Monday, December 22, 2014

Schoolyard Notes

I love to pick up notes discarded on school campuses.  They can be quite entertaining.  Recently, I saw one folded neatly and flapping in the wind.  Here was the message of an elementary student to her friend. 

“from: Jane* to: John*                                                                                 *Names changed

When the world is crashin down theres only one who can save me god he loves me he saves me when waves are crashin down He’s there to save me He loves me He saved me He rose again  He’s gonna fly me on top of the world he saved me.”

I can only imagine what John was facing.  It could have been any number of things.  The world today is a much more daunting place in which to live than I remember.  In elementary school I can remember some basic fears like dying and the boogie man.  Whatever his fear, Jane had the just right answer. I love that this friend took the time to comfort her classmate with Truth, God-sized Truth that came from heaven to be with us, humbled himself to be born among us in a stable…Truth that would courageously and compassionately take our fears, our failures and our sins to a cross…Truth that would save, comfort, hold and keep us.  What faith in eternity!  “He’s gonna fly me on top of the world!” May you find the joyous truth of the Christmas child this week and may he set you on top of the world!”
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

11 months ago....

We all have experienced the reality that our children grow up too fast.  We often tell young parents “Don’t blink!  They will be grown before you know it.”

Tina and I recall those wonderful years when Josh would say, “Hold me Daddy, hold me.” “Yook Daddy, yook!  A heckodoctor!” “Daddy, Daddy, yook!  Yook!  An aeropwayne and God made it.” Lauren kept it a mystery for months when she would say, “I shibbied.” Josh called waffles “fawwles.”  We finally figured out that a heckodoctor was a helicopter.  And one day at the table, Lauren pushed her plate away and proclaimed, “I shibbied!” and we knew at once the meaning.  Soon after that day she matured and began to say “I’m finished.” And to not leave Dayton out, he would hold his hands out and bid with his fingers, “I pick oooh up Daddy, I pick oooh up” whenever he wanted to be held.  I am dying here in my office in tears.  You know how heart-wrenching it is to see those years slip away. 

Eleven months ago, we joined Josh and Dani in another milestone—they married.  Theirs was a wonderful “wedding extravaganza!” We have watched Josh move out, begin work, fix up a house, and become a grown man.  It was all so sudden!  And you know what, as our hearts quake for those early years, we are so happy!  We are so proud of all three of our children.  Their maturing is a blessing!  It is the joy of our hearts to see them grow up, take responsibility for their lives, mature in their individual walk with Christ and become adults. 

This is exactly what the apostle Paul speaks to directly in this letter to the believers in Ephesus. We thrill the Holy Spirit in us as we mature to new people in Christ Jesus.  It pleases the Father.  It honors the Son, Jesus Christ.  Our speech, behavior, attitude, actions, and thought- life change to the likeness of Christ Jesus through the Spirit who now lives in each new believer. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I have been underlining the mention of God’s loving-kindness each time I encounter it in my Bible.  It occurs over 180 times. Paul encourages the Ephesian believers in 4:32 to model that same character trait “just as God in Christ Jesus.”  He says “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other.” That could be a summary statement for us today concerning just how to move our lives from church member to Jesus follower.

Recently a great illustration of loving-kindness was displayed in Summerville, SC for all to see.  Dana Rothschild, a mother of two, was running out of time with her one remaining kidney failing.  Kathy Davenport, also a mother of two, sensed God’s leading to at least be tested for the match.  When it was discovered that she was a perfect match, she did not hesitate to reach out to a complete stranger and give her life.

More recently, we applauded the heroic rescue of a man from Second Mill pond.  The officer, Quintin Eley, observed that the driver was not responding as the car began to sink, so without hesitation, he dove into the frigid waters and rescued the man.

None of us may be able to imagine ourselves reacting in such selfless acts. These isolated acts of sacrifice illustrate for us a shadow of the loving-kindness God demonstrated by His Son Jesus as He laid His life down for us.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jesus is the Center

I read a great missionary story this morning that may re-arrange your nativity this Christmas.  The missionary shared that in the move from America to the field in Asia, they were only able to carry one Christmas decoration, so they took their nativity set.  Christmas season came and it was so empty of our Christmas traditions, but she reported the joy of setting out the nativity set.  Each day after the housekeeper would arrange all the animals, shepherds and wise men in a circle with the baby Jesus in the center.  She placed them in order thinking the housekeeper had dusted and did not know how to arrange them, but after several weeks of this re-arrangement she inquired and the housekeeper (who was one of very few believers in this village) insisted that Christ should always be the center of everything.  Perhaps we too would reconsider how we arrange our nativity to reflect our own desire for Jesus to be the center!

Monday, December 8, 2014


Imagine the first year in prison for a life sentence.  There is plenty of time now to reflect on your life, the decisions that were made without much forethought, the mistakes made and emotions that ran wild. You seem to yourself like a distant stranger.  What happened?  I am sure that every story is different, but this is one way I can imagine it.  Looking at life…behind bars…seeing hopeless men all around…birds flying freely in out of my cage, lizards able to go and come as they please…I would just be very sick and very lost.  I would reminisce about childhood’s innocence.  God, where did I go wrong?  How will I ever survive here? Recently I visited a prison and considered the contrasts of these scenes: freedom and incarceration.  Vividly on display is our incarceration to our flesh and this world contrasted with the freedom found in the grace and mercy of the cross.  The bird and the lizard roam from freedom to incarceration with total liberty in both.  So often we get so lost in our own works and efforts in salvation and the work God designated the Spirit's domain that we incarcerate ourselves...over and again.  In Christ there is truth and freedom, know Him and be truly free, all the time everywhere!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

America, the Wanderer

Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty has coined a phrase, “Happy! Happy! Happy!” America is a people very confused when it comes to happiness.  There is a moral compass of truth where history and God’s record proves a guaranteed journey to not only a satisfying and happy life here, but the promise of eternity in heaven where our language reaches its limit in describing the joy we will experience.

Everyone wants to be happy!  In pursuing our own heights of pleasure and self-gratification, we have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie.”  Case in point is the  battle that the Boy Scouts of America faced in 2013.  Immense pressure has reigned down upon this historically good, pure and upright organization to fold, to surrender and ultimately give in to those who pursue their own happiness at the cost to the innocents, the powerless and the dependent.   In 2000 and 2004, the BSA maintained their stance that “homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word and deed.”  Moral ground is being eroded away as more and more big companies withhold their financial support in the wake of pressure from the advocates for homosexual rights.  There is no apparent end to the impact of our turning. 
My good friend, Jim Austin, of the SCBC commented wisely, “The current Boy Scout policy controversy clearly demonstrates that when a society its moral compass, political correctness or prevailing public opinion becomes the final arbiter” and that Christians must multiply our efforts to reach and reeducate “a society that has forgotten the God of the Bible."

"Prone to wander Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I Need Thee Oh I Need Thee

How desperate would you say you are to see God work?  How badly do you want to experience a moving of the Lord in your life and in the church at Crosspoint?  If you are really honest with yourself this morning, is there anything that you are asking of God today that is totally out of the scope of human possibility—one of those prayer requests that only will happen if God moves?  I remember Jesus’ statement, “You do not receive because you do not ask.”  I think we often look at life and are satisfied. 

When I ask people “How can I pray for you?” there is often a pause.  Sometimes the answer is “I’m good.” I think some have this condition, “All I need I have, and if I need anything, I can get it myself.”