Elbow Room and Alarm Clocks

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In bed the alarm rings, I feel as if my body is 180 lbs. of cement.  God whispers, What did you expect? You haven’t taken a day off in 12 days.

Ouch!

That morning I asked:

Do I have to run quickly to and fro?
Do I have to get up today and go?
I’d rather throw bed sheets over my head
Or visit the zoo with my boys instead
I’d hand my to-dos to a wart-covered toad
And chat with a neighbor just down the road.
I’d rather run in the fields of my youth
I’d rather be 20, to tell you the truth
I’d rather sneak off with a tall stack of books
And give the librarian puzzling looks
I rather discuss life with a glass of ice tea
With someone as incredibly burned out as me.
I rather hike the Grand Canyon today
But I don’t have gas money so guess that I’ll stay.

Life, in an average 21st Century family, blows out of our window at 150 miles an hour. We barely give ourselves the elbowroom to really succeed. I know that this is a major character flaw of many guys. As men, husbands, dads and employees, we instinctively find our self-worth in doing more than just being. Sometimes I wonder how many opportunities I missed because of the words; “have to” “ought to” and “gotta”? God meant for you to leave room for him to work. If we don’t our prayer life, our parenting, our marriage, our future all suffer.

Our best days are marked in moments that usually don’t happen because we had more important things to do.  We look at our kids, in every life stage, and wonder if they’ll ever grow up and then, before we know it, we realize… they did.

Every man I know seems to think he has a warp-speed button. Perhaps that’s why we love the idea of superpowers and action heroes. I must confess I press the warp-speed button far too often. But the reverse gear is nonexistent. We don’t get any do-overs for yesterday.

So from today on, I promise to look at all the incredible blessings that are buried under my to-do lists, agendas, and behind the billboards that blur across the windshield as I shift into fifth on the open road.

I will try to give more than I get. I can’t keep it anyway. God is planning a huge end-of-the-earth bonfire. Even the antique doilies my wife bought for next-to-nothing on e-Bay will be ashes.

I will make it job #1 to hang on for dear life to my family, my friends, my mission, and my Jesus. Everything else I’ll move to the back of the line.

Yesterday I went to the Dr.

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Found out a have a blocked saliva gland and swollen Lymph Node. Wonderful….

Other than that. Looks like I have a place to preach Sunday morning. Caleb will be playing the drums at Alpine. Still haven’t heard from Darlene since Tuesday about how her week is going in Nashville.  She has been around friends so I pray she is having a refreshing time.

Caleb and I are making it at home. Trying to get him on a better sleep schedule. I’m really going to have to figure out transportation for Sunday with Caleb at Alpine and myself somewhere near Vidalia, LA.

I Saw You

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(A Prayer of Benediction for the Lord’s Supper or Easter Celebration) 
Lord, I want to ask for Your forgiveness. Tonight my eyes were opened as we sang the words to those hymns that I’ve sung thousands of times. For the first time in my life I was struck by the vastness of Your grace and love for me, and it pierced my heart. I looked at my hands that have so many times brought You shame as I have clinched them in anger. As I have pointed the finger of blame at the innocent, as I have held forbidden fruit—these hands were never pierced. And yet the loving hands that fed and healed and served, those perfect hands of grace were pierced for me.

As we prayed I touched my forehead, I remembered my moments of rage when I accused and fussed and frowned. But my brow was never pierced. And yet Your brow was pierced by thorns. Your wounded head was bleeding. You shed Your blood for me.

Lord, I know that I’ve heard the story a thousand times. I believed it. And it was true. But tonight . . . it was as if for the first time I looked You in the eyes and I felt the holiness of worshiping a God who died. A God who gave His own life for me.

My feet have never felt the gnawing pain that You endured on the cross that day.

My shoulders have never carried the burden of the world in the shape of a cross.

I have never been stripped of everything to die a sinner’s death.

My back never scourged . . .

My face never spit upon . . .

Oh Lord, the agony, the humiliation, the torment—the love.

How could it be?

How could You love me that much?

Tonight, as we took the bread and drank from the cup, I felt the holy presence of Your love.

Thank You, Lord. I don’t understand Your love. I probably never will. But I want You to know that tonight I saw You, and I will never be the same again.

Neediness

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He is fathering me
even in the days I cannot see
Through every trial I face.
He is there even in my disgrace.
Every lonely, broken place.
I am held together bone by bone
and I do not walk alone.
How my neediness has grown.
In my aging days I have come to see
how completely dependent I must be.

The Stuff that Warriors Dream

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This warfare for the Hero’s bliss

What thing is valued more that this?

it supercedes the stoic state

the frowning face of folly’s fate

The quest for truth, “The Shining Next”

the simplied in life complex

For all I see in beauty’s good

I dream of life lived as it should.

For I am not the plodding type

I dream of dragons in the night

Of captivating, high romance

that rises from each circumstance

Where good men overcome their foe

Where heroes fight to overthrow

The strongholds of the darker schemes

THIS is the stuff a warrior dreams.

The Net

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Narrator: The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down in the lake and caught all kinds of fish.

Narrator: When it was full, the fisherman pulled it up on the shore. (Actors pantomime pulling a net out of the water with much vocal effort.)

Narrator: Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.

(Actors pantomime the separation of fish from waste.)

• I hate seaweed. It always seems to clog the net.

• Remember, the Master said only fish.

• Sure are a bunch of clams!

• Hey! Get that octopus out of here!

• Oh, great! A holy mackerel!

• Look, a large mouth bass!

• In salt water? That’s impossible.

• Use your imagination—this is only a play!

• Oops, I forgot.

• Why are the eels always on my side of the net?

• A crab!

• There’s another one.

• They sure are good to eat, but remember what the captain said . . .

All: Only fish.

• Too bad.

Narrator: This is how it will be at the end of the age.

Narrator: The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous.

• I hate sin. It always seems to clog the net!

• Remember, the Master said only the redeemed.

• Sure are a bunch of fornicators.

• Get that blasphemer out of here!

• Oh great, a Christian!

• Look, a short-winded pastor!

• That’s impossible.

• Use your imagination—this is only a play!

• Oops, I forgot.

• Why are the gossipers always on my side of the net?

• A church member!

• Hey! There’s another one.

• They sure do look good, but remember what the captain said . . .

All: Only Christians.

• Too bad.

 

 

He is I AM

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He is I AM
I AM your strength
I AM your warrior
I AM your advocate
I AM your provider
I AM your comfort
I AM your bread
I AM your escape
I AM your companion
I AM your compass
I AM your ransom
I AM your future
I AM your purpose
I AM your truth
I AM your ambassador
I AM your covering
I AM your refreshment
I AM your physician
I AM your peace
I AM your strength
I AM your portion
I AM your joy
I AM your hero
I AM your heart mender
I AM your glory
I AM your good
I AM the friend of sinners
I AM the beginning and end
I AM ENOUGH
you are ACCEPTED
you are FORGIVEN
you are PARDONED
you are WELCOMED
you are CHERISHED
you are PURSUED
you are COMPLETE
you are LOVED
you are CHOSEN
you are RESCUED
you are ADOPTED
you are MARKED
you are COVERED
you are made RIGHTEOUS
you are REDEEMED.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

I am weary today

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My body is completely tired after the weekend. I made it through work but the weekend of travel has made me very sleepy.

Westside Emmanuel Baptist Church is a wonderful church with a great young staff. I had an opportunity to meet their pastor, Marcus who was taking a month off preaching. I met a 94 year old man who looked like he was about 75.

Caleb came with me and we saw “God’s Not Dead” in Covington between services.

1185385_10152022886306088_8841397293375027347_nSaturday night we ate at Don’s Seafood in Hammond.

Today I worked on the 20-20 survey.  I need to work on the email newsletter.

Darlene seems to be doing well in Nashville with some promising job opportunities.

The time with Caleb has been great.

I’m glad to be back home and looking forward to some good sleep tonight.

Emails from Andrew

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Part 1 
 

This script is a series that can be used over three Sundays. On the last Sunday (Easter Sunday), use the final email voice-over. The actor simply sits at the computer and types. On the Easter Sunday Email, the actor playing Andrew is typing as the lights come up. Contemporary or biblical costuming—take your pick!

Pastor: Imagine Jesus alive in today’s society. Imagine opening your email and finding a message from Andrew. The disciple Andrew . . .

(A man sits at his computer and types as a recorded voice reads the words.)

Voice: Friday, April 2, 0033
To: Disciples Mail Group
From: andrew@theway.org

Many of you aren’t aware of what happened this afternoon. Jesus died by crucifixion. (I know that many might not have even been aware of Jesus’ arrest, and I apologize for not going into all the details of the past few horrific days—the worst days of our lives.) Joseph of Aramathea received a release from Pilate for the body of Jesus. He is to be buried in a new tomb tonight. Nicodemus has been a great help in preparation for the burial. There will be no formal memorial service due to the fear that we all are experiencing. The past few days have been very difficult . . . difficult beyond compare. Pray for Mary, Jesus’ mother. She is in despair. And also Peter, who is experiencing a great amount of self doubt. At this point, no one knows where Peter is, and we fear that he might harm himself. You may have heard rumors that Judas conspired to bring Jesus under arrest. It’s true. He committed suicide early this morning. Feel free to forward this news to any followers of Jesus, and let’s stick together prayerfully and begin to try to put the pieces of our lives back together. I’m in the process of trying to get everyone together to pray and to discuss these difficult matters.

Your friend, Andrew

 

Emails from Beyond 
Part 2 
Saturday, April 3, 0033
To: Disciples Mail Group
From: andrew@theway.org

Just wanted to update everyone, despite the fact that it is dangerous to put something through the Net while the Romans, Pharisees, Sadducees, and others might intercept this message. (I know that many of your service providers are administrated by the Roman government and the religious hierarchy.)

As mentioned in my last note, Jesus died sometime around 4 p.m. yesterday outside the gates of Jerusalem on a hill called “the Place of the Skull.”

Simon Peter was located last night in Gethsemane. He was delirious and very depressed. He feels like his whole life has been a failure. Please keep him in your prayers. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was ministered to by John and Mary Magdalene. Most of Jesus’ followers are unsure of what they will do in the future. I would imagine that if the government allows us to remain free, we’ll return to our former trades. All disciples are accounted for, and we are planning to meet and pray tonight. We all have been touched greatly by Jesus, and the loss is severe. Let me remind all of you that He would not have us revolt or compromise ourselves in an emotional reaction. As a memorial to His life, let us remember how He lived and died.

Andrew

P.S. Please feel free to forward this note to other believers.

 

Emails from Beyond
Part 3
 
Sunday, April 4,0033
To: Disciples Mail Group
From: andrew@theway.org

 

I planned on writing you this letter before dawn, but things have been a little crazy around here. Mary went to the tomb, and now she’s in some sort of hysterical bliss about having seen . . . (Andrew faints and Peter pushes him out of the way and types.)

This is Peter. Andrew just fainted and his head fell on the keyboard because I just walked into the room with the Risen, Glorified, Conquering, Living Savior—Jesus Christ. Forward this news to everyone!!!

Simon Peter