Matthew 19:14 “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as them.”
I don’t know how much you know about Twitter. Watching Twitter has become like instant polling. What’s “trending” on Twitter gives an instant idea of what people are think and talking about. Yesterday the number one trending subject #prayfornewtown.
It seems tragedy causes certain near universal reactions. We can learn a lot about ourselves if we consider these reactions.
Prayer. It seems everyone is calling folks to prayer over yesterday’s tragedy. Is the irony over our nation’s removal of prayer from school totally lost? Churches were filled on the days after 9/11 and attendance at church may be up tomorrow. But the health of a people isn’t measured by how they turn to God in times like these, but how they rely on Him always.
Appreciation. Facebook was filled yesterday with parents talking about hugging their kids or worrying about them at school. When we see how fragile the good things of life are, we can’t help but appreciate these things, if only briefly. While the tragedy was unfolding I was at my grand kid’s school at a Christmas program. It was very like the program that took place at that school in Connecticut a day earlier.
Anger. I noticed several comments about the need for harsher treatment of prisoners. Lots of “throw away the key” comments. The man who did this was never in prison. This isn’t a case of a failed judicial system. Most of the folks expressing this anger have never been in a prison. I have. In the main, prisoners are NOT coddled in this country. But anger is seldom rational. Like all the new talk about gun control. Anger is misplaced and seldom useful.
Harsh reality. We see so much violence on television and in movies that it becomes unreal. What happened yesterday isn’t a movie. It’s real life horror. That can’t be denied. We need to realize that horrible things are happening every day. We have blocked from our minds the daily horrors in places like Sudan until they happen in places like Connecticut.
Today let’s join in prayer with many who aren’t used to praying. Let’s be thankful for the little ones we have. Let’s recognize the real problem: too much world and not enough Jesus.
Let’s get back on mission to do something about that. Let’s do what can be done and not spend too much time on lamenting what’s tragically happened.
All our dreams can come true…if we have the courage to pursue them. — Walt Disney
Today is a big day for three of my favorite guys. Looking at the future through their eyes I can’t help but be encouraged.
Tyler is engaged to my grand daughter. Today he graduates from LSU. Ok, so it’s not Florida, but still a pretty impressive accomplishment. It hasn’t been easy for Tyler and he has reached this milestone in spite of some pretty tough obstacles. Most importantly He recognizes this is a beginning and is not even taking a deep breath to celebrate this accomplishment. His enthusiasm and energy are awesome. His love and willingness to fight for Jessie and Kaydence are impressive. I can’t help love those who love the ones I love. He already has a great job before graduating. It’s just a question of time before he’s running that company. Congratulations Tyler and thanks.
Nicky, my grandson, has a solo performance in today’s Christmas program at school. It’s tough growing up without your dad. I have tried to help out in this regard, but I know it’s not the same. Nicky is as bright and enthusiastic as Tyler. He always has an encouraging word and a gift of insight. He has stepped up and taken on a challenging part in today’s production and I am excited to think about watching him today. Even more I am excited about watching him tackle life ahead. Congratulations Nicky and “break a leg.”
Jason Miller is the pastor of my church. He’s been in that role for months, but today he is finally moving from Denham Springs to Acadiana. In the brief period he has been the Pastor of Amana Christian Fellowship, he has shown enthusiasm and a gift for plain speaking sermons. The future is very bright at Amana. Congratulations Pastor Jason. I’m glad to call you “Pastor.”
God surrounds us with people to encourage and lead us forward. These three guys are all quite a bit younger than I am, but I am inspired and encouraged by their lives and their attack on problems and their promising futures.
Thank you Lord for all of them and bless their every endeavor.
Hanging around with the young, keeps you young.
For though the fig-tree has no flowers, and there is no fruit on the vine, and work on the olive comes to nothing, and the fields give no food; and the flock is cut off from its resting-place, and there is no herd in the cattle-house: Still, I will be glad in the Lord, my joy will be in the God of my salvation.19The Lord God is my strength, and he makes my feet like roes’ feet, guiding me on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19
It’s less than two weeks until Christmas. I haven’t bought a single gift, sent a Christmas card, enjoyed a Christmas song or movie. It’s not unusual for me to wait until the last minute to buy gifts, but normally I’m into Christmas early, not this year.
I’m not exactly sure why. It maybe because the last year has been an incredible roller coaster ride. In the last twelve months I’ve experienced some of the highest and lowest points of my life. It’s just been too much. Like I told someone recently, I just want the year to end.
I know I sound like Scrooge and I feel like him. I’ve been visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. I just can’t seem to decide what their message is. Sometimes I feel like Moses knowing that it’s time enter the Promised Land, but glad I won’t be going. Other times I feel like Joshua, excited, but intimidated by what the future year holds.
There are reasons that God allows these highs and lows. He is trying to shake us, to get our attention. Whether things are great or terrible, He wants our attention. Like Habakkuk, we need to recognize that whether things or good or bad, we are to be “glad in the Lord.” The Lord is our strength. It is He that guides us to the high places which are our ultimate destinations.
Maybe it’s time to get the Christmas Spirit, feel like it or not. He’s about to do something, no matter what it is, it’s in my best interest.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
I have overslept the last couple of mornings. I don’t ever set an alarm any more. I normally wake up hours before I need to. I don’t know if the last couple of mornings are signs of a change that I need to respond to or just my body’s response to returning to the gym.
I really regret the late arising on Wednesday morning because it means I missed my Wednesday Morning Men’s meeting. It’s one thing that I try never to miss. I look forward to it each week. In fact, on Wednesday even knowing I had missed the meeting I drove to church because I knew Gary would still be there preparing for his class and he would be able to fill me in on the meeting, how everyone was doing and if there were any prayer needs.
I started a similar group in the last few weeks. On Sunday nights I was meeting with folks in what we called “Nick’s Talk.” It was different from the Wednesday Morning Men’s meeting, but it was beginning to get the same importance in my life. At church now we are “between semesters.” New small groups will be forming after the holidays and some of the older groups will start meeting again.
Please give careful consideration to getting involved in one of these groups. It has been critically important and a great blessing in my life. Without one in your life, you are missing out.
Beginning next Wednesday we will return to meeting at the McDonald’s in Youngsville. We get there when it opens at 6 a.m. but you can drop in a bit later. Come by and see what’s happening.
Join in and be blessed.
It’s easy to start complaining about how “they” are taking Christ out of Christmas and saying “Happy Holidays” and all that stuff.
We can’t control what “they” do. We can and should control what we do. Make sure that instead of complaining about “them” that you are making this as Christ centered a Christmas as you ever had.
Do so and be blessed.
If you want to get over a problem, stop talking about it. Your mind affects your mouth, and your mouth affects your mind. Joyce Meyer
I love the frequent home spun talk of Joyce Meyer. She has a great way of restating biblical wisdom.
I have noticed that when folks have a problem, it can be all they talk about. Which is just reflecting that it’s all that they are thinking about.
Even sympathetic friends lose patience and interest if we go on too much about our problems. Their eyes glaze over and soon they begin to look for someone else to spend their time with.
What have you been talking about lately? Is it something positive and uplifting? Pray that the Holy Spirit will take control of your mouth for in the process he will take over your heart and your spirit.
Watch what you say and
I love a good road trip. The key elements are a fun destination, good friends to travel with, excitement along the way, a bit of adventure. I had a great road trip yesterday. Pastor Reed, Gary Herman and I went to visit Kairos regulars at Angola. That means a couple of hours on the road to get there, a good meal in St. Francisville, a good time at the prison, and, with poor navigation and distracted driving, more like three hours to get back.
I know that Angola doesn’t sound like a “fun destination.” What if I describe it as a reunion with good Christian friends. That’s much more descriptive. Our retreat weekends are exciting. But our reunion weekends include the very faithful. The residents who are really trying to follow Christ in a tough environment show up for these monthly meetings. It’s great to be with them.
If you feel like you need something from the Lord, then go minister to someone else. In my experience, the one “ministering” never fails to be blessed. It amazes me how men with no earthly reason for hope will be examples of how to follow Christ. No matter what I may be going through, I have my family around me. I get to set at table with them and share meals. I get to hug them whenever I want. I have shoulders to cry on and loving ears to listen. With all of that my daily walk is tough. It is inspiring to see men denied all of these things and with little hope of every leaving the grounds of Angola, follow Christ proudly and with determination.
Road trips are fun. But sometimes they are more. Sometimes they are wonderful and inspiring.
Hit the road for Jesus and