"...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord....." Philippians 2:10-11
- Last week, I'm out downtown and I run into someone that I know. I am also convinced her name is Susan. I enthusiastically greet her, "Susan! Hey!" She smiles and greets me in return, then says, "You know my name is Beth, right?" Argh. I hate that. Hate, hate, hate it! I hate it because names matter, and while I try hard to remember, I blow it more than I care to admit. A name is a powerful thing. It is history, identity and reputation all rolled into one. For that reason, understanding the names of God is critical. He is not generic "God", but He has named Himself so that we might more fully understand His being, nature, character, and history. That revelation is seen most fully in God made flesh, Jesus Christ. His is the name that is above all names, the only name given to us by which we are saved (Acts 4:12). And unbelievably, our Creator God knows OUR names. It is the answer to our deepest longing: to be known. He knows us fully, calls us by name, and claims us as His own. He never forgets our names, for we "are graven on the palms of HIs hands." (Packer)
- THE MARRIAGE RETREAT: Registration opened last week for the FPCO Marriage Retreat, February 9–11 at Mission Inn, and we already have 53 couples signed up. Our max is 100, so look at your calendars, talk to your spouse, and plan for a great Valentine's gift by joining us that weekend. Leigh and I will be speaking on the dynamics of forgiveness, communication, intimacy and spiritual growth.
- Recently, a group of conservative theologians and pastors released something called The Nashville Statement. It has been signed by a number of people throughout evangelicalism, but I am not one of them. Some of you have asked me why I didn't. It's not that I find anything paricularly wrong with the statement, but there is more to Christian witness than just being right. There is tone, timing, context and relationship. It lacks pastoral sensitivity to those outside of the church, the very ones that we in pastoral ministry are trying to serve – and reach. It was ill-timed as thousands suffered in southeast Texas. To paraphrase what has been said before, in order to have a good song, it takes both words and music. The words were fine, but the notes were flat.
- To be sure, theology absolutely matters. Sadly, it has played out in Houston in the wake of so much suffering. Anthea Butler's NYT column "The Cheap Prosperity Gospel" nailed it when she said "sufferers don't need platitudes." When Joel Osteen has told people over and over that life always works out if you love Jesus and you'll have your best life now, what are people left with when real human suffering arrives? They have not heard about God's redemptive purpose for suffering. They have not learned from the suffering of Jesus nor His presence in it. They are left empty and wanting.
- THE LAW OF THE WORKPLACE BREAKROOM: When you are trying to be healthy and eat well, the breakroom is full of Krispy Kremes, birthday cake, and some homemade cookies someone just happened to bring in. When you've had a lousy day and you just want some suger/junk, there's nothing. Zero. Nada.
- We are in a crisis! It's a wing crisis! Yes, with the start of college football this weekend, restaurants have been scrambling to find sufficient numbers of wings due to an unexpected virus outbreak among chicken breeders. Expect your bill to go up.
- I have to admit that my team, the Texas Rangers, whiffed on their decision not to accomodate the Houston Astros by agreeing to flip flop schedules and play in Dallas last week and Houston later in the month. Yes, Texas is still in the hunt to make the playoffs, but come on. Giving first place Houston a series in their home that will give the fans something else to think about was the right thing to do.
- I don't usually say much in the political realm, but our government needs to protect the children of illegal immigrants through DACA. There are 6,000 in Central Florida alone. They are here by no choice of their own. They did nothing wrong. They need some way to gain legal status as those peoples caught in the middle.
- So I bascially have four teams: Texas, SMU, Auburn, and Florida. All four have a lot of my money (or my parents'). My weekend record as 2-2 … a shocking loss by Texas, a poor showing by UF, and lopsided wins for Auburn and SMU.