Friday, January 27, 2017

"God's People Did Their Job"

Dr. Carmen Teague is my primary care physician. She has all the medical credentials plus a degree in counseling from Gordon Conwell Seminary. She has a sense of humor.  Her candor is refreshing. She engages easily.

In a routine physical, she talked about my hernias. She sent me to see Dr. Kent Kercher, a general surgeon. I enjoyed visiting with the surgeon. I checked him out. He comes from fine Presbyterian stock and is an active member of Myers Park Presbyterian Church.

On Monday, January 9, at 7AM, Dr. Kercher repaired three hernias. I swear he tied my belly button to my kneecaps. Yes, thank you for asking, I am healing up in good style. I can even tie my own shoes.

I know what it is to embrace a healing touch. Throughout the process, God’s people did their job.  Alice was at CMC Main at 5AM to have prayer with Linda and myself. Our daughter, Sheri, an employee of CMC, was present and extremely attentive to her ole man’s care. Sherri Johnston, another CMC employee and a member of Sardis, made sure that all my needs were met. The medical team did a terrific job. Half the time, I was out of it. However, in the lucid moments, I was cognizant of the love and healing touch that God’s people routinely provide.

Linda and I continue to be amazed at the impact the community of faith provides daily. Praise the Lord!


Monday, January 23, 2017

"The Cost of Raising A Child"

If you counted the real cost of raising a child, you would never have the courage to attempt it. Today, for a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2015 through age 17, count on $233,610. That is nearly $14,000 per year. That does not include summer camp, tennis lessons, or tutoring. Housing makes up a third of the cost. What do you think child care costs? Try an average of $37,500 per child.

I am only writing about financial costs. The question is, what does it really cost to raise a child? Try time, patience, discipline, creativity, trust, direction, humor, self-esteem, faith, love, and much more.

The home is where spiritual reproduction takes place. That is where a child’s worth is nurtured. That is where self-esteem is given a platform. That is where relationships of perpetual value are built.  Home is where real economic values are determined.  Home is where NO can be an answer expressed out of deep love.

As a teenager, I really enjoyed going to the stock car races at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa. Family friends were involved in that sport. Often in the middle of the races, they would entertain the fans with a Demolition Derby. I got a kick out of the whole thing.  One evening, I was about the leave the house and go to the races.I tried to encourage my father to join us. I assured him that he would be entertained. His dismissed me with a line I have never forgotten. He said, “I am a man on construction, not destruction.”

It was hard to enjoy the Demoltion Derby after that. It has made me ask myself many times, in front of my children and grandchildren, will they know me as a man of construction.

“Except the Lord builds the house, they build it in vain.”  Psalm 127:1


Thursday, January 12, 2017

"A Sacred Trust"

The earliest Christian confession was “Jesus is Lord.”  The lordship of Jesus only makes sense if you know the story of Jesus. The story of Jesus emphasizes his honesty and humility. He fully trusted God, his heavenly father. His dependence on God sets a standard for us.

How can you tell the story of Jesus without noting his teaching regarding repentance, mercy, forgiveness, and faith? The healing ministry of our Lord continues to be a motivational factor for all who claim to be a part of the body of Christ. He constantly opened people to the embrace of God’s grace. All of us in the Church realize that we are an extension of the community of faith first demonstrated by his disciples. Today we still take the Great Commission seriously to go into the world and teach, preach and baptize in the Trinitarian Formula.

“Jesus is Lord” makes no sense apart from the resurrection of Jesus. Christ is Lord of all – including that which we cannot explain. The exclamation of Thomas spoke for all of us, “My Lord and my God!”

To some degree we are expected to imitate the life of Christ. Jesus said to the like of us, “you are the light of the world.  Let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.” No matter the time or the challenge, the expectation of our Christian witness is that it be Christ-like. That is a sacred trust.


Friday, January 6, 2017

"God's Favor"

The Protestant Reformation always puts a circle around 1517. That was the date Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg, Germany church. His statements challenged, among other things, the teaching of works righteousness.

Luther was a monk, a very serious monk. He faithfully visited the Confessional where he listed his sins in the presence of a priest in order to do penance and experience forgiveness. Repeatedly, he confessed his sins. His persistence irritated the priest. Finally his confessor suggested he go out and commit some real sins so that he would have something to confess other than the silly specifics that were troubling his conscience.

The breakthrough for Luther was his new insight that God’s grace cannot be bought, cannot be earned, and cannot be achieved by any human effort. Grace is God’s unconditional love for those who don’t deserve it. God’s favor is freely given. We live by grace. A physician told me that unconditional love is the most powerful stimulant for the human immune system.

We are all in need of God’s forgiveness. In Jesus Christ our salvation is available, not something that can be hustled, achieved or earned. It can only be received! That’s worth celebrating.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9