Monthly Archives: August 2010

Seize the moment…Does forgiveness mean to excuse?

Has our culture today blurred the distinction between the definitions of forgiveness and to excuse?   As a Christian, I worry that many within the church no longer understand the difference; perpetuating sin patterns within Believer’s lives.    I call this the “Tiger Woods Syndrome”.  In no way is my intention to make light of the horrific circumstances around Tiger’s life, but it is the most visible example within our media driven culture today.  A sin is committed and caught.  Public admission of the sin is made, forgiveness is requested and steps are taken to resolve the sin issues within one’s life.  And, then the media culture debates the issue.  In this case, the question was not on the impact to the lives closest to this situation, but on what it would take to restore the “Tiger Woods” brand.  I heard many talk about the fact that Tiger’s brand would rebound because of our culture’s habit of forgiving and forgetting. Within a reasonable time a  public relations campaign would restore and excuse a person for a grievous sin committed.  Sponsors and fans would return and everything would be forgotten.  One sports celebrity even made the comment that these things happen all of the time and the public would move beyond it.  I contend that our culture defines forgiveness in a way that not only is the sin forgiven, but the lifelong hurt to others is swept under the rug and excused.  I worry about this message and how our culture translates that into all situations big and small.    My greatest concern is the impact on Christian values.  Many within the church are defining these values within the context of a secular worldview.  For those within the church who challenge this modified view, the attack can be brutal. 

Case in point, Fox News commentator Brit Hume ran amuck of the secular worldview when he commented on the Tiger Woods situation. Hume encouraged Woods to turn to Christianity for the forgiveness he really needs citing that it is the only religion where redemption and forgiveness can be found.  “I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith,” Hume said. “So my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

The secular world responded, Tom Shales of the Washington Post reacted and advanced one of the core principles of the secular worldview. “If Hume wants to do the satellite-age equivalent of going door-to-door and spreading what he considers the gospel, he should do it on his own time, not try to cross-pollinate religion and journalism and use Fox facilities to do it.”   (taken from Devotions.com..blog entry by Mike Ruffin)

The Bible defines forgiveness as only coming when you or I turn to Christ with a repentant heart and seek His forgiveness for what we have done.  Does that excuse us from the hurt we might have caused?  NO.  Can that be swept under the rug? NO.  We must own the outcomes of our sin and accept the repercussions it has caused.  Godly men and women seek forgiveness with a repentant heart, but they do not excuse themselves from the outcomes of their sin nor should they expect that to happen. I worry that we are becoming a culture where the word accountability has no meaning.  Are we living lives without the accountability our Christian faith requires?  Where there is no accountability, the meaning of Christian forgiveness has no value.  C. S. Lewis said, “forgiveness does not mean excusing.”

 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Thank you for reading my blog.  I would love to hear your comments or thoughts on this issue!

Seizing the moment…..must they continue to die?

Mother Teresa once said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” 

 I hope we would never intentionally do something to cause the death of a child by the way we live our lives.  However, our inaction to understand the challenges children face globally leads to the poverty Mother Teresa speaks of.  Until recently, I did not fully comprehend the challenges children face globally because of the lack of clean drinking water.  According to CharityWater.org, 4,500 children die every day as a result of illnesses from poor drinking water.  This is a significant problem facing children throughout Africa.  As I read the statistics and saw the images of children drinking and playing in filthy water, I made the decision it was time to make a stand. 

Problems like this can seem overwhelming to us as individuals.  How can I possibly make a difference?  But, I found a solution where, with the help of others, a new well can be drilled in a village somewhere in Africa.  This well will provide safe, clean drinking water for 250 people.  And, the cost to do this is only $5,000!  CharityWater.org has made it possible for me to begin a campaign over the next 90 days to raise those funds.  I’ve made the first contribution which has been added to by several friends.  Please take a look at: www.mycharitywater.org/potterfamily

I hope by the end of October we will celebrate reaching this goal…seizing the moment and saving the lives of children!

Thanks for reading my blog!

How do “severe trial,” “overflowing joy,

How do “severe trial,” “overflowing joy,” “extreme poverty,” and “rich generosity’ all fit together in one verse? Giving isn’t a luxury of the rich. It’s a privilege of the poor. I’ve discovered that impoverished Christians find no greater joy than in giving. Randy Alcorn

How do “severe trial,” “overflowing joy,

How do “severe trial,” “overflowing joy,” “extreme poverty,” and “rich generosity’ all fit together in one verse? Giving isn’t a luxury of the rich. It’s a privilege of the poor. I’ve discovered that impoverished Christians find no greater joy than in giving. Randy Alcorn

Thanks for another donation to our campa

Thanks for another donation to our campaign to raise funds for a new fresh water well in Africa! http://www.mycharitywater.org/potterfamily

4,500 kids will die today….

Yesterday,  I made the decision to start observing how much water I used.  Water to brush my teeth, make my coffee, wash clothes, take a shower, cook meals, wash dishes, and swim in a pool.  Thats just the beginning.  And, I didn’t have to think one second about the quantity available and its cleanliness. 

Now look at the picture above.  Thats the reality for millions of people around the world.  Can you imagine making your coffee with that water or giving your child a drink of water you can’t see through!   Well, thats the reality and we take clean water for granted as we wash our cars, our pets and fill our pools with water that people in developing countries have no access to.  The title of this blog is accurate!  I am working with Charity Water to make a difference in this global problem.  4,500 kids will die today and everyday around the world because of illnesses associated with filthy water.

My family and I are trying to make a difference and need your help!  Rather than receive gifts for my 54th birthday, we are asking you to consider going to www.mycharitywater.org/potterfamily.  You will be able to see more information about the problem and a means to help fund one new well which will support 250 people.  Thanks to those who are starting to contribute!  We have 91 days to raise $5,000.  Even if you can’t make a financial contribution, but believe in this cause, I am asking that you consider posting this website on your facebook, twitter, linkedin, or other networks to make others aware of the problem!  We can turn this into a major online victory if you will forward this message out to others!  I have already contributed $510 to the project.  As you will read on www.mycharitywater.org/potterfamily, my family will splurge less on eating out and Starbucks (I still love you guys!) during the campaign and contribute equal amounts to the fund.  In fact, I added an additional $10 which is equal to our nightly visit to Starbucks since we did not go last evening.

At the end of our campaign, I am hoping that we will be able to announce the funding of one new well which Charity Water will place in one of its global projects.  We will plan a celebration in Winston-Salem at that time!  I hope you will consider making a contribution and posting this link on your social media sites!

You will save a kid’s life in some village somewhere!

Thanks for reading this blog!

Its day 2 with 91 to go, please consider helping me with this cause!

www.mycharitywater.org/potterfamily

A birthday wish…….

On October 28, I’m turning 54.

At first, this seemed surreal, even daunting.

But then I found out that millions of people don’t live to see their 5th birthday. And why? Because they didn’t have access to clean, safe water.

So I’m not scared of turning 54 anymore. In fact, I’m celebrating my birthday like never before.

I’m asking for $54 or (whatever you can do!) from everyone I know – and every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund freshwater wells in developing nations. Even better, every dollar is “proved” when the projects are complete, and photos and GPS coordinates are posted using Google Earth.

My goal is to raise $5,000 by my birthday, October 28. This amount will provide one well providing clean drinking water for 250 people!

I am kicking off this campaign with $500. My family will also commit to eating out less and contributing that cost to this fund through my birthday. It’s frightening to see how much I spend monthly on Starbucks and eating out. I think I can do without so much of this to help a community somewhere have clean drinking water!

Please consider helping me. Watch this video because I think it will help you understand why this has captured my attention!

My thanks to each of you who help with this cause!   Please go to my web page below and consider helping!

www.mycharitywater.org/potterfamily

Can you imagine drinking a glass of water that is so filthy you can’t see through it? It happens everyday around the world!

Please take a look at this video and consider supporting Charitywater.org.  I believe in the work of this organization and will be launching a personal fundraising campaign in the next few weeks to give my family and friends the opportunity to provide clean drinking water to people around the world!

 http://bit.ly/9bqioo

Thanks for reading my blog!

Momma, why do we always give those old people our food when we don’t have much?

This past week I had a working lunch with a man who I greatly respect and consider a friend.  He is successful in business and government.  My friend is called upon to solve problems for well known individuals and corporations.  And, as I learned that day, an incredible philanthropist whose humility does not accept that title.  As he and I talked about his global efforts to help people, I asked him what had been the defining moment in his life to inspire his efforts.  The answer was not only emotional and humbling, but inspirational.  It was an incredible example of God working in someone’s life at an early age, allowing him to overcome significant obstacles, providing  the means to be successful in all aspects of business and having a keen sensitivity to the needs of others.  His sensitivity flows into a personal commitment to help a  bad situation in any possible way. 

My friend was raised by his grandmother who he called momma.  Momma did’nt have much, but as my friend said, she always had a pot of beans on the stove and some cornbread in the skillet.  Many days momma would call my friend into the kitchen as she scooped out some beans and cut pieces of cornbread up for him to deliver to one of their  needy elderly neighbors.  When  he was about the age of 9, my friend asked momma, “why do we always give those old people our food when we don’t have much?”  He said that her response to that question has stayed with him for the last 60 years and changed his life forever.  Momma looked at my friend and said, “just remember you can never out give God.”  “We might not have much, but haven’t you always had something to eat and a place to sleep?”  He said, “yes momma.”  She went on to say, “God will always make sure we have something to eat and a place to sleep, so we can always help someone else.”  She finished by saying, “just remember that everything we have is a blessing from God and we should use it to help others.”  My friend grabbed my arm and said, “Norm, I can remember that day as if it just happened.”  The look in his eyes and the grip on my arm told me who this man is and what truly motivates him. My friend went on to say, “I have been all over the world and seen some of the most horrific things impacting the lives of people.  It is at those moments I know God expects me to own the issue and use all I have to try and deal with it.  Norm, it is my passion!”

All of us have too much whether its time or resources.  We want more for the sake of having more and we might cast a momentary glance on that person struggling in some way.  We might feel a sense of pity, but just move on to whatever.  My friend has been richly blessed in so many ways, he sees the struggles around him and he owns them.  All of us can help someone else no matter what our worldly blessings might be.  My lunch last week inspired me to ask God for forgiveness for those times where I could have made a difference and did not.  You and I have a duty to help those who cannot help themselves!  I hope this blog about my friend inspires you as it did me! 

Thanks for taking the time to read it!

“Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. ”  Proverbs 22:9