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Read Upward Glances

Welcome!

I really hope this column will bless you. You can read the most recent column below and previous columns at the archive.


The hard lesson my daughter’s namesake learned

Posted by Kyle on November 30, 2012

One of the strangest experiences of my life was sitting down with my wife and deciding together what another person should be called for the rest of her life. Our daughter will be a year old soon, and I’ve been thinking back about her short life and why we called her what we did.

It really was a daunting task to think of something. It had to sound good. More importantly, it had to sound good to my wife Megan. It couldn’t be easily subject to playground ridicule (Dorcas from Acts 9 just wasn’t a suitable namesake). It also had to mean something.

I started thinking about the kind of woman I wanted my daughter to grow up to be.


UPWARD GLANCE - Blaine only survived 17 minutes

Posted by Kyle on November 30, 2012

Until his record was beat by Tom Sietas in 2008 (at a whopping 22 minutes), David Blaine formerly held the record for the holding his breath underwater the longest at 17 minutes.

If you aren’t familiar with his work, Blaine is a magician and escape artist, not a diver. Some of his other ‘stunts’ include fasting in a box suspended above Potters Fields Park in London for 44 days and being frozen in a block of ice suspended above Times Square in New York for 63 hours. When asked why he had decided to pursue the record, he said something that deserves examination: Blaine claimed that many of his stunts were designed to test how long the human body can survive without anything else. Food, warmth and, above all, oxygen are vital to human survival, and Blaine said he continually tries to push the envelope to survive as long as possible without these things.


UPWARD GLANCE - Hunger and Thirst

Posted by Kyle on November 28, 2012

In Matthew 5, Jesus begins what has become known as the “Sermon on the Mount” with a list of beatitudes: “Blessed are [insert type of person here] for they [insert blessing here].”

One of my favorites is Matthew 5:6. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”


UPWARD GLANCE - Something New

Posted by Kyle on November 24, 2012

I hate writing a newspaper column twice a month.

Rather, I should say I hate only writing a newspaper twice a month. I enjoy writing, so I have determined to write more often.

My column in the San Angelo Standard-Times is called “Looking Up,” and I try to measure contemporary life issues with the truth of Scripture in a long, newspaper column format on the first and third Saturday of the month.

This new section will be entirely digital and much shorter, coming out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I will be providing short devotional-style articles to provide brief glances at biblical principles to keep the focus on Christ throughout the week. I have therefore titled it “Upward Glances.” Check in on Wednesday for the first installment!

Also, don't forget to "Like" Looking Up on Facebook at fb.com/lookingupfrombelow

-Kyle
“That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.” - Ecclesiastes 1:9


Recognize you are a slave in service of Christ

Posted by Kyle on November 16, 2012

In what became one of the darkest stains on our history, Dred Scott, a slave, in 1850 sued his owner in the U.S. Supreme Court for his freedom and that of his wife and daughters. The court ruled Mr. Scott and his family could not go free, in part because, as a slave, he didn't even have the right to bring the case before the court in the first place. He was a slave and only counted as three-fifths of a person, not to mention that legally he wasn't even a citizen of the United States.

Wrong as it is for one man to own another, Mr. Scott seems to have been confused as to what rights a slave actually has; namely, none. That's what makes a slave a slave.

How often do we as Christians suffer from the same confusion?


Our service members model a higher truth

Posted by Kyle on November 11, 2012

Their mission complete, the battered special ops team returns to their base camp. Their mission was a success, and their first stop is to report directly to their commander in chief. As they debrief, they produce what they had risked their lives to recover: a jar of water.

Earlier that day, King David had looked over the battlefield that had enveloped his hometown and, seeing the well whose water he grew up drinking, wished aloud that he could drink from it again. Now was his opportunity to do just that. Three of his best soldiers had risked their lives to go get him some.

So naturally, David "poured it out to the Lord." (2 Samuel 23:16)


What does a giving culture look like?

Posted by Kyle on October 31, 2012

You can find some of the weirdest rules in Leviticus.

Leviticus 13:47-59, for instance, details how God wanted the nation of Israel to deal with mildew on "any woolen or linen clothing, any woven or knitted material of linen or wool, any leather or anything made of leather."

Galatians 5:18 reminds us that because believers are given the Holy Spirit, we are not liable to the law any longer. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about quarantining mildewed clothes and presenting them to a priest to be declared clean again.

But isn't all of Scripture "god-breathed?" Doesn't the whole Bible stand forever as God's revelation to man?


This nation's savior is only found in the Bible

Posted by Kyle on October 18, 2012

Recently, a presidential candidate made a comment about the budget for public television. In the following days, a rare little video was posted on the Internet as a result. The video shows the late Fred Rogers - better known as Mr. Rogers of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" - defending PBS funding in front of a U.S. Senate committee in 1969, and he said something really important:

"I give an expression of care every day to each child."

The main purpose of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" was to make sure each child knew they were valuable and capable. I doubt seriously whether anyone wonders why that is important. The chair of the Senate committee was blown away by its profundity.

At the base of Mr. Rogers' desire to tell children they are valuable, though, stands a simple truth: they are. Not just each child, but each person.

You are inestimably valuable.


Are you ready to give an answer?

Posted by Kyle on October 5, 2012

Pastor Todd Wagner of Watermark Community Church in Dallas decided some time ago that he might like to invite some speakers to his church in order to train the congregation there to adequately respond to the claims of a group of popular thinkers commonly known as the new atheists.

The “new atheists” are represented by men such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and the late Christopher Hitchens. They not only reject belief in God, but also advocate rejecting those who believe in God because they claim such belief is irrational and ultimately bad for humankind.

Wagner likened the resultant conference to a pickup game of basketball at which LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan all decided to show up for one Saturday morning. Speakers Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, Greg Kokul and several others in the upper echelon of Christian thinking spent the whole day discussing how trusting in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of the world is reasonable, credible and rational.


Let's talk about sex.

Posted by Kyle on August 30, 2012

When my wife and I started Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” plan, we stopped going out to eat altogether because every meal we ate at home meant we were $20 to $30 closer to being debt-free.

When we had paid off the debt we had accumulated, we began to entertain the idea of going out to eat again. Sometimes. For a special occasion. And we’d split an entree.

Having eaten a remarkably healthy diet of home-cooked food in moderate proportions over the previous nine months, the standard fare of most restaurants was overwhelming. Plates were enormous. Vegetable servings were scant. Rolls were in abundance.


My Own 'Light and Momentary' Troubles

Posted by Kyle on August 2, 2012

I am, right now, sitting in a waiting room at Shannon Hospital.

I work here part time as a chaplain, and I know this room pretty well. I know where the phone will ring when the operating room has an update. I know where to get the coffee. I know where the spare Bibles are.

I have waited in this room before for hours and hours with families who have longed for the phone to ring with news of their loved one. They have needed the coffee to stay awake because they can’t bear to sleep. They have, more than all, needed the Word of God to calm the torrent raging in their heart.

This time is different, though, because I’m the one who’s eager for the phone to ring with news of someone I love dearly. I’m sipping my coffee because it just doesn’t feel right to sleep.


Ask not what your church can do for you

Posted by Kyle on July 7, 2012

I can’t say enough bad things about going to church, and please don’t think you detect sarcasm here. The idea of sticking a bunch of self-avowed sinners and hypocrites into an organization together, each one trying to suck whatever meaning they can out of sitting on uncomfortable pews for an hour a week early on Sunday morning, is really beyond me.


Time has come for $5 words

Posted by Kyle on May 31, 2012

Parousia — just say that nice and slow. Try this one next: soteriology. Words and phrases like hypostatic union, hapax legomina and exegesis just roll off the tongue and make theology a huge pleasure.


You and I are much dumber than God. He even says so. In Isaiah 55:9, God says, "as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."