Pearl Harbor Day

040120-N-0879R-009Really interesting, little bit of history:

Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes. I went into a small gift shop to kill time. In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, “Reflections on Pearl Harbor ” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

“Sunday, December 7th, 1941–Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him.  When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone.  He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.

Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet.  He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941.  There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat–you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war. On Christmas Day, 1941, Admiral Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters every where you looked.

As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?”  Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice.

Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America.  Which do you think it was?”

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, “What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?”

Nimitz explained,

Mistake number one: the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning.  Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave.  If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: when the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships.  If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired.  As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised.  One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America.  And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.  That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America.”

I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book.  It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it.  In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredricksburg, Texas.  He was a born optimist.  But any way you look at it, Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job.  We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.

Moving Like Jesus

Jesus, sandal, feet, path, walk, shoes, Gary Davis, clueless, christianSome time ago I stopped studying Scripture, at least the Gospels, for what they said about Jesus, and started examining how Jesus moved. I became passionate about where he walked, who he met, the nature of each encounter, his encounters with the religious leaders of his day, and how he dealt with the growing throngs of people who constantly wanted to see more, hear more, and eat more fish.

His empathy with people who were suffering, for those who were Roman, Samaritan, leper or lame he was always the same— a kindness with tangible results. With some, he challenged their ways; with others, he barely interacted at all…, but granted their request when he saw their faith. He was a prophet with power moving among real people with personal, physical needs. And he granted them forgiveness for their sins. Interesting.

There are many books written on The Marks of a Christian, or some such topic. In recent days we have had need to distinguish between “Christians” and “genuine Christians.” Give this list of Marks of a Genuine Christian some consideration.

  1. A genuine heart for God & People. Too many Christians in the West have lost their heart for God. We have replaced compassion for people and focus on Christ with comprehension and knowledge. Knowing Scripture and theology is not inherently wrong; not until it crowds out our love for God and his people. Systematic Theology is no replacement for heart-felt love and action.
  2. Sacrifices for the empowerment of Others. If you are a genuine Christian you will sacrifice your time, energy, and resources for other people. It is the natural out-working of a believer’s love for his Lord. Sacrifice is no sacrifice at all if it is done in love and compassion.
  3. Walks the Roads of Scripture. To balance compassion we must comprehend the breadth and depth of God’s Word on a daily basis. Dr. Cornelius VanTil once said we are to think God’s thoughts after Him. To do that we must learn to enter into the context of Scripture and live alongside her characters from Abraham to Jesus to John.
  4. Walks Among those Who Know Nothing about Genuine Christian Faith. There is no greater way to gain a passion for people than to walk among them, to hear their anger, their rage, and to cry with them in their pain. You want to know what normal people think of Christianity? Spend time with them, drink with them, celebrate with them. Ask them.
  5. Has a Passion for Prayer. “Prayer” has become a flat, non-content word within Christian circles today. What prayer is, truly, are conversations with the God who created you and seeks your best. He seeks company, even though there are times when we really do not want to talk with him. A genuine Christian will desire deep meetings with God, regular extended times of prayer; then, he will be quiet and wait for that still small voice of God in the whisper of the wind. Unless you are me, of course; the Father uses a 2×4 with me; and that’s just to get my attention.
  6. Safe, and Speaks Truth Graciously. A genuine Christian is a person of safety. People are drawn to him because they feel safe. He does not judge: that is a matter for God the Father. He knows when to speak, and when to remain silent. He knows that Truth, real Truth can be quite freeing…, or also extremely painful. His calling is to walk graciously in this world to bring the safety and Truth of God to it.

To be sure, there are many more marks of a genuine Christian. And my list is cursory at best. But do give it some consideration. “To what extent are these things true of me?” What marks me as a genuine follower of Christ to the people in my world? How do I move among them?

For what it’s worth,

Gary
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Imaginations Interrupted

beehive, dream, buildingA dream without a plan is just a fantasy. Of course it is. But what if there were no dreamers?!? Only doers, implementers, builders, & technicians? What if people simply stopped dreaming? For the most part, I believe very few of us dare to dream; even fewer of us turn our dreams into reality.

To dream is to see beyond your present situation and to guess at what might be the next thing, or, to create the next thing from the fragments of your present circumstances. Synectics [the bringing together seeming dissimilar ideas or trends], is where tomorrow’s geniuses, entrepreneurs, and inventors are today. Think Sticky-notes, Velcro, Styrofoam and Scramjets.

We need people who Imagine, who think outside the box, whose perspective is so radically divergent from ours that it is hard for us to grasp.

Sadly, a lot of imaginative thought is initially discarded as wacko or liberal or ridiculous by those whose job is to guard and maintain stability and the “Truth.” The world is, after all, flat. And of course there are only five senses. Or, do you know that our solar system now has new outer borders? Millions of miles past where we thought our solar system ended.

I often tell people, God is full of surprises: get used to it. The extents of His grace and miracles can seem magical at times, far beyond what we ever dreamed.

So, to the world of the pragmatists and the cautious I say, dream a little more. You have no idea what you might light upon.

And to those who always dare to dream, keep at it. But, please, team up with those who can put feet on those dreams and make this world a better place. Don’t let everyday demands and concerns overpower your dreams. If they are interrupted, they may never fully return to you…, and we all lose.

For what it’s worth,
  Gary

Making a Difference

difference, clueless, community, christianity, life, We all want to make a difference. Some of us want to make a difference exclusively for ourselves: more money, nicer house, vacation home, BMW 7 series. Nothing wrong with that— except for the “exclusively” part.

Some of us want to make a difference on a local playing field—literally; coaching a sport, serving the elderly, providing meals for the injured, etc. We care about our friends & neighbors.

Fewer of us want to make a difference in the world arena. We become the shakers & movers of world change. We may hold public office and be in the public eye or we may operate under-the-radar, making a difference on the sly. But we keep the world safer and less prone to self-destruct.

The challenge of this EMPulse is obvious.  In what ways are you making a difference in your neighborhood, your community, and the world? Notice the question was not Are you making a difference? Why? Because you are not the one who should provide the answer. The people around you should respond. As for making a difference in the world, giving from your bounty (not from whatever is left at the end of the month) should be a priority. But have you ever sought an audience with Theresa May, Michel Temer, Justin Trudeau, Enrique Peña Nieto or Xi Jinping? Some of us need to do that to make a difference.

Kent Julian, on his BLOG Dream to Do, suggests 7 traits of people who make a difference—

  1. Hard (& smart) worker
  2. Consistency and Perseverance
  3. People-Person
  4. Truth-Teller
  5. Problem-Solver
  6. Lifelong Learner
  7. Delivers the good

If you show evidence of any of these character traits, then you should already be making a difference. Add significant time in Prayer to that list and you become a lethal weapon in the hands of God.

If you do not exhibit any of these traits, why don’t you? Are you afraid of something, or self-absorbed? Or is personal gain that central to your life? Really?!? Isn’t making a difference worth a little sacrifice?

Do you really want to hear our Lord say to you “Depart from me, I never knew you… .” (Matthew 7:23).

We all need to make sure we are making a difference somewhere.

 

Honor God, honor people.., make a difference,

Gary

Zaphenath-paneah

gary, davis, pharaoh, clueless, Christianity, egypt, Joseph, israelWhat’s in a name? For most of us it is our key identifier. It is who we are known by: it is our moniker, our recognized personage. But what if that were to change? What if we were given another name, one that is more appropriate in another culture, totally different from our own? What then? Who would we become? How would our new name make us different? Would others see us differently?

Joseph, son of Jacob, had such a name change. His older brothers hated him because of the love his father had for him. So they sold him to a passing caravan and told their fathers he was dead. But God had other plans for Joseph.

Through positions of power, years of imprisonment, and reinstatement to the 2nd highest standing in Egypt. He came to this rank at just 30 years of age. To honor his new station in leadership Pharaoh gave him a new name— Zaphenath-Paneah, the God Who Speaks and He Lives. He ruled over Egypt under Pharaoh for 7 years of plenty and prepared for 7 the years of famine to follow.

It was in this time that his brothers came to him to buy food for their families in Canaan…, the same brothers that had years before sold him into slavery. But his countenance and elevated Egyptian attire were so unalike the brother they had known that they did not recognize him. [Look it up— Genesis 38-46]

Question— what would it take to change your countenance? A change in position? An incredible promotion? A totally different name? Adding Dr. or Sir as prefixes to your name? Or would you remain the same ol’ Joe?

Hopefully, our life experiences and positional changes, whether positive or negative, have an effect on us. We all live in context with those around us. Their perceptions of us do matter. They should affect us. Do you know the way other people see you? What they think of you? Actually, do their opinions of you matter to you? They should. If they do not, you have a problem.

Take a test. Find a friend who knows you and ask them how you come across; not just to them, but to the people they know who do not have quite such a favorable opinion of you. You buy the coffee.

Honor God, honor people.., make a difference,

Gary

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Weeds in my Soul

weed, faith, weedkiller,

I have a confession to make. I hate grass! Ok, then you also know how much I hate weeds. The problem is…, if we killed all the weeds in our lawn there would be no green left. I swear the whole lawn is a field of weeds!Conundrum.

Weeds seem to sprout up no matter what I do. Weed Killer, Clover Obliterator, or Brush Fire Kits— nothing works. The same is true as I seek to live an honorable life before God & man. Weeds. Everything is basically green, but when you look closely— weeds.

One of the books I am presently reading talked about the weeds that grow up in our souls. We don’t always notice them because they are green like everything else. Sort of. They seem to creep amongst the lush grass that I have been cultivating and grooming most of my adult life. It’s like some of the Spiritual Turf Builder spread evenly over the green grass of my soul is snatched away by the weeds, just like on my lawn.

I’ve learned to live with the weeds in my lawn; not so sure I am all that comfortable with the weeds in my soul. Nestled within the deep crevices of my soul they can do serious damage. Not that I live with a pseudo-spirituality or surface-Christian faith. I do not. I live as upright a life as I can. But there are weeds.

For most Christians, green is green, weeds, grass, what’s the difference?!? But for professional Lawn-Keepers for-the-Lord, they can spot a weed from a mile away. Sometimes, that’s all they see. That’s all they focus on. Thankfully, the Father looks at us through the eyes of Christ. Our sins are forgiven and our weeds are taken away. Now that’s Turf-Builder!

So stop wallowing in your guilt and shame. Get on with grooming your soul to produce that pleasant aroma of freshly mown grass, announcing that your spiritual lawn is now trimmed and your weeds are gone.

Remember that about other people while you’re at it.

Honor God, honor people.., make a difference,

Gary

Still sleeping…but half awake

cat, asleep, awake, gary davis, christianity, thinkingMany genuine Christians in this postChristian era still do not comprehend the extent to which the influence of the Christian message has lost its hearing in Western Culture. The mighty dollar is the new God of choice. Power is the new religion; whatever it takes to stay alive or succeed is the practice of faith.

Christianity has lost sway over people’s lives, government decisions, and general morality. What genuine Christianity is flourishing here is doing so outside the mainstream cultural inclinations. But we are not at odds with our culture; we have been subsumed within its values so fully that we are barely noticeable; unless, of course, one of us tries some lame-brained stunt to get noticed in the name of Jesus. Thus do we verify our culture’s judgment that we are irrelevant to anything that matters.

We are still sleeping when it comes to understanding what normal people genuinely think of us; if they think of us at all. To be fair, though, some of us are waking up to the reality that we are in the minority; at least in American culture (referring to the US). Most Christians in the USA still need to come to grips with the realities of the cultural changes and blurring-of-the-lines that has taken place. Do you want to know what people think of us?!? Ask them. Take time to build rich relationships with people around you who never, EVER go to church. Do you want the truth, or do you want to stay asleep…, in a permanent daze?

Let’s wake up and get involved in the lives of those who sit just on the fringes of our lives, who need Jesus.

Honor God, honor people.., make a difference,

  Gary