Viewing the Cross from Mount Moriah

Is there a more gripping story than Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah?

Read Genesis 22.  Though the narrative comes across very matter-of-fact, these fourteen verses document one of the most horrifying stories in all of Scripture.  Horrifying and beautiful—and staggering in its implications.  There are compelling lessons to be drawn from it on faith and obedience, for starters.

In the context of this Easter season, however, the ancient account takes on deeper meaning. Watch this video, listen to this song... and ponder: a Father "who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all" (Romans 8:32).

So I ask again: is there a more gripping story than Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah?

Yes; it is that of God the Father and God the Son on Mount Golgotha.

(What's the big deal about Jesus dying on the cross?  Watch this video.)


Sunday Drive

I took a lovely Sunday afternoon drive, around Utah Lake.  Here are a couple of the sweeping vistas I enjoyed.  You win a special prize if you can spot the "Y" on the mountain side above Provo and BYU, in the first photo.  It's white so it blends in with the snow, but don't be fooled.  (Click each photo to zoom in and get the full panorama.)



Post-Health Care Reform Resolutions

Love, love, love this.

Post-Health Care Reform Resolutions (from George Grant, via Chris Fabry).

1.  Pray more. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
2.  Listen first. James 1:19
3.  Work harder. Colossians 3:23
4.  Serve others. Galatians 6:9
5.  Defend life. Proverbs 24:11-12
6.  Grumble less. James 5:9
7.  Do justice. Amos 5:24
8.  Love mercy. Micah 6:8
9.  Walk humbly. Proverbs 15:33
10.  Rejoice always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
11.  Trust Jesus. Revelation 19:6


Care if I share about health care and health share?

There is one good thing about the health care bill passed yesterday.  Yes, you read that correctly.  No, I've not gone stark raving mad.  And no, tomorrow I'm not going to announce that purple bunnies populate Saturn.  As hard as it is to believe, hear me out on this one.

There is a built-in protection for people like me, as explained here:
The health care bill that was passed Sunday night by the U.S. House of Representatives, often referred to as the Senate bill, contains a provision that exempts members of health care sharing ministries from the bill’s requirement for individuals to purchase health insurance. This is the bill that is awaiting the President’s signature. We are continuing to watch the reconciliation process, an effort to make changes to the Senate bill after the President signs it, for anything that would take away this exemption. Please be in prayer.  --Samaritan Ministries email "Health care bill update," 3/22/10.
The "House version" didn't contain this provision, and for a while it looked like I would be forced to purchase health insurance against my will.  Thankfully, the Senate bill—as it stands now—will allow me to continue uninsured, as a member of Samaritan Ministries Christian Health Care Newsletter program.

A former post tells a bit about why I chose to terminate my health insurance and go the "sharing" way instead.  If you are a born-again Christian, I urge you to prayerfully consider doing likewise.

Virtues of a health care sharing ministry include:
>>  Low deductibles and low monthly cost.  Mine are $300 and $120, respectively.
>>  You and you only decide where to get the best care.
>>  No such thing as "out-of-network."  Every provider loves self-pays!
>>  Many providers cut costs and grant discounts when they learn you are part of such a refreshingly non-bureaucratic way of paying your bills.
>>  Shares go directly to meet another's needs.  I heard today that $1 out of every $4 paid by an insured patient simply funds the bureaucracy of his insurance company.
>>  No (unintentional) funding of unbiblical behavior.  Every member of CHCN pledges to and provides references for Christian conduct: no smoking, immorality; limited or no alcohol.
>>  No (unintentional) funding of bad corporate sponsorships.  Did you know, for example, Aetna, Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield all proudly underwrite, with their members' dollars, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce?
>>  Besides receiving checks for your medical expenses directly from other members, you receive cards and personal notes.  No insurance company does that.
>>  There's no medicine like the prayers of hundreds of other believers for you by name.

Remember, I write this as 1) a Christian striving to live biblically and 2) a worker in the the health care industry; but not as a person with any health needs (yet—thank God) beyond the occasional minor sickness or superficial injury, and not as someone whose employer provides insurance benefits.

Maybe it's not for everyone.  Maybe there are situations when Christians should legitimately choose an independent health insurance policy instead of health care sharing.  I can't think of any.  But I invite feedback as we navigate this scary world of 21st century American health care together.


Euphonium and I

I just returned from a concert by the Utah Premiere Brass, titled, "UPB Goes West."  As gallant as "The Magnificent Seven" theme was, and as toe-tapping as Copland's "Hoedown," it was the hauntingly sweet euphonium solo on "Shenandoah" that stole my heart.  So what's a girl to do when she suddenly finds herself in love with a conical-bore brass instrument? Why, write a poem, of course.

(It's better if you read it aloud.)

Euphonium, euphoria--
Oh hallelujah, gloria!

Euphonium, you fill me up,
You floor me then you soar me up.

Euphonium, euphoria--
Oh hallelujah, gloria!

Euphonium, you for me hum;
You've blown me one, you own me some.

Euphonium, euphoria--
Oh hallelujah, gloria!


Killer Questions

My antenna is always up for ways and means to engage people of another worldview in meaningful, non-confrontational conversation.  In case yours is too, I thought I would pass along a terrific resource from Jeff Myers of Bryan College and Summit Ministries, by way of Sue Bohlin at Probe Ministries.

Four "killer questions" to help anyone think critically:
What do you mean by that?  (In other words, define your terms.)
Where do you get your information?
How do you know that's true?
What if you're wrong?

To understand how these questions work, read Sue's excellent article here.

My hunch is that these four "killer questions" have the potential to revolutionize how you interact with someone from another belief system.  What I wouldn't have done to have them in my arsenal four years ago when moving to Utah!  Like Sue wrote, "Sometimes, the kindest thing we can do for people is gently shake up their presuppositions and invite them to think."

Note #1: Probe Ministries has an outstanding 12-minute podcast, in case you're not able to catch the program on KEYY weekdays 4:25 a.m. and 4:44 p.m. (MST).
Note #2: Researching her article led me to discover not only is Sue Bohlin a great writer/thinker/speaker, but a calligrapher to boot.  Feast your eyes on some of her beautiful work here.