May 2016


Remember. This weekend as our country takes a pause to remember those who have died in defense of our nation’s basic tenets, I think that is appropriate for us to remember.

Remember the ones who have fought for your freedom to worship today, and every week, as you love to do.

Remember those who taught you how to stand up and defend your rights and your faith.

Remember those who penned words that have been etched on every American’s heart for 240 years.

Don’t take for granted the service that has been rendered to us in order that we might live freely and honorably.

Remember also, the One who made it possible for us to become one body here in this place; the One who died for true freedom to be experienced by all men.

Perhaps Rudyard Kipling said it best in the refrain of “Recessional” which reminds readers to hearken their hearts and their minds to the God who directed the steps of mortal men “lest we forget, lest we forget.”

There are some who would argue that there is no place for this kind of patriotism in our worship, but I believe that when we remember the price Christ paid, we must also remember those men—martyrs of the faith as well as heroes of our liberty—who sacrificed that we might be free.

So, remember.

“All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us” (Hebrews 12:39-40)

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Education is a fine thing. . . as long as it doesn’t make me a snob. Education is an excellent thing. . . as long as I use it wisely. Education brings us face to face with how much we know and do not know. At this time of year, we celebrate with those who are completing a portion of their education. Some are “graduating” from preschool into grammar school; others have reached the age of graduation from junior to senior high; still others are receiving accolades from high school, college, tech school or even graduate school. If you are or have recently celebrated a graduation ceremony for any level of education, I want to wish you heartfelt congratulations!

Now that you have the knowledge, put it to use in a wise way. Alexander Pope wrote: “A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not of the Pierian spring . . .” Add to your knowledge wisdom that you may have a home that follows the ways of God.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to  knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and top perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)

There is no greater thrill for a young father than to witness the birth of his firstborn child. Most will agree that they are not nearly so concerned with the gender of the child as they desire for the new baby to be healthy. What happens in the life of that young man is nothing short of miraculous. For the first time he begins to understand love. In that split second that the baby opens his/her mouth to grasp the first breath of unfiltered air and announce their displeasure with the new events that are taking place in his/her life, the father’s heart grows ten sizes. He expects it to explode from within his chest.

Perhaps the only thing to compare with this feeling is the repetition of the event with each new child that blesses his home.

That is how Christ feels about children. They are all precious to him. Regardless of their cultural or socio-economic background; regardless of their parents’ political persuasion; regardless of their need or lack of need, children are precious.

Let us keep that in mind when we love, train, correct, and encourage these building blocks of life and family. They are our children. They are precious.

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth.” (Psalm 127:4)

Today is the day we have set aside in our culture to honor the one person in our lives that might be the most indispensable person we have ever known. As babies this person is more important than any other because she shows us nurture and care like none other—at least that’s how God designed things.

Personally, although my father was my pastor for as long as I could remember until I moved away to college (and even a few years after that), it was Mom who provided that gentle persuasion that ultimately led me to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Who among us can really be: caregiver, provider, manager, coach, teacher, guide and confidant all rolled into one. I would like to take this moment to thank my mom for being the godly example that she has always been for me. I’d like to thank my childrens’ mom for keeping our ship afloat. I’d like to honor all who are, have been, or will be called “Mom” today.

With all that Mom does and all the potential that is there, I think that it is no coincidence that in the English language “mom” upside down is “wow!”

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed.” (Proverbs 31:28a)

One year my father decided that we would “have a garden.” He enlisted a friend with a tractor to plow up a pasture behind the parsonage for us and commenced to plant rows of fun things for us to harvest later and enjoy at the table. We had rows of beans, rows of corn, rows of okra, rows of tomatoes, rows of cantaloupe and watermelon. There were purple hull peas and squash. And the garden produced. We had lots to eat from the garden that year.

What Dad did not tell us was how much work having a garden would entail. He did inform us that we would all benefit from our own contribution to the garden and then issued each of us what he liked to call a “goose-necked plow” which he had marked with each kid’s initials for personalization.

We worked the garden, then it offered up an abundant harvest for our own benefit. We kids felt like he had developed too much of the pasture, but the massive size of the garden provided lots of produce for eating fresh and canning.

“Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)