Monday, March 23, 2015

The Best Gifts

In October of 1993 the Pastor Search Committee of Towne View Baptist Church traveled to Rome to hear me preach at Garden Lakes Baptist Church. A member of the committee sat behind a young mother  who wrestled with her rambunctious four-year old through the first half of the service before hauling him out to the narthex. At lunch the committee member realized that the Mom was Priscilla and the child in question was Thomas.

Twenty-one years later and Thomas is  a Marine and preparing to get married in May.  Our church family was gracious in planning a shower for Thomas and Allie but unfortunately the Marines planned for Thomas to be in Yuma, Arizona.  Allie read the following letter from Thomas:

Growing up at Towne View was something I took for granted for a long time, but, the more I have been away, the more I have come to appreciate it and the people that make it such a special place.  I can't thank you enough enough for your thoughts and prayers as I have been away more and more lately and especially wish I could be there with you today to thank you for your support of Allie and me and for making her feel a part of the Towne View family.

So many of you have been such wonderful models of how Christ-centered marriages and families can survive and thrive in a world where that is becoming less and less common and that example will always be the best gift you guys could give us.

Thanks, once again, for everything and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Thanks for indulging a proud Papa and a proud Pastor.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Blessed Be the Saints

St. Patrick is gaining a lot of attention this week. March 17 is designated as "St. Patrick's Day", which interestingly, commemorates  not the date of his birth, but rather his death. I'm not so sure how Patrick would feel about the excesses of some of the celebrations over this past weekend!

In many Christian traditions a "saint" is someone who has lived a life "worthy of emulation." In other words, someone who has a set an example worth following. Patrick seemed to have set such an example for the faithful of Ireland through his commitment to evangelism and service- growing out of his calling through a vision to "come and walk among us."

"Sainthood" may seem a a bit foreign for those of us anchored in a more protestant/free-church/baptist tradition.  This understanding is that all believers are saints, "holy ones." We may be more comfortable calling one another "brother" and "sister" but the Bible calls us "saints" (i.e. Romans 8:27,Ephesians 6:8, and Revelation 19:8).

Its is a good thing to acknowledge and celebrate the lives of those who help us see more clearly what it means to follow Jesus- even as they "walk among us."  So this week I am celebrating the lives of some saints... a grandparent, a Sunday School teacher, some youth group leaders, and a college professor... and asking God to help me live into the examples they provided.