Sunday, December 20, 2009

Man, This Hurts

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." -- Hebrews 10:24-25

Man, this is hard, and it hurts. To look out the window, in the 11:00 hour, on Sunday, and see the church parking lot empty, and me sitting in the house.

Missing church, not being with the people, not fellowshipping together, not for a moment sharing the common life of being a child of God when we come together in His house to focus our attention upon Him. It hurts.

I have enjoyed sharing a time of worship with my wife and children. It is a tremendous blessing to hear your children read Scripture, to hear them pray, to join in our living room and sing God's praises, to be able with these precious gifts from God break the bread of life, to serve as the priest in our home. I am so thankful.

But I miss being with God's people, in God's house, on the Lord's day. In some ways I am thankful for this time away as it makes me (I pray) more grateful for the time we can and do spend together. To appreciate more this foretaste of heaven when all of God's children - from every tribe, tongue and nation - will be gathered around His throne to worship and praise Him forevermore. Until that time, may we not neglect meeting together.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Perishing & Renewal

2 Corinthians 4:16 -- "Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day."

This past weekend, as we have done for the past 10 years, the wife and I, along with the children, met up with dear friends for a Christmas shopping trip in Concord, NC.

Four adults and four small children spent all day Friday traipsing around Concord Mills. When i say all day, I mean all day.

At about 8:00 PM we were "cooked", "done", "bushed" "had had it" "beat", "worn out", "tired".

We ate, we went to our room, crashed on our beds, and slept.

Saturday morning, Rachael and I decided to go to the Billy Graham Library, just down the road. I had heard about this place, but had never been.

We pulled up, were greeted by a warm smile at the gate. We went towards the building itself, and saw that the entire front was designed like a cross. The grounds were decorated for Christmas. There was a sign pointing to a prayer garden. I was already feeling better.

Inside this vast building was warmth. One could feel something different -- I had not felt it at Concord Mills the previous day.

On the beams above us were written verses of Scripture -- "For God so loved the world . . ." "Come unto Me . . ."

We took a little tour and we heard over and over about the love of God. We heard over and over how God had sent His only Son into the world to save sinners. We heard how God had used one man and his family to impact the world with that simple message. God can do anything.
At the end, we (and everybody else that passes through those doors) were confronted with the Good News, and what we would do with it.

I left that place Saturday afternoon with the inward man renewed.
By Billy Graham? Oh no.
But by the Holy Spirit of God.

Thank You, Father.