Saturday, July 31, 2010

Destin and Qualified Community Responders

The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico caused a lot of people to change their plans about vacationing along the shorelines of the Gulf. Part of my plans were to spend a week here with family and enjoy the beautiful water and sands of Destin Florida. The thoughts of vacationing on oily beaches and not being allowed into the water plagued my mind for weeks before our scheduled trip but that did not stop us from going.

We were surprised with what we found when we arrived. There was no oil and the waters were perfect. We also noticed a reduction in the amount of people vacationing here this summer. As a matter of fact, this week we have yet to wait longer than 15 minutes for dinner (and that only happened 1 time). What a pleasant surprise.

What I did notice was people daily combing the beaches for oil. These guys are Qualified Community Responders and are paid by BP.

Look at them closely. They are wearing rubber boots, rubber gloves, long pants, and carrying what looks to be butterfly nets. They are walking up and down the beach everyday sifting through seaweed looking for oil deposits. What is interesting is where they are walking. These two are looking for oil 5 yards from the highest point water normally gets during high tide. Do you think they will find anything there? I don't. First of all I don't think there is anything to find in Destin. I applaud BP for training and hiring unemployed people at 18 dollars an hour to do this job (supervisors are getting 32 an hour) but it seems to be a blind task here in Destin.

These guys will tell you they are finding it in the seaweed but I have yet to locate any. Their response to this would be that I am not trained to see it. In any case, for what seems to be little to no oil there are a lot of people working at 18 dollars an hour to clean it up. I counted 14 this past Monday.

So if you come to Destin look for the little tents with people in yellow boots sitting underneath. There should be a four wheeler close by.

Every now and then a couple will make a trek through the beautiful white sands looking for tar-balls. They are the Qualified Community Responders.

Come to Destin where the beaches are white and the water is clear. I have enjoyed an awesome vacation with my family at the most beautiful beach in the country.

In Christ,
Doug Johnson

Location:Hwy 98 E,Destin,United States

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hopeless people, suicidal pigs, and angry farmers.

I just recently challenged my Facebook friends to look at Matthew 8:28-34 and to find application in those verses. I thought I would share it on my blog as well. Before reading the rest of this article read those verses and see what you can find.

Glad you are back! Let's look at a couple of things. To the Jewish mindset farmers should not be raising animals that are unclean to eat. Therefore, the loss of a herd of pigs was not a great loss to a Jewish audience. Remember, Matthew's account was written with a Jewish flavor because that was his background. From the view of the farmers, however, this was a great loss.

There are different reactions by different audiences. The Jews focused on the pig farmers and felt there was no great loss because they were doing something they were not supposed to be doing in the first place. The application here is to make sure to be focused on what is important to God rather than our personal desires. Sometimes we can't see those (the individuals) who need to be freed from sin because we are more concerned with their actions (the sin itself).

The farmers, on the other hand, suffered a great loss (their livelihood) for the liberation of two men. Obviously, they were angry and reported this to their families and friends who in turn asked Jesus to leave the area. The application here is to be careful what you deem to be important in your lives. We must be careful to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. Are we willing to give up everything to follow Jesus or are we more concerned about our "stuff"?

Finally, in this passage we see that Jesus can free us from the realm and control of the unseen. Satanic control and influence are real and we must be sure of whose side we are on. Have you been freed from the chains and bondage of sin and death? This is not something you can do on your own, but rather is is only through the power of Jesus Himself.

It is a great passage to study. Hopeless people, suicidal pigs, and angry farmers. Jesus certainly "stirs things up"!

In Christ,
Doug Johnson

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Lamp of the Body

In my devotion time this morning two verses stood out above all the rest. The verses were the following:

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23 NKJV)

Jesus makes reference to a major problem of the Pharisees. They believed that wealth was an outward sign of God's blessing and they wanted to make sure that everyone saw how "blessed" they were. Therefore, they became consumed with financial gain. We see that almost everything the Pharisees did was for "appearance". Jesus had just finished talking about the wrong motive of giving, fasting, and praying. Practicing these with the goal of being seen would produce no Spiritual benefit. Therefore, we must keep check on our motives for our actions.

The use of our eyes will reveal what is most important to us. If our goal every waking moment is to watch ESPN then we will have the tv on and set to that channel every day. If our love is horror movies then we will rent them or go to the theater to watch them. Whatever our heart's desire, our eyes will consume.

Jesus said that if our eye was good our whole body would be full of light. If Christ is in your heart and Lord of your life then your eyes will be focused toward Him and His ways. You will be reading His Word and seeking His Will. The result will be a life that illuminates Christ.

What are your eyes are focused on? Is it Christ or something else?

In Christ,
Doug Johnson

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Restricted Worship

Each year after going to camp I realize that there is a missing element in our lives when we are in the routines of our everyday world. When we go to camp we are removed from the "routine" schedule. We do not have cellphones to text our friends. We do not have TV to consume our evenings. We do not have iPods or MP3 players. We do not have any of the things that we depend on every day. The purpose of this is so we can completely focus on our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

In that "zone" we are more likely to be serious about connecting with Jesus. We spend time studying the Word. We spend more time in prayer. We spend more time listening and meditating on the sermons we hear. This brings an interesting result into our lives. We experience true worship.

In our churches today and in our everyday lives I don't believe we see much true worship. When we are sitting in the pews we may sing some songs and throw some cash in the offerings but we never experience the Spirit of God. In our daily lives our quiet times are so cut and dry we never hear from or are touched by the Spirit. Unfortunately we spend more time in front of our TV's and listening to our iPods than we do in the Word. What is the result? Restricted Worship.

I posted a video last week of part of a worship time at camp. The audio is a little distorted (it was the best I could do with a cell phone) but you will see the concept of public worship without reservation. The majority of vocals is from the students. What really hit home was the question from a student that asked why we don't worship like this in our churches. My answer is probably because we are not prepared to worship. There are too many distractions and we are too concerned what others might think or say.

If our distractions hinder our worship then are our distractions becoming our god? How do you worship? Is it unrestricted and daily?

In Christ,
Doug Johnson