Short rant…

Short post today just to get me back into the swing of things since it’s been so long since I’ve written!  So much of my typed thoughts just goes to Facebook statuses (?stati?) that I have neglected the blog forum.  So here I go!

I recently finished a book  by John Piper called “Think: The life of the mind and the love of God.”  I highly recommend reading it!  It’s a short read and for the avid reader it shouldn’t take but a few hours to get through…which is why it took me about a month.

I believe we Christians are unfortunately living in an extremely anti-intellectual time.  Christians, in principle, have been marginalized and all but removed from the marketplace of ideas.  And I believe it is our own fault.  Our incessant supposed need to be accepted by the world at large has driven this.  For example, for the Bible reader, how hard, really, should it be to take a stance on a statement like, “God created the universe and all that is in it via his spoken word.”  That should be easy, right?  God spoke.  It happened.

But we Christians speak out of both sides of our mouths these days on that most basic of tenets.  We say, “Oh yes, the Bible is the inspired words of God.  Oh yes, the Bible is inerrant.  Oh yes, the Bible is infallible,” only to turn around and then agree with every philosophical, unobserved and unobservable atheistic statement on origins to come from the “scientific” mainstream (as if origins is scientific and not philosophical, but I digress).

We say with our mouths that “Jesus is the only way,” but then turn around and accept as true the philosophical statements from worldviews that run counter to the Bible.

Anyway…all ranting aside (yeah, right), I’m concerned.  It used to be that the greatest thinkers alive were Christians.  And now it seems to be the opposite.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem.  It only SEEMS that the greatest thinkers are not Christians.

Again, we have marginalized ourselves in the marketplace of ideas and have refused to enter discussions boldly, claiming Truth to be our guide.  As such, those that are deemed the greatest thinkers now are those that cannot even account for truth; those that cannot account for logic; those that cannot account for uniformity in nature; those that cannot account for knowledge.  The supposed greatest thinkers today wax eloquent but then with certainty deny certainty…and we buy this nonsense.  And we send our kids to schools where this sort of nonsense is taught as truth.

The only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth.

Why would any thinking person accept that ridiculous axiom?  I’ve heard it from the lips of Ph.D. scientists sitting 3 feet away from me in a room.  I’ve read it from Ph.D. philosophers who typed it out in their books and online forums.  I’ve heard it from the lips of Ph.D. folks in videos.

And yet, we, as Christians, actually have a foundation for truth and knowledge and logic and laws of nature/science and uniformity.  Our axiom is the Bible and from it flow the result which is reality.  Our opponents cannot even account for the existence of thoughts…they state that all thoughts are merely by-products of chemical reactions in the brain…and then they turn around and say that some chemical reactions (thoughts) are moral and some chemical reactions (thoughts) are immoral.

This is ludicrous.

So, Christian, let us counter the ridiculous philosophies and thoughts that seek to run counter to the Biblical claims.  Destroy these vain thoughts and philosophies.

I’m also in the middle of reading “Already Compromised” by Greg Hall and Brit Beemer.  This is the resulting work of a survey of some 200 Christian colleges/universities/seminaries in the U.S.

Basically, it shows that even in Christian post-secondary education there is compromise.  The religion departments don’t agree with the science departments (and you’ll be shocked to learn that the science departments are more literal in their rendering of origins than the religion departments) and the Presidents don’t agree with the Vice-Presidents.

But I don’t want to give it all away.  If you’ll click on the following link to my Facebook status from today, you’ll see one example of the crazy difference between the science and religion departments:

Click Here!

And here is another crazy stat detailing the difference between Christian college/university/seminary Presidents and Vice Presidents that I’ll end with:

Question: Do you believe in the inspiration of Scripture?
Presidents = 98.1% Yes
Vice Presidents = 98.7% Yes

Good start…but now for the craziness!

Question: Do you believe in the inerrancy of Scripture?
Presidents = 21.2% Yes
Vice Presidents = 77.9% Yes

Really?  That’s just NUTS!  Especially when compared to how Presidents seemed to answer so very Biblically on other detail questions when the VPs actually answered inappropriately to the same questions…confusion.

Here’s another:

Question: Do you believe in the infallibility of Scripture?
Presidents = 17.3% Yes
Vice Presidents = 82.7% Yes

Wow!

Just let that sink in for a bit…

So now I shall end this post…Please go read, Read, READ!  And I don’t just mean read the Hunger Games and Divergent and books about sparkly vampires…but read for real.  Read your Bible.  Ask GENUINE questions about the Bible.  And then seek out the answers.  Don’t ask with a spirit of abject skepticism, but ask genuinely wanting to know the answers.

And read a bit of apologetics materials as well.  Knowing the skeptic’s questions before they ask them is quite helpful.  If you read the book called “Already Gone,” you’ll realize that our children are by nature skeptical.  And that’s good.  But what you will also find out is that our kids’ questions about Biblical Truth are usually given pathetic answers…yes, by well-intentioned people, usually, but pathetic answers nonetheless.

And this skepticism?  It starts in mid to late Elementary School and is firmly entrenched by late Middle to early High School.  Hence the title for the book being “Already Gone.”

Ok…my ranting is over…and I’m sure my writing is suspect…but, hey, that’s how we roll…

Leave a comment if you feel so inclined!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Integrity, honor, code, sacrifice…

Sort of a ramble tonight…

First, let me say that I have NEVER served in the U.S. Armed Forces of any kind.  My older brother, Paul, and my father, James, are the closest relatives I know of who have served…My father in Vietnam and my brother in Desert Shield/Storm and even in Afghanistan.

So, no, I do not have a “military background,” so to speak…but I have a military background…

I’ve been on base when Taps is played and the United States flag is lowered and EVERY car stops moving and people stop walking…and people reflect…whether they are saluting or standing reverently, reflection occurs.  I’ve seen my father salute an officer because he is enlisted…even though the man was 20 years his younger.  I’ve seen young officers snap a salute to my father when the light was dim because he MUST have been an officer to have all those ribbons!  Maybe they were just being safe…but it was still cool to see…

I was raised by a military man, and a military man’s wife, and by military men all around me throughout my formative years.  I was coached by Medical Corpsmen, Dental Techs, Boatswain’s Mates, and Navy Seals…all playing the role of baseball coach extraordinaire…all military men in one way or another pouring into my life, many times without knowing that I would remember them 30 years later, pouring discipline into me, pouring integrity into me.  They coached me and mentored me through my baseball career until I was 13 years old…and then, even after that, my coaches in public high schools and college all revered and respected military men and service and routinely quoted military greats of the past and spoke of a time of discipline and integrity and loyalty that I scarcely see alive today.  In many ways, who I am is based upon the backdrop of being raised with the military all about me.

I remember my father bringing in younger sailors to the house that needed some help…they would all gather together and cook dinner and sit around the table and talk afterwards…and I would sit just out of the way, playing…but listening all the time.  I learned how to treat people from my father…I learned about political issues…I learned about loyalty…I learned about righteous indignation and how it sparks passionate work to be done for the betterment of others…I learned that there really is no greater love than a man lay down his life for a friend.

I learned respect, honor, loyalty, living by a thought out code (late to learn that this is a “worldview”), family, brotherhood, community…and on and on and on.

My time in a military family really prepared me for my Christian life later on.  Respect for life, living honorably, being loyal, living Biblically, working/living in a family with Brothers and Sisters in Christ and living/working in a community…And now I have a REASON for the codes, the creeds, for living with integrity, for Truth, for righteous indignation based upon an ultimate standard…

I also get moved to tears by the stories of the valiant; of heroes sacrificially giving themselves up for the life of another.  Men who, from outside perspective, risk everything to save their buddies, their squad, their brothers in arms move me in ways I cannot explain.  The stories of the men we call heroes…Medal of Honor recipients, Fire and Policemen who risked it all to save others from the burning/collapsing towers at 9/11, men who sprung to action during the Boston Marathon bombing, men who sprung to action to save a little boy from being torn to shreds by a pack of dogs, men who sprung to action…

I get moved to tears…I get moved to action…and then I realize just how pathetic I really am.  Not because I’ve never stormed into a blazing inferno to save a fellow human from death…not because I have never jumped into an armored car and raced into an onslaught of machine-gun fire to save my buddies who were ambushed in a gorge…not because I never pushed someone out a window to save their life moments before the roof collapsed…not because I never pulled the pin on my own grenade to clear a bunker of enemies to give time for my friends to escape knowing full well it would cost my own life…no, not because of any of those things.

I realize how pathetic I am because the GREATEST man who ever lived, gave up his life, willingly, not just for a few of his drinking buddies, not just for 36 other men in battle with him…but for humanity in general, and ME in particular…and I am scarcely moved to tears or passionate action.

Those that have survived the impossible because of the heroic acts of one man, typically talk in terms of either living a good life or continuing the work of the fallen friend such that his death might not be in vain.  And how I now pray for that conviction of my spirit tonight…to continue the good work of Christ…to do as He commanded; to make disciples of all nations.  Jesus, when I was yet still a sinner, died for me.

Jesus didn’t just die either.  He died a criminal’s death while being completely innocent.  He was slandered, His name and character part of a huge smear campaign that modern U.S. politics cannot even touch.  He was betrayed by one of the 12 people closest to him; a man he traveled with, did ministry with, a man that he taught and trained and disciple…the only thing that I can think of that makes me feel this way is when I place myself in Mel Gibson’s role of William Wallace when Robert the Bruce betrayed him…ah man…when William pulls the helmet off of his adversary and sees it’s The Bruce in there…I feel horrible…But I can ONLY imagine how much worse the betrayal of Jesus by Judas was…this was unfathomable…

So He was betrayed.  He had dozens of military men come to arrest him in the middle of the night…and by the opening of His mouth to speak the words “I am,” the power knocked these dozens of hardened military soldiers right to the ground!  And yet, He went with them willingly.  He placed Himself into their hands to be delivered to eventual death.

And Jesus was a whipped and beaten and spat upon and lied about and ridiculed and punched, and had his skin ripped from his body and was tortured so badly they even tore out his beard…and He did it all willingly… “I offered my back to those who beat me,  my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face  from mocking and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

And yet, the worst was yet to come…

He was then betrayed by his countrymen after Pilate investigated and found no wrong in Him.  He was traded for the freedom of a hardened criminal named Barabbas.  And then Pilate asks, “What, then, shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?”  And the resounding answer was a cacophony of “Crucify him!”  Pilate, who actually asks the right question, then has Jesus crucified.  What do I do with Jesus?  What do you do with Jesus?

And yet, the worst was yet to come…

Upon the cross, the sins of humanity were placed upon Jesus…imputed upon Him.  And God turned His face from His Son…read the words with me from Matthew 27 and verse 46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”  He that knew no sin “was made to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

The world is broken, yes.  But the fact that the world is broken actually means that it used to NOT be broken.  There once was perfection.  There once was perfect beauty.  There once was perfect creation.  But now things are broken.  Creation is busted and groaning.  Beauty has been replaced with the ugliness of sin.  Humanity performs gross atrocities and is separated from their Creator because of sin.

But in the Biblical worldview, there is redemption.  The world does not remain ugly.  The world does not remain broken.  Ugliness does not rule forever.  And humanity can re-connect because of the selfless sacrifice of the perfectly sinless man, Jesus Christ.  Being spotless, sinless, and being God Himself, Christ’s sacrifice was the ultimate payment for the ugliness of sin in the world.

We see the evidence all around us.  The heavens announce the glory of God.  We all know God in our hearts but we reject Him and choose to believe a lie.  But redemption is here.  Trust not in yourself…secular humanism is irrational and stupid and cannot account for the existence of beauty and morality and laws of logic and laws of nature and Truth.

Trust in the Creator.  Put your faith in Him that created, this Jesus, and believe in who He is and what He did on the cross…dying for the sins of humanity and putting His righteousness upon you such that you can inherit eternal life, Heaven.

So again, I pray for the Holy Spirit to convict me, to drive me to action in response to His selfless act of sacrifice for humanity in general as well as for me in particular.  And so I leave you and myself with this question, “What then shall [we] do with Jesus who is called the Christ?”

Soli Deo Gloria!

Who Needs to Count Sheep…?

Howdy, y’all!

So I read Psalm 4 today and I was blessed so I figured I would put it here today and maybe it would bless some of you!

Psalm 4 has many similarities with Psalm 3.  Additionally, Psalm 3 is sometimes referred to at the morning psalm while Psalm 4 is referred to as the evening psalm.  So it would be good for you to read Psalm 3 before reading Psalm 4…but for the sake of brevity, I shall only provide the text of Psalm 4 here for today!

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception? Selah.

But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The Lord hears when I call to Him.

Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the Lord.

Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!

You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.

Hopefully you just read it straight through.  I could just leave it at that…but I wanted to focus on just a couple of things today before I leave.  Specifically, verses 4 and 8.  But again, make sure to read the whole thing!  It’s only 8 verses…and it’s all good!

Verse 4 says for us to “Tremble, and do not sin.”  Tremble, here, is the Hebrew word רָגַז or ragaz, and means to tremble, quake, rage, quiver, be agitated, be excited, be perturbed.

So let’s think on the context for a bit.  Remember above I said that Psalms 3 and 4 are similar and can even be considered book-end psalms with 3 being of the morning and 4 being of the evening.  If you take a look at at Psalm 3, David is beset with difficulties and surrounded by enemies and even begs of God to “Arise, O LORD, save me, O my God,” as a battle cry for God to engage the enemies.

So now, looking to the evening psalm of Psalm 4 we pick up verse 4 again with “Tremble, and do not sin.”  So this means the sort of trembling, shaking, in fear/awe of the LORD that leads one to NOT sin!  Additionally, look to the rest of verse 4, “Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.”  We’re in Psalm 4, so we’ve made it through the day with God rising up in battle against the enemies (Psalm 3) without any strength of our own, and now here we are at the end of our long day beset with obstacles and enemies on all sides that only God can vanquish and we are told to fear God, do not sin, meditate, and be still!

So in the midst of all the chaos that can be our lives, we get into bed (notice that we are not lying down as of yet) and in awe of God almighty for getting us through the previous day filled with enemies and troubles, we pray…and we are still…

Only after we get into bed, and pray, and are therefore stilled does verse 8 occur… “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.”

So brothers and sisters in Christ, after you have acknowledged your obstacles and weakness in your self and prayed in battle cry fashion for God’s help to get through the day, then you climb into bed, weary from doing battle with God against your enemies, and you pray…and you are still…

Who needs to count sheep when you can count your blessings and rest in the protective care of your loving Father?

Not that this is some formulaic device for sleep, mind you, but the attitude presented in Psalms 3 and 4 are crucial.  Indeed, this isn’t some formula for WHEN you should pray either…2x per day is all right?  No no no…Pray at all various times and in all various situations!  This is merely 2 book-end times to pray.  In the morning to acknowledge your obstacles and need for God to get you through, and in the evening to thank Him and to still you from your day and provide the sleep needed to do it again!

Well…that’s all for today!  I thank you guys a bunch for reading, and I hope you go back and read both Psalms 3 and 4 straight through and are blessed!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Bruce Jenner, SCOTUS, and Rainbows! Just kidding…

Hello all!

Sorry for the title of the blog…I couldn’t help myself.

No, I’m not going to blog about Bruce Jenner or even transgenderism in general.  Neither will I blog about the SCOTUS decision of last week.  Nor will I blog about rainbows tonight or cleverly covering your profile pic on Facebook with a rainbow…or even a cross as seems to be the Christian response to that trend.

It’ll be much more boring than that tonight!  But of course if you’d like to know my stance on these issues you can always email me at mike.pilliod@gmail.com and ask.  Or make a trip to Panama and we’ll discuss all sorts of issues over some spaghetti or chicken curry alfredo or whatever.

I just want to make sure that I update you fine people on the Pill’s progress this summer.

Pepper is still headed to Mid-Atlantic University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina and still looking to major in Linguistics…totally cool!  We’re getting finances figured out and working on a plan to get him from Florida up to N.C. in early/mid August for orientation, etc.  His advisor, and head of the Linguistics Department, emailed him and advised that Pepper, specifically, should go ahead and begin a bit early by taking Greek the Fall of his Freshman year.  Sounds good to me!  I know he enjoys learning new languages so this should be fun for him, and challenging as well!

Please pray for Pepper as he transitions to college life and some distance from family.  And pray for Allison…Momma has been quite the trooper as of late, but I’m sure she’s feeling the “partial empty nest” even now…but doing a fine job of remaining at least calm on the outside!

Drew is headed to high school still…Report cards came in and he passed middle school, so I guess that means that my BABY is a big, bad high schooler now!  Being the High School Coordinator for the past few years and teaching in the High School here at Crossroads I know what he’s up against the day he steps foot into his first class…It’ll be challenging for him, for sure.  But I believe he’s up to the task!

Please pray for Drew as he must now step it up a notch or two or three working on credits that count and finding at least a semblance of a focus for him.  And pray for Allison as well…Momma’s BABY is in High School!  DOH!

Allison is now a seasoned veteran with one entire year of Middle School Science teaching behind her.  She will be called upon to do a bit more now, and refine her skills in the classroom…and even as an experienced person on staff.  Awesome things await!

Please pray for Allison as now I am the Secondary Principal (6th through 12th grades) and so her direct boss…DOH!  Pray that she is submissive to the authorities set above her……………….bwahahahahaha!!!!  Just messing around!  She’s actually really really good at categorizing work and home when it comes to me giving some advice, etc.  But year 2 is indeed a time, in our context, to turn things up a bit.  How it totally plays out, we shall see.  But I believe I could probably see a bunch of middle school girls around the apartment more often this coming year…Maybe Drew and I will just go hang out with my buddy Jim Almack across the street!  Maybe she’ll do some Crossfire (youth ministry) stuff…not sure!  But it’ll be fun to see how God allows it all to unfold.

Me?  Meh…same ‘ole same ‘ole…Just pray that I work well with teachers, firstly, and parents secondarily, and students thirdly.  Why that order?  Because the teachers have the direct contact with the students and as such it is my job as Principal to remove obstacles from the teachers’ paths such that they can have both academic and spiritual impacts upon the students in meaningful, life-long ways.  My job is to serve the teachers.  My other job is to make sure parents know that it is the parents’ job to educate their children.  They have just chosen to abdicate some of the details to us as a school.  So pray that I can, either through my own creativity or that of others, come up with ways for Secondary parents to really be increasingly involved with their students…typically involvement dies off to pretty much a complete stop as soon as students make a solid transition to Secondary school.

We have some new folks coming in to CCA this year too.  A few in elementary school, and even a couple in Secondary.  Pray that we can make their transition as smooth as possible so they can do the hard work of ministering to and educating the students at our school.

There are lots of other changes too, behind the scenes stuff, that impacts education.

Anyway, we are flying out of Panama on Tuesday, July 7th, and headed to Florida for a couple weeks of hanging out with family and friends there.  We return to Panama on the 25th, Saturday, and hit the ground running with New Teacher Orientation that Monday morning…How quickly time goes by!

We will leave Panama with 4 Pilliods and return to Panama with only 3 Pilliods.  I’m excited for Pepper, so do not feel bad for me!  My role as a parent is, and should be, changing from one aspect to just another aspect of being a parent.  And my role with Drew changes slightly as well…

Last thing…Allison and I have been asked by the church here (Crossroads Bible Church) if we’d be available to teach a Sunday school class this semester.  We agreed!  I believe, if it gets approved, that Pastor Steve would like for us to teach on the topic of “Spiritual Gifts.”  I’m excited for this opportunity to teach on Spiritual Gifts…it should be great for me, and I hope that we can really make it worthwhile for those that attend!  So, hopefully the Elder Board will approve the class and the topic and we can begin rolling that out in September!  One prayer request for this is that I’ve had a hard time, nearly impossible time, coming up with a SINGLE resource to use for this.  So of course that makes it a bit more difficult to present to the Elder Board…but I want to make sure that all the facets are covered in this study and that they are Biblically based.  So I’ve got a BUNCH of resources that I’ll need to work through to teach this class.  Just pray for me and Allison and whoever happens to sign up for that!

That’s all for now for this generic update…if you want blogs about Bruce Jenner and transgenderism and rainbow Facebook profile pics, well, just click on your friendly neighborhood Google button and you’ll find plenty to keep your mind filled!

Thanks a bunch!

Soli Deo Gloria!

The Bible Commands Us To Pray For…What?

So at Crossroads Bible Church today, we continued on with the book of James.  Today’s passage was specifically James 5:13-20.

Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back,  let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

And we discussed the importance of prayer.  Pastor Steve called Allison to the front because he knew she was a scuba instructor in the past and asked what the ONE thing was that all students would be sure to learn.  She replied, as I expected, with “Never, ever, ever hold your breath!  Always breathe!”

Pastor Steve then went on to discuss prayer and how that is like breathing to the Christian.  Additionally, I came across this quote from one of my favorite websites on answering questions about the Bible at http://www.gotquestions.org, “For the Christian, praying is supposed to be like breathing, easier to do than to not do.”

Uh oh!

Not sure praying is quite as easy as breathing for me!  And THAT was the very first sentence of the article in question!

So I skipped it.

Just kidding…Actually, I read the article and it was good.  In fact, there wasn’t anything new or earth-shattering in there at all!  Heck, I’ve TAUGHT lessons on prayer and praying in the past!  So none of this was new to me.  I’ve just been slipping into non-prayer for quite some time now…and it’s time to change that!

I actually went to another article on the same website about praying according to the will of God.  He gave 7 basic Biblical instructions guiding the believer in praying according to God’s will.

Here they are in order of appearance (entire article can be found at http://www.gotquestions.org/praying-will-of-God.html):

  1. Pray for the things for which the Bible commands prayer
  2. Follow the example of godly characters in Scripture
  3. Pray with the right motivation
  4. Pray with a spirit of forgiveness toward others
  5. Pray with thanksgiving
  6. Pray with persistence
  7. Rely on the Spirit of God in prayer

But I just want to focus on #1 because, to be honest, other than reading the list above, I’ve ONLY read #1…and have been weighed, measured, and found wanting!

So, pray for the things for which the Bible commands prayer.  What are these things?  Well, how about another list?  Here’s the short list he puts in this section…we are to pray…

  1. For our enemies (Matthew 5:44)
  2. For God to send missionaries (Luke 10:2)
  3. That we do not enter temptation (Matthew 26:41)
  4. For ministers of the Word (Colossians 4:3, 2 Thessalonians 3:1)
  5. For government authorities (1 Timothy 2:1-3)
  6. For relief from affliction (James 5:13)
  7. For the healing of fellow believers (James 5:16)

Can you think of others?  Leave a comment about what else the Bible commands us to pray for!

I also love how our passage from James 5 tells us sort of when/how to pray!  Additionally remember that the book of James was written “To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad” (James 1:1), and to “my brethren” (James 1:2).  So this was written to fellow Christian believers who were scattered all around!  Pastor Steve equated it to Christian that have immigrated to Panama.  Makes sense to me.  These believers in James were “dispersed abroad.”

So with that backdrop, in James 5, we are asked in verse 13 if any of us believers dispersed are suffering.  Well, yes, in many ways!  So what’s the antidote to that?  Well, keep reading verse 13, we are told, “Then he must pray”!  The antidote to believers suffering abroad is prayer.

We are then asked, also in verse 13, “Is anyone cheerful?”  Again, in context the question could be, “Are any of the dispersed believers cheerful?”  Well, yes!  So what’s the answer to being cheerful as a believer in a different country/culture/language/location?  Keep reading the rest of verse 13, “He is to sing praises”!  Awesome!  So the dispersed believer is to sing praises to God when he is cheerful.  Makes sense there, too.

Next we are asked if “anyone among you is sick?”  Since this is directed as “among you,” and we know that we are discussing the believers that were dispersed, then we are talking about believers here as well.  Sick believers.  Could this mean physically sick?  Maybe.  Could it mean down in the dumps because of various persecutions as a believer?  Maybe.  What’s the response to this?  “Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up…”

Looks to me like pray is the answer to this as well.  Notice how the elders are to “pray over him” and that prayer is then immediately described as “anointing him with oil.”  Is this a possible reference to Mark 6:13 where anointing with oil was associated with spiritual healing?  Maybe.  But we know these are believers and we know they are being persecuted (James 1) and even mental persecution takes its toll spiritually…so the prayers of the elders here are likely likened unto the use of oils for spiritual healing.  Regardless…prayer is the answer to spiritual sickness.

So, yes, prayer SHOULD be like breathing to the believer.  It SHOULD be more difficult to hold your breath (not pray) than to breathe (pray).  Praying ceaselessly SHOULD be something natural for us…but, boy oh boy it’s difficult for me to get into!  I’m like the kid who confronts his parents and holds his breath!  Wise parents would just let the child do it, for when he passes out he will immediately begin breathing again!  And God, the great parent, lets me not pray until I pass out and I begin to pray again!

Well, here I am…passed out on the floor after months of holding my breath in the face of God…

What does it take for you to begin praying?
What sorts of things entice you to hold your breath (not pray)?
What sorts of things entice you to breathe again (pray)?
What sorts of circumstances do you find it more natural to pray?
What sorts of circumstances do you find it more difficult to pray?

Thanks for reading, y’all!  And pray for me that in my passed out state of prayer I wake up and continue to pray and praise God who created all things and without whom nothing would exist that does exist!

Soli Deo Gloria!

End of?…Comienzo?

Hello y’all!

Today is a wonderful day!  It’s wonderful for the simple reason that God made today…but it’s also wonderful for some other reasons.

We purchased our tickets to Florida…so we now are set to take a trip to see family and friends in the States.  The purchasing of these tickets was a huge event for us because we were not sure of precisely when we should go, when we should come back, whether we could afford to fly the whole Pill clan to Florida, how late should we fly out since Pepper would not be coming back to Panama any time soon…you know, stuff like that!

Yes, Pepper will be flying out of Panama and headed to Florida in early July with us…but only 3 of the Pill clan will be headed back to Panama later in July!  Pepper will be staying and then driving up to his abode at Mid-Atlantic Christian University…

Wait, MACU?  No Moody?  What happened?  Great question…I’m glad you asked…

Pepper had applied to 4 or 5 schools and been accepted to all of them, so that was cool.  Moody is immediately tuition “free.”  Well, after this past February of visiting a couple colleges, he came back with a new #1 school on his list…Mid-Atlantic Christian University.  What?  Where?  Never heard of it!  I had never heard of it either until he searched it out!

Anyway, Pepper visited Liberty University and loved it, but then also made the very grown up decision that there is just SO MUCH going on there that he’d never study!  So he went from visiting the largest evangelical college on the planet (some 20,000+ residential students) to visiting an extremely small college in MACU (some 200 residential students) and fell in love.

So he applies for a nice big huge scholarship and didn’t get it…bummer.  So we “settle” for college #2…Moody Bible Institute!  Great “fall back” college!

Anyway, then one Friday morning I get an email from the MACU folks stating that the financial officer and Pepper’s future department chair are all sitting in a meeting hammering out a new financial package for him!  When the dust settled and they came back with their new offer…well, suffice it to say that Pepper is for sure attending the little university in Elizabeth City, North Carolina!

So today we celebrate the end of Pepper’s high school career.  Today at 4pm at CCA/CBC Pepper will walk across the stage and get his diploma (cover) and a new season will begin for him…and for me…and for Drew…and for Allison…

The end of a high school career, yes.  But the end of an interestingly awesome season for me as well.  As a parent, your role is never static/unchanging, no.  Your role as a parent is morphing constantly dependent upon the stage of life of your kids.  I’ve been very intentional how my role with Pepper has changed and now it changes yet again.  Maybe I’m a bit more prepared for this since I have been specifically thinking about and planning for role/season changes in parenthood since I became a parent!  So that’s good!

So my role has ended and a slightly new role will be taken up.

Drew also has an end of season as well!  He will by the grace of God be promoted to 9th grade at then end of next week and will end his middle school career.  He begins afresh and anew as a high school student where credits matter.  He’s got some interesting things on the horizon like possibly playing on the basketball team to learn how to have a role in something larger than himself…continuing to hone his chess skills (he was the #2 rated player in the CCA chess club this year and got 2nd place in the most recent CCA tournament)…continuing to play drums by joining both the Crossfire worship team as the backup guy and also with the school’s Chapel band…learning to be a high school student in a school that prepares students for college whether or not they ever plan on attending…

And Allison now becomes a seasoned veteran in the classroom!  The number of “virtual” years of experience gained here at our school in Panama is quite a bit greater than the literal number of years of service!  Maybe 2 to 1?  Not sure.  I haven’t put together a solid list of reasons why/how occurs, but it just does!

I’ve always loved the word “commencement” for graduation ceremonies!  As a student it never made much sense until a couple months after graduation and you then BEGAN something new…even it that something new was merely more of the same (academics) but in a new location/school…it was still beginning a new stage.

As an educator I really Really REALLY love the word commencement for our graduation ceremony!  Why?  Good question!  I love it because I’m still a coach at heart…and not just a coach, but a coach who does not coach at the HIGHEST levels, but at some level where there’s still more to shoot for.  So I love training students…not so they can stay with me, but so I can send them away!  I love training workers for Christ not so they can stay here with me, but so I can send them away!  I love training disciples in apologetics not so they can hang out with me, but so I can send them into the world at large!

So today isn’t the end of something…it’s really the beginning of something new.  One son begins a slightly new life as a college student.  Another son begins life as a high school student.  A set of parents begin their life with one less person in the house and begin to work through what all that entails.  Grandparents begin a new season as they now have their first college aged grandchild living in relatively close proximity (9 hours or so).  My school in general begins to ponder for the new school year to come and look to bring in new staff, etc.

Well anyway…graduation/commencement for our Senior class is at 4pm this afternoon!  I get the honor of calling out their names one by one to come up and receive their diplomas…and that’s totally cool, too, since I get to announce Latino names, Portuguese names, French, English…maybe you guys should pray that I don’t mess up their names!

Soli Deo Gloria!

La Batalla de las Bandas…and other stuff as well!

Hello all!!!

So Drew participated in Crossfire’s (the youth group) first “Battle of the Bands” recently and the group he drums for won 3rd place!  Cool stuff!  Some comments about Drew were:

When did Drew learn to play the drums?

So…that was…Drew, right?

Hey, look at that…That’s {looks between Drew and me repeatedly} Mr. Pill’s son!

Pretty cool stuff!  They played a cover of Rend Collective’s “My Lighthouse” (see original song below…

…and then played their original song called “Forevermore.”  This song was AWESOME!  Think Green Day meets the Cranberries from the ’90s…so much YES in this one!  And a tremendous message in the lyrics as well!

If you would like to HEAR their original song, please just send me an email at mike.pilliod@gmail.com and I’ll see what I can do!

So…what else is going on?!  A friend of mine has a website called PTYGuia that’s just getting started.  Clink on the link to view: http://ptyguia.com/

Here you can either submit a place if you are a business owner and want some more traffic to your place, or if you’re a tourist or looking for a place you can go here and search around for various establishments or locations…Good stuff!  Tremendous upside!

Pepper is now FOR SURE going to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago!  It’s totally and completely official!  Woot woot!!!  Now we just begin the process of figuring out housing and schedules and orientations and blah blah blah…So, if you think about it, please pray for ME as I now have a wife who’s the mother of an eldest son that’s jumping headlong out of the nest and about stretch out his wings and catch some air!  Hahaha!  But seriously, give our family some prayer…Lots of changes coming quickly…and it’s all good, of course, but change nonetheless.

Today a huge truck came to CCA loaded down with “goodies” for next year…so that was fun to unload…My buddy and fellow educator Jamie took to cataloging the materials that arrived so I got to have the fun of distributing the science stuff to the appropriate teachers (read: Brennan and Allison)…so that’s always like a nerd Christmas in the science department as we get sheep organs and cats and models and Newton’s 2nd Law devices and slingshot thingies and posters and all the cool stuff!

We are pushing towards our last few weeks of school here in Panama…please pray for the students and the staff as we are all tired…of each other…Lol!  AP testing begins TOMORROW on Thursday with a great many of our students taking the AP Spanish exam and then again on Monday where I have 5 brave souls tackling the AP Biology exam…Then there’s AP English Language and Composition as well…anyway, these tests are happening in your town, too…

Lastly, a plug for some CCA openings!  See below for some spots still open for the coming school year!

  1. Elementary teaching positions
    1. Grade 2
    2. Grade 3
  2. High School Math Instructor
    1. One position open
    2. To teach multiple preps from Algebra I on up to as high as you can go!
    3. If you love Physics, let me know as that might be available as well
  3. Elementary Principal

For all positions, please visit the following link: http://www.ccapanama.org/resources/employment_opportunities.cfm

When you get there, fill out the online interest form and our staff recruiter will get in touch with you and fill you in!  Additionally, please feel free to browse the rest of the website there and check us out!

Well, I think that just about catches us all up on the goings on that is the Pills in Panama!

Thanks a bunch, y’all, for reading!  Thanks for praying!  And if you need anything at all…let me know!

Soli Deo Gloria!