Quote of the Day – January 1st, 2008

January 2, 2008

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish things that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Him Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

– C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity (New York: McMillan, 1952), pp. 55-56.
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The Best Christmas Gift…

December 26, 2007

I am sure that once in awhile we get the question posed to us of what is the best gift you ever have received for Christmas? I have discussed with a friend recently the criteria of a truly great gift. A few of the simple criteria included that the gift was unexpected and it has to be thoughtful. Another thing I may add would be that it could be undeserved.

This Christmas I was lucky enough to receive one of those truly great gifts. The best gift I received was having my Sister, Brother-in-Law, and my wonderful niece here for Christmas. Undeserved, unexpected, and very thoughtful. Thank you for making the effort to come down…

In closing, I wanted to with everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I also wanted to say that we all have been given a truly great gift! We may be undeserving of it, we may not be expecting it, and its hard to imagine the thought involved. God gave us this truly great gift through His Son Jesus Christ. I think it says it best in a few lines from “Hark, The Herald Angles Sing”

Hark the herald angles sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”

Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angles sing
“Glory to the newborn King!

Quote of the Day – 12.19.07

December 19, 2007

“Prayer is never an acceptable substitute for obedience. The sovereign Lord accepts no offering from His creatures that is not accompanied by obedience. To pray for revival while ignoring or
actually flouting the plain precept laid down in the Scriptures is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble.”

(A.W. Tozer – Of God and Men, 52.)

To Chris…

December 16, 2007

I regret to say that this past Wednesday, December 12, my dear friend Chris Herring was killed in a motorcycle accident. I have known Chris almost from the womb and other then maybe my parents and my sister he is probably the first person I can recall in my life as a child. We attended the same preK-3 class with a very mean teacher but had one of the greatest years of our lives in Kindergarten.

After Kindergarten graduation we said good buy never knowing if we would see each other. The next year we were to move on to Elementary school, I ended up going to a new school the next year and who is the first person I see as I am walking in the first day… Chris! What are the chances? From that point on we had a friendship that bonded closely over the years. And with the exception of a few years, we spent the rest of our Elementary, Middle school and High School days together. We still stayed in touch while I perused my education and profession and he perused his education and his education.

Once you get out of high school its not always easy to maintain the closeness that you did then but in between our busy work and school schedules we would always try to find times to catch up and check in on each other and see how one another were doing. We were the kind of friends who could not have talked for over a year but get together and start off like we had just been together the whole time. I understood him and he understood me.

I also regret to say that on my to do list this past week was to give Chris a call so we could try and catch some dinner. It is starting to catch up to me that I will not be able to do that… I challenge you, that if there is someone on that “to do” list you have been meaning to call, do it today and remember to cherish those who are around you that God has given you. As much as I am sadden by this all, I do know that one day I will get to have dinner and catch up with Chris because I believe he put his faith in trust in Jesus Christ for Salvation. And because of this, that dinner will be at the banquet table with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior who is seated at the front of the table.

Chris, I miss ya buddy.

I came across a song during this time that refreshed my soul and renewed my spirit.. by one of my hero’s Andrew Peterson called “More”. To listen to this great song click here.

MORE

This is not the end here at this grave
This is just a hole that someone made
Every hole was made to fill
And every heart can feel it still–
Our nature hates a vacuum

This is not the hardest part of all
This is just the seed that has to fall
All our lives we till the ground
Until we lay our sorrows down
And watch the sky for rain

There is more
More than all this pain
More than all the falling down
And the getting up again
There is more
More than we can see
From our tiny vantage point
In this vast eternity
There is more

A thing resounds when it rings true
Ringing all the bells inside of you
Like a golden sky on a summer eve
Your heart is tugging at your sleeve
And you cannot say why
There must be more

There is more
More than we can stand
Standing in the glory
Of a love that never ends
There is more
More than we can guess
More and more, forever more
And not a second less

There is more than what the naked eye can see
Clothing all our days with mystery
Watching over everything
Wilder than our wildest dreams
Could ever dream to be
There is more

Its all about who you know..

December 16, 2007

Last week, I had finally come to a point in my busy schedule of traveling around the country, where I thought I envisioned an opportunity to take a small respite. Little did I know what was about to occur. A quick 45 minutes later I had booked tickets to fly to New York City?! To be truthful my friend booked the flight and I had no idea where I would actually be staying or much of any of the details for that matter. The only thing I knew for sure was I was going to New York!

I have begun to slowly learn that when the opportunity presents it self you have to take it or you will watch it fly away. I can say that I have learned this about many things in my life wether it is with friendships, work opportunities, even with witnessing opportunities. You truly have to seize the moment and take advantage of it. Needless to say, this trip was one of those opportunities I could not let fly away.

My dear friend is related by marriage to one of the most famous people in the state of Florida. Yes folks, I am talking about Tim Tebow. To make a long story very short, my fiends’ brother is married to Timmy’s sister. Her brother and Timmy’s sister are missionaries in South Asia and were generously flown back to the states for the Hiesman Trophy presentation. The main reason why my friend was going was in order to see her brother and her adorable little niece. (which I can completely understand…see some of my previous post)

During the weekend, I had the privilege of spending a little bit of time with the Allen and the Tebow family. They are such an encouraging and faithful people who truly love the Lord and really know what its all about, proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ to a lost world. To top it off, Timmy won the Hiesman which I don’t think could of gone to a better gentleman on or off the field.

So why do I share this short synopsis of an amazing trip I took? To bring up a point that I always consider in my life and I find to be true everyday. The point that it is really all about who you know!

If I had not known my friend I would never had a chance to meet the Tebow family and because I was a friend they allowed me to take part in a few of there family activities based upon the fact that I knew this person, nothing more, nothing less.

When we stand before God and he asked us why He should let us in to Heaven the answer will be fairly simple. Its all about who you know…
Because we know Jesus Christ and what he did for us. Since we are in Christ, God has the abilitiy to look upon us as holy and blameless not because of us or what we have done in our lives because we fall short of His Glory but because we are in Christ. Because of what Jesus has done we are now made free. It says in Luke that the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Praise God for His grace and His mercy. And praise God for salvation which comes only through truly knowing the resurrected and living Savior, Jesus Christ.

Its all about who you know!

The Letter

November 3, 2007

Letter

I was driving home from work the other day and I was thinking in the back of my mind how everyday after work, I look forward to coming home and seeing what I got in the mail. I think this is something I got from my father. Yes, even if I get a credit card application, at least its something addressed to me. The idea that someone had taken time to write something out, fold it, stick it in an envelope, put the postage on it and put it into a mail box in order to have it arrive in my mail box. It takes quite a bit of effort. As I was driving I was thinking how much more exciting is it, at least for me, to receive a letter from someone you actually care about and who cares for you. I thought about how much more personal and real a letter is from someone as opposed to a text message, or an email. My thoughts changed to other items on my drive like trying to avoid another crazy driver.

Eventually I arrived home and checked my mail box like I do everyday. To my delight I had one letter with no return address? Who could this be? Maybe just a credit card application? maybe another bill to pay? Since it was handwritten I figured it probably was not a credit card offer and most likely a letter from a friend…I was thrilled. Upon opening it and reading the enclosure I couldn’t help but smile! Then I began to think about the thought that I had just a few minutes ago as I was driving home. After reading the whole package I kept smiling for quite awhile.

There is just something about a letter that can never be truly matched by any other form of communication or technology. In our culture today we have many convenient ways of communication whether its by way of a phone call, typing an email or sending a quick text message. All of these are great and well intentioned and they serve there purposes very well, but the one thing they lack is a personal touch. They lack an authenticity that can not be found in a phone call, an email or a text message.

Take for instance a book, now days you can get the book on tape, read books online, etc. Again the same holds true for this cause that nothing can truly replace the feel of pen on paper and holding that book in your hand and turning the pages as if you were walking down the same road as those in the story.

The amazing thing about it all is that we have been sent a letter from someone who loves us completely and unconditionally. Keep in mind that it has taken a very long time and some blood, sweat, and tears to write. Everyone has a copy of this letter probably just lying around their house. This letter talks about how much you are loved by this person, how much they desire a relationship with you; how you can be find favor in their sight. It has been delivered to you and I challenged you to read it. It is real and authentic and is the complete Word of God.

I Know You Love Me…

November 1, 2007

“I know that you love me..” Those were the words which were uttered from my little nieces mouth to my sister upon her arrival home from work the other day. Earlier in the day my niece was spending time with her grandma and had touched the hot stove top even after having been told not to many times before by her mother. Fortunately she did not hurt herself bad but it was enough that she knew she had done something wrong. When my sister arrived home from work, my niece was asked by her grandma to tell her mother what she had done today. So she began to tell her mother that she had burned her hand on the stove and she finished the sentence with the most amazing that anyone could ever say. She finished that sentence to her mother with these words; “…and I know that you love me because you didn’t want me to get hurt.”

How amazing is that! I reminded my sister that she may want to record that and play it back to my niece when she turns sixteen just as a reminder that as her parent her goal is not to ruin her fun but motivation is out of love and out of a desire not to see her get hurt.

The other thing that crossed my mind was how much we are just like my niece when it comes to our relationship with God. How much better would we be if we truly took her words to heart and understood them to be really true in our lives. God has given us commands in His Word in order to share with us His Love. He is our Heavenly Father and He loves you and He loves me and I know that he loves you and He loves me because he doesn’t want you or me to get hurt. While this applies to a lot of the commands found in the Bible of do’s and don’t, the ultimate consideration of this comes the thought that because of our sins we must be punished but God sent his Son to pay our penalty, to get hurt so that we don’t have to. In Isaiah 53:5 it says:

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”

There Is A Time…

October 22, 2007

To me one of the most annoying things people can say to me when I ask how they are doing and they respond with any of these words, “I’m Alright, I wish it were Friday”, or “Good Its almost Friday!”, or “Great, today is Friday!”. This may just rank up there as one of my biggest pet peeves ever. I suppose that most people think of this as a good thing because the weekend has come, or they know that Friday means payday. They don’t like when I point out that once Friday is here, that means there are only two more days till Monday! You can’t just live your life for the weekends. Surely God has given us both the weekdays and the weekends. …or have you ever noticed when watching the TV News and the weather folks come on during the first cold spell of the winter and the news anchor makes the comment about, “when is it ever going to warm up???” then you can remember this same news anchor make the comment when we had the first really warm and humid day of the summer with “when is it going to cool down??”….or can you recall back to a time when people didn’t start decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving dinner had cooled off? Now we are lucky if we can get past August without seeing Christmas trees in Walmart!

Now, recently an op-ed piece was done in the L.A. Times (yea I know…I actually agree with something in there!) and it took on this topic with a lot of sense and I wanted to share it with you.

Slow down, people!

”Back to school” in July? Christmas cards on Halloween? Why do we live so fast?
August 14, 2007
By Andy Cowan

In this year of 2008 presidential politics, when it”s only 2007, I”m finding it more of a challenge living in the “here and now.” Society seems to focus more on the “there and then” down the road. As the theme song of the first Clinton running for president exhorted, I won”t “stop thinking about tomorrow.” But a half a year from tomorrow is where I draw the line. Now Iowa may be moving its caucuses to December. Why is everybody in such a hurry?

New car models used to be introduced in October. Now it”s as early as January. This rush to the future instantly devalues the present as well as the future. An ”08 car in January ”07 makes ”07 already sound as old and tired as ”08 will seem 12 months hence. The new model year is hardly the big deal it used to be because we don”t really buy into it. Next year”s versions aren”t trumpeted the way they were in, say, 1968. That”s when a cloth over a new car would hide the future from us until we were good and ready, even eager, to lay eyes on it.

We may be too jaded these days to believe that a measly year will make our lives any different. But our cynicism might also derive from the fact that the future is being shoved down our throats to the point at which the future itself has lost its mystique. On July 1, I heard someone on the radio already calling it “midsummer.” It seems like midsummer by July 1 because since late April it”s been previewed and advertised in hopes of snatching our pre-summer dollars. By July 15, the dreaded “back to school” phrase slithered onto the airwaves. Pity the poor kids whose “how I spent half my summer vacation” papers are about the therapy sessions needed after listening to that incessantly. Whether school is on the horizon or in our distant past, August to September is still the most traumatic month transition there is, so why rush into it?

Not long after it actually is back to school time, the greeting card manufacturers would have us believe it”s Halloween. You can tell when the real Halloween is over when Christmas cards start reminding us that yet another year is nearly shot — an even scarier proposition. More radio stations play only Christmas music as early as Nov. 1. But Christmas music on Christmas? By midday Dec. 25, like the needles from the soon-to-be stale pines, it”s already swept aside. And before you can say “happy new year,” card shelves switch from St. Nick to St. Valentine. Hallmark should just cut to the chase: “Happy We”ll All Be Dead Soon Day.”

With all of this said, the important thing to remember is that each day is precious that God has given us. Every season of life we go through is important. We all have a tendency to spend way to much time rehashing the past and almost always spend to much time planning for our futures. This is not to say that remembering God”s faithfulness or learning from our mistakes is bad or that planning and looking ahead is bad, these are good things. What we have trouble with is the fact that we never seem to just enjoy the present and be content with what God has us doing right now. It says in 1 Timothy 6:6:

But godliness {actually} is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.”

it goes on to say in verses 7-12,

For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance {and} gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

I was mentioning to a friend about this article and how in our lives we seem always be setting our selves up for the next accomplishment instead of enjoying the days along the way. We are a society that likes to ask scripted questions based upon the time of life we are currently living. As a child, we ask them what do they want to be when they grow up? Poor kids don”t even have a chance to enjoy the joys of not worrying about a thing. Then as they as graduate high school and head off to college they are asked when they are going to graduate? Then once they finish there education sure enough they will be asked when will you be getting married? Once you get married, almost immediately after the first dance, people will begin to ask you, when are you going to have a baby?? Then right after the first child, the question comes up (and this happened with my sister) people will ask, “when is the next baby coming?” Eventually life goes on and people begin to ask question about your kids and but don”t fret they are not done asking you questions. Really there is only one more question to ask and that i, “When are you going to retire?” Soon enough you will retire and then….die! After that no one will ask you any more questions, at least on this earth. When, not if, we die, we will face a few other questions. One questions is why should God allow you to be in heaven? Is is based upon your good works or some other temporal thing? If you have put your faith and trust in Christ Jesus that he is your Savior you will be saved and spend eternity with Him in Heaven. That leaves you with the other question that will be asked of you. As a disciple of Christ, we will be asked what we have done with the gifts, talents and the time we have been given here on this earth.

The reason I bring all of this up is to tie this all together. Yes we are good at bring up the past and always looking ahead to the future but what is most important is that today you will have the opportunity to do as it says in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14;

“…Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

Remember that you cant just live for Fridays or for the weekends and truly live. God has given us ever day! Every day make sure you serve the Lord in what ever you are doing and enjoy the opportunities God has given to you. Reminds me of the song I sang growing up that said, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will Rejoice and be glad in it.”

Who Says Nothing In Life Is Free?

October 12, 2007

Yum

I went to dinner with a few friends the other night and we found new favorite place. Are attempt that night was to find a new place that we had never been. That brought us to Mimi’s Cafe. At first, we were not sure what to expect when we walked in and saw on there special board “Lobster and Mac & Cheese”. I ordered the Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad mainly because I knew that with this salad came a Seasonal Muffin. This muffin is there seasonal special called the Pumpkin Muffin. It came out right away, which at first seemed strange which quickly went away when I began to look at this amazing site. The scent had an aroma of pumpkin and spices, it was warm to the touch like it had just been taken out of the oven, and it looked like the perfectly shaped muffin. In any case, it tasted as good as it looked! Following this came the salad, which in my eyes had the perfect ratio of Lettuce/Dressing/Chicken/Crutons or as I like to refer to it as the “CDLC Ratio” of Caesar Salads.

The amazing part of this meal came at the end. As we were receiving our checks I asked if they sold the pumpkin muffins to go. Without answering my question the waitress says hold on we have a surprise for you! I thought to myself this is a weird way to answer that question? About five minutes passed when all of the sudden another lady came out with a to go box with four delicious muffins for each of us. How incredible is that. She explained that for their first time guest they like to leave them with a little reminder to make sure they come back for more. How great is that. A business that cares about its customers returning and really doing something nice for them for a change. Not to mention providing a quality product. That goes a long way to forging a good relationship with its customers.

So I am glad to say that there are still a few thing that are free in this world. It also reminds me of the fact that if I can get so excited over the fact I have just received four free delicious muffins. How much more excited should I be over the free gift I have been given so graciously. The gift of eternal life which is only found by faith in Jesus Christ.

Now That Is Confidence!

October 1, 2007

Alana

My parents have just arrived home from a trip to Erie, PA. they were able to visit with a lot of family including my lovely, talented and beautiful (..did i mention wonderful) niece Alana! And yes, she can now spell her name…(did i mention smarter then your niece) My sister gave them some photos from this past month that were great! During the trip one of the family members went up to Alana and said, “you are such a pretty little girl” and Alana replied very confidently, “Yes, I know…” Reminded me of the confidence that we should have. No, not in our looks, but in our hearts. We all have sinned and fallen short and our hearts are ugly towards God but because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, and only because of that, our hearts are now viewed as white as snow, or that “pretty little girl” if you will. And we can be confident of that not because of us, but because of what Christ has done for us!