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

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Poolside Parable

If you want a love story to remember for those "rainy days" of marriage, file Rachelle Friedman and Chris Chapman into your memory. Even in life-changing circumstances, their love grew by leaps and bounds.

During Rachelle's bachelorette party, Rachelle and her friends were relaxing by the pool on a warm summer day. When Rachelle wasn't looking, she was pushed into the shallow end of the pool. The girls were laughing, but Rachelle knew something was wrong. She wasn't moving. She was paralyzed from the waist down. The wedding was postponed, and Rachelle's life was changed forever.

Chris Chapman, Rachelle's groom to be, was interviewed after the incident. The reporters had the audacity to ask him, "Did you ever consider leaving Rachelle? You're young and handsome with your life before you." Chris answered the questions like a knight in shining armor, "I never thought, 'What am I going to do?' I thought, 'What are we going to do?' It was one step at a time." Now, a year later, the wedding is back on. The young couple will honeymoon in Fiji, and as Rachelle's father wheels her down the aisle, Chris will lovingly stand by her side.

As the divorce rate in America creeps towards 60%, it becomes painfully clear that America doesn't get it. Sure, marital unfaithfulness really challenges continued matrimony, and even Jesus understood that (Matthew 19:9). However, when wrinkles surface, finances tighten, and stress increases, there's no excuse to "hit the road" and look for something better. You took a vow. You looked into the eyes of your partner and you promised, "In sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth." You might experience "rough patches" in your marraige, but those vows still mean exactly what they say!

In His abundant love, God created marriage. Take a lesson from Rachelle and Chris. Keep your vows, remember your promises, and thank God through the beauty of your marriage!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sermon from a Sonogram

This week Natalie and I were blessed to once again experience the amazing technological advances of this age. It gave me chills when I saw Hayden's eyes, lips, nose, arms, legs, and feet developing so quickly. But then, something struck me I'll never forget. Hayden is a product of Natalie and me. We created him. In some ways, he is the replica of our image.

I can't imagine what it's like for God to look down from His porch in Heaven and see His children He created, all of them replicating His image. However, I did feel a connection to God's Fatherly qualities. I already love Hayden more than life itself, but I have a sense of anxiousness. Not only will Hayden be a physical extenstion of Natalie and me, but he will also bear the Hawk name. What character will he carry? What reputation will he hold? I can only pray he will make us proud.

Even my baby boy preached a sermon to his daddy preacher. God created all of us in His image, and as His children, we bear His name. Let's make Him proud. We're an extension of Him, and that isn't an "image" or "name" we want to distort!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A "Smugly" Signature?

With a story as special as the Declaration of Independence, heroic rumors spread from ear to ear. One of the most controversial rumors stems from John Hancock's "smugly" signature. Why was his signature so much bigger than everyone else's? Some historians quote Hancock saying, "...so fat old King George can read it without his spectacles." It's a neat story, but most likely, the truth is less dramatic.

History tells us that Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration, so it's possible that he didn't realize his fellow patriots would sign on a smaller scale. In addition, the National Archives explains why Hancock's signature is positioned front and center. They claim that the signatures were arranged by geographic location of the states each signer represented. New Hampshire, the northernmost state began the list, and Georgia, the southernmost state ended it. Hancock represented Massachusetts, explaining why his signature is towards the top of the document.

Regardless which "tale" we choose to believe, Hancock's signature gives us a veiled reminder for the Christian life. Jesus once said, "...the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20:16). Being the center of attention might give us the "glory" on earth, but that attention isn't worth missing the "glory" of Heaven!

We can't know for sure if Hancock was groaning for the glory when he signed the Declaration. His bravery earns our respect because he was the first to sign the document that could have cost him his life. But this we can know--when we sign our lives over to Christ, large, "eye-catching" letters aren't necessary!

When Jesus asks for our "John Hancock", all Jesus wants is our signature!