Archive for November, 2010
“May the LORD, the God of Israel,
be praised from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and amen.”
What a week! This has been one of the best Thanksgivings I can remember! We had the opportunity this week to spend time with every member our families! At my parent’s house, we were joined by my grandparents, my brother and his family from FL, and my sister, who is sorting through the details of moving to MN. My aunt and cousin and his family from GA made it up, and it was great to see them as I haven’t had much opportunity to spend time with them over the last few years. What a tremendous blessing for us all to be under one roof!!
We were, also, able to spend time with my wife’s family while in town, as well as, her extended family from W. TN. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law (alone with some assistance from my wife and a few others) prepared a wonderful Thanksgiving meal on Friday…we ate both fried & smoked turkey, played a little football, and was introduced to a game called “Wits & Wagers.” What a great time!!
It really sunk in this week about the stage of life that I’m in. With nieces and cousins running around with my own 3 kids, I realized that I am, in fact, a grown-up.
We have a great deal to be thankful for, not the least of which is the ability to take time off from work to drive 12 hours to spend a week with our family! Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a fan of the drive, but, even with the bouncing around from house to house, I found myself very grateful for the family heritage of my wife and me and all the blessings of God’s grace in my life.
Among other things: our church family (which is an incredible place to serve/work and fellowship with our church family), our home (purchased this year), God’s abundant provisions in my life and family, my 3 AMAZING children, and the most INCREDIBLE wife and mother on the planet!!
If nothing else (though it was so much more), Thanksgiving 2010 was a productive, meaningful time of reflection on the grace of God!!
You know…sometimes, the good ideas are just right there in front of you waiting to be created.
I suppose that is what the person responsible for this item was thinking when he/she pitched the idea. I’ll admit…it’s funny. But come on, it’s not like it was bought at some off-color merch store; it was bought at a Hallmark store. You know, the “Hallmark card” sentimentality that is famous for its sweet, tear-jerking cards.
Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, you just have to hear it for yourself…
For those who may have missed the “solution” of the picture, find it here.
Well, the proverbial cat is out of the bag. My wife and I are expecting our next baby in May of 2011!
The sonographers actual words were “it’s pretty obvious.”
“You give and take away,
my heart will choose to say
This past weekend my family celebrated our 3rd anniversary of being on staff at FBC Keller. While I am fully aware that 3 years is a short amount of time, this is a great landmark for our family, as it is the longest continuous time we have spent in any location in our almost 11 years of marriage. It bears further significance because of the road that brought us here.
January 2000 – July 2002 = M’boro, TN
July 2002 – January 2004 = FW, TX (SWBTS)
January 2004 – November 2004 = M’boro, TN
November 2004 – June 2006 = FW, TX (SWBTS)
June 2006 – May 2007 = E. TN (CBC)
May 2007 – October 2007 = M’boro, TN
October 2007 – present = Keller, TX (FBC Keller)
As I’ve reflected on the past 3 years, I am humbled by God’s sovereignty over our family. We arrived here out of one of life’s vallies having been through a very difficult ministry experience and lost & buried a child due to stillbirth just 5 month prior. As we walked through that valley, God showed us His lovingkindness and faithfulness. He continually reminded us of His faithfulness through His Word and the people He had placed in our lives, some were old friends & some new. We were comforted on all sides by the gentle lovingkindness of God through our family and friends. In in the midst of darkness, He was our Light. In no way am I saying that life, at that time, was easy. To say that many tears were shed throughout those 18 months would be a vast understatement, but I think it’s truthful to say that our faith was not shaken. The stability of our faith was, not, however, attributed to anything on our part but to God’s faithfulness and immutability. Personally, I often remembered the words of this old hymn (emphasis mine):
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
~ “The Solid Rock” by Edward Mote & William Batchelder Bradbury
More than 20 years ago, I put my hope in “nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” At the time, I, of course, had NO idea what circumstances awaited me in life. What I did know was that God owed me nothing, yet, gave me everything (John 3:16). He never promised me (or anyone for that matter) an easy life…or even a circumstantially good life. What He has promised is that He will not leave me regardless of good or difficult circumstances (Joshua 1:5, John 14:16-18). John 14 holds within three verses (16-18) the summary of the hope that Christians have. Jesus said “I will not leave you as orphans, I am coming to you” and “[the Father] will give you another Counselor (the Holy Spirit) to be with you forever.” Jesus has not left us on earth with no hope of a future eternal destination, but He, also, promises that the Holy Spirit has been given to us as a Counselor to help us and comfort us during this life! After the most difficult 18 months of our married life thus far, God brought us to FBC Keller as an answer to much prayer. God has continued to be faithful to us while in Keller through provision of our spiritual, physical, financial, and relational needs. Beyond simply meeting our needs, He has graciously given us great blessings (to name a few): the opportunity to purchase our own home, our youngest daughter (and another child on the way), the most Christlike friends we could ask for, a Pastor and staff who want their ministry and the church, more than anything else, to be pleasing in the sight of the Lord…and I could go on. I hesitate to even write this because I do not want this to appear as boastful or arrogant. So, please, allow me to stop and say: we realize full well that not one of the blessings listed above (nor any not listed) was given to us because we deserved it. Whether we have much or little is a matter of God’s will. We simply strive to do our best to manage whatever portion He entrusts to us.
My prayer, then, going forward is that I rely on His faithfulness both in good times and difficult times. We have experienced some vallies, and we have experienced some mountaintops, and I know that we can expect more of the same in the days/weeks/months/years ahead. Paul says to the church in Corinth (1 Cor. 10) that, at least in part, the experiences of Old Testament Israel happened to be examples and warnings for the New Testament Church. I do not want to misuse or abuse this text. Paul is telling the Christians in Corinth to examine the past be careful to not “slip” into sin. Verse 12 essentially says “Don’t say, ‘It could never happen to me.’ ” Not only should we examine the past in order to avoid sin as Paul instructs, but we should examine the past in order to find comfort in God’s continued faithfulness, taking special note of His faithfulness when we were unfaithful. So my prayer for me and my family is that we remember God’s faithfulness during previous vallies and mountaintops. Whether I’m on a mountaintop, in a valley, or anywhere in between, I pray these biblical truths stay with me, and I can live a life trusting in Him!
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I rest on His unchanging grace [because] He…is my hope and stay.”