Tag Archives: money

A Thanksgiving Edition: Family, Friends and the Weber-Wanna-Be

A close proximity of the Weber-Wanna-Be: no picture still exists of this ancient barbecue


Five months into our young marriage Dee Dee and I bought our first home. To celebrate this unbelievable occasion, our friends threw us a house-warming party. Several couples chipped in and bought us a kettle grill. You’ve seen the kind, those black porcelain-covered, almost egg-shaped, three-legged barbecuing wonders. They are known as Webers, except, because our crowd was fresh out of college and financially challenged, they bought us an off-brand, what we affectionately called our Webber-Wanna-Be.

Dee Dee and I proudly set our new grill out in the dirt, just to the right of the small concrete block that masqueraded as a back porch, and wasted no time in pressing the Weber-Wanna-Be into service. Our first official grilling fed those very same friends who gave her to us. The guys fired up the coals as the ladies did whatever ladies do during barbecues. Soon smoke rolled out of her vents and streamed into our small window over our kitchen table, where the women were holding court.

A sudden downpour threatened the party. Banished to the muddy backyard, all of us guys gathered round the grill in our rain ponchos and suddenly the Weber-Wanne-Be became a camp fire. We poked the coals, shifted out of the smoke, flipped burgers, and waxed eloquent. I don’t remember exactly the topic, but I’m sure the slim chance of the Denver Broncos making another Super Bowl came up. I know we also discussed our new marriages–what it was like sharing everything with a woman–what our futures held–whether our meager incomes could support us–how our entire worlds had turned upside down–that we were the luckiest guys in the universe. None of us really noticed all of this then. We just thought we were doing what young friends do: sharing a meal and a laugh and a prayer. To us the Weber-Wanna-Be remained a simple grill on which I turned hamburgers to hockey pucks.

No actual Weber was injured in the cooking of this turkey

Later Dee Dee and I read about a special way to roast a turkey on a grill. It sounded like such an easy recipe even I couldn’t ruin it. So on Thanksgiving day we plopped a 16 pounder on the grill. My mother nervously watched her son, who, while growing up, couldn’t fix himself a bowl of cereal, run in and out from the back stoop basting, and probably ruining, the holy bird of Scott family traditions. To my surprise, the turkey turned out so tender that my mother instantly pronounced it a new Scott tradition. Somehow I, and the Weber-Wanna-Be, rose in stature in the sight of my family that day.

Over the next few years, we cooked anything we could on the Weber-Wanna-Be. We laughed and took pictures and ate and planned the next barbecue. We even hauled her to parks for picnics where the same group friends gathered for “Airforce Football,” and offering smoky prayers deeper than the “Good friends, good grub, good God! Let’s eat” type. From barbecue to barbecue, our group nursed premature children, lost jobs, fought cancer, worried over rocky marriages, and grew close. Sometimes it felt like our only hope was that the smoke from our Weber-Wanna-Be would carry our combined prayers higher than we could lift them ourselves.

Soon the Weber-Wanna-Be cooked better than she looked. Once she fell out of the back of my truck coming home from one of our picnics. Everyone said the dent gave the lid character. Then her handle was broken off when some boys from our youth group ran her over. Then we moved, four times in four years, chasing a dream. In Illinois we boasted a bigger deck out back but the Weber-Wanna-Be gathered only rust spots.

In Tulsa, however, we recalled her into service. One night we sat out back with new friends and sizzled brats while God dazzled us with a show of lightning bolts that surpassed any Hollywood special effects. We suddenly ceased wrestling with the issues of raising adolescents to sit in silent awe together, the grill radiating heat from the corner of the porch. We renewed that Scott tradition when our families traveled to Tulsa for our famous barbecued Thanksgiving turkey. Once again, our prayers of thankfulness rose with the blue smoke of our Weber-Wanna-Be.

But slowly, like her owners, the Weber-Wanna-Be began to show her age. We often threatened to purchase an easier to use gas grill. Then one day, almost twenty-years after that first barbecue, I returned home from work and found the old Webber-Wanna-Be waiting mutely for the next days’ garbage pick up. Stunned, I walked down to the curb fully intending, like a school child who has just discovered that prized art project in the trash, to rescue the Weber-Wanna-Be.

I yanked her out from under a broken toilet seat, an old turn-table, and several other priceless items. But the Weber-Wanna-Be was beyond even my towering handy-man skills. The vents were rusted shut or broken off. My home-made, wooden, replacement handle was charred beyond use. The plastic wheels had long ago dissolved. And the grill itself resembled a relic found after the eruption of Mount Saint Helen.

That day my burned-out grill gave me one last gift. It’s true, you know, what Jesus said. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . .” Every day we must choose to value the eternal over the temporary. And though we all know things don’t last, even treasured things, we still struggle with those choices.

The Weber-Wanna-Be reminded me that we fail to choose the eternal because we forget what turns material things into treasures–people. The Weber-Wanna-Be smoked out a place in my heart because of the people gathered around her.  People are the only eternal treasures God deposits in our day-to-day lives. Recently Dee Dee and I moved into a new house. We have added some new friends to our old ones and a new garage-sale Weber (not a Weber-Wanne-Be) to our deck. Of the two I now know which is eternal.

Editor’s note: I (Eugene) wrote this several years ago but thought it might remind us, on a day in America when we try to remember what our treasures really are and what we do have to be thankful for.

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

Daniel 1:1-2:23

1 Peter 3:8-4:6

Psalm 119:65-80

Proverbs 28:14

If you’re reading this blog on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com.

Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com


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Does God Have Anything to do With Politics?

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2008 candidate Barack Obama spent approximately $730 million dollars in winning the U.S. presidency. John McCain spent close to $334 million in losing. That’s over 1 billion dollars for two candidates in one race. That is a huge and troubling number for several reasons. Mostly because of what it says about how many of us view political leaders.

Does it matter who the U.S. president is? Can one person, even the one holding the most powerful office in the world, change the world economy, the global power structure, and our individual lives that much? By the amount of money spent one would assume it not only matters, but it is down right crucial. Is it?

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

Ezra 8:21-9:15

1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Psalm 31:1-8

Proverbs 21:1-2


Ezra 8:21-9:15: Once again Ezra shows his faith. His first response to danger and trouble is fasting, prayer, and worship. Rather than contradict how he has expressed his faith in God to the king, Ezra sets out back to Jerusalem not under the protection of the king and an army but under the hand of God. Ezra is not naming and claiming God’s protection, however. He has made a statement of faith and is going to live or die by it. Ezra leaves life and God’s reputation is in God’s hands.

1 Corinthians 5:1-13: Biblical honesty about human sin is not relegated to the Old Testament. A church member having sex with his father’s wife? And the people who know find a way to justify it? Again we see God’s Word is not sanitized. Why not paint a prettier picture of the brand new church?

Because there is enough in this book that is hard to believe. We would never believe a fairy tale. If God is real, then his story of how he relates to us must be real as well.

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Ideas, especially political ideas, matter. Big government, small government, low taxes, high taxes, liberal, conservative, pragmatism, idealism, freedom, control: these ideas, and the people or person who wields them, affect the way we live.

On the extreme end of the spectrum, Karl Marx’ idea of communism spread and unintentionally brought untold suffering to millions. On the other end, the first ever televised debate between curmudgeonly Richard M. Nixon and handsome John F. Kennedy unintentionally changed how U.S. political candidates needed to look and present themselves.

One person, especially one with political power, can make big a difference.

This truth haunts me, particularly when the candidate I voted for, with the ideas I shared, looses. I suspect others feel the same.

Yet a greater truth overrules. God is sovereign. “The king’s [or president’s or prime minister’s or dictator’s] heart is in the hand of the Lord,” claims the author of proverbs.

This does not mean, cannot, that individual choice and responsibility are a sham. Humans are not puppets to God’s puppeteer. God is sovereign over the end result.

“[God] directs [the king’s] heart like a water course wherever he pleases,” the writer continues. Like a river inside its banks the heart of a leader knows the right way to go, yet may overrun the banks, dry up, get polluted.

In the end history flows, taking some incredibly twisted turns no doubt, into the sea, its intended destination. God can and does work all things–good and bad leaders and ideas–to accomplish his will. Money, even a billion dollars,  and power are no match.

Yes, it matters who leads us. But the thing that matters most is relinquishing our fear and hopes to the One who leads the leaders. I may not have voted for any particular leader. And even the ones I do will make mistakes and lead poorly.

But God is at the heart of what will come. I can trust in that.

  1. What do these for passages share in common?
  2. Do you believe God is sovereign?

If you’re reading this blog on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com.

Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com

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The Other Child

Possibly the most loved fairy tale in the western world is the story of Cinderella. You can probably recite it your sleep: an unloved girl experiences abuse from her stepmother and stepsisters. She meets the prince at a ball. Entranced with one another, she suddenly departs her new love as the clock strikes midnight. Undaunted, the prince searches the kingdom, finds her, marries her, and the two ride off into the sunset, happily ever after.

Great story, but it sure casts a negative light on Cinderella’s stepsisters. In fact, stepchildren often serve as the brunt of our jabs and jokes.

In the same way, if you share a common faith in Christ with me, you also share a stepbrother or sister that may wrongfully be on the receiving end of our abuse.

Read on…


Genesis 16:1-18:15
Matthew 6:1-24
Psalm 7:1-17
Proverbs 2:1-5


In many ways, Genesis 16:4-6 mimics Adam and Eve’s fall in Genesis 3. Contrary to God’s promise of numerous descendents, Abram and Sarai remained childless. In desperation, they began questioning the promise (see Genesis 3:1). So, at Sarai’s suggestion, they disobeyed God and Abram impregnated her maidservant Hagar. Then, after Hagar became pregnant, Sarai blamed Abraham (see Genesis 3:6,11-13).

God covenanted with Abram for the third and final time in Genesis 17. This is the most specific covenant of the three. While circumcision was common in that time, no evidence exists in the ancient world of humans covenanting with their god.

Genesis 17:17-18:5 is dripping with irony. Throughout the discussion of Isaac’s promised birth, we witness both Abraham and Sarah laughing. It’s no mistake that the name Isaac means “he laughs.”

Matthew 6:9-13. Matthew 5-7 is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. Luke’s gospel includes a parallel account called the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:17-49). The latter sermon was given this name because Jesus offered this sermon on the plain, rather than on the side of a mountain. Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer can be found at Luke 11:2-4.

Matthew 6:24. The word for “money” in this passage can also be translated “possessions.”

Proverbs 2:1-5. The theme of Proverbs is “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This passage answers how we can find it.


I’ve read the story of Ishmael and Isaac dozens of times, but never before did I realize that Ishmael was a recipient of Abraham’s blessing. In other words, God promised to bless Ishmael with “descendants…too numerous to count” (Genesis 16:10). God even gave Hagar the name for her son.

Understandably, the apostle Paul draws a clear distinction between the child of Hagar and the child of Sarah in Galatians 4:24-31. But nevertheless, Ishmael is still the child of Abraham and the stepbrother of Isaac.

The descendants of Ishmael eventually became the present-day Arabs.

In certain circles, Christians show favoritism toward Jewish people, but react negatively toward Arabic people. Too often we forget that the Arabs are our stepbrothers and sisters.

I’m convicted of our treatment of them.

Muslims deserve the same level of respect that we give Jewish people. While not part of the Christian faith, Muslims share a common heritage with Jews and us. Granted, Islam began 600 years after Jesus—but they do see themselves as heirs of Abraham.

And so should we.


  1. How would our Arabic “step-brothers and sisters” react if we responded to them as if they were relatives?
  2. What can we do to repair the broken relationship?
  3. What can you do to repair the broken relationship?
  4. Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:24 are pretty pointed. He said you cannot serve both God and money (or possessions). Do you experience a struggle between the two? What does it look like? What has hurt you? What has helped you?

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