wanted to be a Texas rancher. However, when he settled down and got married he didn’t have the resources to do so. So instead of jumping into debt and “following his dream” he found a steady job and through his hard work become one of the top ten business men in the company.
After a while (with quite a few children too=) Bob realized that he had the resources that his family needed to buy the ranch.
Today, Bob has a wonderful family on a 200 acre Texan ranch outside of Dallas.
Bob didn’t start with his dream, he started with his calling. His calling (at that point in his life) was to work hard and prepare to live his dream. At the time, Bob had no clue he was ever going to be able to settle on a ranch, but he knew that if he was ever going to, he needed the proper resources.
Many young people today start out with big dreams (I mean, really, who doesn’t?) that they want to accomplish NOW. So we have song writers, novelists, instrumentalists, etc. who can’t fully provide for their family because they started with the dream.
Before I go any further, I want to make one point clear:
I have dreams.
They may seem simple to you, but I want to be a wife and a mother who can be known as her husband’s business and home manager, counselor, and entrepreneur partner. I want to be a mother who can raise a rocket scientist son or a daughter who turns out as the mother of a President or even an Idaho potato king.
But, I’m sitting answering phones at my father’s property management company waiting for Mom to pick me up and bring me to physics class.
Not exactly what I’d call “Living the dream.”
That also may be because I’m seventeen, haven’t graduated, and have no clue how to grow a potato or build a rocket=).
(Maybe physics will aid in the rocket part… I digress.)
Back to my point, in order to get to the end, we must be willing to accomplish the means. Our calling when we’re eighteen may not be what we’re going to do forever (I think Dad wrote a post about that a while back…), but at least we’re doing something. We’re supposed to always be working, and working HARD. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” indeed!
There’s nothing wrong with being a song writer, novelist, or instrumentalist, but if you can’t provide for your family (or even yourself) you may want to figure out whether you should find another job. Maybe writing is just supposed to be a hobby with computer programming as your full time job. Or maybe you split your time between being on tour with the band and acting as an independent salesman. Who knows, but as young people (and not-so-young-people) let’s make sure we’re where God would have us, not just where we “dream” to be.
Someday our dreams may become reality like Bob, but for now let’s be content with answering phones and taking physics=).
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I personally love a good Guinness or strong stout brew but know they most likely will not have these at the function because they usually only have some kind of watered down, over fermented pilsner (ale). On the other hand, you can go for a hard drink that will get you tipsy quick. All in all the hall is making money. If they didn’t, they would not be in business.
I will be bringing my wife with me and that means we will be paying $10.00 for two watered down Pilsners that I could have purchased from the bar for $5.00. I, in turn am either fronting for someone else’s drinking habits or putting more money in the establishment’s pocket. Hey, I would be more willing to have one of my classmates ask me to buy them that drink with my $5.00. This way, they can keep up their buzz. Then at least they know where it is coming from and will have the guts enough to admit they have a possible drinking problem. I may then have an opportunity to help them to curb their habitual binges.
What is next, health care for all?
Just my $.02.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Pastors, go to where your men work.
During my past 4 years as a pastor in the Bay Area I quickly discovered that one of the most important things for me to do was to hang out with men in my church at their workplace.
This helped the men. It showed them that I care about their callings, how they spend 50+ hours of their week, and the people they work with.
This helped me. It taught me about the unique opportunities & challenges men were facing in their different workplaces, it opened my eyes to a world bigger than our church, and it helped set new trajectories for my preaching and discipling.
This is how I did it (and how I will continue doing it once I get started in Phoenix):
-Schedule a lunch-time visit with a man in your church. The best use of your time is to make most of these visits with men who are leader types. Schedule to meet the guy at his office, not at the lunch spot.
-Once you show up have the guy show you around his workspace. If you’re naturally curious like me, you’ll quickly have 20 questions about all that you’re seeing around you. Ask your questions. Learn the man’s world.
-Introduce yourself to his co-workers. Don’t tell people you’re a pastor, unless asked or introduced that way. They will find out eventually and they’ll be incredibly surprised that a pastor looks and talks like a normal person and doesn’t spend all his time on church property.
-Once you get the tour, take the man out to lunch (if there’s a lunch place on the work campus, go there, it will lead to more learning about the workplace) and let him talk to you at length about his work. You’ll quickly discover how you can best encourage and empower the man in his calling.
-Always speak out against the “higher calling of ministry” idea if it surfaces. Three out of five times when I meet a man at his work he talks to me about how the work I’m doing as a pastor is “so much more important” than what he’s doing as a software engineer, financial analyst, etc. I always immediately crush and correct this unbiblical view of vocation. Your men need you to tell them that all work is a means of glorifying God, and that working for a church is not superior to working for Google. It’s your job to empower your men, to help them see the nobility of the work God has called them to do.
Men need pastors to jump into the fire of their work world with them and empower them to keep their eyes on Jesus and do their work in Jesus’ honor, whatever that work might be.
Also, at least for me, doing this is a whole lot of fun. It’s been a blast visiting men at their work here in the Bay Area. I’ve been able to see:
-The financial analysis & game development sector at Electronic Arts.
-The inner workings of a Secret Service office.
-A two-person flower shop in the financial district of San Francisco.
-A small architect firm’s hip office quarters.
-A contractor’s truck-office.
-The sprawling, impressive campus at Google.
-Several software companies who do things I still don’t fully understand.
-The venture capital world on Sand Hill Road.
-Several impressive work-from-home offices.
-(And when I didn’t have a man working there, AnneMarie gave me a great tour of Facebook).
Pastors, if you’re not already doing something like this, start incorporating it into your schedule. I think you should aim for a minimum of 1 workplace visit per week. Doing this is part of what keeps my calling fresh and alive, and what keeps me connected to men and the larger working world.
And make sure you budget for this. This is just as important as your book budget. Budget funds to cover meals and mileage for these crucial visits.
(PS. I’ve written this post from an architect/contractor’s home office)
Photo: Took this shot last week of Boston firefighters fighting a 3 alarm fire in Beacon Hill.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
One of the essentials in starting out in life is being properly educated for the profession you naturally bend to.
The public education system is not always the best system to be used in this evaluation. There are many different options out there; from home schooling to technical and agricultural schools. If parents are open to the possibilities of looking for these alternatives, they may better equip their children.
Consulting the inclinations and adaptations of the youth should be of the utmost importance. We ought not to rely on others before careful consideration has been given to the youth. Success or failure generally hinges on a proper choice of vocation.
One way to accomplish this may be something most people have set aside as archaic: Apprenticeship. The old method of apprenticeship is to try out a profession before spending thousands of dollars on education for something that may never be used. Are you doing the thing you went to school to do? I am not… Here is an idea, go show someone how to do what you do, or go find someone to show you what they do. This just may foster the direction and confidence the next generation needs to find that success.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
“Let a man in business be thoroughly fitted for the position he occupies, alert to every opportunity and embracing it to its fullest possibility and he is a success.
"Lay a good foundation of business principles and practices. Do a legitimate business. Aim to have a home of your own early in life. Be strictly honest; work hard; be earnest; seek to be an intelligent citizen. Marry a good, healthy, loving girl, keep a clear conscience; fear God and work righteousness, and life’s sun will set in tints of gold and splendor.”
Wow, business men, or men in general do not normally speak that way today. Those who are true successes will agree to all of the above though. Good practices never go out of style.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
“Success is a happy word for the average American. To achieve success is the aim of everyone. It would more frequently be gained were it not that it is too often wrongly understood to be innate smartness. Young man, the sooner you get rid of the notion that you are smart, the sooner will you win success. You may be a genius of exceeding brilliancy, but the chances are one to one hundred thousand that you are not. It is safer to conclude that you are just a plain ordinary mortal and then set about doing the best you can with the capital nature has given you. You may soar so high at first, but then, when your balloon of youthful conceit collapses, you will not have so far to fall. Bear in mind that there are thousands who consider themselves exceptionally smart and through a dependence upon that smartness have made utter failure of life, while on the other hand the apparently dull and stupid youth has by proper means overcome and is enjoying the prosperity that the supposed talented youth has dreamed of.
“Success must be won if it is to be enjoyed. The person who waits for it to come along is like a man who waits for the train to arrive before he gets a ticket. To use an ordinary term, both are apt to “get left.” Men ordinarily fail to succeed, not because they are naturally destined to fail, but they lack business ability, which is made up of equal parts of business knowledge, sterling integrity, strict economy and everlasting push.
“In our day knowledge can be acquired and is in the reach of all who possess the other qualities. The other qualities ought to be in the possession of every youth of sound mind. If not, nature can hardly be blamed for the deficiency.
“Again, success is the child of confidence and perseverance. The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it, so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it. How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience, would have achieved success. As the tide goes clear out, so it comes clear in. Sometimes business prospects may seem darkest when really they are on the turn. A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose.
“A firm resolution, that barriers shall be surmounted, that difficulties shall be cleared away, goes far toward achieving success, Let us repeat, success must be won. It never comes uninvited, never without effort.”
*Isn’t it so true that success must be won through hard work…
We learn this same lesson from Jacob when he was dealing with Laban, his father in-law. Genesis 31 and 32 there is a story of the most amazing genetics project of all time. Jacob was the hardest worker in the herding business and Laban knew it. Jacob had worked for 14 years to gain the hands of Laban’s two daughters, in this time; he had increased Laban’s herds. As wacky as the stick trick was (see Genesis ) and the way the spotted and striped flocks came about, Laban could not deny that Jacob’s hard work was being blessed by God, and in turn blessing him. It intrigued Laban to the point that he wanted to be a part of the process even if Jacob’s herds were growing by leaps and bounds over his.
Monday, May 3, 2010
The only hope of a man – at any age – is not the errors, and sins, and follies, of the past can be changed: it is only that they may be pardoned by a merciful God; that they be covered over by the blood of Christ; that though they must remain forever as facts – facts fully known to the Great Savior of hearts – their quilt may be so taken away that they will not be punished; that by the bloodshed on the cross they themselves may be so covered over – so hidden that they will not be disclosed on the final trial before assembled worlds. That hope, the religion of Christ offers to all. No well-founded hope of heaven ever rests on our merits. The hope of any and every man is found alone in the blood of Jesus Christ which cleans us from all sin! Amen and Amen.
The end of the sermon on May 2, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
WOW, was I wrong!
Another thing my family’s been trying to do is have a seasonal gathering for all of my employees/co-workers at our home. We share an evening of memories of the past. We have learned quite a bit about each other’s memories over the past several years and in doing so have created some of our own.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The church needs to remember that every worker is commanded by our Lord to be the best in their field and to accomplish his work as unto the Lord. The plumber in the pew (no pun intended ;-) is to be the best pipe fitter there is…When we do this, we glorify God by enjoying Him. We ought to be serving our Creator through our professions not leaving our faith at home.
The Apostles complained about having to serve tables because it took them from their vocation of preaching the Word. Might I suggest that the chef or cook may have an equal right to complain if asked to leave their vocational service at the table to preach the word?
We should not leave our vocation in order to do ecclesiastical work. In reality, doing so could be against God’s will.
We are all called to preach the Word in season and out of season, to be hospitable, and so on. However, we need not change professions to do so. The contemporary church wastes time and energy, and moreover, commits sacrilege as they demand that secular workers should neglect their given vocation in order to do Christian work.
Christian work is work done well; work done to the glory of the Father. How many of us, if honest, can say we go to work each day to show a lost world the Savior, simply by the way, we do our job. The way we speak to those around us, and especially the ethics with which we handle all of our affairs.
What a marvelous task the preacher of the Word has, he gets to show us all how to do such things. That’s him: just doing his job…
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
(I'm quoted at the bottom.) God really does wok in amazing ways!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
So, all of our Massachusetts friends, we're asking you to make sure you get out and vote today. Voting is our civic right, and one we are blessed to have!
May God bless all of you, and may He be glorified through this election!
~The Axberg Family~
Friday, January 15, 2010
Jeremy and I had lunch at John Harvard's. Has some great food and really cool website http://www.johnharvards.com/ (The virtual tour is exceptional:)
...And the back wall is the exposed field stone foundation. Cool huh?!Notice the books on the Harvard Seal. The three books on the seal represent the Old and New testaments and the Book of Nature (information from this article by Michael Welker.) The founders had the book of nature face-down in the original seal (pictured above) because they believed that no one had discovered all there was to know about God's creation. However, Harvard's seal now has all three books facing upwards.
The Massachusetts' Bay colony's reason for founding Harvard University.The Chapel is a memorial to all the graduates of Harvard that have died in the wars of the past centuries, except the Confederate soldiers of the Civil War. (Side Note: There are Nazi soldiers memorialized here, but not our Southern brothers... Think about that for a minute.)
While quartered in Cambridge, George Washington's troops stayed in this building. After the War, many repairs needed to be done to the building. As a result, Harvard sued the Continental Congress for damages.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Education is to enrich the soul with the discoveries and possessions our Lord has placed in this world. To give us pleasure, however, ultimately meant to give God glory. These aforementioned discoveries and possessions are under the common fatherhood of God. They are to be consecrated alongside the principles which underlie society. They imply a brotherhood of men which demands that our talents, however many, uplift the groveling, struggling multitude of the world.
When we humble ourselves and are strengthened by the power of this religious faith, we are able to stand up with its primal strength and beauty to realize true happiness. In turn, when each member of the community, no matter what sphere, shall, under the discipline of self education, learn to really think for himself. He can only then act in the radiance of his own enlightened reason. In turn he can fear God, and therefore fear no one else. No longer shall these imaginations and fallacies pervert the judgments of men.
If all this is practiced we will see a Republic rise that far transcends the loftiest conceptions of our founding fathers. It shall be a republic of which poets have dreamed and prophets have spoken; it can be “A city on a hill.”We will then see a most radiant and fragrant Christian civilization.
~My thoughts inspired by a lecture on self-culture, written by Joseph G. Hoyt in 1863.