Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Gift

I had no intentions of posting a "Christmas" blog - and then yesterday happened. Yesterday I found a $100 dollars slipped under my office door. Around Christmas, when you don't make a whole lot, times are tough - the same could be said for this year but that isn't why I'm posting.

Several years ago, Christmas Eve 2007, to be exact. I was the Student Pastor at a small SBC church. One of the members, a retired pastor himself, grabbed my arm as we were finishing up the candlelight service. He hands me a $100 dollars smiles at me and says "Every year I pick a young man in ministry to give a gift to - Merry Christmas". I was barely out of college, had been married for a little over 2 years, my son was barely a month old and we were broke. We had plans to go see my parents in Illinois, but we didn't have the money to go - that $100 dollars allowed us to go. To many that might seem like a small insignificant gift - to me it was the world. That small gift changed my world - several months after that, he passed away. My family and I still keep in touch with his wife and their family. I had almost forgotten about this event - until yesterday - now it is all that I can think about.

I don't expect every pastor to find money under their doors next week. That isn't the idea. My prayer would be that this Christmas people would step outside of themselves and remember others this Christmas. Give to someone who needs it - touch someone who touches others. Be in prayer for those around you. Give to someone who never asks for money - who would give you the coat off their back in the dead of winter. I'm not suggesting that I am that person - I'm not suggesting that I deserve that kind of praise or that kind of a gift. My prayer is that this Christmas you would cling to the people in your lives and less to things. May the Christ of Christmas wrap his arms around you and fill you with his love.

Merry Christmas - jb

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Join a local church this Advent season....

Advent. Growing up Southern Baptist, we never really celebrated Advent, it just wasn't a big deal, the "church holidays" weren't on the calendar. However, after "becoming" United Methodist, that changed. What drew me to Methodism was that very thing. The "holy seasons", does that make sense? The liturgy, the reverence, don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that Southern Baptists are irreverent....or any other denomination is or is not, how they choose to celebrate and worship is great. Personally, I just like the "structure" the "conscious effort" of setting aside who we are and focusing on who God is - in our day to day lives.

I can do that on my own, some of you might say....I don't need a church or a "holy season" to focus on God. John Wesley once said, “The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.” That is a is not "in" the Bible, but it is still a Biblical truth. See, we weren't made to go at life alone. Look at Adam and Eve or if you don't "care" for Biblical examples...look at the animals...."our closest relative"...mate for life...and they prefer to travel/live in "troops" (yep, that is what groups of monkeys are called) and yet many people try to live life alone, especially Christians. Ridiculous you many people claim to be Christians and yet don't attend church anywhere or have a "social gathering" of Christians who they meet with regularly. We were not made to live Christianity solo. Christ didn't do it...and if he...who is God...could not live out his life without intimate relationships....why should we try?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Drenched in grace....

Have you ever thought about it? The word drenched. To be completely covered in something. Drenched in water or more recently probably sweat...but what about grace? I'm talking about a grace so heavy, so strong, that even in your sin it draws you to it and gives you what you need to accept Christ. I don't know that we are always aware of this kind of grace - or maybe we just forget about it. This is the grace that we have at the "beginning of salvation" and it is essentially the grace we still have years down the road. I don't know that I believe that grace "evolves" we just call it something different. After having a taste of this heavy grace (a molasses grace, if you will...) you won't go back to the way you want to press on to swim deeper and deeper into it. I know, I know, I'm missing something right? What about those who backslide? I didn't say that it was going to be easy....there are always things to draw you away from it.....but they don't give you what you're looking for - once you've had that taste you'll always be wanting more of it. That's what I've got so far....Amo Dei.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Candy-coated Jesus

Have you ever eaten a piece of candy and said "Gee, that was amazing.....I'm never going to have that again." Of course you haven't that would be crazy, right? So why then do people do that with Christ? Maybe it's not something you want to's definitely tough. But lets think about it. Living your life for Christ is a fantastic experience....sure it has it's rough spots and life certainly isn't easy just because you're a Christian, but lets be want to make a difference....right? You wouldn't mind being considered revolutionary. I know, I know...."the first post and he's already talking about Jesus.....this is definitely the last time I read this blog!" I say good. I don't want you to read this if that's what you think. But if you got even just a hint of excitement....let's keep talking....

Amo Dei - Jerrod