Tuesday, July 31, 2007
You see, I always thought that reading the Bible was what good Christians did! I wanted to be a good Christian - so I read! When I read just to be reading, I rarely enjoyed it, revelled in it, or sat in awe of it. In sermon prep I cheered when I discovered things - things I could preach and help others understand, but just reading...for the sake of reading? Tough! Burdensome. Increasing knowledge but not love - helping to puff up and not always build up? Ouch. Reading God's Word is not just something we do to become better - more righteous, Christians! There is only one way that reading the Bible truly becomes a feeding frenzy and that's when we've truthfully answered the most important question in all out life. How can I know God better? If our heart is seeking God, his message is exciting, joyful, and amazingly simple! Without the seeking - prayer, study, attendance, and good deeds become works of self-righteousness to impress others not God. But when it's all about wanting a deeper relationship with the Father, you hang on every word, you see His unchanging character, and you are overwhelmed by his never ending love for unholy man. It's the difference between reading a historical document from a total stranger and reading a love letter from Dad.
When I read Isaiah I'm looking for God and I see a different book than I used to see. I see a Holy Father who desperately loves his unholy children. How can you not want to know some ONE like that?
Friday, July 27, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Lord willing I'll post my Top Ten on Friday. Ten passages of scripture that I have taught incorrectly in the past. Actually, I'm glad it's only a Top Ten. I'm afraid of how big the list COULD be.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Just a couple of random ramblings. First, no - I haven't read the latest Harry book, but I plan to see his latest movie today - if I can. I did, however, finish Dean Koontz's latest book, The Good Guy, and really enjoyed it. He's really mellowed out since his earlier books and does a wonderful job of making you love the "good"guys in this story. Intriguing start. Guy in a bar is mistaken by someone as a "hit man" and has an envelope of money handed to him and minutes later the real killer comes in and mistakes him as the "pay-off" man. In between the two strangers, he's "taken" with the picture in the money envelope of the girl to be murdered. He can't go to the cops, because it appears that the killer is one. What would you do? An interesting and thought provoking read.
Second ramble - I got to thinking about being a false teacher last week. Oh - not that I want to be - but, because of spiritual growth, I realized I've taught things in the past that I don't believe now. In fact, they were wrong things to teach. I guess I was a baby false teacher (?). Anyway, Lord willing, my next TOP TEN is going to be ten scriptures that I taught incorrectly in the past. Ouch! I wonder how many I'm teaching wrong now. Thank you God for grace!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
We are on the attack again. I guess that's what one should say after returning from a "Retreat". We were with some very dear friends and wonderful children of God in Paris, TN this past week and it is always one of the high-points of our year. I wish I could play a recording of some of the singing we enjoyed there. It's not THAT different from the kind we get to enjoy every week at Florissant, but the passion is so strong and the joy is so real - and uninhibited - that it's truly like a cold drink of water that refreshes you to the soul. There are a lot of folks we feel blessed to know and renew our love with there each year, but this year I found myself really thinking about how interesting it is that I have been "somewhat reunited" with two great brothers who are very much responsible for my career as a minister of the Gospel. Sam Kitchings was the preacher at the Dasher Church of Christ, just across the street from Georgia Christian School, where I lived and attended from '64 until graduating HS in '70. Sam was my Bible teach at GCS - every day - for my last three years of school. He was a tremendous influence on me, taught me stuff I still use today, and mostly - encouraged me to use my talents in service to God. Once I got to Harding University, at least during my second year there, Jerry Jones came back from doctoral work, to resume teaching in the Bible Dept. and soon, to be it's head. I was in his first preaching classes, which didn't exist until he started them. As a teacher, he taught me the value of expository preaching - literally preaching through revealing scripture in context - and formed my preaching for the rest of my life. He inspired and guided me - and I think threatened a couple times - to have a deep passion for sharing God's message through this beautiful act call preaching. I've never lost that passion, but built on it through the years. We stayed in touch every now and then, but he was there during our worst days in TN, when I couldn't understand why or how we could be so hurt when we were trying so hard to serve God. He was there! Then he was very responsible for making sure that Florissant knew about us and we knew about them.
Well, these two guys are best of friends! Attended Harding together and have stayed close through the years! I never knew that until I went to this retreat four years ago. And among their less memorable shared efforts was molding a kid from Southeast Washington, D.C. into a gospel preacher. I'm so thankful for them both. Even though we've spent most of the last thirty-plus years passing one another only occasionally, I know they are among the many I will always be indebted to. I am what I am and where I am by the grace of God, but part of that grace was manifested in godly people like Sam and Jerry whom he placed in my life. It's good to be reminded that none of else "did it on our own."
Thank you Father for the people you put in our lives to guide us, push us, and show us how to walk with you. You're not only patient and loving - but you have a huge staff of servants to carry out your will. Help me not to forget my assignment.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Father, please heal these two brothers. Comfort their loved ones, and place these two warriors back in the battle. Thank you for letting them be examples for me, and thank you for answering this request. Thank you Jesus and Holy Spirit for helping. Amen.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
We had our Senior Sunday last night. It's when we, as a church family, take a little time to recognize and honor our graduating seniors who are going off to college and leaving the Youth Ministry they've been part of, some for all their teen years. It's nice to share this experience and make it clear to them that they are part of a bigger family. We care about them, we've helped them learn about and draw closer to God and Jesus, and we want them to know that we'll always be there to help and encourage them. Still, as I watched the expected slide show with pictures of each graduate from diapers to diploma, it was fun, but no one has the same feelings as each of the parents who are just barely able to grasp what this change means for their family. Each picture that appears isn't just an image, it's a skip to a scene on "Life's" DVD. You remember the sounds and the laughter. You're taken back to a time that will never happen again and it saddens you - but fills you with joy because it's a wonderful memory. Mostly, it reminds you that seventeen or eighteen years just zoomed by - never to be repeated, never to be edited, and never to be done better. What's left - well, it's all ahead. How long? How many changes? How many Power Point slide show-reruns and flashbacks? How many new memories yet to be made? Hey, tomorrow it will be your adorable baby watching a graduation Power Point of their how-did-they-get-so-big-so-quick-child being honored at a church Senior Sunday.
Some people think about stuff like that and they go buy the Harley or the Corvette they never got to own when they were young. Me, well I just bought an Arctic Cat 400 4x4 ATV and went riding through the woods and corn fields. If I'm not back in time for the grandkids' Senior Sunday, it's because I got it stuck somewhere and I'm kicking myself for not having a wench on it yet.