Time Is Running Out.....

By the time you are reading this, our team will be at the gate ready to board our flight which will be the first leg of the longest day of the year for us.  No, not June 20th, but July 15th.  We will, Lord willing, be airborne at 1:05 am, Cebu time, and arrive in Boise at 5:50 pm.  The total time, including layovers is 30 hours and 50 minutes.  That’s a long day indeed. 

   It might seem like our days are long, that time itself will meander along at a snails pace, but the truth is, it goes so quickly and without careful and intentional living; it escapes us and we are left with regrets.  The opportunity to make the most of our time will be missed if we don’t take care to be deliberate and intentional.  The people we should have spoken to about Christ, or the loving affirmations to spouses or children, notes of thanks and acknowledgement to those who have contributed to our lives.  The opportunities fly by and unless acted upon in a timely manner, these opportunities will escape us and many “would have, could have, should have” will be lost forever.

   We trust our time in Cebu will have been well invested.  We are grateful to you who intentionally prayed for us.  You share equally in this endeavor by your generosity and prayers.  God’s distribution day will include you with us and together we shall return any and all rewards to the One who gave us His life and redeemed ours from eternal destruction.

   So as you pray for our safe return, may you also give thanks to God.  And remember, redeem your time wisely, it is running out.

  

The Message of the Cross

In Galatians 5:11 Paul says that if he preaches the gospel persecution arises.  If he preaches religion, he would not be treated that way.  He makes this remark, “Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.”  The truth is, the message of the cross leaves no room for ambivalence or indecision.  It is offensive.  The message of the cross is seen by some as foolish and to others a stumbling block.  The reason is that the cross gets at the heart of each person.

   Sin brings death.  The cross is a message that brings that reality to the consciousness of those who hear the gospel.  Sin necessitated the horrible event of death.  It demands a righteous response and the cross is that response.  The cross is a message that sin ceases in death because it causes death.  The only way to stop sin is to stop the sinner.

   The cross demands that for anyone who wishes to escape the sentence of death, someone else has to die.  It also demands that the guilty place themselves upon the instrument of self-denial and repent of their sinful ways.  There must be, as it were, a death of the actions that produced death to begin with.  That is what repentance is, and the cross brings that awareness.

   That is why people find the message to be a stumbling block.  They don’t want to be held responsible for their sin, nor do they want to give up control of their own lives in order to stop their behavior.  Death is repulsive no matter how one looks at it.  Yet, it is the only way through judgment unto life.

Let Freedom Ring

Independence Day is upon us. What a privilege we have had as a nation on this earth and for all reading this, to have been granted the blessings we have had living in America. We simply cannot appreciate fully what we have been given in terms of liberty and opportunity that our God has given us through this social order called the United States. May we give God thanks in all things, and on this particular holiday, thanks for liberty afforded us.

There are a team of our congregation that will be missing the fireworks this year as we wing our way to the Philippines on July 4th. We will be mindful of the beauty and the richness of our country as we arrive in a very different place, Cebu, Philippines. Cebu has many natural beauties as well. They have beautiful people that are radiant in their smiles and very accepting of us while we are visiting.

Please pray for God’s leading in our visitation schedule, trusting for each visit to be by God’s design for divine appointment. Pray for boldness and sensitivity in encouraging the believers there to open up about their faith and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, as they share. Pray for receptive hearts and for effective follow-up so that the seeds planted can be nurtured into fully fruitful believers as well.

We ask you to pray for health needs as we are not as young as we use to be. The temperatures and humidity can be oppressive. May God give strength to endure with joy and grace.

Finally, know that as senders, you share equally in blessings that will take place. God knows your efforts and sacrifices in making this short ministry possible.

Thank you and God bless you.

How Is Your Computer?

 My computer is old.  It has no real bells and whistles.  Just some word processing and email stuff is about all it’s good for.  It functions well enough, but it does get slower and slower with age.  Hum.

   I do have one free software called CCleaner.  It is a program that goes through the file system cleaning the registry and wipes out old files, identifies files that are obsolete, and clears the cache.  The purpose is to get stuff out of the way so that the CPU has less to wade through as the computer responds to commands and performs its functions.

   The parallel to the human mind and body is obvious.  The brain can get too overloaded at times.  Not by new or more information.  It is amazing how much data we can store in our noodles.  What will slow our functions down are worries and cares of this world.  Jesus used the agricultural analogy, they ‘choke out” the good seed, making the fruitfulness of the crop diminish.  So likewise, care and worry consume the capacity of our consciousness making life hard to deal with.

   Another problematic issue is that of unforgiveness.  The pain may be as intense as ever, and the burden of that pain slows things down.  Yet, while the offense can be very sever, the burden of carrying a grudge only keeps the offense connected to the victim, and that added burden acts like the thousand files on a hard drive that demand being sorted through each time the machine is opened up.

   We need a CCleaner for the soul.  We have one.  The gospel is able if we are willing to engage the program to cleanse us from all these things as we trust in the total goodness of God.  There is one thing, when I engage the CCleaner, it gives warning that those files are gone.  I always push run cleaner because I know I don’t need that stuff anyway.

    Are you ready to engage the gospel in this way?  You will only lose what you don’t need and free up space for life.

Happy Father's Day!

 Happy Father’s Day, Dads!!

   The impact of fathers and mothers upon the lives of children is beyond calculation.  The breakdown of family in our society is the second major reason for the social chaos we are seeing in the structure of America.  I mean second to the forsaking of God by both institutions and individuals.  Obviously, the latter contributes to the former in that people place themselves as most important.  In doing so, self-denial and devotion to the will of God is forsaken, resulting in breakdown in all other relationships, especially marriage.  Ask any teacher or worker in the public schools how many students are adversely affected by the family breakdown and they will tell you nearly 100%.  It’s hard even with an intact family, dedicated to serving God, trying to navigate this life!

   So dads, today I implore you to do two things.  Love your wives.  There is no greater blessing or security for your children and family as a whole, than for you to love your wives.  The Bible says that failure to live with our wives with love and understanding, results in the hindering of your prayers.

   Secondly, spend time with your kids.  Often it’s the dad who is less responsive to conversation.  Don’t be that dad.  Likewise, as children get older, they tend to recluse to devices and are less responsive.  The only key is time, some planning, such as going out for ice cream or something personal, face to face, just for a short while.  The attention you give will never be forgotten, even if there is no “thank you” right away.

   Finally, don’t judge God the Father by the standard of your own father or your own effectiveness as a dad.  Your Father in heaven knows every hair on your head and your every need.  Trust Him and seek to be like Him. 

The Assault On Truth

The assault on the truth began before the creation of the cosmos.  At some time in the ancient past, before time was, there was a rebellion in the realm of the angels.  An assault on the truth that began when one of God’s glorious creatures lied to himself, thinking he could ascend to the place of God and be worshipped, at least as an equal, perhaps even more superior.

   This point of truth is where every battle rages from that point to the present.  It is an issue of who God is and whether or not His creation will accept and submit or refuse and rebel.  The multiple ways this plays out in everyday life only indicates how this assault on truth continues to proliferate throughout the ages.

   God has always worked to counter this attack.  He is by no means under any threat of being disposed of His position!  His authority over all creation, including the rebellious spiritual forces, is without rival.  His efforts to counter the attack on truth is His grace and kindness in action for the benefit of those who repent of their unbelief and turn to Him in faith.  The result is salvation for their souls.

God chose two means by which He repels the assault. His spoken word, which has been copied into print for us to have, hold and study. We call it the Bible, the revelation of His plan of redemption in light of history and the future. The second is His incarnate Word, Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the ultimate expression of truth in spoken words, in character and conduct. John said, “We beheld Him, the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”


For us as God’s people, we must cling unashamedly to the fact that there is only One God, who is in all, over all and through all. That He has revealed Himself to us, and will save to sustain everyone who abides in loving trust. To God be the glory forever and ever! Amen

Why is Temptation Tempting?

Why is temptation tempting?  Everyone deals with temptation from time to time and those who are habitually engaged in some kind of vice or sin, temptation seems irresistible.

   James 1:14 tells us why.  “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”  NKJV

   “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.”  NLT

   Where are the desires coming from?  They already exist in each person.  Temptation is simply seeking to look into what already is there.  So how do we deal with temptation?  Are we helpless?  Is this just nature taking its course?

   God promises to bless people who endure under trial, who don’t give into temptations.  So there is an expectation from God’s perspective that we can and should prevail when we are tempted.  We are neither helpless, nor destined to failure.  The key to overcoming is to develop what you desire most.  If we desire God and His pleasure more than what we desire, we will prevail.  Ultimately, it is a battle for what we love and cherish the most.  It is how we are wired.  To be a moral creature, to have ability to make choices, involves having the ability to value our options.  This is why the Bible equates the Law with loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves.  Rules are not the issue, what you love is.  If you love your pleasure or your comfort more than God or your fellow man, you will side against all others to have your way. 

   Conversely, if your desire is for your God and Savior and His pleasure and glory mean the most to you, you will obey and prevail against temptation to sin. 

   It’s all about love – and more specifically, who or what you love most.  God is holy because He loves perfectly. 

   We can be holy, as well as, when we refine our desires in Christ.

  

My Grace Is Sufficient For You

   “My grace is sufficient, for My strength is perfected in your weakness.”

 2 Corinthians 12:9

   This verse was written by Paul letting his readers know how God answered his prayer regarding a tormenting issue.  Some kind of suffering, attributed to the devil himself, was troubling Paul.  This man who had exorcised demons was now the target of Satanic attack.  Three times Paul asked for God’s intervention, to finally be told, “My grace is sufficient for you…”  Grace to endure, grace to continue in spirit of the suffering that he was experiencing. 

   About a month ago I began feeling numbness in my lower jaw, chin and irritation in my scalp on the left side of my head only.

  Seeing a doctor the next day, I was diagnosed with an infection in the nerves of my face.  Similar to shingles, it attacked the tri-facial nerve that branches over the front side of my head and face.  I took several medications that seem to have helped the skin rash, yet the pain continues.  I have asked for healing, I have also consulted the internet.  It may or may not stop hurting.  There is not a definitive word on the duration.

   I am not complaining, as many of you reading this have battled things far worse and more enduring.  I have always felt empathy for you but could not relate to such things with the exception of old age in my knees and back.  This experience is giving me a new appreciation for things that may be the way it is for long while.  

   “My grace is sufficient,” has to be just that for all of us, regardless of our health or life situation.  I believe God can heal, provide abundance in finances or in spiritual depth.  I believe He is Lord and I am not.  My prayer is that I shall always be faithful, fruitful and in favor with God.

Easter Forever!!!

EASTER FOREVER!!  The resurrection story is not a once a year thing for Christians, it is every day and celebrated every week of the year.  The first day of the week Jesus rose from the grave.  He had completed the work of redemption by dying on the cross, and rested on the Sabbath.  He uttered those wonderful words, “It is finished.”  He rested, just as He did at the end of the creation week in Genesis.  In six days God created and on the seventh day God rested from all His works.  The resurrection announced a whole new day.  The work of creation and the work of redemption all completed.  Today is the new day and we celebrate every day with new life in Jesus.

   The work that is going on now is the work of Christ through His Church.  Our part is the proclamation of this finished work of redemption and the new day of life through the Son.  Yet there is another day coming as well.  It is called “The Day of the Lord” and that day brings an end to the proclamation of the gospel.  The Day of the Lord will bring the judgment of God upon the earth and all those who have done evil and remained in unbelief.  The fallen angels and fallen man that have not repented of their sin and become followers of Jesus, will all face the eternal consequence of their sin.  That day is fast approaching.

   While it is still the day of redemption, remember the risen Christ and be devoted to His life in you.  Give yourself to faithfulness in prayer and proclamation and rejoice in the empty tomb.  Be grateful that bunnies and eggs come and go, but the power of the Risen Lord abides continually each and every day.  Until that great Day of the Lord, look up for your resurrection is drawing near. 

   Maranatha! Even so, come Lord Jesus!!!

You Can Do Nothing and Nothing Means Nothing.

There are many people who are trying to succeed in life.  This begs two questions; first, what is success?  And second, what is the goal?  What are people aiming at?

   The second question is as diverse as the people you ask.  It has different assumptions based upon culture and age.  Older folks want to succeed at either cheating death or to avoid being lonely.  Middle aged people want financial security and career fulfillment.  Younger folks want to experience all they can out of life and to have meaning in who they are and what they do.  To feel like they are making a difference.  This second question is more important than the first because it defines the success one seeks.

   What is success for a Christian?  Is it to master the Scriptures or to be an effective soul winner?  Perhaps to be a productive member of the church and society, making a difference or perhaps leaving a legacy.

   The one thing that matters most is whether or not we attain to success in what God has established as the goal.  Just what is God’s agenda or standard?

   It really isn’t in the faithfulness of attendance or consistency in tithing, nor is it how many converts we can name.  It is not in how we advance the church by our service.  The true goal of every believer is to know God intimately.  Jesus said, “Unless you abide in Me, you can do nothing.”  Nothing means nothing.

   There are many things people can do by sheer initiative, ingenuity and hard work.  Yet it will produce nothing that matters to God.  Success in the Christian life is not measured in achievement nor accomplishment.  True success in measured in the fruit that results from abiding in Him.  This fruit actually remains, according to the Lord.  Yet, abiding in Him may prove to be the most challenging thing we will ever do.

What is Your Source?

As I write this installment of “Thoughts,” it is April 1st.  I got taken in by an article that stated New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, had been traded to San Francisco.  I was totally taken in until the very last line in the story by Coach Shanahan, “If you think this trade is real, check your calendar.”   

   Sadly, I was easily taken in because I trusted the source.  Big mistake on my part.  Yet, I like a million of people, was taken in by an apparent story that was a hoax.  I suppose part of my interest in the story was for our good Patriot fan and associate pastor, Cliff.  But I was taken in.

   This illustrates the importance of sources for what we accept as truthful.  Frankly, I have little trust for any major news source and zero trust for the mainstream.  There was a time when journalism was key to our nation’s ability to make judgments.  They were America’s conscience, watchdogs that had a chance to square off with government to keep people accountable.  Not that there have never been biases, the fact is, there have been biases from the beginning of this country.

   The ultimate leverage of the American people was a basic knowledge of the Bible and the basis for right and wrong as given by the Ten Commandments.  Even journalists had some conscience in not spouting blatant lies.  The public also had a moral compass in which to judge the values and character of its leaders.  Yet, since the days of Richard Nixon, those standards have all but disappeared. 

   This countries leaders and power people want no God.  The general public concurs as they are incessantly taught there is no God of consequences.  So on this April Fools Day, I lament that we are a country of fools indeed. 

   I do not give up hope, however, for God is alive and well .  HE is not done with any of us yet!

Taking Steps to Scale the Mountain

The things people can do is astounding!  When a person has the combination of mind and body and potential, it seems that nothing is impossible. 

   Patty and I watched a documentary called “Free Solo” about a professional rock climber named Alex Hommold who was the first person to successfully climb the face El Captain in Yosemite National Park.  Free Solo means it was done entirely without ropes or safety gear, not even a parachute.  El Captain is 3,000 feet of granite wall.  Hommold did it in just under four hours.  Others will likely follow and likely die in the attempt.

   It took Hommold eight years to prepare, train, map the rock and get his mental faculties ready for the attempt.  Olympians are similar with years of training and mental preparations are needed to succeed.  Professional athletes, magicians, musicians and the like, devote their entire person to the mastering of their craft and yet, not always achieving their goals. 

   Watching Hommold describe himself and his journey was intriguing.  His whole life was wrapped up into that one feat.  Now that it was over, he is contemplating what is next.  For the time being, he is doing lots of smaller climbs to stay physically in shape.  He also has a foundation that supports solar energy entities in third world countries to provide infrastructure needs to those who literally have no access to electricity.

   My point is that these kind of people are rare, and exceptional.  Yet we as believers have such a higher purpose.  Can we begin to take “little” climbs toward the great goal of completing the Great Commission?  Perhaps just one conversation a week, an invitation to something or to hand out a tract.  Simple climbs, simple steps that might in time result in scaling the impossible. 

Time

Solve this riddle:

   Until I am measured I am not known.

   Yet how you miss me when I have flownAnswer:  Time

The Bible tells us that time is something that we cannot stop and yet it can be redeemed.  We cannot go back in time to rectify our mistakes, or to undo the travesties of history.  Many a movie has been made exploring that issue, most of which end up with the same conundrum, no matter what happens or how we try to fix it, there are always consequences for our choices.

   How do we redeem the time?  One translation of Ephesians 5:16 is making the most of every opportunity.  Too often we think in terms of getting to the important stuff as soon as we get the nagging things off our plate.  What we don’t realize is that these little things sap our energy so that when we are done we are too tired to do the important stuff.  We also think that the important stuff will take so much longer to do and that we will miss out on things when we are so occupied.  These are actual deceptions that are engineered by the wicked one and play so nicely with our carnal sensibilities.  Then one day, we wake up to another reality, the horror of regret because we let the most important go by thinking we will get to it in time.  You won’t unless you act today.

 Another riddle:

   I never was, am always to be.

   No one ever saw me, nor ever will.

   And yet I am the confidence of all.

   To live and breathe on this terrestrial ball.               Answer:  Tomorrow. 

   You and I only assume it will come for us or those we love.  Maybe what we really need to to should be done today.

To Be or To Do?

I ran into an old friend from many years ago and had a wonderful conversation with him.  He has been a very successful business man and is looking at retirement now.  He said, “I have been so driven all these years, not for the money per se, but just to achieve, to excel at whatever I try to do.  I am looking forward to going from doing to being.  I hope I can make the change.”

   This is a very insightful look into his own heart.  After all is said and done which is most important, who we are or what we have done?  We live in a largely results oriented culture, one in which younger people are increasingly skeptical.  The millennial generation does not seem to be so driven, which makes many employers frustrated now a days.  But I don’t know that they are necessarily moving from “doers” to “be-ers”.  Experience is something that they seem to be quite interested in, but as to the state of their being, I’m not so sure they are any more equipped to answer that than the “doer” generation before.

   What is it exactly “to be”, that is, to focus on being?  Is it just another way of saying content?  Being able to be without striving for things or success or even results?  Is contentment what most folks are seeking?  After all, the “doing” does not seem to yield that feeling or sense of contentment.

   The Bible says that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).  It takes both.  To concentrate merely on being content is not the answer.  Godliness, which is simply being like God, is the companion.  Godliness means to be generous, gracious, merciful and compassionate.  Coupled with contentment it is easy to see why these two qualities are such great gain and are not as elusive as one might first expect.

Life is an Adventure! Join ours!

Today we are launching the first of our Adventure Club activities.  This will be a series of activities throughout the year for both the young and young at heart.  It will involve activities that engage with the great outdoors that is available to us in this great state of Idaho along with adventures at Yellowstone Alliance Adventures Camp in the Bozeman, MT area. 

   Today is tubing on the snow in the South Hills.  Other adventures will take us to places like Boise or Featherville to tube on the rivers.  Hiking in the high country and or camping out near lakes, kayaking in streams, fishing or other play activities. 

   Coming soon will be our second Nacho Movie Night.  This is when we pick a goofy movie that we can lampoon together, eat Nachos and invite others to join us in a low key event in order to get acquainted and introduce to others outreaches coming up.  You will be receiving tickets for Nacho Movie Night to use as invitations to the event and which includes opportunities to win prizes!

   Today’s Adventure will take place at Diamond Field Jacks.  We encourage folks to grab some lunch.  We will have hot dogs and hot cocoa and coffee there to refuel after ascending the slopes.  PLEASE bring snacks to share.  We will have some room for passengers.  Please let us know if rides are needed.  We hope whole families will participate.  Bring winter gear, sunscreen and sunglasses as the snow is bright and sunburns get sever this time of year.  We will carpool from the church at 1:30 PM.

   See you up at Diamond Field Jacks later today!

Information, Information, Information!!!!!

  It is an amazing thing that we live in an age of such access to information and yet people really know so very little.  The Bible predicted that the time would come when people would be running “to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4)  I use the information super highway on a daily basis, getting news and even booking flights, or using my map app while driving.  It is truly amazing and yet, the people are totally ignorant of the historical roots of this nation or the teachings of the Bible.  The apps are there, the teachers and studies are available online, but most people simply are either misinformed or don’t care about anything except their vanity.

   I know that those of you reading this are an exception to the rule.  Many of you have good knowledge of the Bible and are more aware of history than many.  Yet there is a very stern warning for us from both Jesus and Paul.  Jesus said, “See to it that you are not deceived.  There will be many antichrists and false prophets in the last days.”  And, “At that time many will fall away and betray one another.”  Jesus also said, “Some will show signs and false wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”  (Matthew 24)

   Paul would teach that in the last days, there will be a “great falling away and the man of sin will be able to seduce the people because they did not love the truth.” (2 Thess. 1)  The book of Jude and 2 Peter teach that apostasy (falling away) will characterize the end of days.  How easy it is for the information super highway to be a conduit for deception? 

    I say this to encourage, exhort, warn and compel each one of us to be diligent in the Bible.  Make it your aim to spend an equal amount of time in Bible study and prayer as you do in any other source of information.  Not in devotionals, though some are excellent, some more popular ones are not good.  I’m talking about the Bible.  Let the Bible teach and inform you rather than the opinions of men.  These last days are too dangerous to take chances.  Deception is a formidable weapon.

Is your life monotonous?

   Last Sunday, Patty and I had the joy and privilege of being part of Justin Williams’ ordination ceremony.  It was a time when Justin made the public vow to be faithful to God in his calling as a pastor and leader in the church.  It was great to see his family gathered to support him.  This event was a one day shy of his father, Cliff’s death.  It also coincided with his brother, Jordan’s first week with the Meridian Fire Department.  A goal that Jordan has worked toward for at least 12 years.

   All of this to say that it is a great blessing to witness God’s  gracious hand upon a family that has endeavored to serve God since the 1970’s.  Many trials, many triumphs, many days of monotony, which is not to say that their lives are boring, but to say that, for all of God’s people, life is more defined by the monotonous rather than by the punctuated times of highs or lows that we experience.

   We read of the great characters in the Bible, their lives often compressed into a few chapters that takes only a few minutes to read and ask ourselves, “Why is my life not as exciting?”  We don’t remember that Abraham waited 25 years for the promise, along with another 15 years before the challenge to offer Isaac in sacrifice.  David was on the run from Saul for at least two decades before ascending to the throne.  Joseph languished in an Egyptian jail for up to seventeen years before he was promoted to Egypt’s prime minister.  Jesus waited 33 years before embarking on His ministry and likely did not perform His first miracle for a year after His baptism.  In all of this, God remained faithful to His Word.

   If you are feeling like life is passing you by, concentrate on being faithful to your vows and callings, allow God control in all things, including monotony.  He remains the same regardless.

Lest We Forget!

Legend has it that George Washington confessed, “I cannot tell a lie,” when confronted with whether or not he chopped down a cherry tree.  Yet, it is a well known fact that he developed a very successful ring of spies to gain information regarding British troop movements, supplies and strategies.  Abraham Lincoln was said to have been a racist, though he abhorred the slavery of human beings. 

   There are many “histories” or revisions of that history that have floated down through the past few centuries that make it hard to know the actual facts.  Biographers and historians alike are subject to their biases when they present their conclusions. 

   This weekend we celebrate President’s Day, combining those two great men and birthdays into a national holiday.  I doubt many high school students could give you thirty seconds of coherent meaning of these men and their contribution to our way of life.  I’m sure they are glad for a day off from school.  Likewise, for Martin Luther King Day, or Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day.  How much meaning is held in the hearts of people today?  Why do we remember?  Why do we acknowledge these people or Jesus’ birth, or the recognition of pilgrims setting aside a day to feast with neighbors of different culture?  So we don’t forget!  Each of these events signifies people and events that have impacted billions of people.  We must remember.

We meet weekly as a church family to celebrate the greatest Person and the greatest event in history, Jesus and His resurrection. I’m glad we do it weekly, lest our remembrances fail to carry our devotion very far. The resurrection alone is worthy to warrant our daily devotion to Christ

The Big Game is over, what is next?

The big game is over.  What big game am I referring to?  The game of course, you know, the big game!  The key to answering the question, “What game?”  is the word “over.”  It’s over.  That’s right.  The big game is over.  The Patriots won.  Which one?  The Boise State Broncos won.  Which one?

   Now, I am truly happy for Cliff, our resident Boston fanatic.  But the fact is, all things, be it sport, or achievements in music, film, experiences like being a child, or having a child, all these things are ultimately over.  They happen, we celebrate or grieve, but they soon are over.  Things, events, great moments and terrifying over,  all get over.

   We are living in a world of the temporary.  For this reason we as humans look so quickly for the next big game, the next meaningful event, the next significant milestone.  All these things are compressed between two very personal events to each of us.  The day we were born and the day we will die.  Only one event, sandwiched somewhere between birth and death there is only one big thing that lasts eternally.  It is the day when a person is born a second time by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, the Son of God.  That one event eclipses all others in significance because it alone re-writes the future of a person forever.

   Have you been born again?  A second birth, a new creation?  You know if you know.  If you are not certain - you haven’t been born again.  If you are the latter of the two, please make an appointment – we can help.

O Death Where is thy Sting?

I had the privilege to participate in the funeral for a beloved friend and mentor in Christ this past week.  The service was a delightful time of sharing about his life, his conversion, his love for Christ, the Church and his family.  It was great to see people from our past coming together to celebrate the life and death of Therman Kingery.  I was blessed to see people from our church there, and to see Wendy (Williams) and Bill Strunk as well.

   I was reminded as we met together that death truly has lost its sting.  The hopelessness that comes with it was not present yesterday.  Nor was there a false hope that I’ve seen at religious funerals.  It is one thing to talk about hope and heaven, but it’s not hard to discern the phony.  When people are preoccupied with family members they believe they will see, or other aspects of joy, happiness, non-suffering and such, I suspect the fraudulent if Jesus is not the center of the focus, the true treasure, the goal of being there.

   Therman’s funeral was a Jesus centered service because Jesus was Therman’s center.  Though he had confidence that he would see people he loved, that was not who he wanted to see first.  He wanted to see the One who purchased his life from the land of the lost and with His own blood redeemed his soul.  That was his treasure and would be ours if we have truly come to know Him. 

   Yes, we will have billions of years to talk with our friends and relatives.  I don’t suppose we will be too concerned with that until several billion years pass while we simply worship the Son and revel in His glory.