Reflections

I expected the day to be miserably hot.  It was the middle of the summer and I had a big job ahead of me.  It had already been an incredibly busy week…month…several months.  All the boxes were packed and it was time to load the U-Haul.  My family, for the first time, was making a major move.  We had made the decision for me to accept the position as Worship Minister at West Freeway Church of Christ, in Fort Worth, TX.  We made a conscious decision to leave all of our friends and everything we had known for the past 12 or so years.  We made a conscious decision for me to change careers and for Susan to become a stay-at-home mom.

On July 11, 2008 (the day after our son’s 1st birthday party surrounded by moving boxes), the skies were overcast and there was a drizzle in the air…much more comfortable for hard work than I was anticipating.  We got the U-Haul loaded and left the next morning to begin the newest phase of our life.

Over the last three years, my family has gained a beautiful little girl, lost a great dog and gained many, many friends (many of whom are more like family than friends).  We have rejoiced over many new births (both physical and spiritual) and we have wept over illnesses and deaths.  We have loved and we have been loved.  To count the ways in which we have been blessed is an impossible task, as is attempting to say thank you for each kindness shown to us over the past few years. 

I believe that God put us in this place for very specific reasons…some of which we may not realize for many years.  I know that I have grown in maturity and wisdom because of my experiences and relationships.  I know that my family is stronger because of the love that has been shown to us over the past three years.

Sunday (Dec. 25th) is my last day here at West Freeway and I will begin my work as Young Families Minister at The Church of Christ at The Colonies on January 1, 2012.  I believe that I could not effectively minister at The Colonies had I not first worked with the wonderful people of West Freeway.  Susan and I will be forever grateful for our time here.  We love you all.  Please continue to pray for us as we return to the place we like to call home.  We will likewise, continue to pray for you and for the work that you do for the kingdom of God. 

Come see us anytime and we will certainly be back to visit when time allows.

(I will continue to write my weekly blog.) 

Advertisements

Peace on Earth

Christmas.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Well, at least in my opinion and according to a popular Christmas song.  It’s a season of joy.  It’s a season of gatherings.  It’s a season of “peace.”  Another popular Christmas song boasts, “Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven’s all gracious King.”

Most people long for peace on Earth, and many also believe that Christ came to the earth to bring peace.  However, Jesus himself said something completely different.  He said, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!  Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.  From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.  They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:49-53 NIV)

The peace that Jesus brought is not peace in the sense that there will be no more bickering or fighting; no hatred or disdain.  The peace that Jesus brought is a personal, internal, heartfelt peace…the peace of knowing that your soul is in the arms of the Savior.

The awesomeness of Christ is not in His birth.  Please understand that I’m not negating His miraculous birth and its importance.  In fact, I believe that it is wonderful to celebrate His birth because without his willingness to be born of a virgin, He could not have brought about salvation.  Yet, the awesomeness if Christ is His death, burial and resurrection.  A sinless life was sacrificed for our lowly sakes.  Paul said, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-3 NIV)

Indeed, Christ brought peace to this earth, but it is not the peace of all men getting along.  The peace that Christ brought is the peace of knowing that He is coming again and that He is taking His faithful home to live with Him in Glory.

Peace, perfect, peace,
In this dark world of sin:
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace,
By thronging duties pressed:
To do the will of Jesus this is rest.

Peace, perfect peace,
With sorrows surging round:
On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.

It is enough:
Earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus call us to heavens perfect peace.

May you know the peace of Christ.  May you be filled with the hope of everlasting life.  May you have true joy that supplies contentment.  May you know the Christ.

Merry Christmas!

Blue Skies & Rainbows

Today is the first time in several days that I have seen a blue sky.  There is not a cloud in the sky and the sun is shining brightly.  It is a beautiful, albeit cold, day.  While I am very thankful for the rain that God brought this past weekend, and while I will continue to pray for rain, it is wonderful to see the bright blue sky again.

The beauty of this morning got me to thinking about a song that I have sung for many years.

Blue skies and rainbows
And sunbeams from heaven,
Are what I can see
When my Lord is living in me.

I know that Jesus is well and alive today
He makes His home in my heart.
Nevermore will I be alone since He
Promised me that He never would part.

Studies show that moods and attitudes of people can be affected by variations in the weather.  Cloudy days tend to bring about lethargy, pessimism and sadness while sunny days tend to create more energy, optimism and happiness.

Although changes in weather can produce different emotions, when Christ lives in your heart, He provides a joy that cannot be suppressed by a cloudy day.  He brings a contentment that cannot be achieved by a worldly measure of success.  Christ provides a hope that cannot fade or diminish because it is a hope that promises a glorious life that will follow this one; a life that is free from pain, anguish and grief.  To those who allow Christ to dwell in their hearts, He has given the knowledge of the magnificent riches that await us in heaven.

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  (1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV)

Anyone can recognize the beauty of a sunny day or a day when dreams are fulfilled.  Only a child of God can realize the joy of the promise of everlasting life!  May each of your days be filled with the sun shining down on you through the love and grace of Christ Jesus!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Blue Skies & Rainbows