A B C D r s t E F G v w x y

Row row your boat, gently down, row row, gently up the stream

I sometimes (ok, honestly, almost always) find myself doing something goofy to help remind people (and Wesley) of things. For example, when Wesley and I are in a public restroom washing our hands, I purposely say the alphabet incorrectly, or sing a mixed-up stanza of “Row Row Your Boat.” This, I hope, causes him to remember that washing hands until they are clean is important; it’s not just a spritzing of water on them.

I do the same when speaking to youth about the Bible. Yes, I goof off. It’s not me, I just do it to keep their attention (I promise I’m not that way normally – ok, well…you all know me).

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because God doesn’t want us to be “normal.” The Bible very clearly states for us not to conform to the world, but to have a transformation of our mind and spirit.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (ESV)

This doesn’t imply that we need to act “goofy,” but it does imply that we cannot be NORMAL.

Pastor Carter challenged us a couple months ago to be weird for Christ. Are YOU being weird? (for those of you who didn’t hear his message – it simply means, are you willing to be different, stick up for the Bible, and tell others about Christ). Are you weird? I am.

800 sf apartment for rent

Even if an apartment is for sale with 800sf, more than likely most of us aren’t going to jump at the “opportunity.” I’ve lived in a small apartment for almost 8 months, and they get smaller over time – trust me!

little_placeThankfully, we don’t have to worry about where we will live in our next life. Jesus told us in John 14:2-3 (KJV) that “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Many people interpret this to mean that in Heaven we will have large houses/mansions where we will abide forever. However, I don’t believe this.

Yet, I do believe that Jesus is preparing a place for us.

So, how do I reconcile these two thoughts?

First, I don’t think Jesus is interested in having a big beautiful mansion for us, where we go in, and just sit down at night, watch TV, veg out, or whatever we do currently. Even if we came out during the day to worship Him, I don’t think this is His plan. (And it’s definitely not His plan to have us come out only on Sundays to worship).

Having a single house for each person just doesn’t make sense, and doesn’t match with what the rest of the Bible has to say about Heaven. The Bible also mentions that “families” will not exist as they do on earth (Matthew 22:30 “For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect, they will be like angels in Heaven.”) Note that I didn’t say you won’t see your “family;” remember, Christians are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ.

Secondly, Jesus mentions that He is going to prepare a place, will return, and then we will be received “unto” Him. This implies that the place is more of a physical presence with Jesus (see also John 14:3 “That where I am, there ye may be also.”) Thus, mansions may refer to more of an abstract medium in Heaven that we just don’t understand in our limited human capacity.

The Bible does describe a Holy City descending out of Heaven (Rev 21:10), having the glory of God, with precious stones like Jasper and clear as crystal (Rev 21:11), foundations of jasper, sapphire, emerald, topaz, and more (Rev 21:19-20), pearly gates and streets of transparent gold (Rev 21:21).

Heaven is a real place, and someday Christians everywhere will be called up by Jesus. It won’t be an 800sf apartment, and it won’t be a mansion like we may have been taught as children, but Heaven will be a beautiful place that we can all adore; praising God eternally for what He has done, is doing, and will continue to do in our lives.

Help, I’m drowning! Wait, . . . nevermind!

In 1989 I almost drowned (no kidding!). [The following is a true story from my life.]

During Senior skip day, Kimberly and I had met with fellow Thompson Highschool classmates at Oak Mountain State Park for a day of fun and swimming in the lake. We all had fun splashing and playing about in the water, until we decided to swim out to the edge of the buoys, the marked limit for swimming.

As a non-swimmer, I knew this was very risky, but I was going to be brave and show off in front of my highschool sweetheart and girlfriend (Kimberly). Swimming out was simple, I pushed off from a standing position, and just maintained momentum until I reached the edge (and then pretty much held on for dear life to the rope and floats in the middle of the lake).

And then came the moment, when everybody decided it was time to come back in. Most everybody took off, except me. As I attempted to “push-off” from the rope buoys, you can imagine what happened next – they just floated further into the lake, and I went down, splashing with very little grace.

Thankfully, Kimberly either saw me or heard me, I don’t remember which. They say that moments like that happen in slow motion, but all I remember is that I couldn’t swim; and splashing around didn’t help any.

I do remember what happened next: Kimberly went under the water and pushed me up from underneath so I could catch my breath.

What happened next was a miracle as an angel (in the form of a man) helped me get to shore. After I recovered my breath and realized my life was no longer in danger, I looked for the man who saved my life. He wasn’t there. He wasn’t anywhere! He was an angel sent by God to save me. He disappeared just as quickly as he had appeared. He did not exist, at least in our “reality.”

I look back on that day and realize that it truly was a miracle. And a miracle that I can thank God for, but also my wonderful wife, who thought quickly enough and reacted swiftly to give me another breath of life.

That day I was drowning – covered up in water, and without breath. Today, I feel blessed to be drowning in love. Love from a beautiful wife and a playful child that cannot be compared to. A love so deep and long that it cannot be measured. A love that one day, years ago, saved my life.

But I am also loved by a Holy God that has also saved my life. Not only from death by drowning, but from death by burning. You see, He Saved me from eternal death and hell, because of what His Son did for me, and for you. Jesus gave His life so that WE can have life and have it more abundantly.

I came that [you] may have life, and may have it abundantly.John 10:10 (ASV)

Do you have abundant life?

Another Manic Monday

OK, not the song, but just a crazy, manic Monday. I’m sure that’s how many of us feel every Monday as we try to catch up from weekend “fires” and bosses that are all rev’d up from the weekend.

But for many of us, we really do “wish it were Sunday” as the 80’s song narrates.

Why Sunday? “That’s my fun day!” is what the Bangles song portrays.

For many, Sunday is the day people come together to do “church.”

For others, Sunday is the day people come together to celebrate the joy and hope we have in Christ our Lord!

Which group do you belong to? The Psalms are full of praises and worship events from the life of David, where he fully understood the power and awesomeness of God Almighty. Other Psalms depict the struggles David faced in life. Despite those struggles however, he seemed to always come around and realize that God is, was, and will be in control.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom should I be afraid? –  Psalm 27:1 (HCSB)

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin. – Psalm 1:6 (HCSB)

Solomon did the same in the book of Ecclesiastes, as he pondered life’s mysteries only to find out that if/when we have faith in Jesus, our life can then be filled with an eternal joy, hope, and peace.

If you aren’t experiencing peace in your life, maybe it’s time to reflect on where your relationship with God is. Are you truly trusting Him as your Savior AND Lord?

  • Savior = one who saves someone from danger
  • Lord = someone having power and authority over you