Oh yeah, here are some words of wisdom for this holiday:
Don't make any resolutions you can't keep,
The grace of God tip-toes around our everyday experiences in this world. And it's only when we see with the eyes of our heart that we are able to learn what He's trying to teach us. This is my story about those little glimpses I've had...
Today, I had this funny memory hit me that I just can’t seem to shake out of my skull. So, I decided to share it here, even though I really don’t know how to tie it into a spiritual story-daily walk kind of thing. BUT, I know my buddies in the blogosphere (ie. Andy, Grant, Larry, Hook, Gabrielle, Will… and the rest) can surely turn it into a lesson. This is your assignment guys: Turn this story about “The Leap Frog Incident” into a sermon, and post it in the comments. Here we go!!!
The Leap Frog Incident happened one morning last Spring. Will and I came out of the house, just as Napoleon’s (our golden retriever) "Girlfriend" showed up. I saw the dogs sniffing each other behind the Jeep as I threw my bookbag inside. But when I looked up, there was Napoleon and his girlfriend "At It", so to speak… AND, there was my son standing five feet away from them watching with a strange, quizzical look on his face.
I told Will to come on and he stood there and said, "Hey Dad look!". I blew it off and said, "Yeah I know. Now come on, we're late!".
He walked to me laughing and said, "That's funny, Napoleon and his girlfriend are playing leapfrog and he's not strong enough to jump over her back."
At this point, I started laughing. Then I quickly strapped him in the Jeep and ran behind it and cackled loudly. When I had regained my composure, I hopped into the driver’s seat and fired up the engine. Will was still smiling when he turned to me and said,
"Dad,” he said with a smile, “We need to help Napoleon next time.”
“Huh???” I said stunned.
“We could just grab his butt and push him over the top," he said as he motioned this movement with his arms.
Obviously, I couldn't hold back so I laughed out loud, he laughed, and then I told him that it wouldn't be a good idea. I went on to say something to the effect of Napoleon needs to learn this one on his own...
"The majority of people say they would come to Church if only someone would ask them"
Why is it that we don't invite everyone we know that isn't involved in a Church, to come to our Church? I've sat and thought of why we tend to do this and have come up with the following possible answers:
1. Afraid they'll think we're a Bible-Thumping Jesus-Freak Weirdo.
2. Afraid that we may look like a hypocrite because we may have done something that seemed "Un-Christian" while they were watching.
3. Embarrassed that they might think we worship in a strange way at our Church.
You may have laughed at a few of these, especially the first one. But then again, maybe you've seen yourself in these three reasons. But now, I am left with the simple answer that we don't invite people to come to our Church simply because it is
My cousin Ann sent me this picture yesterday and I have been chompin' at the bit to post it here for everyone to enjoy.
You see, Ann's daughter Sarah finally lost her front tooth. I guess she had heard so much about the Tooth Fairy, that she wanted nothing more than to catch him sneaking into her room so that she could see exactly who, or what the Tooth Fairy really is. The only problem was that she was too tired to wait up and unmask the legendary figure. So, to give her the time she needed, she simply wrote the Tooth Fairy a note, requesting his return the following night when she'd be prepared.
If we could peek into the psyche of a child's head, I'm pretty sure we'd be in awe of the innocence we would find there. I know that I am amazed by the little things that come out of my son's mouth. The questions about "things", you know, the things we just know and obviously take for granted. But, it's also a little humbling and even scary to think that whatever we tell them will be absorbed like a sponge and become a part of them. This worries me because if you know me, you know that I am "slightly sarcastic"... Actually, I love to mess with people and joke around with them. I guess I need to be much more sensitive to how I answer his questions because he hangs on my words and believes me.
Sarah's note is a great black and white, concrete exhibit of just how much innocence God has in trusted to parents. And, I'm reminded to tread lightly on it. I don't want to shelter my kid, but then again, I do want to keep the World from messing with him for now. Obviously, the World is always picking on us and them, the Enemy is alive and well, and we have our own sinful nature or flesh that prowls within. Just another reminder to be armored up and aware at all times. But, I sure hope Sarah gets him...
Obviously, there were a few laughs and giggles from the audience due to the fact that Will had gotten the Old Man. Anyway, Marci was next and she performed her parts flawlessly.
We finished our parts, had a seat, and after the show, countless people told me to get some help from Will before I did anymore speaking. But, I can't blame this mistake on not memorizing the lines because I did study them. We studied them. We practiced them as family. Over and over and over...
Herein lies the problem: I grew up with the King James Version not the New International Version. This play and our part was in the NIV and although I practiced in the proper translation, when the moment arose, I reverted to my memory from years past. It reminds me of the saying about taking a country boy out of the country, but never being able to take the country out of the boy. Just like a country personality is ingrained in him, the KJV is in me and I guess always will be, even though I like the NIV better.
Who knows, maybe there will be a New New International Version (NNIV) when Will becomes an adult and he'll say "Terrified" and his little boy will correct him with "In Great Fear and Horror" or some other synonym for terror. I hope he gets the chance to see that love of God's PERFECT Word in his child as I have seen in mine...
Will and I had a little father-son time to hunt for the items we needed, kill them, tie them to the bumper, and triumphantly return home with our spoils. The objects of our desire for this "hunt": a flag pole and bracket to mount on the side of the house and a bunch of other little odds and ends. So off to Lowe's on Saturday we went.
I'm leading a new study at Church. Well, actually it's an old study of old topics designed to shed some light on why our Church believes like we do. You see, my Church is actually a non-denominational denomination... Huh? Just stay with me and you'll get it later.
I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church. I was first saved on Mothers Day when I was 11 years old. I was shortly thereafter baptised with my Mom, Dad, and sister and became a member of the Church and started learning the doctrine. I learned that once you are saved, your saved forever. I also grew to believe that baptism was simply something you did so that you could call yourself a member of the Baptist Church.
Fast forward 20 or so years...
It's 2002, I'm married, my wife is expecting, and I've been attending her "Home Church" which is a congregation of the Church of God (the Anderson, Indiana Church of God, not the Pentecostal Cleveland, Tennessee Church). I'm not close to God, and I'm confused. I was taught eternal security, but didn't feel as though I was saved, even though I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was converted on Mothers Day 19 years prior. Obviously, God was working on me and working on me hard.
The Pastor at this Church is about my age, which was a real odd thing to me, but a really good thing. He preached over an over how Christianity is a lifestyle and not simply a 'Sunday-Wednesday Thing' overshadowed by a doctrine. It's about knowing God, worshipping God, Loving God, and even more, letting God love you back. That was something I always seemed to miss.
But the strangest thing about this new Church I was attending was the fact that they were not a "Denomination" but a "Movement". The Baptist in me had to learn more. I had to figure out what the boundaries of the Doctrine are and just what it takes to be a member. What I learned was that the Doctrine is pretty close to Baptist: no drinking or dancing. But, the biggest difference was that this Church did not agree with the Baptist/Calvinist belief that 'Once in Grace, Always in Grace'. But that was OK with me because I had always considered a one time commitment to Christ as a blank check, so to speak. And I always cringed when someone I debated this belief with and had backed into a corner, simply replied with "He/She wasn't saved to begin with". I always thought that was a cop-out.
So back to membership....
One of the things that makes the Church of God Reformation Movement (it's full name) unique is that it's pews are filled with members from tons of different denominations. There are your ex-Catholics, Baptist, Methodists, Lutherans, etc. with one thing in common, a thirst and a hunger for more of God. But I always thought this could cause problems due to the different belief systems/interpretations that the members may bring to the table.
Fast forward to my Wednesday night class...
What better thing to study than what the Church believes? On the first night, I had an ex-Freewill Baptist, Baptist, and my personal favorite, an ex-Lutheran/Catholic/Methodist. As you can see, the diversity is pretty good. And, we kicked off with most people's favorite to differ on beliefs: END OF TIMES!!!! Long story short, we had a good time discussing how the Church holds to the Amillenial view.
The next teaching topic on the agenda is membership. Unlike Baptist and several other Doctrines, the Church of God doesn't have "membership". Sure, there is a roll that one can sign on after they've attended for at least six months, but this is for voting on things like the budget, elders, Pastoral calling, etc. The way we see it is that if your name is written in the only book that really matters (the Lamb's Book of Life), that's good enough for the Church. As the old hymn of the Church says:
It's good enough for the Church, it's good enough for me, and it's a snapshot of how Heaven will be one day...