I wonder…

Ever since the invention of the telephone and more recently, the Internet, communication has become much more easy and convenient.  Thus gratifying our desire of instant gratification.  Through the Internet, we have e-mail, forums, blogs, Facebook, and more recently, Skype.  With these tools, we are able to converse with friends far away much quicker.  Because of this, many young people spend many hours on the Internet, chatting with their friends.

But I had an interesting thought this evening.  We all, on a daily basis put time and energy into maintaining our earthly relationships.  But what about our relationship with God?  I wondered, what would happen if each of us professing Christians resolved to spend at least as much time, if not more time deepening our relationship with our closest Friend as we do with our earthly friends?  How would our lives change?  I don’t just mean in the way we manage our time (thought that I’m sure that would be drastically affected).  But would we change the way we live our lives?  Would our focus be removed from the temporal, pleasure for the moment worthlessness, and transferred to more important, God honoring things?

Some of you right now may have that little voice in you saying something like, “But that would be asking too much.  No one could be expected to carry out such a radical task.  You couldn’t possibly be expected to spend an hour or two reading your Bible!  Besides, it would cut into your friend time.  And you just can’t give that up.”  I currently have a similar voice whispering in my ear.  But, if you think about it, which of your relationships are more important?  The ones with your earthly friends, who you might not even remember their names twenty years from now?  Or our ever-present, personal God, who will be with you to the end and beyond?  That Friend who sticks closer than a brother?

So, the question is, which relationship will you spend more time and energy on?  Your temporal ones?  Or your eternal one?



Nuremberg revisited

My family and I recently watched a movie that was based on the Nuremberg trials, named “Judgement at Nuremberg.”  This particular movie followed the trials of the Nazi judges, and one in particular named, Dr. Ernst Janning (pronounced, yah-ning).  It was a very good movie, and was very captivating.  I found myself going back and forth in my judgement of the Nazi judges with every speech.   Throughout the whole movie, the defending lawyer was saying that Dr. Janning had only stayed a judge to keep things from getting worse.  That he shouldn’t be punished, because he was only doing what he was made to do.  On both sides, the speeches were so impassioned.  I was often moved to tears. But, my favorite part of the movie came in the last conversation at the end of the movie.  The American judge, named Judge Haywood, had a private conversation with Dr. Janning, in which Dr. Janning said, “Judge Haywood… the reason I asked you to come:  Those people, those millions of people… I never knew it would come to that.  You must believe it, You must believe it!”  Judge Haywood’s response was amazing.  He said, “Herr Janning, it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death that you knew to be innocent.”

Many people wonder how people could come to do such horrible things, such as what occurred in Germany under Hitler.  But what they fail to realize is that most of those who were involved in the Holocaust didn’t start off that way.  In general, when we fall into great sin, we don’t do it in one giant leap.  It comes slowly, unassumingly at first.  It comes with the small compromises we make everyday.  We don’t even realize the full impact of those compromises, and eventually, as with the Nazis, we can become desensitized to the evil we are committing.  Before you know it, all of the little compromises, the little tiny steps, have led us to that place, the end where we fall into “great sin.”  But, in reality, there is no such thing as a “great sin.”  Each of those small compromises were just as wrong, and just as condemning.  Just as Judge Haywood said in the movie, “It came to that (the “great sin” or compromise) the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.”

We can see examples of such small compromises in all areas of life.  But, the major one that comes to mind is called the Holocaust of modern times.  It is… abortion.  But, this vastly committed sin didn’t not become legal all at once.  Before Roe v. Wade, there was another decision, or small compromise, that paved the way for the full legalization of this brutal form of murder.  In this law that was passed, abortion became legal in cases of rape and incest.  Thus, the proverbial camel’s nose came under the tent.  Many people rationalize these compromises to murder by saying that the baby is unwanted, it came about from a sin, etc.   In the cases of the life of the mother being in danger, they say that the unborn must be killed to save the mother’s life.  But, the fact is, that it is still murder of an innocent, unarmed human being.  Back in the old days, it was considered cowardly to kill someone who could not defend themselves.  Now, this same act is done in staggering numbers on a minute by minute basis.

Even a little compromise in this area is devastating.  It led to the over 50 million lives that have been snuffed out so far.  People can rationalize their compromises away however they want, but that doesn’t change the truth.  It is still murder, and it is still wrong.  Those who supported the first law being past might plead, “All those millions of children.  We didn’t know it would come to that.”  But the fact is, it came to that the first time, for any reason, an innocent baby was killed.

Here is a very good speech to watch on this subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK9_NqQGrmw

CSQ ’09

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted.  I’ve mainly been recovering from the Centennial State Qualifier a couple weeks ago.  (I’m still in shock that I’ve finished my Apologetics cards.  After writing 90 six minute speeches, you don’t really feel like you’ve reached the end.)  As you could see from my last post, I was true to my tendencies and was very late in memorizing my speeches.  (There is a guy who, after I told him, shook his head every time he looked at me.)  Needless to say, I was nearing on petrified when pattern B was rolling around.  All three of my prepared speeches were in this pattern, which included the two I didn’t know.  I began praying very hard, just that God would enable me to make it through the speeches.  I didn’t care or expect to make it anywhere, I just wanted to survive.  First, I went in to do my HI.  There was a crowd, and someone was video taping.  That didn’t help my nerves.  I made it through the speech, but with two major blank outs.  The last one was so long, I was nearing the point of telling the judges I couldn’t remember anymore.  Thankfully, I handled my poor performance well.  I knew I shouldn’t expect much for what little effort I’d put into it.  Dad, who had watched me with my HI, walked with me to my Persuasive room.  After the HI blank outs, I was even more nervous for my Persuasive, which I had written three days before.  Once more, I had a bit of an audience.  But, this time, I didn’t blank.  I stumbled over some lines, and skipped a quote, but I had made it through!  However, I was still elated that I didn’t have to give the speeches anymore that day and could practice more on the way home and then back the next morning.

Through all of this, my brother and my duo was doing very well, and I seemed to be doing fine with Apologetics.  Many people assured us that our Duo would break, so we were feeling very confident with this.  With Apologetics, I had always been written down for looking at my cards too much, so I was very relaxed about giving the speeches.  Because I didn’t expect anything at all from it either.  In the realm of debate, my brother and I were struggling.  I’m not sure what it was, but we just weren’t on top of it.  And it seemed from postings that we weren’t doing well.  But therein lies a funny story.  We were very confused with postings, because we were alternately going against poor teams and good teams.  My brother expressed his confusion to one of our friends.  He replied, “You shouldn’t read too much into postings.”  Then, my brother, being the joker that he is, returned, “But if I don’t read postings, I won’t know where to go!” 😉  But, back to the speech aspect.  God enabled me to make it through giving my speeches two more times.  I was so grateful.  On Saturday, the whole hour trip to the tourney, I was praising God for helping me, even though I didn’t deserve it.  I had continued to stumble in some spots, but I hadn’t blanked anymore.

Saturday morning was also nerve wracking.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to break or not.  The thought of giving my speeches again turned my stomach.  Breaks announcements found me in a state of turmoil.  Debate breaks came first, and we didn’t break.  But we didn’t think that we had done well.  Apologetics breaks came next.  Since I wasn’t expecting anything, I was just listening for my friends names.  But then, my name was read!  I couldn’t believe it!  This was the event that I had reconciled myself to the fact that it wouldn’t go anywhere!  After this came Duo.  We didn’t break this time.  (I’ll admit I was slightly shocked.)  All that was left were my two dreaded speeches.  To my dread and amazement, I broke in both!  Everyone was patting me on the back and congratulating me.  I threw my head back a cried, “Nooooo!”  But it was done.  I had to give those speeches at least one more time at the tourney.

Praise God, all three went very well!  I wish that we had taped them, but oh well. 😉  I was so grateful to God through all of this.  I know I certainly didn’t deserve anything, but God helped me through the whole weekend, and enabled me to go farther than I ever expected.

My HI didn’t break to finals, but Apologetics and my Persuasive were moving on.  With Apologetics, I began to be afraid.  I was going against all of the really good people (course, I guess that happens with any finals room 😉 ).  Unfortunately, I picked a very long card.  So, between my nervousness and trying to get through the card quickly, I looked down at it to much.  Also, I ended up going a minute overtime!  It was so funny!  I’m just glad that I made it  that far. 😉  My Persuasive went better, though I did mess up a quote.  I got confused, thinking that I had missed a portion of a quote, so went back to it.  Then, I remembered that I had indeed done that part, so I laughed and said, “I was right the first time!” 😉  But other than that, it went well.  I should however, be able to do better at the tournament next week since I’ll have had more time to practice! 😉

Unfortunately, throughout all of this, there were a lot of people getting sick with the flu.  From a comment made during awards, it sounded like they were dropping like flies.  There were even some people who were so sick that they couldn’t compete in semis.  Thus, they had to forfeit their Regionals slot. 😦  It was really sad.  Thankfully, we didn’t get sick until a couple days after the tourney was over.

In the end, I got 8th in Apologetics (I’m sure due to going overtime and looking at my cards too much), 7th in HI (which I didn’t even break to finals in, but still ranked higher than I did in Apol!), and 6th in Persuasive.  Now, our focus is turned to the tournament coming up next week.  We have much to work on still. 😉  But, Centennial went well, and was very enjoyable.  I am so thankful for God sustaining me through it all!

Soli Deo Gloria!


A Tragically Wasted Life

The Rebelution is currently doing a series called, “Not to Young to Die.”  In one of the installments they gave this list.

3 Marks of a Tragically Wasted Life

A lukewarm attitude of complacency.

A lazy habit of procrastination.

A paralyzed lifestyle of timidity.

3 Marks of a Gloriously Spent Life

A hot-hearted desire to be useful.

A relentless passion for the good use of time.

A constant readiness to risk for the Gospel.

Reading this was very eye opening for me.  My life perfectly matches the marks of a wasted life.  You can see one evidence of this right now.  As I am on the internet instead of memorizing my Persuasive speech for the tournament that starts in two days.  Anyways, I urge you to go to The Rebelution blog and read the series.  Here’s the link for part 1.   http://www.therebelution.com/blog/2008/11/not-too-young-to-die/