Be Amazed

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Last week, I was reading through the New Testament book of Luke. There is a series of words I have highlighted in my Bible which are found in Luke and Acts.

They are “wondering, astonished, filled with awe, wondered, marveled, amazed, amazement, perplexed, marveling, and surprised.” They are all translated from 4 or 5 Greek words. They show up all over the place in all sorts of stories.

Here is the deal—- Luke is the only Biblical author who is not Jewish. For him, the Jesus/Messiah story is new and amazing. As Jesus is coming on the scene, one of the ways Luke describes this incarnation is with words like amazed and astonished. To him the story is so cool. At the same time, to him, the Jews don’t seem too interested in the reality of the Messiah standing in front of them. Luke is over the top explaining the reaction of some in the crowds Jesus is talking to. They are shocked that Jesus speaks and acts the way he does. Had they been reading their Bibles, they would have known how cool Jesus was going to be.

I can remember when I first gave my heart to Jesus and started following him. I was amazed at most everything I read about him. There was a zeal like no other. I talked to all sorts of people about Jesus. I even got myself in trouble because I didn’t have the answers to some of the questions people had for me. But I didn’t care. I was amazed at Jesus and wanted everyone to know him.

How long have you been a Christ-follower? Has the walk become routine? Have you lost your amazement about Jesus? I suggest you find the time and vehicle to get it back. Ask the Lord to re-open your eyes at the beauty and coolness of Jesus. That is part of the full life Jesus wants you to walk in. “I have come that they (read ‘I’) may have life, and have it to the full" John 10:10.

Happy Birthday to me.

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Today is my birthday. You may or may not know that. If you would like to put it in your calendar for next year, that would be great. I enjoy Home Depot and restaurants. 

To start my birthday, I went for a 3.5 mile run. A favorite place to run is right outside our front door and down the street behind the school and methodist church. The little hilly, forested area is affectionately called 'the sanctuary.' More often than not, I am all alone on the trails up and down the hills. I have literally pounded the same dirt thousands of times and logged thousands of miles memorizing every turn, rock, and jutting root which can trip me up every time I pass. Many of those steps are taken on Sunday mornings prior to preaching at CRBC. Many prayers have been prayed, tears have been cried, joys have been experienced, plans have been made, and hoping wishes will come true.

As I was trudging up a hill, panting 'as a deer pants for the water,' the most glorious, marvelous, and ethereal thought rushed through my head at light speed that lasted for about 1.5 seconds. The.Gift.of.Life. The fact that I was alive instead of not. The ability to breath oxygen in and carbon dioxide out. A heart that beats relative to how much energy I exert. Muscles that contract and relax so quickly my legs and arms move in ballet like synchronicity moving my body along without even thinking. A mind able to think, create, solve, and dream ideas and thoughts about yesterday, today, and tomorrow. A gratitude beyond words. A recognition that a divinity loomed larger over me than can be comprehended. A sense of my mortality in the midst of love and grace. All in 1.5 seconds. 

As I floated home in glorious beauty, I couldn't get my Bible open fast enough to read Psalm 139.  Enjoy it for yourselves:

1 O LORD , you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; 
you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD . 

5 You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.


Father's Day


Father's Day

I have heard it said that Father’s Day is a made up holiday by the Hallmark Card Co. just to get people to spend money. I don’t know about that.

There has been a day to celebrate dads all the way back to the Middle Ages. In the Catholic tradition, there is a celebration to the man Joseph, the step-father of Jesus. Joseph is called the Nutritor Domini(Nourisher of the Lord).  The Coptic Church has a ‘father’s day’ tradition that dates back to the 5th century. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.  Hallmark may be capitalizing on something already in play.

The role of fathers in the lives of their children is one of the two most important roles in a child’s life. Moms and dads have the most important task and privilege they will ever have in their lives. It ought not be taken lightly, however, too often it is. Children don’t raise and train themselves. Moms and dads have the unique place in life of doing all they can to make young people into the best adults they possibly can. 

In the biblical book of Proverbs, Solomon, the son of David, lays out wisdom for how to live life. Some of the advice is paragraphical while a majority is done through pithy statements. Solomon is deeply personal with the son he is addressing. While we don’t know specifically which son he may be talking to, maybe the word son is left general enough that the material is addressed to anyone who reads it and is interested in learning and growing in wisdom. Twenty-six times in the book Solomon speaks directly to “my son.” Predominantly at the beginning of the book, Solomon is interested in his son’s success, therefore is pointed in his direct and honest instruction. Solomon’s teaching and training has no boundaries —everything from money, to loans, to the use of our tongues, how we think, how we are to deal with sexual fidelity, how to be discreet, how not to be a fool, instead how to be a righteous, honorable, and life-giving person. 

As moms and dads we really don’t need to reinvent the wheel on what to teach our children, Solomon pretty much lays it all out just fine. Let’s use the book of Proverbs as a road map for our parenting and child rearing success. It is all over before we know it. And really our kids are only on loan to us for the time they are in our home.