Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vacation Bible School, 2010

I don't know about you, but when I was growing up I could not wait for VBS week. As I recall we mostly did this in the mornings, but these days it seems that evenings are best and more people get involved this way.

I have great memories of VBS from the past. I remember asking every kid on my street to go with me, and my mom shipping everybody throughout the week so that I could win that brand new Bible for bringing the most friends. I remember learning new songs that taught me about God and His Son Jesus Christ. Not only was I learning about God's love, I was learning about His word and His plan in these songs. I remember crafts and refreshments. I remember puppet shows and prizes I got to take home. Most of all, I just remember how fun it was to be a young person who knew about God and who had some direction and guidance. VBS made me realize how much I mattered!

I want to give to you an illustration that I feel is very powerful that comes from my own house. The other day, when I had my sons in the car, we were talking about how school was almost over and how VBS was right around the corner. Daniel, who is five, immediately chimed in, "Rememeber last year when at the puppet show that puppet said, "I got my ba-a-a-at! I got my ba-a-a-t!? That was really funny!" Luke pointed out that was a skit they did on Thursday night. This conversation reminded me that our children are very perceptive and impressionable. They are listening to everything we say and do, and they are getting memories right now that will last them for the rest of their lives.

My three children love VBS. I want to tell you that as I write this there are tears in my eyes. This is my dream come true. That my children would want to be at church services and that they would be in a congregation that loves them the way this one does is more than I could ever hope for or want. So in advance, I want to thank my church family for the way you love all of our children.

It is my opinion, that our love for our children and for God's will in their lives is what makes our VBS the greatest VBS I have ever known. We are doing something great here, and I hope we realize just how important it is.

If you are looking for a way to make a difference - VBS at Pulaski St. is the answer.

June 6-10, every night at 7 p.m. SEE YOU THERE!

"But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'" ~ Matthew 19:14

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Body of Evidence

Australian mountain climber Duncan Chessell is beginning his final ascent today to the top of Mount Everest. This mountain in the Himalayas boasts the highest peak in the world (29,002 feet; 8,840 meters). It has been scaled by some 2,700 individuals over the years, and by the end of 2009 in these efforts 216 lives have been lost.

Chessell's mission, this being his third time to attempt to climb Everest, is to find evidence on the mountain that may prove that the summit was first reached in 1924. As of now, credit is given to New Zealand's Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who are acknowledged as the first to conquer Everest in 1953.

In 1924, Briton George Mallory and fellow countryman Andrew Irvine perished somewhere near the summit of the great mountain. In 1999, Mallory's body was finally recovered, but the camera equipment has still not been found. Chessell is hoping to discover Irvine's body, and along with it photographic evidence that these two men did what was absolutely unthinkable in 1924. If everything goes with the plan, Chessell will reach the peak sometime this weekend.

This fascinating story brought to my mind the value of what each one of us may leave behind. One day, we too will have reached the summit of this life. Our lives will be only memories for those who will carry on. Will we leave something in ourselves worthy of another man's discovery? Will our contribution to this world be hidden in some distant land, unattainable for those who need the evidence of our journey? Or will we make sure that the scope of our life was much more than just a climb, but rather a victory of the highest degree?

The truth of God's word allows us to stand upon mountains. We have the banner of hope that we can drive into the highest peaks of our land and declare victory and possession in the name of our Savior and Lord. We have the greatness of the church, the kingdom of God in this world that we can bring to other people. We cannot let this evidence die with us - for the gospel is the greatest story ever told.

If you have gained such a victory - If you have scaled such a mountain - Than say so!

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy" ~ Psalm 170:2

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Greatest Gifts of Graduation

I recently came across an illustration that reminded me of what really matters for those who are graduating...

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car.

Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the Box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold. Angry, he raised his voice to his father and said, "With all your money you give me a Bible?" and stormed out of the house.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matthew 7:11, "And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?"

As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible.
It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words PAID IN FULL.

When I read this illustration, it reminded me that our graduates need to remember one very important truth. Whatever gifts you receive at this hour from your parents, or any person in your life for that matter, none can be so important as the knowledge they have wanted to share with you about God.

If you have Christian parents, make sure to thank them for the greatest gift they have given you. Until you have given your life to that same Creator, no diploma will have qualified you for a successful life in this world.

"Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." ~ Ephesians 6:2-3

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Last Will and Testament of Jesus Christ

While listening to a sermon this past week I began to think about the title of this article. I am sure I am not the first to think of it, and I will definitely not be the last. But I believe, if you will give me a minute of your time, it is worth your consideration.

Since God came in the flesh (John 1:14), it seems that His time here on earth would be most significant. And since He exited this realm after only about 33 years, it seems even more important that if He left something behind that mankind would be even more obliged to listen. This is, of course, where the value of the New Testament comes in.

When do men write their wills? They write them during their lifetime. In fact, they basically live their will until the time comes to draft the document that will continue their wishes long after they are gone. So Jesus Christ, the Son of God, wrote the initial remarks of His will during His lifetime. We can see this in the work of the four gospels. We can see how the preliminary teaches of Christ set the precedent for the complete will that would be read aloud afterward to the human family.

When are the terms of the will articulated to the beneficiaries? They are communicated after the benefactor's death. This explains the time and the content of the rest of the New Testament. It makes perfect sense, that the complete terms of Christ's will would only be disclosed after His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus left the Holy Spirit behind to continue to unveil the terms of His will until the reading of such will was completed. These terms are now documented in the pages of your New Testament.

What is different about Christ's will that separates it from all others? Most wills deliver physical blessings to those who are qualified and who will meet the terms and conditions that are found therein. The inheritance is only temporary, and eventually whatever one receives will either decay or be given to someone else. Christ's last will and testament delivers to each person an incorruptible inheritance, reserved in heaven, which will never fade away. There is not another will; past, present, or future, that can bless men eternally.

The New Testament is much more than an historical document. It is more than a guidebook for Christian living. It is more than an ethical foundation for a peaceful society. The New Testament is the last will and testament of the one and only Son of God. It makes sense, then, that we would make sure to be present when the terms and blessings of His will are being publicly disclosed.

There will be a public reading of the last will and testament of Jesus Christ this Sunday at 247 Pulaski St., Lawrenceburg, Tn, 38464. I hope to see you there!

"For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive." ~ Hebrews 9:16-17

"And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." ~ Heb. 10:10