Monday, March 25, 2013

Repaired vs Resurrected

I just spent two hours with a HVAC repairman. The outcome: he will come back tomorrow when he has had a chance to research our unit. The problem: the unit won't turn on. That's a pretty important thing. When there is snow on the ground, it's nice for the heat to actually work.

Fortunately, it's in a part of the building that isn't being used today, and I'm sure our able repairman will discover the answer and have it working soon, but I also realize another reality. Even after he repairs it, our unit will one day break down again. Eventually, it will quit altogether, only to be replaced by another unit that will one day break down. This is why there will always be HVAC training schools.

Easter does not celebrate repair. Christ has not “fixed” our life only to have it break down again. We celebrate the Resurrection, not the Repair. What Christ accomplished that first Easter morning is nothing less than the defeat of death itself. That's worth celebrating!

2 Corinthians 4:13-14 (NIV)
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How much do I truly hunger and thirst for God’s Word?

     As I have been studying for our Wednesday night youth service, a question kept coming to my mind. “How much do I truly hunger and thirst for God’s Word?” As I thought about this question, to be honest, I wonder sometimes if I hunger and thirst for God’s Word like I should. I live in America where we have the freedom to study God’s Word and Worship Him. Although many times, we busy our lives so much that God’s Word is often the last thing we think about. If we compare this to other places in the world we see a much different result. There are places in the world where the study of God’s Word and/or worshiping Him can cause someone to be thrown into jail or even killed. Does this stop believers in those countries? No. They continue to study God’s Word and worship Him for multiple hours a day. As I thought about this, I was reminded of an excerpt of a book that I had read. It has challenged me in my walk with God. I would like to share it with you, and pray it challenges you as well.

“Just imagine going to a worship gathering in one of those house churches. Not an all day training in the Word. Just a normal-three hour worship service late in the evening. The Asian believer who is taking you gives you the instructions. ‘Put on dark pants and a jacket with a hood on it. We will put you in the back of our car and drive you into the village. Please keep your hood on and your face down.’
            When you arrive in the village under the cover of night another Asian believer meets you at the door of the car. ‘Follow me,’ he says.
            With your hood over your head, you crawl out of the car, keeping your face toward the ground. You begin to walk with your eyes on the feet of the man in front of you as he leads you down a long and winding path with a small flashlight. You hear more and more footsteps around you as you progress down the trail. Then finally you round the corner and walk into a small room.
            Despite its size, sixty believers have crammed into it. They are all ages, from precious little girls to seventy-year-old men. They are sitting either on the floor or on a small stools, lined shoulder to shoulder, huddled together with their Bibles in their laps, The roof is low, and one light bulb dangles from the ceiling as the sole source of illumination.
            No sound system.
            No band.
            No guitar.
            No entertainment.
            No cushioned chairs.
            No heated or air-conditioned building.
            Noting but the people of God and the Word of God.
            And strangely, that’s enough.
            God’s Word is enough for millions of believers who gather in house churches just like this one. His Word is enough for millions of other believers who huddle in African jungles, South American rain forests, and Middle Eastern cities.

Excerpt comes from David Platt, Radical (Colorado Springs, Co: Multnomah Books, 2010), 25-26.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

We're having a baby!!!

Most of you already know that Suzy is pregnant, and we couldn't be more excited.  This past Tuesday, we went to the doctor for her regular check-up and the doctor says to Suzy, "So, we're practically half-way through this pregnancy, how are you doing? Any questions...?"  But my mind stopped at the "half-way through" part.  Really?!  Halfway through!  Didn't we just announce this to everyone?  How long is this supposed to last? 
Now, I know that pregnancies are 40 weeks.  And, I knew that we're in week 20 according to the app on my iPad.  But, it didn't register in my mind that we're halfway through. 
I have to say, that I've been trying to do my best as the husband/father to keep up with these important things.  Like I said, I have an app for that.  We've also accumulated all kind of books laying around the house that I flip through from time to time.  Books like: "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and "You're Having a Baby".  So, I'm trying to do my best.  But, let's face it, I'm a guy, and I'm not going to understand and think about all those things that Suzy does. 
But, as I follow along on my iPad and  read through the books about what's going on in Mommy's tummy--like eyelashes developing and enamel forming on the teeth of our little baby, I'm in awe of the process that our Creator is taking our precious child through.  And, I find myself quoting David's Psalm:
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
David goes on to say...  
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
As I enjoy thinking about our baby growing and becoming all the beautiful things that I hope it will be, I'm overwhelmed to know this most wonderful truth for all of us
Our Creator is still forming us and making us into a beautiful treasure.   
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
Yes, the Creator of the Universe, God Almighty, thinks of you often:
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Certain Forecast

I heard it a lot. As weather forecasters told us of the seemingly inevitable arrival of freezing rain, sleet, and frigid temperatures, people expressed comfort in the fact that it was, at least, late in the season. That made much easier to take than if it was early in winter with months to go. It might be bad for a short time, but relief and warmer temperatures are just around the corner!

Life for the believer is that way, too. Listening to the news, we hear that the economy is bad and violence is on the rise. We talk to friends, and hear of illness, betrayal, loss of life, disappointment, and other sadnesses. But, it is later in the 'season of life' than it ever has been before. Psalm 30:5 tells us that 'weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.' God has promised to walk with us through each season of our lives and get us through, and to provide the ultimate victory when He returns. The days to come are better than we can even dream possible (I Corinthians 2:9 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.')  And, we can take heart to know that 'our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us' (Romans 8:18).

We did get ice...and we groaned a lot about it. But the next morning, when the sun shone on that very same ice, it was beautiful, sparkling like polished diamonds. As I looked at it, I was reminded how our lives can also shine brightly when we let The SON shine on us and through us.

We sometimes joke about how many times the weather forecasters are wrong. But brighter days for Christians are not just a forecast, not just a prediction, they are a PROMISE, given by God, Whose promises are 100% infallible!