Friday, May 27, 2011

Thank you for all the cards, e-mails, Facebook messages and Happy Birthday expressions over the last few days. As we grow older, we begin to think about our lives and if we are making an impact on the people around us. While the words we say are important, the example we set is even more so.
What do you want to accomplish spiritually in the rest of 2011? Perhaps you need to be more faithful in your attendance at worship and Bible Study. Perhaps you need to make a public commitment to Christ by being baptized into His church. Perhaps you need to begin reading the Bible across the course of your week. Some of us no doubt need to improve our prayer life. We may even need to make things right between ourselves and someone we've offended or hurt.
Whatever we need to do to improve our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we can start today. God is always ready to hear and see us and He wants us to make the changes we need to in order to spend eternity with Him.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sunshine

Today is our last full day in Florida.  We have had a great trip and, despite not feeling well, I have enjoyed being with my family.

Last night we went on a sunset dolphin cruise.  Not only did we see lots of dolphin, the sunset was lovely.  One of the positive things about a vacation is that you get to have new experiences in new places.  This vacation has been a relaxing one, but I look forward to being home tomorrow and getting back to a regular routine.

Hope to see you soon!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Timely

I realize I haven't written in over a week and that flies in the face of the self promise I made not long ago to write more.  Oh, well.

I am currently sitting looking out at the Gulf of Mexico.  I am half way through our family vacation and so far am having a swell time.  My sister joined my mom and I today via a flight from Memphis, so now the three of us are going to spend the next few days relaxing.  Tomorrow we are planning to attend worship at the Ft. Walton Beach church of Christ.  I am not familiar with this congregation, but am looking forward to meeting the Christians here.

When we arrive home next week, I will have just a couple of days before performing a wedding for two people who attend worship at Lebanon.  I am looking forward to the rehearsal and wedding of these two folks.

The sound of the ocean is comforting.  The vastness of it amazes me.  I have sat each night until I was the last person on the beach and just listened.  It is truly powerful and unharnessed.  I feel a spiritual presence in the sea.  Goodnight.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tomorrow

Tomorrow the music video for the Lady GaGa song "Judas" will debut.  I have heard the song and read the lyrics.  Taken one way the song is an alternative telling of the story of Jesus, Judas and Mary Magdalene.  Taken another way the song is dangerously close to blasphemy.  So why does it matter about this one song and this one artist?

As people we are influenced by many different wavelengths everyday.  We often listen to things without really hearing what is being said.  I recently realized the meaning of a hymn I had sung hundreds of times without ever catching the deeper, theological meaning.  You may have had a similar experience of singing lyrics and only later realizing what they implied or meant.  I believe what happens tomorrow is important because Lady GaGa has a massive, extremely devoted fan base.  The "Little Monsters" as they are known (GaGa is Momma Monster) will push for the song to get more radio play and encourage people to watch the video.  Beatles fans were similar in their devotion and as John Lennon stated so famously, the band became "bigger than Jesus" to its fans.  The cult of personality is rampant in our entertainment, sport and political culture.  I believe we need to remember that we (nor anyone else) is beyond getting swept up in the excitement of some new thing.  Remember the people of Athens who Paul addressed in Acts 17.  They were the smartest, most mentally advanced race in the world at the time and yet all they desired was "to hear some new thing."

Let us be people that take our guidance from Scripture and the examples of faithful Christians and not from the latest personality dominating the Internet and television.  When we look to Christ as our ultimate Example, how we live and behave in life falls perfectly into place.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reflections on Sunday

We had an excellent service this morning in Dresden with several guests in attendance.  It was sad to have some of our members away, but the overall feel of the service today was very positive.  Due to the recent storms and trials that many in our number are going through, I chose to speak on prayer in the worship hour.  Using Matthew's account of the Sermon on the Mount, I taught about the need for sincere, simple, personal prayer.  While standing before the congregation, my words struck a chord in my own soul.  How often I seem to try to work through problems before praying through them.  Many times I feel too sinful to pray and, while I realize intellectually that prayer is a means of the forgiveness of sin, I often let my guilt hinder my prayer life.  Perhaps you have felt the same, dear reader.

As I sit here in the quiet of my own house, I think of all the prayers I have prayed.  For a long time, I prayed to have friends (not realizing that I already had many people that considered me a friend).  Once upon a time, I prayed for a partner to share my life with.  I am slowly realizing that God has given me a different kind of life.  Not weird or bad, just different.  As a lady told me recently at Bible Study, "It's ok to be you."  I have often prayed to be something or someone else, but I am beginning to see that as messed up and confused as I often am, God can use me even in that.  I am terribly flawed, but I am learning to see that sometimes it is our flaws that make us individuals.  I hope that someday I will be able to use my adversity to help others and I know in some ways I already have.

God bless you and have a great week.