Sunday, February 27, 2011

The First Baptist Missionary: Not Who You Would Think

I just finished writing a paper about a missionary that I had never heard of before. Many of us, maybe all of us, think of names like Adoniram Judson, or William Carey, or Luther Rice when we think about early missionaries. But George Lisle? He pre-dated Judson by almost twenty years. He was a freed slave that became the first Baptist missionary from the US. He planted a church in Jamaica back when it was still a slave country, around 1782. It can be said that this unsung hero of missionary work was a truly dedicated man of God. In order to provide passage for himself and his wife and children, George actually "sold himself" back into slavery. He became an indentured servant to a British Colonel Kirkland, and worked for him for two years to earn his freedom back. I can't think of many white missionaries that would be so willing to go, that they would literally give up their freedom for service to Jesus.

George Lisle made a huge impact on the Kingdom of Christ. He discipled slaves and whites, baptized hundreds, pastored the poor and those who would further impact the world. He did this much like his Lord. With no formal education, he taught himself to read the Bible, started churches with no organized missional support, shared the gospel with thousands, and saw many preachers and missionaries spring forth as the fruits of his labor.

All I can say is that I wish I would have heard of him sooner.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Fifth Horseman Of The Apocalypse

Wow! Talk about eschatology and the end of the world...Tuesday I was on my way home from the hospital and needed to stop for gas. I also knew I would be going out again, so as I breezed by the gas station I noticed $2.94/gallon. Since my last fill-up was at the GA\FL state line at $3.20/gallon, I thought, "Not bad." When I came out later and stopped at the same station it was $3.08/gallon. 14¢ in just a few hours. Today I drive by and it's $3.24/gallon. Another .16¢!!!!!!!

I think I'm having a vision!

I saw a beast rising up out of Egypt and Libya. The beast had seven heads and a crescent moon tattooed on his chest. And I heard a voice say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a yellow horse! Its rider was holding a barrel of oil in one hand and a scimitar in the other. Then I heard what sounded like a voice coming from a house of white, saying, “One gallon of gas for a day’s wages, and five quarts of oil for a day’s wages, and do not damage the marshy wetlands or drill in the Gulf of Mexico!”

********UPDATE  3/2/2011***********
$3.34 with in the last few hours, up another .11¢. Still, it's better here than in New York...

New York

Stupid Gaddaffi!  Doesn't he know this is very inconvenient for me! Bah. Humbug! You know that "mark of the beast" thing???? Well it's $6.66/gallon and it's coming!

And I looked and I saw another Beast. And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to purchase an SUV, and that no one may buy or sell gas except one who has an account at BP. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a gallon: and his number is $6.66. And I heard what sounded like a voice of rushing wind and the sound as it were of doors slamming at the house of white. And the voice of one, crying in the wilderness, and saying,

"Woe. Woe. Woe is me.
How will I get reelected with this economy?"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Proclamation Against Egypt

1 Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, And will come into Egypt; The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, And the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst.
2 “ I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; Everyone will fight against his brother, And everyone against his neighbor, City against city, kingdom against kingdom.
3 The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst; I will destroy their counsel, And they will consult the idols and the charmers, The mediums and the sorcerers.
4 And the Egyptians I will give Into the hand of a cruel master, And a fierce king will rule over them,” Says the Lord, the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 19:1-4 (NKJV)

Sounds all too CNN Headline News, huh?

This prophecy from Isaiah has very close ties to what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24:2-7.

2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a]these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

Am I saying that this current Middle Eastern mess is the heralding of the Rapture and Tribulation? No. It could be. In this same chapter Jesus told us that no one knows when He'll return. What I do find hopeful in this is the promise of God to Egypt given at the end of the Isaiah prophecy.

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border. 20 And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them. 21 Then the LORD will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the LORD and perform it. 22 And the LORD will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the LORD, and He will be entreated by them and heal them.

How great would that be!? To see millions of Muslim converts pledging alleigence to the King of Kings? Even so Lord Jesus, come!

Where Ever Is Heard An Encouraging Word

So it's baseball season again!? Wow! South Carolina is the reigning National Champions in baseball, so living around here these days there is a lot of focus on baseball. And rightfully so. I mean, they can't win in football...sooooo. (Ha! That's for all the glee I heard recently on the patently false rumors about our QB Aaron Murray's "broken" ankle!)

Actually, those two things got me thinking. About baseball and encouragement (versus football and discouragement, I suppose! Ehh. Only 5 month, 4days, and 12 hours till kick off. UGA vs Boise State. ****sigh*** Georgia Football, where these days Never Is Heard An Encouraging Word!) But I digress. I WAS talking about baseball. And encouragement. Which reminds me of a story about Willie Mays.

Willie Mays began his major league baseball career with only one hit in his first 26 at-bats. Though he went on to hit 660 home runs, and steal more than 300 bases, his debut was so unimpressive it seemed unlikely he would last more than a few weeks in the big-leagues, let alone become one of the greatest to play the game. The turning point for Mays occurred when his manager, Leo Durocher, found him crying in the dugout after yet another miserable performance at the plate. The coach put his arm around Mays and said, "What's the matter, son?" Mays said, "I can't hit up here. I belong in the minor leagues." Durocher said this to Willie Mays: "As long as I'm manager of the Giants, you'll be my centerfielder." Durocher simply said, "I know that you can make it."

Is there someone in your life who needs your vote of confidence? Someone who's ready to give up? Someone who no longer believes in their ability to do what God has called them to do? You have the opportunity to lift them up. Your words — your confidence — can help get them back on track. Paul said, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are in fact doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 )

Take a look around you today. Somewhere near you there may be a future Hall-of-Famer who needs a good word from you. Give them some encouragement. Build them up. Be a positive influence. It will go along way toward helping them...and you!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Disney Last Update

Disney was awesome! The kids had a great time, I had the opportunity to make some new friends and spend time with friends that I'd been missing. (Sorry Dwayne. Wish you were there...ummm... here. Well, you know.)

The kids loved the parks, Luke was in a park from open to close every day. And some days past close. (You can stay in the parks after they close if you are staying "on property." We did each park, but I didn't like the hopper option. I would have liked to have stayed in one park each day. Just me. I did get to do all of the things I wanted, with the exception of Space Mountain. Oh, and Soaring. Also, the race track at Epcot. And Rocking Roller Coaster. As I said, I would have liked one park per day better.

Kevin, Patty, and Stevie rest on a bench at the Magic Kingdom

I did get to go on Haunted Mansion and It's A Small World After All. (everybody sing now) Classics from my childhood! But by far the best part was sitting outside our hotel room each evening shooting the breeze with my new friend Robyn and Kevin, Vickie and Dennis an old friend Katherine. Not that she's old, but that I've been friends with her...oh never mind.

The Marching Knights at Epcot, 2011

What I realized today; however, was that for five glorious days, I was able to have an adult conversation that did not revolve around, or evolve into, a discussion about church and church politics. I did get to share about my faith some, but I didn't worry about the WORK that is church. So while my body is tired and sore, my soul and spirit are refreshed. It has been a full year, our cruise last February, since that has been the case.

A Very Tired Luke.

So thank heavens for this little break. I'm ready to charge Hell with a water pistol again! Of course, with Jesus by my side, it'd be with a really big fire hose!

Disney Home

Our laptop has had some serious issues the last few days. So I'll update y'all later on our GREAT, AWESOME, MOST GLORIOUS trip. But here are a few pictorial previews!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Disney Day 2

North Central Knights

Me and Tigger. We are trying to see who is the most orange.

If you don't put that camera down...


Disney Day 1

So day one at Disney was spent visiting my parents and waiting on the arrival of the band. We also visited the Florida Mall, where Stevie took her i-pod she got for Christmas for a quick repair job. A post for another day, but…we left with a brand new i-pod, compliments of Steven Jobs. Way to go Apple!

The band arrived at 11:30 pm after a grueling ten hour bus ride. Yikes!!!! Everyone was/is exhausted and we have a bright and early 8:00 am appointment with a certain mouse. So…good night all, and look for an update or two each day and loads of pics.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Disney World

At WDW for the next 5 days with The Little Band That Did! Thanks to everyone who was able to help with our trip. The kids are super-pumped and ready to blow Mickey's ears off with their great performance! Woot! Woot! North Central!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Ultimate Valentine

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Happy Valentine's Day Y'all!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ramping Up For V-Day

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. eloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11 (NKJV)

Eating Paper For Jesus


A little boy named Joey loved Jesus and wanted to make sure He knew it. To find the best way for communicating his love he sought his mom’s counsel and asked, “Mom, I know that Jesus lives inside my heart but how do I tell him I love him? Do you think if I write ‘I love you’ on a piece of paper and eat it, He’ll get the note?”

Kids do say the darndest things. Nevertheless, Joey does has a point. No, I’m not advocating the eating of paper. I am advocating the internalization of God’s word, and the external action that should accompany it. The first step is this internalization of the word. David wrote in Psalm 119:103, " How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey." A cow will eat grass, hay, whatever...I ain't no farmer...but it has a terrible digestive system. So it will regurgitate the partially chewed grass. This is called cud. It will then continue to chew the cud, swallow, regurgitate, chew, on and on this process goes until it has chewed the cud into a pulverized substance that it can digest. (David said that the word is sweet as honey. I doubt it would taste like cow puke.) Nevertheless, we are to do something similar to God's word. Take it in. Meditate. (that's the chewing the cud part) Internalize. Bring it back to memory. We do this until the Word has fully digested into our system. In-other-words, until we have a greater understanding of what the truth of the Scripture has to offer.

But that is step one. Step two is to put what has been digested into action. Paul said, "Do your work willingly, as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your earthly master." Colossians 3:23 (CEV) So we are to be more than just theologs studying and internalizing the Word, we are to put what we know into action by serving Jesus in everything that we do. Are you a carpenter? The build for Jesus. Do you empty trash cans? Write technical manuals? Are you a CEO? An engineer? A bank president or a ditch digger? Then do it for the Lord. What Paul was saying was that the best way to tell Jesus that you love Him, is showing others that He loves them. Adrian Rogers was fond of saying, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." The bottom line is that folks come to church looking for what people need most…someone to care enough to reach out, to be a friend, to say with the simplest of invitations, “I care about you. You are important to me.” How many more people would come to your church if they could feel like they are important to God, simply because they were important to His people?

Listen to how Peterson's paraphrase put that verse from Colossians. "Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance." Colossians 3:23 (The Message)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Curiosities of the Civil War

If you know much about me at all, you know what a history buff I am. One of my last "pleasure reads" was Two If By Sea; A History of the US Navy from 1774-1812. Fascinating book, and highly recommended by the way.

So it was with great excitement that I stumbled across my latest "pleasure read," Curiosities of the Civil War by Webb Garrison. This is not a typical historical rendering, but an amalgamation of short stories and factual tidbit that are omitted from most history books. Being a history enthusiast, I knew many of the items spoken about, (Stonewall Jackson's arm being buried separate from his body) but the majority were new to me also (Ulysses Grant dressed like a farmer???)

At any rate, this was a most enjoyable book, one I would recommend to any Civil War buff, or history nut like me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

There Is Nothing Wrong With Her At All

OK. So, there is also romantic love to talk about, and I cannot think of a more romantic passage in all the Bible than Song of Songs 4.

1 How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, you are beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are like doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats streaming down Mount Gilead.
2 Your teeth are white like newly sheared sheep just coming from their bath. Each one has a twin, and none of them is missing.
3 Your lips are like red silk thread, and your mouth is lovely. Your cheeks behind your veil are like slices of a pomegranate.
4 Your neck is like David's tower, built with rows of stones. A thousand shields hang on its walls; each shield belongs to a strong soldier.
5 Your breasts are like two fawns, like twins of a gazelle, feeding among the lilies.
6 Until the day dawns and the shadows disappear, I will go to that mountain of myrrh and to that hill of incense.
7 My darling, everything about you is beautiful, and there is nothing at all wrong with you.

I can hear the Queen of Sheba now..."Shut up, Solomon. You had me at the Goats of Gilead!"

After all, there is nothing wrong with her at all. And as a bonus, she has all of her teeth!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

God Never Fails


So in this month dedicated to the topic of Love, let’s look at some of the attributes of Love. In other words, what is love? Well, the first thing that can be established is what the Bible says about the topic. Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, had this to say…

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NIV)

It is a great list of Love’s attributes and characteristics, and a very famous passage. Basically, Paul says that love is the greatest of the Spiritual Gifts (read chpts 12 and 14) as well as the first of the Fruits of the Spirit. (see Galatians 5 and my take on the fruit here) So, love makes both lists. We should have all of the Fruits of the Spirit, and everybody has at least one gift. So you should be a loving person in there somewhere!

But what makes love so valuable as a Believer?
1) Jesus said it would distinguish us from non-Believers.
2)It is a part of the Greatest Commandment, and the second Greatest…Love God, love your neighbor.
3) It is the embodiment of God. Therefore, to love is to be godlike (little g) and to have love is to have God.

John told us in 1 John 4 that we should “ love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (7-8)

God doesn’t just love. He IS love. So John says God is Love, the embodiment of that elusive thing. And Paul describes love as an attribute that we should strive to make most near and important to our lives. So, let’s smash these concepts and re-read 1 Corinthians 13, shall we? I'm replacing the word Love (agapao) with the word God (Theos)

If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have God, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have God, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have God, I receive no benefit whatsoever. For God is patient, God is kind, God it isn’t jealous, God doesn’t brag, God isn’t arrogant, God isn’t rude, God doesn’t seek His own advantage, God isn’t irritable, God doesn’t keep a record of complaints, God isn’t happy with injustice, but He is happy with the truth. God puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.
God never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (CEV)

No. He doesn’t. When we manifest love in our lives and the lives of others, we manifest the most powerful attribute of God. His unending mercy.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Obsessions

So I'm running through my Labels and notice the number of posts per subject... Just to show my blogging interests

18 on the SBC

16 on Politics

14 on College Football

13 on Love

10 on Beaverdam Baptist Church

8 on Obama

8 on Georgia

1 on Absolute Truth

Does this mean I absolutely love politics and Georgia football more than the truth?

Insomnia, Love, and The Grand Story of God

I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Psalm 77:1-3 (NLT)

I'm not sure exactly what was going on in the life of Asaph, but it is certain that he was deeply troubled. In way of reference, he was the grandson of Samuel, choirmaster for David, and the writer of Psalm 50 and Psalms 73-83. But whatever was going on in his life, when he wrote Psalm 77, he was drowning. In what I'm not sure: financial trouble, relational trouble, family problems, maybe work related stress, or it could have been the troubles that come to our own mind when we struggle with insomnia. It is obvious that whether the stress produced insomnia or the insomnia produced stress, Asaph blamed God for his lack of sleep.

You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, The years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, And my spirit makes diligent search. (vs 4-6, NKJV emphasis mine)

I have been there. Have you? That closing in feeling that causes you to lie awake at night, one eye open, the other tightly closed, "shouting to God." Praying to the Father with hands outstretched to heaven, like a small child pleading to a parent to pick them up and comfort them. And the stress continues, and the situation, on the surface, seems hopeless...almost like fate itself is against you, like you cannot win/overcome this situation/have any hope, any longer. Asaph believed he was fated for doom; that God had abandoned him...

And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” (vs10 NLT)

But with one word--remember--he moves from despair to hope...

But then I remember all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. (vs 11-12 NLT)

It is funny, because I think that we sometimes forget that we make up a small part in a grand story. But like Asaph, we must remember that the grand story is not about us and our struggles, but about God and His great faithfulness and love. While we may be drowning in debt, divorce, depression , or dissatisfaction, God is more powerful than the waters.

When the waters saw you, O God, the waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths... Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds. (16, 19-20 NLT)

Our troubles, the waters that are pouring over us, the things of our nightmares and insomnia, TREMBLE when we remember God, and His story. When we remember the way He has saved us in the past. The way that He has loved us, with a never ending love.

Have you ever shouted at God? You don't have to, He knows your feelings. Yet it might be helpful for you to yell sometimes. Many times in the Psalms we read of people shouting to Jehovah. Like any relationship, YOU must let your emotions have some say so. This is true in human and divine relationships. One of my favorite passages on prayer is James 5:16, " The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." The word fervent is the Greek word Energeo and it means "to put forth power." It's where we get the English word for energy. "Pray with power," James tells us. Shout to the Lord!

J.C. Ryle once said, "Let us knock loudly at the door of grace and settle in our own minds that cold prayers are a sacrifice with out fire."

Are you full of insomnia? Stress? Troubles? Then remember that God loves you, and shout to the heavens! Pray with a fervent heat, and most of all, trust Him with your little story, and you'll be suprised to see how well it lines up with His grand one.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Love. * cultivating Spirit-given character

Calvin Miller has been a favorite author for me for several years. Back in the 2001 I discovered his writing for the Sunday school arm of LifeWay Christian Resources. His newest project is simply titled Love. Cultivating Spirit Given Character.

Miller takes us on a six week journey of discovering the deeper meaning of the word Love and its concepts. Love is more than a feeling or an emotion, Miller asserts. It is a word that is used flippantly in today’s culture, and overused by a society with little depth. True Love is seen most clearly as an attribute of God’s character. By focusing on the Fruits of the Spirit, Miller opens up the truest meaning of love. Of the nine fruits listed in Galatians 5, love starts them all, because it is the starting place for Spirit directed living, the first in a set of keys to achieving Spiritual Victory.

Broken down into six weekly studies that can be done individually or in a group setting, Love breaks down of preconceived notions of what Love is all about. Topics include defining love and understanding God’s longing and His unconditional love.

As with anything written by Calvin Miller, I highly recommend Love for your personal study, or in your Sunday School or Small Group.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Ultimate Valentine

You say: "It's impossible" God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

You say: "I'm too tired" God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 111:28)

You say: "I can't go on" God says: My grace is sufficient (Psalm 91:15)

You say: "I can't figure things out" God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

You say: "I'm not able" God says: I am able (2 Cor 9:8)

You say: "I feel all alone" God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5)

You say: "I can't forgive myself" God says: I forgive you (Romans 8:1)

You say: "Nobody really loves me" God says: I love you (John 3:16)

If you get nothing else out of the “Love Month”, get this: Jesus loves you and wants you to be a part of His family. That is the central story of the Bible. God loves mankind, His creation, and wants them brought back to Him. He loved you so much that He was willing to give His Son so that you could be reconciled to Him. Now that's what I call a Valentine!

Food for thought.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Love Month

So it's February. Sorry I haven't written in a while.

This is what we call in the USA the "Love Month". We celebrate love on February 14...Valentine's Day.

I plan to put some posts up about the subject from God's point of view. To start, here's a re-post from Feb 2010.

Blessings, everybody.


     Every seminary graduate has them. Those profs who speak louder and with more to tell us than any text book ever could. I had two I absolutely adored. One of these great men was Steve Drake. We had some friends in common, but mostly he was a great mentor.

In my “Foundation for Ministry” class, Steve told us the story of a wife that came to his office for counseling. “I not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even! Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as badly as he has hurt me.” With the Wisdom of Solomon, Dr. Drake suggested that she go home and treat her husband as if she "truly" loved him. She should go out of her way to be kind and generous; She should spare no effort at pleasing him and enjoying him. “Make him believe that your love is undying and that you can’t live without him. Then tell him you want a divorce. That will really hurt him.” She was thrilled with the plan and went about acting “as if” she loved him. For two months, she showed kindness, support and love. When Dr Drake had not heard from her those two months, he called and asked if she was ready for the divorce. “Divorce?” she exclaimed. “Never! I’ve found out I really do love him.”

Here is the point; her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established, sometimes, not so much by fervent promise but by repeated deeds. We can learn a valuable lesson from this story. If we put our words into action and if you will SHOW your love with deeds, it will return to you in abundance. As Paul said, “If I gave all my wealth to the poor, and if I were burned alive for my deeds, if I didn’t have love, it would all be for nothing!”

I am afraid that we have lost sight of that, and we have begun, as a culture and a society, to only offer love conditionally. If you give it to me, I'll give it back. Thank God, He offers us unconditional love. No strings attached. We need to be more like that. I fear greatly for my beloved Southern Baptist Convention, that we have become a Convention of Ephesian believers...those whose love has grown cold. We are right on the money with our doctrine and theology, but just like the church in Ephesus, we have left our first love. Remember, they didn't lose it, they left it! We leave the love of Jesus when we want a Baptism every Sunday, but never evangelize. When we want a church full on Sunday, as long as no visitor sits in our seat. Lots of youth and young married couples, but no contemporary music and certainly no disruptions caused by teens and young children. We want our students to go to Bible Drill, but heaven help the poor youth worker who asks for $25 to buy pizza.

Let us stop with the games of playing AT church, and let us put our love into action. I really, honestly, truly, certainly do believe that if we will, we will find full churches, filled baptisteries, and youth growing strong in their faith.