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

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Have You Forgotten?

An elderly man moved into a retirement community. Very quickly, he made a number of friends. One lady was very attracted to him, and he was very attracted to her. After spending much time together, one evening he proposed, and she agreed to marry him.

The next morning he woke up remembering his proposal, but he couldn't remember her answer. So he went to her and said, "I'm really embarrassed to admit this. I know I proposed to you last night, but I can't remember if you said 'Yes' or 'No.'" The woman replied, "Oh, thank goodness! I remembered saying 'Yes' to someone last night but I couldn't remember who asked me."

We can all relate with a story like this. Regardless of our age or mental capability, we forget some of the most important memory pegs of life. But when it comes to our relationship with Jesus—when and why it officially began—our memory can’t fail us.

As the Son of God, Jesus said, “I love you so much I gave my life for you.” As a baptized believer, you said, “I love you so much I give my life to you”. The proposal was offered. It was accepted. The rest is history.

Have you forgotten? Some say they have, but they haven’t. And on the Day of Judgment, God won’t forget either.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Master Among Masters

Another Masters in Augusta, Georgia has come and gone. Amidst the beauty of Azaleas and Pines, the world’s best golfers regrouped at the golfer’s paradise of Augusta National. Each player gave it his all for the Green Jacket—the ultimate crown in the golfing Kingdom. “Aussie” Adam Scott became the first Australian to ever win the Masters.

Scott’s career has experienced many ups and downs. In 2008, Scott placed third in the US Open, a significant achievement; but, after that tournament, the wheels quickly began to fall off. In his next 14 tournaments, Scott missed the cut 10 times. He found himself in financial trouble as he purchased a jet to fly him from tournament to tournament. Unfortunately, this purchase was made the same time his career went south.

But in 2009, golf hero and fellow Australian Greg Norman asked Adam Scott to play for the President’s Cup. In that tournament Scott did even worse. He was literally about to “hang up his cleats” and walk away from the game, until a gentleman named Angel Cabrera, 2009 Masters Champion, entered the scene. Cabrera agreed to play with Scott to help calm his nerves and find his swing.

Fast forward four years to Sunday, April 14th, 2013. As fate would have it, Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera were walking down the fairway together; this time, not as teammates, but as competitors, in the second playoff hole to win the Masters. Cabrera hit his second shot and landed at the front of the green. Scott laced a seven iron 12 feet from the hole. From underneath his umbrella, Cabrera gave Scott the “thumbs up”—a gesture foreign to the world of competitive golf. On his third shot, Cabrera chipped up onto the green and missed the hole by inches, tapping in for his par. Scott sank his 12 foot birdie putt for the win, as roars from the crowd echoed through the trees and the hills.

Adam Scott was adorned with the Green Jacket and all of its glory, but it was only a matter of minutes before Scott recognized the power of his competitor, and former teammate, Angel Cabrera. Scott reminisced of Cabrera’s encouragement and gave Cabrera the credit for saving his career that was literally hours away from ending. Even though Cabrera missed the Green Jacket by inches, in my opinion, he is still a Master among Masters.

You see, we never know just how powerful our words really are. Green Jackets are nice, but nothing compares to the sweetness of encouragement. That’s the true mark of a Master.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Trimming the Tongue

One day a lady went to visit her preacher. She was one of the members who always complained. She walked into the preacher’s office and told him, “Preacher, there is something you do that offends me.” The preacher wanted to be accommodating, so he asked her, “What is that?” She answered, “It’s the way you wear your tie.” The preacher, somewhat surprised and confused asked, “What is it about the way I wear my tie that offends you?” She said, “Preacher, your tie always hangs two or three inches below your belt buckle. A tie properly worn strikes the belt buckle.”

The preacher sat there a moment, then reached into his desk and pulled out a pair of scissors. He then said to the woman, “Well, I certainly don’t want to be offensive to you. Here, take these scissors and cut my tie to where you think it ought to be.” The woman took the scissors and cut off about two inches of the preacher’s tie. “Does that make you feel better?” asked the preacher. “Yes, it does,” replied the woman.

With that, the woman got up and started to leave the office, but the preacher stopped her. “Before you leave,” the preacher said, “There’s something about you that offends me.” “What is about me that offends you,” asked the woman. The preacher responded, “Your tongue, stick it out please.”

I hope you found that fictional story as humorous as I did. In my ministry career thus far, I’ve haven’t cut any tongues, and I don’t ever plan to do so. But, it does provide a reminder for us all, regardless if we’re the preacher, teacher, or member. How carefully are we choosing our words? James says, “…the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” (James 3: 5) Before we know it, we set the Lord’s Kingdom on fire with the ruthlessness of our tongues; and that, my friends, is a tragedy of all tragedies.

Does your tongue need to be trimmed two inches?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

To Worry or not to Worry: Is that the Question?

Since I’ve lived in Kerrville, I’ve flown out of San Antonio International Airport many times for speaking engagements, seminars, and personal travel. In doing so, I’ve created a frequent flyer routine. I always park in Parking Lot B. When I’m clearing security, I always get in the line on the far right because it’s quicker. Once I clear security, I always peruse Raising Cane’s Fried Chicken just to get a “whiff” of the fried goodness, but I don’t buy. Then, I head for Starbucks, where I do buy. And finally, I make a stop at the Shoe Shine booth for a fresh shine of the shoes—my most important stop.

Working there is a young man named Alden. Alden never went to college because he couldn’t afford it. After graduating high school, he began shining shoes to pay the bills. Now, after years of working hard to earn a living, Alden’s job might be up in the air. San Antonio International Airport is getting an “Extreme Makeover”, and with all of these updates, new contracts have been acquired. Alden isn’t sure if the new company will hire him back or let him go, but he still shines shoes with enthusiasm and candor, and continually says, “Something will come along”.

Last time I sat in his chair, with a job that I love and that supports my family, I realized I worry more about my life than Alden does his. Alden provides a powerful reminder—one which originated with our Savior; “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)

Is it ok to be concerned? Yes. Is it natural to be stressed? Sure. Should we worry? No.

Jesus asks us, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6: 27) Through worry, we can’t add hours to our life, but we can certainly take them away. Thank you, Alden, for the reminder. Keep Shining.