"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Inspired by Inheritance

It was a normal Saturday afternoon for Max Melitzer, a hopeless homeless man from Salt Lake City, Utah. Max was walking through the park pushing his shopping cart that held all of his posessions, and then it happened. David Lundberg, a private investigator hired by Melitzer's family, finally tracked Max down after weeks of searching for him. As they sat on the park bench together, Lundberg relayed the message that changed Max's life. One of Max's brothers had died, but before he passed, he left Max a "significant" sum of money; enough money to purchase clothing, food, a car, a home, and health care. When asked how Max reacted to the news, Lundberg said, "He's still in shock. This came out of nowhere."

In Ephesians chapter one, Paul relayed a message that changes our lives. He wrote, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3) These "spiritual" blessings are greater than anything money can buy. There's only one problem: We're not always in "shock." We forget the beauty of our inheritance, and we convince ourselves it's something we deserve.

Lundberg said Max was in "shock" because his inheritance "came out of nowhere." As Christians, our inheritance comes from a specific place. It travels to earth from God's porch in Heaven, but it's transferred to our lives from Calvary's Cross.

Live each day inspired by your inheritance. Remember, it changed your life!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pretense from the Pulpit?

We all know the stereotypical list of deceiving professions: Lawyers, Used Car Salesman, Insurance Salesman, and Preachers. Preachers? Yes, that's right. Preachers. It's hard to believe, but many "distinguished" members of the clergy have been caught in elaborate and eloquent lies.

When United States Navy SEALS took out Osama bin Laden, a Pennsylvania Preacher succumbed to the heroic hype. He wrote the local newspaper and gave impressive details about his years as a Navy SEAL. With picturesque words, he described the rigor of SEAL training and the stress of fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. He even mentioned his dishwashing duty, giving this statement about his "rebellious" years, "I had almost no discipline. I was as wild as they came. That was my nemesis." Now, there are just a couple of "minor" (cough, cough) problems with these details. He was NEVER a Navy SEAL, and he NEVER went to Vietnam. The only Vietnam combat he's experienced is the stomach pains from the Vietnamese restaurant down the street. Don Shipley, retired NAVY seal offered these remarks, "We deal with these guys all the time, especially the clergy. It's amazing how many of the clergy are involved in lies to build up the flock."

It's mind boggling that people bring this type of criticism and embarrassment on themselves, particularly a Preacher who is charged with the duty of proclaiming the truth! But it doesn't matter if we're a Preacher or a Parishioner, we must be people of integrity. The Proverbs writer wrote, "A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful." (Proverbs 14:25)

When you're called to the "stand", what type of "witness" will you be?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Holding His Hand

This Father's Day will be different than any I've ever experienced before. This year, it's my turn. My beautiful son is only four months away from blessing this world with his grand "entrance." I would roll out the red carpet, but I'm not sure the doctors (or Natalie) would allow it. As I gaze into the beautiful sunset of blessings on the horizon, my soul is also overcome with anxiousness. Am I ready? Am I capable? Will I adequately raise him in the Lord, so that when he's older, he won't fall away?

It's only natural that I as I embark on this new journey called "Fatherhood", I reminisce about my relationship with my father, Danny Hawk. For the first month of my life, he held my hand as the doctors questioned if I would survive. As I grew older, his hand guided me through the pressures and temptations of life. His hand shook mine in pride when I walked across the stage at Harding Univeristy with diploma in hand. When I became a husband, his hand was ready to be the example of what a Godly husband should be. As long as there is air in my lungs, I will always "hold his hand". I'm his son. He's my dad. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Looking back at the last 24 years of blessings, I realize that "holding hands" began at birth. With my mother who is greater than gold, they didn't wait to form a relationship with me. As soon as my parents heard my first cry, our family unit was formed, and we began making memories. Now, as I think about the memories Natalie and I will form with our "gift" from God, I promise that for every smile, every tear, every special event, I'll be there. He's my son. I'm his dad. As my father held my hand, I'll always hold his.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Which Hat Will You Wear?

This past November, baseball lost a legend. We didn't hear much about in the midst of the World Series, but as fans were cheering in hopes for a ring, former players and coaches were mourning the loss of an indescribable icon. George "Sparky" Anderson was one of the greatest baseball coaches to lace his cleats and spit sunflower seeds. He began his coaching career in the 1960's as a hot tempered Minor League coach, but Anderson became one of the most successful major league skippers in baseball history. He led the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers with dignity. In appreciation for Anderson's leadership, Cincinnati retired his number in 2005, and Detroit will do the same on the 26th of this month.

But on the other hand, behind the walls of Anderson's life lived two different men. "George" loved his family. "Sparky" adored baseball. Unfortunately, for over four decades, "Sparky" lived ten months of the year. As time progresed, "George" barely recognized his children, and they barely recognized him.

But once "Sparky" took off the uniform for the last time, he morphed back into "George." With every ounce of his being, George determined to reunite with his children and captivate on every opportunity to know his grandchildren. And as he was lying on his death bed, even through the thick fog of dementia, Anderson knew which "hat" he would wear; not "skipper", but "father." With family by his side, he would go as George Anderson.

From what I know, Anderson's spiritual life wasn't where it needed to be, but he did inadvertently give lasting, spiritual advice. Which "hat" will you wear the day you die? Choose wisely, because that choice begins today. When death comes knocking at your door, it's too late to change "hats!"