Midweek Reminder 4/24/13

Let’s start something new.  I am going to try to post a “Midweek Reminder” on the blog each Wednesday.  It will be a short summary of Sunday’s sermon that will hopefully help jog your memory and remind you of some things (if you were there) or help you follow along with the current Sunday morning series (if you weren’t).  Here goes:

Life is tough, and sometimes it’s hard for us to see the shore when we are in the middle of the storm.  Peter knows this, and that’s why he has devoted the first twelve verses of 1 Peter to reminding us of who we are as believers and the living hope that we have in Jesus. Peter is like the lookout of a ship perched high above the deck calling out to us below, “Get your head up! Your future goal is real! I can see it! Your hope is alive!”  But now, in verse 13, Peter comes to a turning point in his letter. In the first twelve verses Peter focuses on what Jesus has accomplished for believers, now, he is going to call believers to live in light of it.

The first word of this new section of Peter’s letter is “Therefore”. Don’t miss this.  This is huge. “Therefore” reaches all the way back to the truths of the first twelve verses of this letter and grounds what Peter is about to say in them. To put it simply, Peter’s command for how we should live our lives is firmly based on the news of what God has done for us in Jesus.  What we are to “do” is based on what Jesus has “done.”  This is huge, because if we miss this order, if we miss this point, the result would be a righteousness based on our own works instead of seeing our holiness as the result of God’s grace and power and a response to His love for us in Jesus.

So what command is Peter giving us? He is telling us “To fix our hope completely on the grace brought to us by Jesus Christ.”

If we miss this command, we miss the whole point of Peter’s letter.  When we place our hope, our faith, firmly on the grace Jesus has shown us, the grace He has promised us, it will change us.  Peter is calling us to a decisive action of confident expectation that is strong enough to change the way that we live.  This is really a call to abandon any false hope that we have in empty idols or delusional self-righteousness.  As believers or hope cannot be on our jobs, our kids, our homes, our own goodness, our charity, our relationships, our traditions, our preferences, our bank accounts, or our own prestige.  Our hope must be in Christ alone.  We must be able to say with the hymn writer that our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and His righteousness.  Nothing less will do, nothing else will last, nothing else will satisfy.

Where is your hope? Or maybe I should ask, does your life reflect the hope that you claim to have in Jesus?  Does your life reflect a living hope that goes beyond this life?  Or does your life say that this world is all there is so we better enjoy it while we can?

Today I would remind you to get your eyes off of this life and start living in light of the life which is to come.



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Random thoughts for the week

Here are some random thoughts from this past week.

1) This is not originally from me, but I think it has a valid point.
“When there are bombings, we blame the bomber. When there is a drunk driving accident, we blame the driver. But when there is a shooting, we blame the gun.”
The logic just doesn’t hold up. Gun-violence is always tragic and the loss of innocent life should never be tolerated, but let’s remember that when it does happen, the blame lies at the feet of the one who pulls the trigger.

2) There will always be conflict when two or more people attempt to live and work together. It is no different in the church. People will be people, and no matter where they are, conflict will follow. Still, it is refreshing and a joy to see people in the church handle conflict well. Jesus promised that people will know we are His followers when we love one another. Christians, let’s strive to handle conflict in a way that glorifies Him.

3) Almost ten years later, Napoleon Dynamite is still a GREAT movie!

4) This week I had the chance to speak to a group of men and women from several local Law Enforcement departments about the importance of marriage and family. You may not realize it, but the issues of divorce and domestic confrontations are very prevalent among those in Law Enforcement. This made me realize how important it is to reach out to these men, women, and families in our communities. I cannot speak for all churches, but it has been my experience that most churches do a poor job of connecting with Law Enforcement Officers. Join me in praying for these men and women, and talk with your pastor about ways that you and your church can reach out to them.

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George Beverly Shea…You knew him even if you didn’t know him

Last night one of the heroes of gospel music stepped out of this world and into the presence of his Savior.  George Beverly Shea was a spiritual giant who along with Billy Graham and Cliff Barrows let untold multitudes to Jesus through their evangelistic crusades.

As my wife, Leigh Anne, and I were talking this morning, I mentioned Bev’s passing to her.  Her reply was, “Who?”  After I picked my jaw up off the floor and shook away the disbelief that anyone who grew up in a Baptist church could not know who George Beverly Shea was, it hit me, most people under 30 (wether or not they grew up in church) probably don’t.  Think about it, Bev was in his 80s by the time most of us could walk.  Still, I think more people know Bev than realize it.  Just listen to the rest of our conversation:

Me: “You have to know who George Beverly Shea is!!!”

LA: “Nope.”

Me: “I know that you do.”

LA: “I really don’t know who he is.”

Me: “You know the song ‘How Great Thou Art’?”

LA: “Of course.  What does it have to do with anything?”

Me: “He was the one that sang it.”

LA: “A lot of people have sung that song.”

Me: “Yeah, but when you hear it in your head, George Beverly Shea is the one singing it.”

Sure enough, on the way home from breakfast, the radio station we were listening to played a clip of Bev singing ‘How Great Thou Art’ and Leigh Anne smiled and said “Yeah, that’s him.”

If you think you don’t know George Beverly Shea, do yourself a favor and go to his tribute website by clicking here.

Enjoy these…

And a personal favorite:

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Welcome to the Blogosphere

Well, I finally bit the bullet.  After some encouragement to start writing on a regular basis, I decided to join the wide world of blogs.  While definitely not the most enduring, or even endearing, form of writing, blogs do provide a forum to express one’s thoughts to a large audience, on a regular basis, and in a very informal way.  Because of these things, I am now a blogger.

So the question remains, “What should my first post be about?”

If you know me at all, you know that I am a fairly random guy.  I can only imagine that this will lead to some very random posts.  In keeping with this theme of randomness, it is only fitting that my first post be a collection of random thoughts.

So…..here you go:

1) The bombings in Boston are a tragedy, but they are more than that.  At their core, the bombings are the deliberate acts of evil by a person, or group of persons, that should serve to remind us of the depth of human depravity and cause us to long for the day when Jesus sets right the wrongs of this world.

2)Some thought that conservatives, like Rick Santorum, were being fear-mongers when they warned of the slippery slope the legalization of same-sex marriage would bring.  Conservatives were mocked when they said that if same-sex marriage was deemed legal, the call to legalize polygamy would be next. Well look at this. It’s just a reminder, when you take something instituted by God outside of the boundaries He intended, you open up doors you may not want to walk through.

3)The Braves are on FIRE!!!!  Even with the injuries to stars like Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman, and Brandon Beachy, the Braves just keep winning.  This is thanks in no small part to the rocket-like rise of Evan Gattis. Who, by the way, is a beast.

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