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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Famous Last Words?

If you've been keeping up with the news, you know the world recently lost a technological pioneer and hero, Steve Jobs. Jobs was responsible for revolutionizing the computer industry. As CEO of Apple, similar to "Johnny Appleseed", Jobs "planted" Apple Products (ipod, iphone, ipad, etc.) all over the world. All in all, Jobs changed the way we function today.

At his memorial service on October 16th, Job's sister Mona Simpson gave the eulogy. To everyone's surprise, she included Jobs' last words as he lovingly stared at his family and passed from this life, "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!" After everything that Jobs had seen and accomplished, "Oh wow" is the way he ended his run? Is that an expression of hope or despair? We'll probably never know.

What will your famous last words be? You may not be a computer whiz or CEO of one of the most successful businesses in American history; but as a child of God, when this passing world is done, "Oh wow" will be appropriate. I'm sure that the "Holy City" and the "New Jerusalem" will have that effect!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Insights from Hayden

This past week Natalie and I experienced a miracle, the birth of our precious baby boy. I don't know how we can view the birth of a child any other way. Hayden Jacob Hawk was born Tuesday, October 18th, 2011, at 1:05 P.M. at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. He weighed in at 8lbs., 8oz., measuring 19.25 inches long.

October 18th, 2011, is a day I'll never forget. I'll always remember that call at work with the famous four words, "My water just broke." I'll always remember the high speed, sixty-three mile race to the hospital, swerving in and out of rush hour traffic. I'll always remember putting on scrubs, deep prayer in the surgery room, and finally hearing that first cry. I'll cherish forever the tears that filled my eyes when Hayden clasped my finger with those small, delicate, hands just minutes after birth. We bonded. I kept whispering to him over and over again, "You are my son. I am your daddy. And there is nothing that can make me stop loving you!"

As I've taken it all in, I've had some spiritual thoughts I've never had before. Why did God send Jesus as a baby? You know, there was about twenty-five years in Jesus' life when He didn't do much! Why not just send Jesus as a grown man for his three year ministry, get it done, and go back home? Obviously, Jesus needed to be taught like the other children, He needed to build relationships with those He would lead, and He needed to fulfill prophecy; but as a new dad, Hayden gave me some different insights.

Maybe God wanted to take in the whole process. Maybe God wanted to experience what we experience, feel what we feel, and see what we see. When Jesus was born, surely God watched from above as the proud Father. He heard that first cry. He saw the miracle. And even though Jesus couldn't physically clasp God's finger, they still bonded. "You are my Son. I am your Father. And there is nothing that can make me stop loving you!"

Thank you, Father, for such an amazing miracle! I will never forget! And as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Clinging to a Cooler

On Saturday, October 8th, 2011, a loving Florida family set out for a family fishing trip in their 22 foot fishing boat. The weather conditions weren't the best. They knew there was a great possibility for storms, but their desire to fish was stronger than the danger of the seas.

After they cast their lines, they realized the storms were worse than they originally thought. The waves picked up momentum, and the winds gusted more than 40 miles per hour. Their boat capsized. An elderly woman who wasn't wearing a life jacket was swept away and drowned. Three men grabbed the tip of their boat, but a four year old girl and her mother drifted away, clinging to a cooler.

Storms were so fierce that rescue helicopters couldn't get close to the water. Many hours later, after the storm had subsided, a commerical boat found the men hanging onto their capsized boat. They informed the Coast Guard that the women were missing, and the Coast Guard found them a few hours later. After 20 hours of treading water, mild hypothermia, Jelly Fish stings, a dark rainy night at sea, and utter exhaustion, the mother and daughter told reporters that one thing kept them alive--clinging to the cooler.

As Christians, when we feel like we're "Lost at Sea", there's only one thing that keeps us alive--clinging to the cross! When was the last time you reached for your lifeline, the anchor of Calvary? Through faith, grab it and hold on for dear life. Without it, it's only a matter of time before you drown.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Words from the Grave

Last week at Harding's 88th Annual Lectureship, I was blessed to witness a very "historical" event for a preacher, the memorial service of Dr. Neale Pryor. Dr. Pryor taught Bible at Harding University for 45 years and served in many different leadership roles for the University. He is one of the best Bible professors our brotherhood has ever seen or heard. I was privileged to sit at his feet my junior year and take "Joshua through Esther." Even in the fog of Old Testament symbolism and legalism, Dr. Pryor made the words on the pages come to life.

It's been a while since I last spoke with Dr. Pryor face to face. Several years ago, his health began to deteriorate, and I moved from Searcy, Arkansas back to Texas after graduation to begin my preaching ministry, but I still remember the power of his teaching and the soothing tone of his voice. At his memorial service, it was very clear that thousands of people still remember as well.

In Hebrews chapter eleven, the Hebrew writer mentions the Heroes of the Faith. I've always loved his words about Abel, the young hero whose life was stolen by his jealous brother Cain, "And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead." (Hebrews 11:4) Like Abel, Dr. Pryor's message still echoes in the classroom. I still hear his favorite words, accompanied by that loving smile, "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" (Luke 9:25)

We will all die, and when we do, the words that summarize our lives will still speak. What will you say? What will people hear?