Daily Reflections (8-26-13)

– I received a call about 6:50am letting me know Nenac had taken her last breath on this earth. She is now in the arms of her Savior. It is bittersweet. Our family will miss her greatly but there is no chance that we would rather her be here with us than in the presence of Jesus. Paul reminds us “to die is gain.” She is experiencing that gain right now!

– Before my mom called I was reading through Luke 15. I don’t know that I have ever noticed the way this chapter speaks of the reaction in heaven when a sinner is redeemed.

“There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7)

“I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)

I can only imagine the joy when that redeemed sinner comes home! Heaven is throwing a party this morning. Nenac is walking the streets of gold. She is enjoying the company of her husband and son and parents. Most importantly, she sees her Savior face to face. What we know dimly she knows face to face.

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Daily Reflections (8-25-13)

– We had a great time of corporate worship today at New Vision Fellowship. It was a joy to see several guests and many of our members. Worship was great and you could sense the presence of the Lord in the sanctuary. I preached from John 9 on Jesus healing the man who was born blind. We talked about how Jesus is in the business of changing lives. Those of us who have experience life change (from death to life) have the privilege of being involved in the lives of people who need to be transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Oftentimes all we need to do is faithfully share the story of how Jesus changed our life. We all have a story to tell and we should never forget the Scripture says, “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” (Romans 10:15). Telling our story to unbelievers is a beautiful thing God can use to draw them to himself.

– My great grandmother is still hanging on at this point. I expect a call anytime to let us know that she has gone on to be with Jesus. As I prepared the message for her funeral this week, I was reminded at the brevity of life. Even though she has lived 93 years, that is little more than a blip when you consider eternity. Life is a vapor! I plan to use Proverbs 31:10-31 for the funeral service. I believe these verses encapsulate her life and her faith in Jesus. Here is my outline:

1. She was loved and cherished by her husband (31:10-19).

2. She was loved and cherished by her community (31:20-24).

3. She was loved and cherished by her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren (31:25-29).

4. She was loved and cherished by her Savior (31:30-31).

**By far the most important thing my great grandmother did was place her faith and trust in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. This relationship enabled 1-3 to be true of her life. She is a wonderful lady!

Daily Reflections (8-24-13)

– Our local Burger King just underwent a major overhaul and renovation. It looks awesome! They incorporated an indoor playground among other fancy amenities. This is the first fast food indoor playground in Dublin and we headed there for lunch today with the girls. Needless to say, they had a blast along with a number of other kids. Today, business was booming! This is a good thing because I’m sure the renovations were costly. Here is a picture of our girls right before we left.

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– College football season is upon us and you can almost taste it! We are only one week away from the UGA vs. Clemson game and I am looking forward to football Saturdays. Go Dawgs!

Daily Reflections (8-23-13)

– Sinclair Ferguson asks a pertinent question in chapter 4 of In Christ Alone: “Why did God become man?” He offered three great reasons:

1. The conquest of Satan required an incarnation (Gen. 3:15).
2. Atonement was impossible without an incarnation (Heb. 2:17).
3. In our continuing frailty we are comforted by the knowledge of Christ’s incarnation (Heb. 7:26).

I was greatly encouraged as I thought through these three truths. What a joy to meditate on the incarnation of Christ and its realities in my own life.

– Janie and I had the joy of going out for breakfast together this morning after dropping both girls off at school. We are planning to do this every Friday morning after we drop the girls off – dates are wonderful when you have little ones at home!

Daily Reflections (8-22-13)

– Tim Challies’ article on the rise and fall of the Christian bookstore and its impact on his life is a great read. I have a similar story. I loved Christian music as a teenager and the Christian bookstore was the only place where it could be found. I spent numerous hours listening to new music as it came out and numerous dollars purchasing CD’s.

– Pastors need thick skin and thin skin in the ministry. This article is helpful in thinking through these issues. Here is my favorite part:

All of this is to say, in the pastorate you need wisdom to know when to ignore criticism and when to take it to heart. This is one of the reasons why as the pastor, or any person for that matter, you need to be in constant prayer to ask Christ to give you boldness and confidence to ignore inane or baseless complaints on the one hand, and to have humility to accept valid criticism with grace and charity on the other. Pray therefore, that Christ would give you thick and thin skin!

– I plan to spend some time this evening reading David McCullough’s John Adams and Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor. Reading is one of my favorite things to do!!

Daily Reflections (8-21-13)

– I started reading Sinclair Ferguson’s book In Christ Alone this morning during my quiet time. In the second chapter, he stressed the need for us to recognize the reality of Jesus’ coming – the true Christmas story.

The Scriptures systematically strip away the veneer that covers the real truth of the Christmas story. Jesus did not come to add to our comforts. He did not come to help those who were already helping themselves or to fill life with more pleasant experiences. He came on a deliverance mission, to save sinners, and to do so He had to destroy the works of the Devil (Matt. 1:21; 1 John 3:8b).

He continued:

There is, therefore, an element in the Gospel narratives that stresses that the coming of Jesus is a disturbing event of the deepest proportions. It had to be thus, for He did not come merely to add something extra to life, but to deal with our spiritual insolvency and the debt of our sin. He was not conceived in the womb of Mary for those who have done their best, but for those who know that their best is “like filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6) – far from good enough – and that in their flesh there dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18). He was not sent to be the source of good experiences, but to suffer the pangs of hell in order to be our Savior.

What a powerful reminder for us as believers. Why do we need Jesus? We are worse than we ever imagined! Why do we celebrate his coming? His grace is greater that we could have ever imagined!

– This article by Thom Rainer on why churches are declining is very helpful. Much of the discussion has to do with members and their commitment level. In our busy culture people have numerous reasons why they miss church. I have always thought it would be great for people to come up with reasons why they can’t miss church! Here are a couple that come to mind:

1. I can’t miss church because the Bible makes it clear that I am not to forsake the assembly.

2. I can’t miss church because I want to be a good example for my kids. I want them to be involved in church in the future!

3. I can’t miss church because I’m hungry to gather with God’s people and hear from His Word.

4. I can’t miss church because I want to exercise my gifts in the body.

5. I can’t miss church because I want to be there to encourage my pastor (smile…smile…wink…wink)!

**There are hundreds, probably thousands of other reasons one could give for coming to church – what are yours?

 

Daily Reflections (8-20-13)

– I spent some time with my great grandmother (Nenac) yesterday. After dropping Anna off at school, I made the drive to the big city of Doerun, GA (population 774). Nenac is 93 and has not been doing well. They have called hospice in and not given her much longer to live. I last saw her when we visited my parents for the 4th of July. She struggled to recognize me during the visit in July but this was somewhat expected. I’m not sure much could have prepared me for yesterday though. She is dying. It will not be much longer before she enters heaven’s gates. The good news is she is not in pain right now and the comforting news is that soon she will be in a place where she will never experience pain again. I have spent some time today thinking about her life and preparing the message for her funeral. This will be difficult but she asked me to do it several years ago and I want to honor her wishes. Keep my family in your prayers over the next several days. Even though we have been anticipating this time to come, it is still difficult.

– In other news it has been raining like crazy in Dublin for the past few days… weeks… and months! Want proof? Check out this picture Janie sent me as she was heading into our neighborhood.

IMG_3276We may need a canoe if it keeps raining!