W.M.D. – Word of Mass Destruction

W.M.D. – Word of Mass Destruction

Weapons of Mass Destruction is a general term that defines any device that can cause widespread death and destruction. This term probably became most used in recent history by the Bush administration in the lead up to the 2nd Gulf War.

In 2003 the Iraq War was sparked by military intelligence that claimed the existence of weapons of mass destruction. After the horrifying events of the 9/11 attacks, you can imagine fear and suspicions are heightened. In 2011 after years of combat and many deaths, there was no evidence of WMD. President Bush suffered politically, military intelligence suffered publicly and worse, many families suffered personally.

Really, the War in Iraq was just fuel for a greater WMD, Words of Mass Destruction.

Watching recent events have me concerned. Political parties are so divided. Below there is a graph on the movement of our two major political parties in our country.

One article I read suggests the increasing polarity is due to a stronger ideological focus in politics. Now party alignment determines ones set of ideologies and that determines if you are a friend or an enemy. Division becomes more polarized. The battle between them is mostly with words, but the words they use are deadly. Consider Proverbs 21:18,

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”

This war of words between politicians then gets bolstered by political analyst. Citizens then watch CNN or FOX and become infected with words and bring the battle into their homes and into their workplace. I was sitting in the hot tub with a couple co-workers when a political science professor walked in and started off with, “Are you following the story on the judge???” Here we go…

Physical death is terrible, acts of violence and terror are extremely tragic and should never happen. What’s worse is what the acts of the flesh do to the state of the heart, and its often words that spreads it. Ephesians 6:12 teaches us:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Such things of the flesh like sexual immorality and murder are egregious, but the words that follow these events are what lead to a corruption of the heart. The words we use can aim to kill.

Unfortunately, I have been both a victim and offender of harmful words. There are moments in my life I wish I could take back, but I can’t. We can only hope our hurtful words have not shaped the heart. When it does it can spread into the masses.

One Word is given to us for healing. Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh. This is the one Word, no matter the speakers intention, is a healing word of truth. When Paul is imprisoned and writing to the church in Philippi he hears that his imprisonment and the reason for his imprisonment is becoming widely known. He says:

“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”

This is the Word of God:

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

Words can create destruction that is eternal. Be mindful of your words. Be aware of the destruction they can bring. Understand how your words can spread and cause mass destruction or bring life. Protect your heart from the words meant to destroy. -jason

 

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It’s Tough to Be Me

It’s Tough to Be Me

At 6 feet tall, 230 lbs, and a shaved head, I have come to realize, I’m just not that tough. Most of my life I tried to be. It was a trait that seemed desirable for men. When we look at movies and television, the leading man is tough. In magazines and advertisement, the model is portrayed as tough. Sports stars are all really tough guys. So, I wanted to be tough also.

In college I was at the mall with my friend’s girlfriend and she saw a guy who owed her money. I offered to approach him about it. Trying to be as tough as I could the guy asked my friend, “Am I supposed to be afraid of this guy?” Ha! I’m no tough guy, not even close.

When I try to be someone I am not, there are problems that arise. First off, I can’t be comfortable being me and being the person that God created me to be.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.

Once you really get to know me, you know I am a pretty goofy guy. I also have a lot of quirks, I’m pretty uncoordinated, and I my humor is pretty lame. With all of those “deficits” I am happy being me. I’ve also come to know that the people that love me, love me best when I am just myself.

The other problem is that you cannot enjoy certain things to it’s fullest. I love football and I wish I played. I was afraid I wasn’t tough enough, so I never played. I have tattoos, but it took me a while because I thought only tough guys could get tattoos. The military always intrigued me, but I got in way too late in life.

We can get so easily persuaded to be someone we are not. We might be tempted to pretend to be tougher than we are, or smarter than we are, or more wealthy than we are, but if it is someone we are not, we will not be happy. We cannot be happy if we are trying to be someone we are not.

In a world where perception drives our actions, it can be tough to be you…or maybe to be you is not to be tough. I’m not a tough guy, I’m okay with that. I know that when I am the person that the Lord made me to be, that is all I need to be. Be the person God has created you to be. You were created for GOOD works in Christ Jesus. -jason

Musubi Maker

Musubi Maker

I grew up thinking everyone loved SPAM. As a kid I loved SPAM and eggs for breakfast. In Hawaii, you can even get SPAM at McDonald’s. SPAM chopped up and put into fried rice can be served at any meal. When I was in college I would chop up SPAM, fry it and mix it in with Mac ‘n Cheese. Delicious, right??

As I got older I learned not everyone liked SPAM. In fact, I discovered that most people on the mainland thought it was downright disgusting! A friend just shared about a game they would play in their youth group where they had to pass SPAM the the next person with their necks! What a waste of SPAM!!

When I was in seminary we had an event where students would represent their countries with food. We students from he “country” of Hawaii were invited to have a table. What better to pass out than SPAM musubi!  A block of rice, a fried piece of marinaded SPAM, all wrapped in a piece of seasoned seaweed. People looked at it and cringed. “SPAM!?!?!” Then they took one…many came back and asked for another. SPAM musubi was a hit and we sold out quick.

Since being back in Hawaii I have been noticing that many that would normally not eat SPAM, will eat SPAM musubi. Even Emily has developed cravings for it.

Amazing that you can take something that is undesirable and transform it into something people crave. It’s all about that transformation. A balance of ingredients, the way it’s presented and an open mind.

In a similar way there are things in life that are undesirable. Chores, criticism, work, and many more things, these are just not usually desirable. So how do you transform it? Perhaps making a game out of chores, make it a competition. Criticism can be better received and effective if partnered with a plan for improvement. Building around a persons strengths as opposed to focusing on weaknesses can make a healthier team.

Be a musubi maker. Find ways to make things that may seem undesirable, something that people will enjoy. Also, eat more SPAM. -jason

 

Puzzled

Puzzled

As we waited in suspense for Hurricane Lane to arrive, Emily thought it would be a good idea to work on a puzzle. Our activities would be limited.

After an initial wave of excitement from the family, everyone was over it. I think 1,000 pieces was just a little too overwhelming. The best next step would probably have been to pack it up and put it in the closet. It was just too hard for me to leave it unfinished.

Over the next week I sat at that puzzle during the evenings and plugged away at it. Every day I wondered why I was wasting my time doing this and contemplated just putting it away. No, I have to finish.

The thing about puzzles is, the more you put the pieces together, the clearer the picture. The clearer the picture the more you want to work on it. It’s as if the puzzle itself inspires you to keep going when you focus on the larger picture. As you get closer and closer to the end and the picture comes into focus, others are more excited to get involved. Part of the excitement comes when the remaining pieces are much easier to put into place. In the end the final picture is beautiful and celebrated.

There may be things in life that are puzzling. It’s discouraging and overwhelming to work on. Everything inside you wants to give up. When there are pieces everywhere it is overwhelming. You just can’t see how this picture will ever work out.

Take it one piece at a time. As you fit them into place you will begin to see the picture. As the picture comes into focus you will find encouragement to move forward. It might be you that will help others see the bigger picture. When they see it, they will be excited to jump in, maybe even finish the puzzle for you.

In many ways I feel like that even in my relationship with Jesus. There are pieces of Jesus in my life. I know what the picture is supposed to look like (the picture on the box is like the Bible). Sometimes I get so distracted and want to give up. Then I piece just fits and the picture becomes clearer. I’m motivated to see the bigger picture. Then I get discouraged again. If it was up to my own effort, I’d have given up a long time ago. It’s as if the puzzle gives me motivation to keep going. When I can see the bigger picture coming into focus I want to put more of the pieces together. I can’t wait to see the final product. I can’t wait to celebrate the beauty of the whole picture.

What ever you are puzzled by, keep pushing forward. See the bigger picture and move forward one piece at a time. In the end you’ll be glad you did as you celebrate the final product. -jason