Archive | January, 2016

What is it about Death?

14 Jan

Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us there is a season for EVERYTHING and a time for every purpose under Heaven.  Even a time to live and a time to die.  (Ever hear that song from the ’60s by the Byrds?  The lyrics are DIRECTLY from Eccl. 3).  From that logic, death is a natural part of life.  So, why do we have such a difficult time with death?

We do not like to lose relationships with those we love.  When we lose someone who means something to us, it is tough:  Realizing there will be no more words, visits, phone calls, etc.  Losing a parent, spouse, child, relative, or friend can leave a significant void in our lives.  And, believe me, that is tough!

We do not like change.  We are creatures of habit.  PERIOD.  Even the best of us who seem to embrace new things and change have habits that we love.  Even the best of us, deep down, really don’t like change.

We do not like the mystery that is DEATH.  To quote Capt. James T. Kirk, it really IS the “final frontier.”  We have no hard evidence or facts to KNOW what will happen when we die.  Many speculate what it will be like.  Some even claim to have gone and come back.  I have no ideas about that, but I do know this:  God PREPARES us for this day.  In fact, Jesus spoke specifically about this in John 14 (go read it!!).  Paul wrote specifically about it in 1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Corinthians 5 (both great reads).

WHY is death a part of life?  I have no idea.  I know death entered the world when Adam and Eve fell into sin.  Death hurts those of us who survive much more than the ones who walk through that door.  We don’t like it.  We can even turn that on God and blame Him, which really accomplishes nothing at all.  Death is a fact of life.  A part of life.  The end of life.  If I knew all of the answers, I would probably own my own island by now ….

So, here is what I am driving at with all of this:  HAVE FAITH.  TRUST GOD.  I have no doubt that when a believer in Christ dies, the next moment for him/her is to be in Heaven with Christ!  (Luke 23:43 … SERIOUSLY, GO READ IT!!).  And, in our times of sorrow and mourning, we can draw near Him and know that He cares.  He loves us and shares our heartaches.  And if we trust Him, He will give us what we need to make it.  I promise!!!  Even better, HE PROMISES!!  (Most of the New Testament … GO READ IT!!)

People of Influence

13 Jan

It’s a difficult job.  It really is.  KNOWING people are watching your every move.  KNOWING people are making judgments about Christ and about the church based on YOU (whether that is fair or not).  KNOWING you are NOT PERFECT and anyone can see you in a weak moment.  And they will talk.  BOY, will they talk.  But, as I’ve often been reminded, “YOU SIGNED UP FOR IT!  YOU KNEW WHAT YOU WERE GETTING INTO!”


And there is a HUGE irony in that statement which I will reveal in a moment.  Is it fair that people outside of the Kingdom of God would look at my life and judge the Kingdom of God, the Power of Christ, and the Reality of salvation based on how I live??  Fair or not, I might be the only glimpse of it they get in this world.  So, fair or not, it is ON.

YES.  YES, I signed up for this the moment I knelt lakeside at White Oak Conference Center and asked Jesus Christ to be my SAVIOR!!  YES, I LOVE HIM and YES, I PROMISED TO LIVE FOR HIM!!  Yes, I signed up for this. And if Christ is your Savior, so did you!!

Some will read this and say “WAITAMINUTE!!!  I NEVER CLAIMED TO BE A PERSON OF INFLUENCE, A LEADER!!”  That sneaky little irony is this:  People are watching and perhaps FOLLOWING you whether you like it or not.  Whether you signed on for it or not.  Because YOU, TOO, could be the only glimpse of Christ they see in this dark world.

Hmmmmmph!!  Kind of puts a spin on how we live our lives, how we treat our fellow workers, fellow students, merchants and workers in the marketplace and out in the world. Puts a little more emphasis on the words we say, the actions we do, and the things we post on social media.  If Christ is your Savior, remember that!!

IF you really have a relationship with Christ, YOU are a leader!!  Make a great impact for HIM today!!!

Parents: Keep on Keeping on

12 Jan

I had a discussion the other day with my son.  You know, Drew.  Our little boy.  Who is almost 21 years old, a junior at FMU, and single-handedly keeps in business.  Yeah … THAT Drew.

Drew works at the Lifeway Bookstore in Florence.  One day, as he was leaving the store, a man stopped him and asked for money.  Said he was hungry and needed it for food.  NOW, here is where it gets interesting to me:  Drew, who probably DID have some cash on his person, did EXACTLY what we have talked about.  (HE WAS PAYING ATTENTION!!!!!)  EXACTLY what my father taught me:  “I can’t give you any money, but I will be glad to buy your dinner.”  And the man took him up on it!

Drew had no idea, but that just reminded me that Drew has a heart just like my dad’s.  Drew is the kind of guy who will help you, even with his last dollar.  With his last shirt.  That is just what he does.  And he doesn’t really brag about it, either.  He was telling us about that in the context of something else, explaining another story.  If not for that, we probably would’ve never known.

It took me a couple of days to realize the above-stated fact that Drew is so much like my dad.  And I love that.  And in addition to that, he was listening.  He was watching, even when I didn’t realize it.

SO … Instead of the shameless bragging on my son, I leave you with this:  PARENTS … KEEP ON DOING WHAT GOD LEADS YOU TO DO.  Remember, YOU are helping to build the next generation of workers in the Kingdom of God.  Don’t be discouraged … Just keep on keeping on.  Even when they act like they are not, THEY ARE WATCHING.  LISTENING.  LEARNING.



5 Jan

At the risk of channeling my inner Theodore Geisel, today’s rambling is about the church.  My church.  Our church.  Any church.  Every church (that truly follows Christ).


We are a collective of DISCIPLES.  BELIEVERS.  We take the Word of God SERIOUSLY as not only a rule of thumb for spiritual affairs, but in our everyday walk.  AS WE LIVE, we live by His word.  It really is that simple.  We believe that Jesus Christ is the ONLY WAY of salvation, contrary to thoughts of the world.  We believe John 14:6 is true.  We follow Christ.


Because over time we have realized what Jesus told us 2000 years ago to be true:  That we are meant to be HIS HANDS, HIS FEET, HIS VOICE in this dark world.  WE are to be bearers of LIGHT — HIS LIGHT.  We are HIS ambassadors.  We are WHO we are because we believe in WHO HE IS.  And HE is why we do everything we do.  Jesus reminded us that everyone would know we belong to Him if we LOVE the way HE loves (with God’s kind of sacrificial, unselfish love) and they would know we belong to Him if we follow HIS words.  Period.  HE is the reason.


The nuts and bolts of it all.  Here are some thoughts, but they will not encompass everything:

WE WORSHIP.  We ascribe the highest honor to GOD.  HE ALONE is worthy of our worship.  We worship HIM as TRIUNE:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

WE LIVE FOR HIM.  We go about our daily lives constantly living His word. No matter where our lives take us.  School.  Work.  In the market.  In the neighborhood.  At our church.  In our home.  We do everything we do as an act of worship to Him (Romans 12:1-2).

WE TELL OTHERS.  When the Holy Spirit shows us an opening, we tell others about Christ.  We tell them about the PURPOSE and MEANING He brings to our lives.  We tell them about how HE forgives of sin and walks the difficult paths of life with us.  We talk about what we DO know about this life and about Heaven.  (NOTE:  Others will ONLY take us seriously if we are also living for Him.  It does US no good to live a life that has no evidence of the power of Christ and then try to tell others about His changing power.  It just won’t work.)

WE PRAY.  We constantly talk to God and even more often, we LISTEN for Him.  We seek His face by reading His word, by gathering with other disciples, by looking for Him as we walk in our daily lives.  Henry Blackaby shared in Experiencing God that “He (GOD) is at work all around us.  Our job is to find where He is at work and join Him.”

WE REALIZE THAT WE ARE NOT PERFECT, JUST FORGIVEN.  We cannot abide in the presence of a Holy God without the saving grace HE extended to us when He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins.  NONE of us are perfect … NONE of us are better than anyone else in the world.  The ground at the foot of the cross is level.  Our job is to point as many people to that cross as possible.

Are YOU trying to figure all of this out?  Let me assure you that I DO NOT have it all figured out.  But as I walk with Him day by day, He does show me a little more … The only way to draw closer to Him is to start.  TODAY.  If you need help with this, I would love to do all I can to help you.