Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Memorial Day 2010

This Memorial Day has the most incredible significance to our family in Woodstock, IL. My father was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. My mom was born in Toronto, Ontario. I was born in Toronto and my wife was born in Windsor, Ontario. Our two oldest of five children were also born in Canada ... which brings us to our third child.
Her name is Tara. She is by nature a peace lover. I mean she was for the most part a peace maker in a large family. She is the first Baird in our line of the family to be born in the USA and she leaves on Memorial Day for Fort Sill, Oklahoma to train to be a "Six-Eight Whiskey" or 68W Combat Medic in the United States Army.
The primary role of 68W healthcare specialists in the United States Army is providing medical treatment to wounded soldiers. These medics serve as the basic or first tier of the Army medical system accompanying units as small as platoons (approximately 12-40 soldiers) during training and deployments. Medics provide initial emergency medical care, evacuation, and supervision to other soldiers with medical training (such as Combat Lifesavers) as well as provide medical advice to unit chains of command. Uh, ... I have no clue what this really means ... I just copied it out of Wikipedia. That's one of the benefits of having a daughter that is actually trying to do this stuff ... you are allowed to just copy stuff off the Internet like you're Al Gore. Like Bravo-Seven-Alfa-Four-India-One-Niner-Romeo-Delta-Zulu. Sounds cool when you are calling in coordinates to the nearest Panera Bread.
I guess I can say we are a bit nervous at this moment. And, this is a form of anxiety we are experiencing for the first time as parents. Honestly, I think I am a bit worried for her ... but it is being outweighed at this time by a sense of pride for her desire to serve her country in this way. Tara will begin basic training this coming week at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and I believe the plan is to go to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for advanced individual training if everything goes well in Oklahoma.
I am sure for centuries that American parents have worried about their children heading off to military service in very similar ways. For most of my life, I have heard that "freedom isn't free" ... but today it takes on new meaning in the Baird household. We wish you all a very safe and happy Memorial Day! Please take a moment to pray for our troops everywhere.
Tara! You know we love you. You know we have said it hundreds of times since you were a little girl. I will never forget the day you told me that this is what you wanted to do. Seek God in all things. He's where we can't be for you!
Psalm 32:8 - I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
We are tremendously proud of you.
Love, Mom & Dad

Totally New Antiques

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Half-Baked Thoughts

Just for this post:
1. Suppose I consider you one of my friends. And I do ... allbeit from a distance.
2. Suppose I have incredible wealth ... and I don't ... but just suppose for this post that Bill Gates is too poor to be my limo driver.
3. Suppose that I couldn't spend my wealth in millions of life times.
4. Suppose you are in desperate need.
5. And Suppose I make no effort to intervene and try to help you with my unlimited resources.
Am I really your friend?

Why do I want to paint this half-baked scenario? Bear with me and read on.

Well, OK ... I deeply believe that Jesus Christ is the only answer for the worlds problems and for the problems of each individual. I believe Jesus alone holds the keys to an eternity with God. Please understand that I am not declaring this to be true! I am merely stating that the Bible clearly teaches this within its covers. All I am saying is that I believe what the Bible says.

Again, if you disagree with me ... please don't be offended. I am not stating this in any judgemental or arrogant way. This is a faith issue. I am even now ... NOT good enough or smart enough to earn heaven! I am still a very flawed man. I DO believe that I am going to heaven because getting there isn't based upon me. I believe that everything I have eternally speaking is completely the result of what Jesus did for me on the cross.

Now, I told you that ... to tell you this!

Most Christians believe what I have just stated. We would definitely say it differently but most Christians DO believe what is declared in the Bible. In fact, Christians deeply believe that Jesus is the only way. They are placing their faith, belief and trust in his very own declaration to be "the only way." See John 14:6 and Acts 4:12. In fact, go ahead and freak out a Christian you know, ... walk right up to them and ask them, "Hey, Dude is Jesus the only way to heaven or not?"

Just remember that Christians aren't declaring that Jesus is the only way! Jesus himself declared that! Christians are merely trusting and believing in his words and placing their faith in him alone. Simply said ... Christians believe that Jesus IS who HE said he was. Jesus didn't come to earth, walk around, teach love and understand and leave to be followed by a bunch of Christians that sat around and said "Hey, let's tell everybody that Jesus is the only way to get to God." Jesus declared that for himself ... and by the way he backed it up by predicting his own death and resurrection! Christians only recorded that he did these things. Many Christians were put to death because they would not deny what they saw in his bodily resurrection. I think this takes it far above a religious experience and makes it one of fact for them. However, since I didn't see the risen Savior myself ... some 2000 years later it becomes a matter of faith for me based on those historic events.

As a result, Christians are taught in scripture (John 14, 1 Corinthians 15) that there awaits an enternal and glorious home for them. Scripture also teachs simply that if someone rejects Christ they spend an eternity separated from God. This separation from God is referred to in the Bible in many ways but we most often refer to it as hell.

Now IF I am a real Christian and IF I really believe that the difference between an eternity spent in heaven or hell was earned simply by faith in Christ ... and I really believed that with my whole heart ... Why on earth wouldn't I tell you out of concern for your well-being? If I tell you that you are my friend ... and I truly believe that heaven or hell awaits us all and that Jesus is the difference, in fact the ONLY difference ... How could I say you were my friend ... and yet choose to keep Jesus a secret or mystery from you? I should tell you if I really believe it and care for you. Shouldn't I?

The Bible teaches that we can't earn heaven. Jesus makes heaven possible for us if we will trust in him alone ... so I grabed that incredible gift! Jesus paid it all.

How could I let you live your life thinking that you need to be really, really, really good to get to heaven? Read Romans Chapter 3:10 & 3:23, it says no one is good enough. Read Romans Chapter 3:20, it says no one will be declared good enough by trying to be good enough. It also says that obeying the law was NEVER designed to save people. The law was made so that we would know we were sinners. If there was no law ... there would be no sin. God's standard had to be written so we would know that we were sinners. If there were no laws in your town ... you could do anything you want. The law was written but it wasn't written in order to make it possible to get to heaven by obedience to it! You aren't good enough. Me neither!

That means I could never even possibly be good enough to earn heaven and God knew that so he provided a way for all men to have eternity in heaven through His son, Jesus. Read Romans 6:23.

Now PLEASE hear me here! You can think I'm completely and absolutely WRONG! That's OK! I will still value your oppinion! You can think I am a complete nut job and that is also OK. And YES, you can tell everyone that I am turning into a lunatic. But I ask you again, ... IF I really believe that a decision for Christ is the difference between an eternity in heaven or hell ... and I never tell you ... How could I ever say that you were really my friend?

After you think I'm wrong, crazy or a lunatic, I just hope you know that I care enough to tell you and that I can't be silent. In no way would I even think of being condemning because I am not the judge and we are told not to judge. We are however, told to tell others about the free gift that is good news available to you from God through Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19,20). Too often I have been silent ... and the more I think about it ... being silent seems like I only care for myself.

Now, there's a nutty post for ya!
God bless. Jesus loves you ... this I know!
NikonSniper Steve