Monday Morning Musings for 11.28.16

  1. In life, certain statements demand our attention and require our response. Things like "code blue" in a hospital or when your wife says, "you're doing to be a Daddy." There are hundreds of statements like that, but they all pale in comparison to the one God made it all its various Biblical forms: "This is my Son, Jesus, the savior of the world." God speaks with unique clarity through the prophetic fulfillments of Advent. From hundreds of years ago, the prophets described exactly how history would unfold, all pointing to Jesus, and it did. Thus, we should be filled with confidence, even in uncertain times, knowing we worship the Author of human history. Further, as in Matthew 2, when different statements all point to the same conclusion, it creates anticipation. Repeatedly, and through all manner of forms, God makes the declaration of Jesus' messiahship; therefore, we should be filled with anticipation over what God will do in and through our lives. If Jesus is Lord and Savior, then no matter our current situation or challenge, we anticipate the good gifts of God in the future as He writes His story in us for HIs greater glory.
  2. Last week, I attended the Memorial Service for Lorie Barnes, the wife of Peter Barnes my former college pastor and mentor, now serving as the Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian in Winston-Salem, NC. I worshiped as deeply in those moments as I ever have. Every song, every scripture, every spoken word nurtured my soul as I grieved the loss of this faithful, Godly woman – and as my heart ached for the Barnes family. Dying at 64, Lorie was far too young to leave this world, which is why #1 matters. Without faith, without the hope of Christ, such loss would be a dark abyss. It was not. Instead, in our grief, we were given a beautiful portrait of what is – and what will be. As I flew home, staring at the sunset from the window of my plane, great clarity ensued. I have been reminded yet again of the brevity of life – and the call of God to LIVE each day for His purpose. Whatever it is you're doing, stop the nonsense and the foolishness. Spend your hours and your days pursuing the Kingdom of God. When you do, you will experience a rich and most satisfying life – the sort of life Lorie lived.
  3. My preaching professor in seminary always said, "To be a great preacher, you have to have the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other." I took that to heart such that I am a newspaper guy. I love to read the paper as I find it an explication of our human experience and our human heart – both good and bad. I read three every day which is why I found the news coming from The Wall Street Journal so sad. Like many other papers, they have consolidated and shortened their print paper, laid off writers and moved towards a greatly reduced model. It is the end of an era, a casualty of the internet age.
  4. YOU CAN'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ. Numerous reports have emerged about what is being called "fake news stories." They are created in different online formats, look completely real, but are 100% false. I have been sucked in a few times, but I always go to other sources to check. I am amazed by how many people accept as truth whatever they read. PEOPLE, read everything critically. You are being targeted countless times each day as one to be manipulated, so don't let it happen. Test what you read and always test claims of "truth" against Scripture.
  5. THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: My own alma mater, SMU, rescinded an invitation to the daughter of a slain Dallas police officer to hit an honorary "first serve" at an SMU volleyball game. Why? School administrators feared it might offend some fragile students in showing support for the police. I am getting awfully tired of the delicate sensibilities of college students and the administrations that allow such to go on. Good grief. That, plus the fact our football team gave up 75 points to Navy – yup 75.
  6. I'm over the mannequin challenge already. No, FPCO will not be doing one. Move on, people. Please. Move on. 
  7. NEWSFLASH POST BLACK FRIDAY: You save 100% on everything you don't buy.
  8. After enjoying a wonderful four days with my family in Chattanooga, filled with love and thanks, I came home Saturday to get ready for church on Sunday. As I ran errands, I encountered an employee at one business that had been open on Thanksgiving. I asked how it had been and she said, "I worked all day, but it was fine. I had no other place to go." We often take our blessings for granted, and her statement gave me needed perspective on how many people live. We will have the chance, especially in the next four weeks, to positively impact the lives of those just like her!
  9. So how is Ohio State currently in the college playoff when they are not even in the Big 10 Championship game? Seems wrong – just saying.