Episode 8: A Day in the Life of Man

Eden, Earth – The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam [h] no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs [i] and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib [j] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman, [k] ‘
for she was taken out of man.”

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Life with Lively: What’s In A Name?

My name was supposed to be Melissa Dawn. My mother was convinced that she was going to have a girl. So convinced, she had a special suitcase put together with the dress she wanted me to wear home, along with a special pink blanket and a lot of other things. Sadly, after Mom passed away, my dad gave me that suitcase, still packed with the clothes I never wore. (Any psychiatrists want a case study?)
So my name was supposed to be Melissa Dawn, and in the odd case I would happen to be a boy, my parents had chosen the name Aaron James Lively….what? Wait a minute, so where did the name Clifton Brocke Lively come from? The answer is simply this, in the 1970s they gave out a lot of really good drugs to women in labor. I know that sounds crass, but when you would ask my mom where my name came from, that would be her answer. Aaron James had a logical reason behind it. Aaron (the Robin to Moses’ Batman) was one of my mom’s favorite Bible characters, and James is my dad’s name, so that’s where that came from. Clifton is my grandfather’s name, so that makes sense, but here is where the drugs kick in. Brocke comes from a character on the soap opera “The Young and The Restless,” named Brock Reynolds. So if I were to live up to my name I’d have to be a junk dealer/soap opera lawyer; I smell a sitcom.
But to be honest I’ve been called many names, some good, and some bad. Some have been unjustly cast upon me, some I have earned; just the other night my wife told me that my Native American name was now “Silent-But-Deadly.” Sadly she wasn’t referring to my ninja-like hunting skills, but I digress.
Among some of the more popular names I have been called are Husband, Dad, Provider, Friend, and the ever important Christian.
A lot of people take the name Christian, but do they ever truly live up to that name? Adam had a simple rule when naming the animals: If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck and swims like a duck it’s a duck. Taking that simple framework, would he be able to call you a Christian?
There are a lot of people who think becoming a Christian simply means saying a prayer and automatically you get a get into heaven card. But think about that logic. Does it work?
A few weeks ago I went to a wedding. A friend’s daughter was getting married in a pretty outdoor sunset ceremony. They both said their vows. Everyone watched them commit their lives to each other, and now all through our town she is now known by her new name. But what if after the ceremony she went back to her mom’s house. Kept doing “her own thing”, and once a week showed up at the field where we held the ceremony hoping to see her new husband. Would the marriage be real? Would it even work? Of course not!
But how many people do the same thing with God? I love the imagery in Ephesians 5: 22-33:

And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Paul was trying to find the best way to explain how we should be in relationship with God. For centuries God was the Father, and our place was the subordinate child. But through Jesus, that changed. Instead of living to please a father, our new purpose is to live in relationship with the groom, Jesus. Would that marriage work if we only show up once a week, to spend an hour or two with him? To have a true relationship with Jesus we need to wake up each morning with Him, spend every minute thinking of Him. Making our every decision based upon how it not only affects our self, but how it affects our relationship with Him.
First things first, have you taken a “vow” to Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If you have, did you just say the words, or was it truly a commitment? Have you taken the name Christian, or are you living it? Do you walk like a Christian? Quack like a Christian? And swim like a Christian? Or is it just a name you call yourself?

Episode 7: Land Animals


Eden, Earth – Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Life with Lively: Why Do Elephants Have Big Floppy Ears?

Growing up, there was a time that we didn’t have cable. Yes I actually lived in a time when we only had four channels. Saturday afternoons were awful. My parents usually would watch PBS because Saturdays were full of cooking shows. I wasn’t as into cooking shows then as I am now. So I would spend a hot summer afternoon stuck in the house playing with my G.I. Joes until 4:30 when the cooking shows would go off, and my favorite Saturday afternoon show would come on. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, hosted by Marlin Perkins. Every week, this smiling old man would take viewers on an adventure to some exotic place where they would track a herd of animals into open prairie. They would chase the herd with helicopters; they shoot one or two with a tranquilizer gun. The herd would run off, and Marlin Perkins and his crew would circle back and examine the tranquilized creature.
I always loved watching how each animal was built specifically for its environment. Elephants are large creatures; they are able to “bulldoze” their way through heavy brush. Their large, thin ears are full of blood vessels, so they can cool themselves in the African heat. Antelope have tiny feet. They are built that way for speed, agility, and stealth (little feet don’t make as much noise). Even the common housecat was created just for its situation. Its claws are just enough for defense and escaping sticky situations. They prefer to poop in a box of sand, making it easy to housetrain them.
The point I’m trying to make is every one of God’s creatures were created with the things they need to survive their natural environment. Part of his grand design included covering all possible situations that might arise.
God equips us for whatever situation is before us. He gives us abilities that sometimes we never knew we had until that moment arrived and suddenly we find ourselves doing things we never thought possible. Take Moses for instance. We all have this picture in our head that Moses is Charlton Heston, strong build, deep voice, and an eloquent speaker. The truth is, the great classic “The Ten Commandments” would have been more accurate (and in my opinion, more entertaining) if Moses would have been played by Mel Tillis.
Check out Exodus 4:10: Moses raised another objection to GOD: “Master, please, I don’t talk well. I’ve never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer.” Moses had a stuttering problem, but God reassured him. When Moses still was bothered by his lack of faith, God promised that Aaron would be there to stand by his side. Do you notice that all throughout Exodus, when Moses is speaking to Pharaoh, he is credited as the one standing up to Pharaoh. God provided him with the tools he needed to do God’s will.
He does this with us today. God has a plan, it may seem like chaos to us, but it’s a working plan. We all have a part in his plan. Ephesians 4:7-16 says: Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. 8 For it says:
When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity;
He gave gifts to people.
9 But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10 The One who descended is the same as the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. 11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, [growing] into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head —Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

God has provided us with the talents we need for the situation we are serving in. The point is now we have to serve. There is more to being a Christian than just accepting salvation and filling a pew. An elephant would seem awfully out of place if it never pushed its way through the jungle brush. We have talents from God to use for his glory. Find your niche, serve! And use that talent God provided for you. You know you have one.

Brocke Lively is a lifelong Texan from a little town called Olton.
Brocke and his wife, Lela, have 5 kids, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 chickens, and what seems like a revolving door of neighbor kids coming over to play. As a father, Brocke recognizes that how he lives his life, and how he worships God not only reflects on his own salvation, but ripples to how his kids worship God.
Brocke attends a small town church where he is known as an on-call substitute Sunday school teacher. He recognizes that his church family is also a large part of who he is, and who he want his kids to grow up to be; God-fearing followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.