Sunday, January 26, 2014

Turning Our Past Into Our Future

Turning Our Past Into Our Future
    Today as I sat in church listening to my Pastor speak about God and His Word, he mentioned that we need to focus on the future and the eternity with God and Heaven and not focus on our past.  In a lot of ways he was very right.  When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and understand the sacrifice that He made so that we will have the guarantee of eternal life, then we need to focus on the future.  However, we must never forget our past.  It is our past that has given us the testimony that we have and has contributed to who, each of us are today.  
    Jeannine and I were joined this morning at church with friends from college and one of my fraternity brothers.  Yes I was in a frat and I know it has surprised some of you, but to others you are probably saying I knew it.  It was such a wonderful time having them join us and we were so blessed to have lunch with them after and do some catching up.  Thank you, Rudy and Cheri for joining us today.
    But as we were talking and then on the way home, I was thinking about the person I was in college.  I definitely was not the person I am today and definitely not the person that I would have imagined that God would invite to join Him and His Work.   I tell people, when I get the chance that God invites “imperfect people to do His perfect work.”  And honestly in my case I was and still am the definite example of imperfect.  But yet God still invites me to join Him. 
    When I am asked how I came to do what I do today, I love telling the story of what brought us to where we are today.  Some might say it is bragging (Jeannine says I just love telling long stories), but I guess it is actually bragging.  I love to tell the story because only God could have changed me to make me what I am today.  For me it is bragging on a God who loves me so much.  Only God could have changed me and then after changing me, would promise me to ALWAYS take care of me and my family.  My God, our God is remarkable and unfathomable. 
    So I guess the reason for this installment is to challenge myself and each of you to always remember how our God has taken our pasts and made our future into something perfect, if you are willing to accept that perfection He guarantees.  Our pasts make us who we are, our past gives God something to use today and the future, and our pasts give us something to brag about: the LOVE and FORGIVENESS of our God. 
    If you are reading this blog and want to accept the future that God is offering and feel your past is too big for Him to forgive, please know that nothing is too big for God.  God is ready and waiting to use all of us to do His perfect work.  All we have to do is ask Him.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Act of Friendship

The Act of Friendship

    This last couple of months in our lives has been a “whirlwind” of activity.  It all started before traveling to Israel and then just kept staying busy.  I arrived home from my last trip (Dallas and then Tulsa) this morning about 1 am and in bed around 2.  The first part of the trip to Dallas was an interesting and a pretty good time but the really amazing part of this trip happened on my trip to Tulsa. 
     I have only been to Oklahoma once before this trip and  I was excited, thrilled and expectant about  this trip and what was going to happen.  This trip was not to disappoint me, and in the process I learned a very valuable lesson about friendship, family and intimacy.  Friendship is defined as a “relationship of mutual affection between two or more people, that is characterized with sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, understanding and compassion.”  Intimacy is defined pretty much the same and then there is family that includes all of the above.  All the same characteristics in each of those three simple words.  So are the three words interchangeable, yes and this is the lesson I learned. 
    I have always and (right or wrong) have taught my children that when you tell someone you are a friend, it is an “all or nothing” relationship.  You are there to share with them in all aspects, the good, the bad and the sometimes the ugly.  But I never realized the intimacy that comes with friendship.  Please understand I have walked many roads with friends but to be honored and blessed to walk in one of the most heartbreaking situations has taught me the Biblical principle of Friendship. 
    Jesus in his three years of ministry surrounded himself with twelve special men that he called disciples, but they were so much more than that.  We have learned that there were a group of at least a 100 that followed Jesus and were taught by him.  Many theologians called this group Jesus disciples also.  But the twelve were different, they were his friends.  They were the ones that when he needed quiet and needed to be surrounded by support, they were the ones he called.  When he needed rest, they were the ones that protected him.  In our modern terms, we would say they had his back.  And with the exception of one, they did.  Their example was exactly what the definition of friendship is.  They were the ones that he brought to the Garden when he knew his time was coming to end.   They were the ones that he was willing to cry in front of and in fact he wanted to be able to show his love and heartbreak in front of.  They were his friends that he shared with them the most intimate aspects of himself with. 
    Although the disciples friendship was not perfect and who but Jesus can claim perfection, I believe that it is written in God’s word to be an example for us.  This last weekend, I was invited to be a part of a friend’s life and journey down a road that is painful, heartbreaking and one I don’t think I could walk, but they are and now...their “Friend” is walking with them.  As I stated this weekend I learned what a friend truly is and I pray I will always be the type of friend that is characterized by sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, understanding and compassion. And I pray and hope, those that call me a friend are that friend that is what descripted above.….A Biblical Friend.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Book-2014


    Brad Paisley has the following line in one of his songs, “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book.  Write a good one.”  Well today begins a New Year’s book for each of us and we do honestly have a blank book for the next 365 days to write a good book in. I wonder what those books will say this time next year. 
    Ephesians 3:20-21 says,  “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!  Amen.”
    This is an amazing verse for a couple of reasons.  First it tells of the immense power of our God and that He truly does control everything, good and bad.  However in this God wants us to know that He will do so much more good for us, if we would just ask and imagine it.  Second, is the promise that He will do so much for us than we could ever imagine.  I think this is the best part of the verse, because I love that God makes promises to us and the really great part is that He never breaks them.  And then third, we get to Praise Him for all He is doing for us forever and ever.  Think about those simple 3 words, “forever and ever.”  Hidden in those words is another promise in this passage, the promise that we will be able to praise Him and be with Him and Jesus Christ forever and ever.  So basically God will be doing immeasurably more than all we ask of imagine forever and ever.  How great is that?  I will let you think about that one for a while.
    I know many of you are looking at your 2013 books and rereading those books to see if it was a good year or not.  Jeannine and I are no different than you, we spent a whole lot of time yesterday discussing that same topic.  We evaluated our year, we evaluated the ministry that God has called us to, and we evaluated did we do what God wanted from us.  I will be writing our thoughts later today and I promise I will get it on the blog and in our Ministry year-end update,  But the question for each of is …….What will our new blank 365 day, 2014 book be?  Will we write a good one?