Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Generations

This will be a quick blog. Once again, I am flabergasted by what the media can call news worthy. A certain presidential candidate (who will remain unnamed because this a general commentary not an anti-candidate commentary) has enlisted the public support of her (oops, hope that doesn't give it away) mother and her daughter. Isn't that precious.

What kind of person couldn't get the support of her mother and daughter? Why is this news?

I can only hope that if I ever run for president that I can get the support of my mother and daughter.

Mom and Stef and Kim, if you read this, please forgive the sarcasm and vote for me should I ever run for president!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The United States of Oprah

America’s talk show queen has thrown in her support for a presidential candidate. She is admittedly “nervous” and feels that she had to step “out of my pew.” If I were Oprah, I probably would have done the same thing – a long time ago. I don’t blame her one bit for using her “position” of Queen of the United States to set forth her opinion on anything. Besides, I’m sure more Americans could identify her quicker than they could their own governors, mayors, or heck (pardon the strong language), even their own neighbors.

I don’t even watch Oprah. Every once in awhile an advertisement for one of her shows will catch my attention and I’ll tune in for a few minutes. She seems to be a nice lady and quite benevolent, for a queen. Then again, if I had amassed the millions (or is it billions) that she has, I’d be handing out cars and such on a regular basis too.

Oprah seems to be a woman of conviction. From ads for her show alone, I can tell that she feels deeply about every situation presented on her show. Heck (there it is again), she’s even willing to flip flop from day to day if that’s what it takes to empathize with her guest. She’s a wonderful queen.

So you see, my problem isn’t with the queen. She’s no different than the rest of us (except for the bank account). My problem is with the people of the kingdom, the people of the United States of America. Millions of voters will be persuaded by her opinion. Is this because she is an economist? Maybe it is because of her degree in history or law. Perhaps it is because has written so many good essays on foreign policy. When did Oprah begin googling “military strategy” so as to be up on the best approaches to establishing world peace? Or maybe, she is the one keeping us up to date on political issues in Wikapedia.

Get the picture? For crying out loud, Oprah is a feel good talk show host! Why should we be at all persuaded by her opinion on politics? America, where is your backbone? Is it in a Chicago studio?

The problem with America is Americans. It is our lack of conviction about anything and our willingness to follow the most persuasive opinion about everything. “Persuasive” is quite often translated “Hollywood”. Do you remember all the “stars” who were going to leave America if Bush were elected? Well, he was and they are still here and they are still giving their opinions based upon nothing other than what best suits their lifestyles – lifestyles that are in no way similar to those of the average American.

America, wake up! Do you have a world view? Do your politics follow this world view? Do you either keep up with the issues surrounding your daily life or at least seek the advice of someone with whom you are like-minded?

I am so tempted at this point to give my view on such things but I will not. My cry right now is for the people of the United States (or at least the few reading this) to know who they are and what they believe!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Delight

It has been very hot in St. Louis over the past few days. This is the "duh" statement of the summer! Many have offered advice on staying cool when it's hot.

1) Stay home in the air condition. Order pizza, order Chinese, eat sub sandwiches, but do not turn on the oven!

2) Go join the rest of your community at the mall or the movie theatre.

3) Drink plenty of liquids. Milk shakes seem to be one of the best liquids you can drink. (I suggest Maggie Moo's.)

4) Go to Six Flags or go to Busch Stadium to see the Cardinals.

Has the heat gotten the best of me? Can you really keep cool at two of the hottest venues in town? Are we defining "cool" and "hot" in the same way? That depends on your perspective and your company! Over the past couple of weeks of 100+ temperatures and heat indices, it has been my privilege, and I do mean privilege, to accompany some children to these St. Louis attractions. Although Six Flags has only one real "draw" left for me (Scooby Doo's Ghostbuster Ride is great), the thrill of watching a child's excitement is absolutely delightful!

You should have seen Jonathan, my nephew, when he got off of Tony Hawk's Big Spin. He came running off with a big grin telling me how cool it was. Maybe that's why they call them "thrill rides." His sister, Anna, wasn't quite as excited about the ride but overall had fun. Or, at the risk of bragging, the smile across his face and the "yippee" he voiced when Aunt Amy made the basket that won the big black stuffed Spider Man. Then, there was the second smile and "yippee" when the second ball fell in and Woody got one too. I must confess, I prayed for those shots to go in because I wanted those boys to have the big black stuffed Spider Man. It could have been the fifty-eight degrees of Meramec Caverns at that moment. I didn't notice any heat at all. A ferry tale charm enters that moment as their delight brings sheer delight to my heart.

Have you ever watched the eyes of little boys and girls when they enter a major league baseball stadium for the first time? Did you know that their eyes can look as big as the baseball itself while they take in the awe of their surroundings? Anyone who knows me, knows I love baseball. But even I can find the anticipation of nine innings of heat to be somewhat dreadful. Even I can hope that this game will not go into extra innings. But not at the Tuesday and Thursday games this week. Neither the dread of the heat in the air, nor the thrill of the heat of a fastball can compare to the delight I received as delight swept across the face of my nephew and niece on Tuesday night, and of Woody and Eddie on Thursday night. And delight, well, it never seems to end when you're at the ball park. What a joy to explain to the next generation why something is happening or what something means during the ballgame. What a venture it is to get Jonathan across fifteen sections of stands in order to have his picture made with Fred Bird. What excitement to see the camera man take aim at Jonathan and then everyone in the stadium see my nephew on the jumbo tron! What fun it is to watch Anna finally get to eat some Dippin' Dots.(If you don't know what these are, by all means, get to a game or an amusement park!) And what a thrill to see Eddie and Woody grinning ear to ear as they enjoyed the game together.

As I pondered these cool moments with these beautiful children, I began to realize who had the best time of all. You guessed right - me. And, as you have probably discerned simply through the blog title, delight is the word that painted my mind. Now, none of us are required to find a lesson in all that happens, but sometimes you can't help but go deeper when reflecting on the pleasures of life. "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." I've heard Psalm 37:4 many times in my life. It is truly one of my life's ambitions to delight myself in the Lord. After a brief search, I found a couple of other verses that spell out the same message of delighting in the Lord.

Yet, something puzzled me. In the "Cool Adventures in the St. Louis Heat", it wasn't just the ones for whom the adventure was planned who received the delight. It was the planner as well. Other verses about delight began to ring a bell. Only this time, as I searched the scriptures, it was God taking delight in his people. Of the half a dozen verses that specifically enlighten us to this, Zephaniah 3:17 portrays this truth most vividly, "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

A mutual delight! Why on earth would the God of all creation take delight in me? Perhaps Six Flags and baseball games can shed a little light on delight. As I wandered these parks with the children, my delight came from the fact that they were delighting in pleasures I was providing. Could it be, then, that God delights in his children when we are delighting in him and the pleasures that he provides? I think so!

So, what is my response to this truth? My response is a greater desire to understand and to know that which God calls, "pleasure." And, even more so, to know the God of all delight!

I do hope this blog somehow delights you!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Conflict of Fact and Feeling

In a recent response to "But I Can't Forgive Myself", someone asked, "What if what you know and what you feel are conflicting?"

As Christians, we should be in a constant state of "renewing our mind" (Romans 12:2). An examination of what Peter told his readers in I Peter 5:6-11 might help you understand the battle that is taking place. First, Peter reminds us to "be humble, under God's mighty hand..." Humility, under God, is never a false humility. It is always a genuine response to the majesty of God. I love how T.W. Hunt defined humility, "Humility is not thinking less of or badly of yourself, it is simply not thinking of yourself at all!" Hard words to live by apart from the Holy Spirit but none the less, it is to be our state of mind. So, in response to this "what you know" and "what you feel" conflict, ask the Lord to keep you humble by reminding you of his majesty. For those who have a proper perspective of humility, God has promised to "lift you up in due time." Let him be the one who establishes your position before others and yourself and then, give him the glory!

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." The finished work of Christ is all sufficient for every emotion we ever encounter. The finished work of Christ is also a picture of his care for you. When what you feel conflicts with what you know, a conscience decision to rely on his sufficiency and his care must be applied.

"Be self-controlled and alert." Peter is reminding us to be aware of the battle going on around us. If you and I were in Iraq right now, we would be constantly aware that the enemy could attack at any time from any where. Our spiritual war with the devil is far more real than any physical war ever fought. I intend absolutely no disrespect to our troops through this statement. On the contrary, I greatly appreciate each and every person willing to lay down their life for my freedom. We hear of the atrocities taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan every day. They are real. They are sobering. The emphasis of the statement is meant to be an awakening of how real spiritual warfare is. We must be self-controlled (fruit of the Spirit) and we must be alert (or sober minded) to fight the war taking place in the heavenly realms. A war in the heavenlies must be fought on a different plane - that is why our weapons are different weapons and ultimately lead us to God's Word and prayer.

That old serpent, the devil, wants you to feel defeated by sin. God wants you to know that Christ defeated sin, death, and the devil through his life, death, burial, and resurrection. If ever there were a truth to "name and claim", it is this one! I am united with Christ, the Victor!

Peter was writing to Christians who were suffering terrible mistreatment. He reminds them that Christians all over the world are suffering (v. 9) and that God will "restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." This might sound somewhat strange when you are struggling with truth over feelings but receive suffering as a gift from God. Don't go looking for suffering - it will find you! But when it does come, know that God is using it to strengthen your inner man. The strengthening he provides, will indeed enable you to act more and more upon what you know is truth.

If you are struggling with what you feel concerning God's forgiveness, you are struggling with condemnation. For those who belong to him, "there is no condemnation" (Romans 8:1). Condemnation tends to be general, "You are not worthy of God's forgiveness." Conviction is straight forward, "You have sinned by ..." Condemnation lingers. Conviction last only until there is confession and repentance. I would encourage you to learn this verse and the verses that follow. I would encourage you to set forth to memorize Romans 8. Our battle is in the mind, no doubt. So, our minds must be renewed. Renewal comes through the word.

Pray. Pray God's Word. Pour your heart out to him. Let him know what the desire of your heart is. Let him know that you want to live in the victory that belongs to believers. Recruit someone to pray with you. Preferably, someone who is older in the Lord.

Remember the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Even as you pray, the Holy Spirit is interpreting your groanings (Romans 8:26). Do a study on the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. John, chapters 14-17, and Romans 8 are good places to begin.

Deep biblical issues do not have easy 1, 2, 3 or a, b, c, kinds of answers. Battle is work. Spiritual battle is work. Paul told the Philippians to "work out their salvation with fear and trembling". If you are looking for a quick, "magical" solution to overcoming feelings that deny truth, you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a life long quest in the pleasures of God, you will be rewarded!

In writing this blog, I am very aware of how human I am. It is with inner trembling that I pen an answer to such an age old subject such as this. Please know that none of what is written is considered easy. Please know that in no way do I feel that I have arrived. I just hope some of what the Lord is teaching me, helps you.

Monday, July 23, 2007

But I Can't Forgive Myself

Preface: This blog expands on a discussion from the Ladies' Sunday School class yesterday.

But I can't forgive myself! Good. You don't have to!

Nowhere does scripture call upon us to forgive ourselves. An examination of Psalm 51 might help clarify repentance and forgiveness issues. Psalm 51 reveals the heart of David after the prophet Nathan confronts him with his two-fold sin: 1)lust and adultery; 2)coveting and murder. At the beginning is a cry for God's mercy, based upon his compassion and love, followed by confession coupled with a plea for forgiveness.

"Against you, you only, have I sinned..." Is David denying, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, having sinned against the family of Uriah - including Bathesheba? Doesn't Paul teach, "... he who sins sexually sins against his own body" (I Cor. 6:18)? Absolutely not. Rather, David is emphasizing the gravity of his sin and the effect that sin has had on his relationship with God. Whereas Paul is emphasizing the lasting effect that sexual sin has upon our own bodies not only physically (STD's, possibility of pregnancy, etc.), but also emotionally (in verses 15-17, the concept of "uniting" yourself with another).

God forgives sin. God wipes out our sin "as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12). However, never are we told that God wipes out our memory of our sin. He cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death (Hebrews 9:14). It is the guilt of sin that is removed, not the memory of sin and not the consequences of sin. A very simple illustration is when one uses money foolishly. The money is gone. Depending upon how much was spent, there could even be the consequence of having to take on a second job or work overtime to meet needs. The money is gone, but if we confess this sin, or any other sin, God is faithful and just to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

You see, God does the forgiving. When you continue in a state of guilt after having confessed your sin and repented of your sin, three things have happened: 1) you have moved into the sin of unbelief by denying the power of God to forgive, 2) you have given the devil an opportunity to prey upon you, and 3) you have confused rememberance and consequences with the false notion that you need to forgive yourself.

What steps might you take to combat the enemy?
1. Put on the full armor of God which prepares us to fight through prayer (Ephesians 6:10-18).
2. "Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (II Cor. 10:5). When tempted with the thought of wallowing in past sin, make that thought obedient to Christ by reminding yourself of scriptures such as Psalm 51 and I John 1:9.
3. Renew your mind (Romans 12:2) by setting your heart and mind on things above (Col. 3:1-2).
4. Recruit godly brothers and/or sisters to pray for you.
5. Of course, all of these steps necessitate reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on the Word.

Now, may the peace of God guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sounds of Music

Does the sound of music fill your house? No, not the movie (although there is a good reason it still plays in homes today). Does music play a role in your house being a home? Many of my earliest memories involve music. My mother reminds me of the time she made my preschool choir robe and how adorable I looked in it (no comment, please). It was with great anticipation that my parents looked forward to the night their little three year old would sing. She sang at home. She sang in the car. Now, she'll sing for the world - well, for the church and with a few other children surrounding her. In the interest of protecting my parents from swelling with pride, I refused to step on stage when the time came (my version, I think theirs may be different!).

Other memories include the second grade school program. Oh, I wanted so badly to "go fishin' in the craw dad hole". You see, all the girls in the program were going to wear frilly little dresses. I wanted to wear the overalls and go barefoot and carry the fishin' pole - with Barry Howard, none the less (he was just a good friend, Scott). And guess what! I got to do it. I still remember that song. A song of innocence that is no longer in many repertoires.

Then there were the times when I could not sleep at night. What would I ask for? None other than Glenn Campbell's records on the console stereo. "Lineman for the County" along with other Campbell favorites would fill the house just so Amy could hear it as she went to sleep.

One more memory, please. Ok, two. Periodically we would stay with my grandmother. I don't remember the frustration of being awakened early in the morning (my dad would beg to differ) nearly as much as remember my grandmother playing hymns on the organ. When the organ concert concluded, the vocals began as she washed dishes - again, singing hymns. That's one, now the other... As forgetful as I can be lately, I'll never forget listening to my mother sing hymns. What really stands out is how she might be on the line, "...when we've been there ten thousand years..." and then the phone would ring. Mom would stop singing, carry on a phone conversation for what seemed like forever, say her goodbyes, and then pick up right where she left off, "...bright shining as the sun..." She's probably reading this so I must say, "What an example of being focused!"

I could bore you or enlighten you with many other musical memories from my childhood but I'll stop. My point, music has created lasting memories. But not only memories, a love for music has carried over into my adult life in such a way as to provide a glorious avenue with which to praise and worship my Lord. Music plays an instrumental (pun intended) role in scripture. As early as Genesis, chapter four, musical instruments were introduced. Mariam, Moses, and Hannah all responded to the work of the Lord with outburst of song. David strummed his harp as he watched for and eventually killed the savage beast preying upon the helpless sheep Later, with the same harp, he would enter the presence of Saul and calm the savage beast within the tormented king.

Many times the Old Testament illustrates rejoicing with the sounds of music. There were music leaders, there were instrumentalist, and yes, even some godly dancing. Search it out and as the New Testament exhorts us, "learn from these examples" (I Corinthians 10:11).

Psalms resonates with the sound of music. As the hymnal of the Israelites, the psalms bring us to a greater understanding of how to glorify God through worship. A crescendo that never that never falls concludes the psalms in chapter 150. As we peer into the New Testament, we again find the Spirit pointing us to the Psalms in such verses as Ephesians 5:19, where believers are encouraged to "speak to one another with psalms, hymn, and spiritual songs."

I could go on and on and you probably think I already have! All of this to say, "Please, fill your home with the sounds of music!" Share this gift with your children. Pursue their interest in musical instruments. It might last a couple of weeks or it could be for a lifetime. Either way, they profit. Play music in your home. Aldi has a CD player on sale this week for just $19.99! Ask around, I'm sure there are other believers who will share with you age appropriate godly music. Introduce a wide variety of styles. Let your children learn how creative a God we have. Spring a little blue grass on them followed by some Bach. Let them know that "When He Was on the Cross, I was on His Mind" and, that on the "Third Day" he rose again! Mix in a bit of "Passion" with the "Fruit Song". But, please, fill your home with the sounds of music!

Monday, June 18, 2007

From Luke, chapter 7

41 "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
43 Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

44 Then he [Jesus] turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."


A definite correlation between love and forgiveness is evident in this passage. The woman pictured here loves Jesus more because of the great sin debt that has been forgiven. Yet, it would seem that the woman was forgiven because of her great love for her Lord. Is it possible that love and forgiveness take on a circular effect? Forgiveness magnifies love magnifies forgiveness... But that's not all!

In the midst of all the love and forgiveness is WORSHIP! This woman pour out everything she had in worship of her Lord - tears, kisses, and perfume. She had to assume a lowly position in order to wash the feet of her Lord (an act which our Lord would later implement in order to demonstrate his humble love for the disciples). So now add worship to the equation: forgiveness magnifies love magnifies worship magnifies forgiveness magnifies love...

But wait a minute, how is it that worship magnifies forgiveness? Maybe one more word should be thrown into the mix: humility. Forgiveness magnifies love magnifies worship magnifies humility magnifies forgiveness... Humility ultimately causes us to have a greater awareness of our sin. God does not cause us to have a remembrance of specific past sins (Phil. 3:13; Jer. 31:34; Ps. 103.12), but throughout the writings of Paul, to the saints in the churches, is a general remembrance of who we were apart from Christ - sinners without hope (see especially Ephesians 2:1-4 and then throughout the first 11 chapters of Romans). Of course, we should be confessing current sin as quickly as we are conviced.

As we dig deeper into the Word and learn more of who God is, we see more of who we are and who we were apart from Christ. Often times, we think of those who were saved from a life of overt sinfulness (drugs, alcohol, sexual sin) as those who have been forgiven much. But I submit to you that as we grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, our sin - past, present and future - becomes even more repulsive in our own eyes. Therefore, the forgiveness of our sin becomes even more appreciated and we become even smaller in our own eyes and God becomes even bigger in our worship.

Back to this beautiful woman's act of worship. We have never seen her but we know that she is beautiful because of what poured out from deep inside of her - an overflowing love for Jesus. Isn't that what worship is all about? Love for our Lord swelling up inside of us to a point it has to be released through glorifying God by enjoying him? Hopefully, our lives point more and more to the glory of God. Hopefully, as we see God at work all around us, we want to glorify him even more. Naturally, when we gather together with other believers in the presence of God Almighty and we combine the testimonies of God's glory as exhibited in the saints around us, the praise that swells up insides of us pours out in corporate worship! These testimonies should always be founded upon biblical doctrine so that the deeper the truth, the more exuberant the praise!

As we worshipped at Rockport yesterday, I was awestruck by moments of corporate exuberance. What brought me greatest joy is when those moments manifested themselves. It was not when the music was most driving or through manipulating leadership. It was not because of peer pressure to conform to those around us. No, spontaneous corporate exuberance climaxed as did the depth of doctrine in the words of the songs. Spontaneous corporate exuberance climaxed as did that of the one being baptised while giving testimony of God's forgiveness. Oh yes! Forgiveness magnified love magnified humility magnified worship!

May God be praised!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Downloading Worship

Does your mind tend to hop all over the place? Does one thought lead to another and then another and so on and so forth? Mine does. As I wrote in my blog intro, sometimes I wish I could just download it all and then organize it!

Today, once again, I have encountered mental hopscotch! But sometimes it is a good game. Today, I have bent over and picked up pieces of God's goodness, his loving kindness, his holiness, his worthiness and in the process, have scratched on the concrete (yuck) of man's wickedness, enmity, sinfulness, and utter depravity.

What brings on such a mind boggling little kid's game inside my heart and head? I believe it to be a natural hangover from a beautiful time of being together with God's children in Worship. Where two or three are gathered, there he is. God inhabits the praise of his people. The simple truths of the Word expressed in teaching, song, testimony, and preaching can hold the heart and mind captive like absolutely nothing else. The armor of truth can thwart any and all attacks of the evil one for "greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world."

The emotions that accompany the worship of the Living God are exhilarating. Yes, emotions. No greater display of these worthy emotions is found than what we read in the psalms - well, unless it is the Apostle Paul at the end of Romans 11! Deep truth should overwhelm us - in a good way. For instance, think about propitiation. We sang about it yesterday. Propitiation is the appeasement of wrath through sacrifice. Jonathan Edwards painted the picture with the words, "Sinners in the hands of an angry God." What a perfect wrath! Perfect, holy wrath does not deserve to be appeased. God's wrath is indescribable. It doesn't compare to the wrath of man. Man's wrath is usually sin or will lead to sin if not placed in God's control. God's wrath is justifiable. Depraved man has given the finger to a holy God. Does that sound foul? I hope so, for my sin is a stench in the nostrils of God.

God could so easily have never given Noah a rainbow. Having the foreknowledge that he does, he could have easily said, "I will wipe out the world on a regular basis". Instead, before the foundation of the world, he provided a perfect sacrifice to satisfy his holy wrath. That could only be done through his only Son! So now, God is satisfied. He has provided salvation from sin, therefore from wrath, to all who believe.

What does this have to do with worship? EVERYTHING! So great a salvation has provided victory over death and hell and sin and Satan and all that is evil. So great a salvation has freed all who believe from eternal punishment. Victory invites celebration! Victory warms the body with emotions. Because Christ won our victory, the resulting celebration is call "Worship". Worship is based upon solid doctrine. Solid doctrine can't help but erupt in worship.

When I think about God no longer being angry over my sin because Jesus Christ has paid the ultimate sacrifice, my whole body warms up. My heart pounds as though it is going to pop out of my chest, and my mind cannot formulate enough thoughts of gratitude for my tongue to release through words of praise! Victory is like marching around Jericho - it puts us on shouting ground! Hallelujah to the Lamb!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Reflections on a Rockport Fellowship

What makes a fellowship, a fellowship? As I looked back on today's fellowship at Rockport, I found myself grinning on the inside (I'm too worn out to grin on the outside!). The food was good, but we're used to that. The speed Scrabble was fun (and Debbie McClure won), but any group could play speed Scrabble. I hear that ultimate frisbee brought out the athlete in Susan Jackson (you go, girl), but at this time of year you can't drive two miles without seeing frisbee, softball, and volleyball. So why is what happened today called "fellowship"?

The obvious answer should be that Jesus Christ is the center of our lives and that there is always something special when Christians are together. When Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, then we all have been adopted into the beloved family with God as our Father. Family. That's it. That's what I saw today.

Let's start with Sunday School. I don't know about your class but our class loves to share! What a comfort zone. A good comfort zone. A II Corinthians 1:3-7 kind of comfort zone. There we are, sharing the good, the bad, and sometimes - the ugly. No condemnation, but sometimes an abundance of suggestions and always a knowing look that says, "I've been there too" or a shared tear or a hearty laugh. What is your class like? Oh yeah, let's not forget the kids. They are always so glad to see each other. I hope we're always like that!

Moving on to worship. Better is one day in your house, O Lord, than a thousand elsewhere. His house? Join me in thanksgiving that his house is not a building but a body. His house is his Holy Spirit in you and you and you and when we all come together... Wow! The days when I feel weakest in worship are still better than a thousand... hmm, let me think, than a thousand days at Cardinal baseball games!

Then we eat. But far better than the taste of the food (and it is good) is sight of different members of the body pitching in to prepare the food and then all the spiritual aunts and uncles pitching in to help make sure all the small children are adequately supplied with food and drink and seated at a table or high chair and then the clean up help. Far better is the sight of Don Farrell holding a sleeping Elizabeth Dickman. Far better is the cry (in unison) of"mommy" coming from highchair row. Far better is watching Kurt Boehm seeing what kid he can introduce table food to next. Far better is watching someone who's kids are grown holding a child so mommy can eat.

Towards the end of the love feast comes the love that is showered on the soon to be rookie parents - Rachel and Aaron. Oohs and aahs fill the room as little girls' clothes and accessories are pulled from gift bags. All the while, grandma, granddad and great grandma are watching with elation. And we shouldn't forget all the children gathered around axiously awaiting the next surprise. Their joy is contagious. Isn't it fun (enjoyable would be the spiritual word) to await becoming aunts and uncles one more time!

Before the day was out, I learned more about my brothers and sisters. Did you know that Jerry Johnson wears contacts? We spent a few minutes discussing LASIK. I've done the LASIK thingy, he's considering it. Jerry, I hope I didn't scare you away! Maybe eyes aren't the deepest of subjects, but you know, it is the kind of thing you talk about with a brother. Krista Delaney used to live in Mount Vernon, IL. Today she was going back to celebrate the retirement of one of her former teachers. We missed you guys, but once again, the small bit of fellowship today revealed to me a little bit more about you. It's good to get to know more information about your sister.

There were discussions of making certain Nancy Ponder and Bob and Doris received care. Janet Davis had to leave us a few minutes to take Michael Frizuis (sp) home. Not sure why. It doesn't really matter. I think it was Bill Eagleburger who took Billsey to get the Galayda's family car (you know, the little blue escort that is driven by most of the Rockport family at some point). Why is this blog info? It's the family taking care of each other, once again.

Did you hear about Pastor Scott yelling (yes, yelling) at some of our dear, sweet Rockport children? As he and Kim were coming back from visiting Casey and Brian Hurtgen (the new couple who just had a little girl), they noticed a few of our most precious ones lining Telegraph Road, doing who knows what. Guardian angels kept cars on the road and away from the children but they still needed someone to holler at them to get back from the road. Scott then went inside and played tattle-tale. And, indeed he should have. Next thing you know, parents are trying to figure out who's kid were guilty and then very calmly (yeah, right) pulling their offspring aside to give them a little "what for" and I'm not sure what else! It made for quite lively discussion for the next few minutes.

Before the day was out, I got to carry a scratched up Menzi from the church to the volleyball court and then passed her off to Cindy Boehm who held her until she forgot about her boo boos and went to sleep. This freed up the rest of the Loving clan to play volleyball. Menzi had experienced her first vehicular crash. Rich sat in a lawn chair holding Elizabeth and occasionally wrestling Michael while Tim and Mandy played volleyball. Later, Cyndi Loving and Rachael Johnson came across the lawn with a crying Gracie. I'm not sure how, but she too had acquired a boo boo that need bandaids. They opened a minor emergency clinic in the parsonage while Susan finished a volleyball game. I might add, it was so cute to see Michael Dickman ask his dad, "Can I sit by Molli?" as he and Molli built a sand castle together.

I'm sure I've missed something. I just have to wonder... where else can you find a family that will care for you like God's family? Parties, reunions, socials, and get-togethers translate to "fellowship" when a display of genuine, Christ-like service creates a loving and caring atmosphere. So, if you've missed out, join us next month and the next and the next... If you had to leave early, hang out a little later. You never know, you might get to change a diaper, administer first aid, build a sand castle, cuddle a sleeping baby, or even yell at someone else's kid.

I don't know about you but when it's time for the August fellowship, I plan to snatch Olivia away from Don - even if it's just for a minute!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Can you get satisfaction?

This world is frustrating. Yet, that shouldn't come as a surprise. Truth doesn't matter any more. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Moreover, most haven't even contemplated what is right and what is wrong. They don't care. All that matters is that they satiate themselves with that which appears to satisfy. Think about it, is there anything that can really satisfy beyond a moment other than the hope of life eternal? You will either be satisfied for a moment or for all eternity. There really is no in between.

Reflect on all the pleasures in which you have engaged through life - family, sports, entertainment, food, sex, arts, music, nature, drugs, alcohol - you can add to the list. Can you think of anything else that gives lasting pleasure? All of these temporal endeavors give temporal pleasure. Even those things that are worthy of our interest can only provide for a moment (compared to eternity). The only way to truly enjoy enjoyable endeavors is through the eye glass of eternity as it is spelled out in Scripture. So, immerse yourself in the Word, know the Author and Finisher of all, and enjoy that which he calls pleasurable.