Author Archive

The Lovable Jerk

I know. A corvette and mention of a jerk. It must be that I have a corvette and you love me for it!

No, actually this is a dear friend and his first corvette. Trust me. It applies. You probably have a good question, though.

What is a lovable jerk?

To help you understand this, I have a couple of stories.

This past weekend was the monthly mens breakfast for my church. We had a great time at Denny’s with stories, life updates, and a great challenge about finishing strong. The pastor ducked out a little early. I jokingly thought to myself “He did not really finish! He left early!” When the rest of us walked to the front to pay our bills, there was some confusion at the register. It took a minute to figure out that “That one man with the glasses” (the pastor) “paid for it all.” I sent him a text message (do not get too mad at me, because I will explain myself):

“You are a jerk, but a lovable jerk who is greatly loved! May the Lord bless you and keep you, brother!”

(He loves me, too. And if you know about whom I am speaking, just praise God for his love.)

Another person is a lovable jerk. I put the same disclaimer here as for the pastor: praise God.

This man is that dear friend who, quite honestly, deserves a corvette. If you know this man, you agree. The story about him takes place when I was first allowed to see this man in action. Our car was having some issues, and (as has happened many times since) he offered to fix it. He fixed the car and paid for the parts he needed. I was at work when he did this, and I remember thinking “He better not have topped off the gas tank.” He did. He is still floored to this day that when I saw the gas gauge jump to “F” I looked at him and said “You jerk!” He asked his son later, “Was he mad at me?”
“No, dad,” he said. “He was saying thank you!”
Again, he still is amazed by this.

He has learned, though, what I really mean when I say it.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

When I call you a jerk, it usually means “You are jerking on my heart-strings, right now.”

When I call you a jerk, it usually means “You have done quite well!”

When I call you a jerk, it usually means “God, I praise You for this blessing through this person.”

You lovable jerks make me praise God.

Go be a lovable jerk for God. (See the related Philippians 2:12-13)

Go on! Do it!

(On a side note, today I was hired to work with 1st and 2nd grade autistic children in the same school district as my wonderful wife! Praise God! No, seriously … PRAISE HIM!)

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 09/18/2011

Speaking of remembering things, here you are:

remember
daniel m  klem

when running from your fear
remember that bad day
when fleeing from danger
remember stay away
when leaving a bad place
remember to save life
when escaping a city
remember lot s wife

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 79.

Passed Experiences

This past Sunday was the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The wife and I (the husband in this scenario) spent our Sunday morning teaching the K-2nd students. I realized that none of the students we had were even a glimmer in their parents eyes when the attacks happened. I felt a little older realizing this (and that they have no idea that most of their favorite cartoons are remakes of originals from when I was their age). Later in the day I read some articles that kind of ruffled my feathers.

Apparently many public schools do not teach about the attacks so much as having respect and tolerance for Muslims and other cultures. The most some schools say is something about the attacks bringing an awareness to the plight of Muslims in our world, not that Muslims were responsible.

I am not flustered that they are teaching that we need to get along with others. We do. Even the Bible teaches that (“Love your neighbor as yourself” ring any bells?). We must also realize that most Muslims will not try to kill all unbelieving infidels. Some are merely “cultural Muslims” (believing because they are required by law), and many just want to live their lives like any other sensible person.

My issue is that truth is glossed over or even removed altogether. If we cannot properly teach history we cannot learn from it nor grow past it.

And this has happened before.

God told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 8 “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. . . . If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.” (vv. 2 and 19)

Over the first few hundred years living in the borders of Israel, they constantly forgot and had to have judges sent to lead them, restore them, and save them from their enemies. (See the book of Judges) Then they were given kings who were supposed to write the Law in their own hand to help them remember God’s commands. Within a few generations (Solomon’s children) this was largely forgotten, and soon prophets were sent to remind them (most of them killed, see 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles).

In just a few short centuries, Israel went from a bastion of freedom and a nation of God to being destroyed and carried off to another country. This is God’s chosen people! They were destroyed … TWICE!

Today, a nation built on the principles of the Bible, is beginning to look a lot like ancient Israel. Even our President seems to be able to rightly say “Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation.” Sadly, this administration has done much to attempt to rewrite parts of history. This is not a political jab, just a statement on the state of our nation.

Are we going to remember our past, both on the national and individual levels? Are going to check ourselves on a regular basis or allow mistruths and outright lies guide our lives? Are we going to be people of redemption and grace or use the name of the Lord our God in vain by claiming to be His while walking away from Him?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 09/11/2011

In remembrance of the attacks 10 years ago, here is a poem I wrote after a bomb-scare at my high school (before 09/11/2001). Let us remember to pray for all of the families and friends of those lost 10 years ago today or as a result of the attacks.

still watching
daniel m  klem

the bombs exploded
the bullets fired
the damage wrought
cannot be measured
those who walk away
are angry with God
most of them wonder
how He could
let their loved ones go
and leave them there
all of those people
are completely unaware
remember God is watching
all of His children
and He cares for each
no matter where or when
it all fits into
His great Plan
because He loves
this thing called man

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 82.

Misunderstanding Love, Muslims, and Americans in recent history

I have recently read some interesting things. In keeping with this week’s theme of whether or not you may be in love with someone, I refer to an article from USA Today last month. Hay El Nasser and Paul Overberg wrote and article titled “1990-2010: How America Changed” published on August 11, 2011.

There were some interesting facts such as the top five states with largest latino populations (1) California, 2) Texas, 3) New York, 4) Florida, 5) Illinois), we have the lowest ever proportion of those 18-years-old and younger in our population (24%), and 40 million more people living in suburbs.

The one that relates to this week: in 1990, 26% of births were by single women, as opposed to 41% in 2010. Almost half of the births in this nation last year happened outside of marriage. This tells us something of the state of our culture today.

  1. Marriage is being seen as an outdated institution.
  2. Women find less need for a father to help raise their children.
  3. Men are not as involved in child-rearing.
  4. Abortion is not quite as acceptable anymore.

The article continued by stating that single mothers are higher among Hispanics (53%) and blacks (73%), and in Europe between half and two-thirds of births are to single mothers. It reminds me of the recent fad of teenage girls wanting to have children or “Octo-mom” and others like her having multiple children “because they can.”

We have gained a misunderstanding of love.

Moving on, while some Americans think all Muslims are violent and want to kill all non-Muslims, and some think Islam is merely a religion of peace and tolerance, both of which are misunderstandings, but I read an article today about the people in Afghanistan. Apparently, the vast majority of Afghans have no idea why Americans and others are in their country, and that includes not understanding what happened on September 11, 2oo1. It not only shows that most Afghans had nothing to do with the attacks (very rural living, after all), but “we” have done a horrible job explaining ourselves to the locals.

This reminds me that the Western culture has massive misunderstanding of the rest of the world, and really of itself.

Overall lesson I am seeing: impatience, selfishness, and arrogance is a common theme among people in the West. As we see the Church continue to slide in influence in our culture, is it any wonder?

I love you with all of my bowels

If you had not heard the teaching, yet, instead of saying “I love you with all of my heart,” for centuries people essentially said “I love you with all of my bowels” or intestines or guts or whatever. It makes sense, too, when you consider “falling in love” frequently includes feeling sick to your stomach!

I propose something a little different today.

What if it is not necessarily love, but merely lust or physical attraction?

I am not saying love for another person will not cause physical manifestations within our bodies. I have experienced it. My wife and I occasionally joke around, saying “You make my bowels move” to say “I love you.”

However, I also remember something else as I think back on my life. The times in which my bowels seemed to move for someone the most I was thinking not so much about the long-term benefits of a relationship as the instant gratification of the flesh.

“I want to touch her just once.” “I want to know how [various parts of her body] feel.” “I bet the sex would be great!”

In truth, the times I feel “my bowels moving” for my wife very frequently are when I am ready to take her to the bedroom (wink wink, nudge nudge). Many people with whom I have talked (teens, young adults, older adults; men and women) have also said that those physical emotional responses have largely led to thoughts of physical (read: sexual) interaction with another person.

I guess this is more a warning than anything else, especially to young readers (high school/college): Be careful of those feelings.

How many people have rushed to marriage because “He makes my stomach hurt … in that good way!”
How many people have had sex outside of marriage because “It felt like what was right!”
How many people have not listened to others because “My whole body seemed to tell me it was the right thing to do!”

How many divorces could have been avoided?
How many diseases and unwanted pregnancies could have been avoided?
How much heartache could have been avoided?

The heart [bowels/body/emotions] is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9

I thought in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 2:1

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Matthew 15:19

I added some meaning and italics.

The point is as I said above: we cannot always trust our emotions and when our bodies react.

This is what the LORD says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Jeremiah 17:5

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

Why are rules set in place for our relationships? It is not to deny our freedom or punish us. In fact, rules for relationships are their to protect us and remind us that we have a tendency to really mess things up in our lives!

We must remember to keep our emotions and bowels and hearts in check by trusting that God just might know us well enough to know what is best for us. We must remember that we can so easily be deceived by our own emotions if we base our understanding on us and not what God has told us. We must remember the need of hearing the Holy Spirit, and that means we need to learn to be able to listen to Him in all things.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 09/04/2011

Being used by God makes it necessary to know your intentions are true. We may not always get it right, but that is why we must rely so much on the Holy Spirit! The poem today is about when our intentions are … slightly off-center.

for you
daniel m  klem

i would die for You
talk to the world for You
i would move for You
anywhere i could for You
i would try for You
to do anything for You
everything i do for You
i only do it for You

 

“Men will wrangle for religion;
write for it;
fight for it;
die for it;
anything but live for it.”
Charles Caleb Colton

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 149.