Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mother and Me in 1942

This picture of of my mother hold me in 1942 which was 71 years a go.  What a wonderful life we shared.

I have been thinking about the death of my mother in Texas. She had changed since her 90th birthday last year. It is a very noticeable change and not for the better. Many mini strokes over the years had already robbed her of the ability to make new memories but she always knew who I was and was with the moment.

This past year she broke her hip and spent time in the hospital and has been in decline ever since. She looked very frail and was no longer in the moment or knew who I am. We just went with the flow of her conversation of what ever moment she was in and enjoy being with her. I am so thankful for the care my sister Jeannie gave her. What a blessing my Sister and brother Garland have been over the years.

My mother was always a rock of faith and love for me and my siblings. Because of her I am the man I am today able to live and be at peace with God. I know that her great faith is still with a part of me and even though she is no longer with us that she will be in the arms of God forever. I am at peace with that and honor her life as a woman of Proverbs 31.

I love my mom and thank God for the life she lived.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Vision of Jesus

In 1999 three of my friends from the archeology dig, at Ashkelon, and I rented a car and drove up to Galilee. While visiting Capernaum we went up on the mountain where it is believed Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. Standing there I looked out over the Sea of Galilee and thought of Jesus and His Disciples on that very place almost two thousand years ago. I thought about all the teachings and commands Jesus gave the twelve and others who followed him.

As I pondered these facts I also thought about the vision of the Christian Church Jesus started there and how it has grown. I thought about Jesus last command in Matthew 28:19, “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember that I am with you always.”

Eleven of the twelve disciples started the First Christian Church of Jerusalem on Pentecost and churches began to spread out from there. Though out Judea, Galilee, and up and down the coast new churches were started one after the other. The vision Jesus gave them was taking hold every where, and they were building the church.

Through the years many men and women have caught the vision from Jesus to go and build His Church. The vision of making Disciples and teaching them all that Jesus taught. One of the men who became a vision builder of churches early on was Paul. The First Christian Church of Corinth was one that Paul started. Paul wrote to them about his participation in the vision of Christ for the Church.

Capture in your mind and heart the total commitment that Paul and others had to proclaiming the Gospel and building churches. Paul started new congregations every where he went. It was his passion and his love. Will you make it your passion too?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Renew Your Mind

Paul wrote in Romans:
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God." Romans 12:2

Paul’s words are powerful we are to be transformers. "Be transformed by the renewing of your minds." Paul thought it vitality important that we use the gifts of our minds. There are those who believe that you must put your brains in neutral when you enter the doors of the church. That simply is not true! God wants us to use the intellect as a very special gift. What matters is what we put into our minds in the first place.

Consider what Paul told the Philippians:
"Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8

Think about these things! What is it that YOU think about? Does your mind dwell on things that are honorable, positive, just, worthy of praise? Positive loving thoughts lead to positive lover actions. God gave you a mind to use. What are you doing with it? If you are concentrating on good and godly thoughts, then you are renewing your mind according to Paul's instructions.

And you are the only one who has control over what you are thinking. It is your choice! What ever you focus your mind on is your choice! Praising God and sin against God both happen in the mind long before there is any action by mouth or hands. It is your choice to love God and God's other children OR to live in sin. Sin being, to not love others and therefore not love God so renew your own mind.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

ALL Saints Day

When the Apostle Paul wrote to congregations he often included the phrase of greetings to all the saints. For Paul the term saints included all those who had been baptized into Christ. Every follower of Jesus was a saint by definition.  Hundreds of years later the now organized church redefined the term saint to mean some one who had been especially good or a martyr. Even later they added the qualification that the person to be declared a saint must have preformed a miracle after death. 

I much prefer Paul’s idea of saint! Often when teaching bible studies on Paul’s letters I note that difference and start calling class members saint + their name. In one class I turned to a woman and called her, “Saint Joyce” and her husband who was also in the class cried out, “Oh no Pastor Larry you don’t know what you have just done to me.” She was Saint Joyce from then on. No matter where she traveled she let people know that she was Saint Joyce.

Are you a follower of Jesus? Then add  your Saint to your name and smile.