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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tune Tuesday - 10,000 reasons

Whew...hanging with a ton of jr hi teens in this third consecutive weeks of camp ministry. Great fun, just a tad tired.

The worship leader at this camp, Shua, introduced me to the Rend Collective. I absolutely LOVE their stuff...

You've probably heard the song, but click the link and watch/listen to them playing in a radio station...with an accordion! As you may or may not know I took accordion lessons for a couple years in my (way) distant youth (I tell some that there is where my pre-salvation life of crime started)...and, assuming I can get my hands on one, am going to start playing it again after summer)


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tune Tuesday - Memory Bringer Backer..

There are those songs that, upon hearing the first note, cause me to visualize people or events. Some are not good, so I need to take thoughts captive and move on, but some cause a grin of gratitude...

Such is the following tune from the days of my (distant) youth...I think I was like 14 or 15, and I vividly recall dancing with Diane to this song, and falling madly in love (for at least a week)....Do you have any songs like that? 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Servant Camp Reflections

Last night I preached on "Jesus' View of Discipleship" (Lu 14.25ff) as we concluded Servant Family Camp at Horn Creek near Westcliffe,  Colorado. After a joyous and sometimes tearful time of sharing, I had the joy of setting the "stage" for the Dads to serve communion to their families.

Horn Creek is a wondrous place, and it was a wonderful week. I got to interact with several families, had some great times of discussion and prayer with individuals...and got to go white water rafting and climbed a 13,400' mountain.

It was an honor to see families interacting with others, working hard with each other, encouraging one another...and so much more.

There were folks from Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado and a couple other states. They were able to come at "half price" because for 2 1/2 days they worked...planting flowers, building walls, sawing and getting rid of timber and more...again, a joy to see families working together.

It was a blessing to observe...and occasionally listen in on, family devotions each morning.

I pray 2 Peter 3.18 for each camper...staff...and me!

I left around ten pm...and 14 hours later stopped in Lincoln, Nebraska for the night. I hope to get out of here early enough tomorrow morning to make it to Crescent Lake Bible Camp (Rhinelander,  Wi) in time for the first counselors meeting. I will be there for two teen weeks

It is such a continuing privilege and joy to speak at camps...every year 5-8 camps each summer since 1978...

Amazing! And, in view of "let not many of us presume to be teachers, for as such we shall incur a stricter judgment," very sobering...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Aesop Was Right

It was Aesop who wrote, "Please all and you please none."

I know that as I live my life, and particularly as I fulfill my calling as a preacher/teacher, there is no way I can make every listener happy...nor should I try.

Neither should I try to offend...the Word proclaimed will do that on its own.

But I am still surprised at the very few times I've been confronted by someone who disagreed with a point, or my delivery, or whatever.

Tonight I spoke on First John and assurance. I mentioned that all too often "witnessing teaching" tells people to take their counselees to First John 5.11ff to read "These things I have written to you who believe...that you may know that you have eternal life." They are told to read those verses, pat the counselee on the head, and send them on their merry way.

What a disservice!

Make the time, take the time, to read what "these things" are! "These things" are First John 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 etc etc etc!

I made the point that three of the reasons I know that Jesus is real and I am in Him are:

  • My life is different (I don't "walk (characteristically) in darkness")
  • I can't sin and get away with it
  • I love people
I used some strong words to illustrate the three points, and got glared at by a few (I'm speaking at a family camp).

Afterwards several folks told me how much they appreciated the message; not one of the by-all-appearances-displeased folks talked to me.

And that is the norm.

And that frustrates.

Not frustrated that I made them mad; frustrated, in a sense, that I didn't make them mad enough to confront me.

I strive to live for the Audience of One, therefore I try to preach/teach/live for Him alone and hang what others think.

But I do wish people would be more genuine in their criticism...
primarily because it is quite possible I said something wrong, or in a wrong way..and if they were bold enough to confront it would make me a better man...

Oh well...

TUNE TUESDAY - Going Through Hell? Read Churchill...and Listen to

Winston Churchill once said, "If you're going through hell, keep going."

Don't know if Rodney Atkins stole it from Churchill, or came up with it himself, but...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Stones of the non-Rolling Variety

I love cemeteries...especially old ones. The Rosita, Co cemetery is the most unique I've seen. Hard to portray in is like a dozen cemeteries rolled into no planning, no regulations as far as where to bury people, or how to mark...
Anyway, what follows are a sampling of headstones...more than most will want to view, but some sad stories here....three siblings dying within a few days; two friends dying on the same day...
Look for yourself:

                                      Unmarked grave in front of bench with discarded white flower

                                               I think this marked a grave...

                                     Sunsetting as I drove back to Horn Creek Conference Center

Rocky Mountain High

Well, yeah, they legalized gay "marriage," the okayed whacky tobaccy; but Westcliffe Co is an incredibly conservative area, and the location of Horn Creek Christian Conference center where am now getting ready to preach/teach a week of "Family Camp."

The drive over here from Hays yesterday was extraordinary...since I am soloing this time I stopped frequently to look at cemeterys, historical markers, etc.

I passed a couple federal maximum security prisons in Florence, and the other pics are from an early evening hike that I took...

Yeah, it's rather pretty...and a testimony to the creativity of the One who created you (and me!)

After over thirty years of camp ministry; I continue to be amazed I get to do what I get to do..and the doors the Lord opens. Pray for power, wisdom, discernment for me...and for open hearts/minds for the campers.

Here's the shots:
                                     This is where I spent Fri nite, moving to another
                                                  lodge today...not exactly ghetto

And, of course, this keeps running through my head:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sound Judgment of Judge Not

This is a thoughtful treatment of the most abused verse
in scripture...the book itself is great, and if you order it by clicking the link below the article a small percentage will go to help the Hagers, who serve as home missionaries and thus have the privilege of living "on support"..The article is long...but well written, and well worth your time...

Whereas it comes as no surprise that most Christians have at least one favorite verse of Scripture, it is somewhat startling to learn that most non-Christians have one as well. Non-Christians may know little of the Bible, but as certainly as night follows day, they can quote for you Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” And, ironically, this verse—which they love most—they understand least.


Never has a passage of Scripture been so utterly abused, misunderstood, and misapplied as this one. Non-Christians (and not a few misguided believers as well) use this text to denounce any and all who venture to criticize or expose the sins, shortcomings, or doctrinal aberrations of others. One dare not speak ill of homosexuality, adultery, gossip, cheating on your income tax, fornication, abortion, non-Christian religions, and so on without incurring the wrath of multitudes who are convinced that Jesus, whom they despise and reject, said that we shouldn’t judge one another!
This problem is due in large measure to the fact that people hate absolutes, especially moral ones. To suggest that there really is an absolute difference between good and evil, truth and falsity, is to risk being labeled as medieval and closed-minded. In brief, for many (if not most) students today, “There is no enemy other than the man who is not open to everything.”
The irony, of course, is that in judging us for judging others they are themselves violating the very commandment to which they want to hold us accountable! To insist that it is wrong to pronounce others wrong for embracing a particular belief or moral practice is itself an ethical position, a moral stand. To insist on uncritical tolerance of all views is extremely intolerant of those who embrace a different perspective.


Jesus is not forbidding us from expressing our opinion on right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsity, can be demonstrated by noting two factors: the immediate context and the rest of the New Testament teaching on judging.
Virtually all of the Sermon on the Mount, both preceding and following this text, is based on the assumption that we will (and should) use our critical powers in making ethical and logical judgments. Jesus has told Christians to be different from the world around us, to pursue a righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees, to do “more” than what unbelievers would do, to avoid being like the hypocrites when we give, pray, fast, and so on.
All criticism must be preceded by confession.
Not only this, but immediately following this word of exhortation in Matthew 7:1 Jesus issues two more commands: don’t give what is holy to dogs or pearls to pigs, and beware of false prophets. “It would be impossible to obey either of these commands without using our critical judgment,” says Stott. “For in order to determine our behavior toward ‘dogs,’ ‘pigs’ and ‘false prophets’ we must first be able to recognize them, and in order to do that we must exercise some critical discernment.”
Direct your attention to such texts as Matthew 18:15–17Romans 16:17–181 Corinthians 5:3Galatians 1:8Philippians 3:2Titus 3:10–111 John 4:1–42 John 9–113 John 9–10; and especiallyJohn 7:24, where Jesus himself says, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment,” (emphasis mine).


What, then, does Jesus mean in Matthew 7:1–6?
It would appear that Jesus is prohibiting the sort of judgmental criticism that is self-righteoushypercritical, and destructive. He is prohibiting the kind of judgment we pass on others not out of concern for their spiritual health and welfare but solely to parade our alleged righteousness before men.
Jesus is prohibiting not loving rebuke and constructive criticism, but rather self-serving censoriousness. To be censorious, Stott explains,
. . . does not mean to assess people critically, but to judge them harshly. The censorious critic is a fault-finder who is negative and destructive towards other people and enjoys actively seeking out their failings. He puts the worst possible construction on their motives, pours cold water on their schemes and is ungenerous towards their mistakes.
To sum up, “The command to judge not is not a requirement to be blind, but rather a plea to be generous. Jesus does not tell us to cease to be men (by suspending our critical powers which help to distinguish us from animals) but to renounce the presumptuous ambition to be God (by setting ourselves up as judges).”


But we must not stop with verse 7:1, for Jesus has much more to say on this subject in the verses that follow.
The reason he gives for not judging others in a self-righteous and censorious manner is that “with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (v. 2). The problem here is determining whether this refers to the judgment we experience at the hands of men or of God.
When we set up a standard to which others must conform, we are no less obliged to keep it than they are. That is why humility and love must govern our judgments. All criticism must be preceded by confession. Before we point out a fault in others, let us first confess its presence in our own lives.


An illustration of this principle is given in Matthew 7:3–5: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye,” asks Jesus, “but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
This principle applies to any number of situations, such as denouncing the external, visible sins of the flesh, like adultery, theft, murder, in order to excuse or minimize the internal, less visible sins of the heart, such as jealousy, bitterness, greed, or lust. Related to this is the tendency to point out the faults of others precisely to throw them off the scent of our own sin. This form of judgment is nothing more than self-justification. We think that if we can just make known to others the gravity of their sins, we will by comparison come out smelling like a rose.
Saints are not to be simpletons!
There is also an opposite and equal danger. In Matthew 7:6, Jesus says, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” Here Jesus points out the danger of being overindulgent and undiscerning. In loving our enemies, going the extra mile, and not judging unjustly, there is the peril of becoming wishy-washy and of failing to make essential distinctions between right and wrong and truth and falsehood. Whereas the saints are not to be judges, neither are they to be simpletons!
Jesus is not saying that we should withhold the gospel from certain people we regard as unworthy of it, but he is a realist and acknowledges that after multiple rejections and mockery of the gospel, the time may come to move on to others. There are those who are persistently vicious and calloused, who delight not in the truth of Scripture but only in mocking it.


In conclusion, then, several points should be made.
First, it’s important to note that Jesus speaks of “pearls” and not “gravel.” We must always keep in mind the priceless treasure and incalculable value and glory of the gospel message.
Second, there are going to be different sorts of people to whom we witness, and we must learn to discriminate among them (see Acts 17:32–34).
Third, we need not present the gospel of Jesus with the same emphasis at all times in an unthinking and mechanical way. Some are already weighed down with sin and guilt and conviction of the Holy Spirit and thus need to hear of God’s love in Christ. Others need to hear of the holiness and wrath of God. Others need to come to grips with the depravity of their hearts, while still others need to be confronted with divine mercy and forgiveness. Remember that this instruction is set in the context of loving our enemies. Whereas we are not to cast our pearls before swine, neither are we to be nasty and vicious and uncaring.
This instruction is set in the context of loving our enemies.
Finally, Matthew 7:6 probably does not need to be taught in certain churches or to certain Christians. Their problem is not that they are inclined to be undiscerning and often cast their pearls before swine. Their problem is that they aren’t casting their pearls at all! This verse is addressed to those who are so zealous for evangelism that they fail to discern the scoffer from the hungry soul. Most likely, our problem is that we have no such zeal to evangelize in the first place.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tune Tuesday

Okay, simple question that might not draw much you have a favorite guitar player?

Here's one of mine:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Best Thing You'll See Today...or this week...

This is one of the most incredibly moving things this old dude has ever seen...growing up my family was dysfunctional before it was trendy; and I had zero relationship with my parents. But for over thirty years I've been married to my best friend and watcher her mommy four kids (and me!)...

You will want to watch this more than once, though it may take a bit of time for your eyes to clear up to watch it a second, third, or fifteenth time...

Hoopstar Illustration...

It would seem he is from another planet.

That could explain his impossible ability to stay in the air for such extensive lengths. But more than obviously he is a human being created in the image of God just like any other human. 

But Michael Jordan is the epitome of a superstar, and he proved that beyond question in Game Five of the National Basketball Association finals June 11, 1997. 

Battling either flu or food poisoning, Michael somehow found the will to play 44 minutes of the contest, and unquestionably won the game (and, quite probably, the series and thus the championship) with a heroic effort.

His coach said he was nauseous and suffered "dizzy spells". His center said, "(Michael) was listless. He could barely sit up. I've never seen him like that, ever. I was amazed he could even go out and play." 

Immediately after the game Michael Jordan told an interviewer, "It's all about desire. You just have to come out and do what you have to do. Hopefully the team could rally around me. I was really tired, very weak; but somehow I found the energy to stay strong." 

I know nothing about Michael Jordan's spiritual state. I know nothing about his moral character. But I do know his effort in an ultimately meaningless basketball game is a picture of what all disciples of Jesus Christ should strive after.

One can be a "disciple" of anything or anyone. But Michael's commitment to basketball gives a tangible picture reflecting the attitude that should be reflected in the life of the apprentice of Jesus. 

Michael had the desire to play. His decision was to overcome, not to be over-whelmed. His effort that hot June night was predetermined by his commitment and practice and desire for excellence ever since he picked up a basketball as a child. 

The disciple of Christ must display and utilize the same desire. Luke 14 records an incident that clearly demonstrates the Lord Jesus never attended a contemporary "church growth institute." He wasn't real big on being sensitive to a seeker's felt needs. His itinerant ministry certainly wasn't infected by a committee seeking to make the work "user friendly." 

Verse 25 tells us that "great crowds were traveling with Jesus." When will we ever learn that whenever "Christianity" is popular, something is wrong? Will we believe that Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said "Wide is the road that leads to destruction, and narrow the path that leads to eternal life, and few there are that find it?" Jesus turns and thins out the crowd in verse 26 by declaring that the disciple's love for Christ must so far surpass his love for mate, children, career, life, that by comparison, any "human" love is hate. 


Many must have left on that note. Jesus persists in his crowd-thinning efforts by declaring the verse 27 that the disciple must be a "walking dead man." How hard it is for us to recognize that even we who live in lose "rights" the moment we become bondservants of the living Lord! 

In verse 33, Jesus makes a far from crowd-pleasing statement: "any of you who does not give up everything, he cannot be my disciple." 

Give up? 

That's not American! Besides, I don't want to give up, I want to name and claim, blab and grab. Yup, that's what I want to do. 

Perhaps it is not accidental that the middle letter in the word "sin" is "I." "I" want, "I" deserve, "I" need. 

The Christian life is not to be a party anymore that an NBA Championship game is supposed to be a tea party for tall men. I don't know how anyone can attempt to explain away the clear teachings of Christ in the passage cited, or in the many other examples throughout the Word. 

The Bible admonishes us to "..rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Romans 5:3, 4) I'm sure Jordan didn't always rejoice in the practice sessions or the weight room. But he recognized that there is truth in the tired cliche, "no pain, no gain." 

He also knew, from experience, that "suffering (practice) produces perseverance." And, at least as pertains to basketball, the next step is character, and all the Utah Jazz fans now know that when an exhausted and ill Michael Jordan took to the court on June 11, he had hope. And, according to Romans 5:5, "hope does not disappoint." 

Michael, my proverbial hat is off to you! I hope you have, or will get, a saving relationship with the One who gave you the basic equipment to do what you do. And thanks for giving me a profound example of what desire, dedication, and discipline are all about. Lord God, may I transfer into my life that example. 

Needed Four-Letter Word

When I look at my calendar I anticipate its busy-ness.

I know there will be places I want to go, parties I want to attend, services I wish to be involved in, and a host of other "stuff" that I won't be able to do.

That is frustrating! 

But I also know that I will probably be able to make some parties, services, and other "stuff" that I shouldn't make. 

No, I'm not speaking of places or activities at which a Christ follower should not be. I'm talking about good things that crowd our best things. And perhaps one of the "best" things that I (and perhaps thee) need is a four-letter word: 

R E S T 

Maybe it is only the "merry gentlemen" who get rest during the holidays. Most of us get vacation or extended days off, but with what do we fill it? Or, more likely, with what do we let others fill it? A favorite cartoon from years past shows a pastor looking at his day-timer with his wife observing, "God loves you, and everybody else has a wonderful plan for your life." 

Like the processionary caterpillar, too often we confuse activity with accomplishment. "I'd rather burn out than rust out," thunders an old-time evangelist. Perhaps it would be good to listen to the One who came to seek and to save that which was lost when He told his apostles "Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." (Mark 6:31) 

It may be incredibly difficult for you to walk away from what seems so pressing. You may think it incredibly self-centered to want to get a few hours alone. Okay, fine; then facilitate a loved one getting the time! 

Husband---do whatever it takes to give your wife a few hours with "nothing to do." Let her get away from the oven, the shopping, the kids or grandkids, and all the other "stuff" so she can get some rest. She may not need "time alone with God," she may just need to catch her breath! 

Wife---give your husband permission to chill. Allow him a walk in the brisk air of evening. Let him sleep in the easy chair. Again, he may not necessarily need three hours in the Word of God and in prayer; he may "just" need fifteen minutes with no phone, no kids, no schedule.

In our contemporary "keep'em busy 24/7" culture, God help us parents to impart to our children it is okay to rest.

And may we recognize that one man's work is another's rest! Probably my favorite (and not done enough) form of "rest" is a long ride on my bike, or an hour-long hike in the woods.

Curling up with a book is rest, jogging may be rest to some, knitting to others, a crossword puzzle to someone else. 

Please don't subdivide your life into "spiritual" and "carnal" or "worldly." A follower of Christ is spiritual, and his or her life every moment, every secondis under the Lordship of the giver of time and life. I am just as "spiritual" riding my bike as I am meditating on a passage of Scripture. 

That being said, try to take time to just be alone with Him. 

Please be prepared to be shocked and/or angered: you don't need a Bible to be alone and close to the Lord! The written Word obviously helps us focus on the living Word, but the written Word does NOT say, "Be still with your daily devotional and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 simply says, "Be still and know that I am God." You don't have to lift your hands (or not lift them, depending on your point of view I suppose). 

After all, it's a soul issue! 

Slowly read the following: "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes form Him." (Psalm 62: 1-5) You read it too fast! Go back and read it again, digest it, let the Holy Spirit convince you.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Flowers Are NOT (just) Red

Posted a bunch of pictures on my facebook page of a flower garden not far from my home. Met the 82 year old's who plant the irises (plural?) etc...absolutely magnificent and a testimony of God's creativity. Hop over to my facebook (jack hager) to view...CLICK HERE

Anyway, seeing them reminded me of an old Harry Chapin song that is good in it's own right, and carries a powerful message...but I've used it at camps a few times as a reminder that your way to study the Bible may not be everyone's way; my method of preaching probably shouldn't be yours; that perspective often determines performance...that ministry methods change, though the message dare not.

Anyway, here's the song...enjoy:

A Prayer About the Healing Power of Words

Scotty Smith knocks it out of the proverbial park....

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Prov. 18:21

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Prov. 16:24

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psa. 19:14

Dear Lord Jesus, I love words. I especially love the way you use words to bring me healing, freedom, and hope. You never shame me with words. You never manipulate me with words. You never hurt me with words. You never flatter me, but you do bring great encouragement.

You never repeat my failures to others; you only bring my sin and brokenness to the throne of grace—as you ever live to pray for your beloved Bride. You never say too much or too little. You neither mince words nor waste words. You alone have the words of life.

So my prayer is quite simple, yet very necessary: grant me greater stewardship of my words, Lord Jesus. As you speak to me, please speak through me. As you apply more grace to my life, may it be evidenced in all my conversations being salted and empowered with your grace. 

I’m painfully aware that my words can bring great harm and death, even as they can be a source of hope and life (Prov. 18:21). If I’m not careful, my words can have the effect of gangrene—bringing decay and rot (Eph. 4:29).

You tell me that my words are a sure reflection of what’s filling my heart: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). 

So no mere promise to avoid gossip, idle chatter, reckless words, or coarse jesting will be enough. It’s not about tongue control as much as it is heart preoccupation.

Therefore, Lord Jesus, I realize that I must constantly be preaching the gospel to my heart—filling my mind with the good news of grace; setting my affections on things above; treasuring you, and your love, more than I treasure life itself. May the overflow of your grace be obvious to all. I want my tongue to be a scalpel for healing, Jesus, not a hammer for harm. So very Amen I pray, in your merciful and mighty name.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Random Thoughts On My Birthday - and 3 of my fav songs...

  • If I had a birthday cake the fire department would need to be notified in advance...
  • But having birthdays beats the alternative, sort of.
  • I have no real "proof" of my birthday, other than a piece of paper called a "Birth Certificate" and the "testimony" of parents etc. But I know I am alive because, well, I am alive.
  • I have no real "proof" of my second birth...but my testimony should not be history, but rather current events.
  • As the plaque on my desk reads, "Old age is mind over matter...if you don't mind, it don't matter."
  • Lord, I pray for at least twenty more years of effective ministry.
  • Thanks for those people who have come along side and supported us (we serve as home missionaries with no other income) financially and in prayer for all these years. Hug the many that have gone on to You, Lord; and bless those who remain. We trust You to fill in the gaps left by those who have gone on to heaven...
  • Facebook "happy birthdays" are fun to give, and fun to receive.
  • Attitude determines actions which determine accomplishments.
  • Help me not to confuse activity with accomplishment.
  • Lord, prevent me from ever, however unintentionally, trying to manipulate someone into the same time open my mouth that I might brag on Jesus not "only" from the pulpit, but from the pulpit of life. May I never think or say that I "lead" people to Jesus...all I can do is pray and point.
  • Help me to "in everything give thanks
  • Help me to demonstrate daily how much I love and cherish my wife and children
  • May I live my life moment-by-moment first for the Audience of One
  • Help me to always recognize what I deserve...and to be continually thankful I don't get it.
  • May I recognize afresh that every moment allows me two alternatives...whine or worship.
  • Help me to Proverbs 3.5,6
  • Help me to win the constant struggle to not let the stuff of earth take priority over You...and enable me to stand: 
  • May I always remember "Preach the gospel. If necessary, rebuke anyone who says, 'if necessary, use words." R. C. Sproul, Jr
  • May I always...ALWAYS...remember the truths of this wondrous song...especially that Jesus did not simply "die" for my sins; He became my sin and took the hit that should have fallen upon me...

Road Sign Theology?

Back in May a friend emailed me and reminded me that "it's almost over." He wasn't an eschatological-maniac date-setter. He was referring to his rapidly approaching graduation.

Reminded me that the correct term for the ceremony is "commencement," a beginning, rather than an end. Road signs popped into the eye of my young friend wanted "End of Construction Zone," while the reality was "Construction Ahead." 

I sipped my black coffee and chewed on the thought of comparing life with road signs.

In the busyness of life, we all need the occasional! "Stop" sign. Certainly we need it before we meet Christ, because only when we "Stop" can we listen, heed the "Warning", hear the gospel, and "Yield." 

After conversion we need to "Stop" often and "be still, and know that (He) is God (Psalm 46:10)." We all need to be extremely wary of confusing activity with accomplishment. Meeting alone with our Lord (who "seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth") needs to be a priority, not a "fit Me in when you can." 

Certainly in an age where "diversity" is worshiped and society bows to the altar of "tolerance," we who follow Christ need to understand the vital truth of "One Way" (John 14:6). 

With the harsh realities of 2 Timothy 3:1-5 ever evident, we need to heed the Holy Spirit when he advised, "Do Not Enter," "Road Closed," and "No U-Turn." In our sex-saturated society "Dangerous Curves Ahead" takes on a unique meaning. 

Highways are dotted with guide and information signs. Certainly the Christian traveler must regularly read the Guidebook, or rather the sixty-six guidebooks that make up the word of God. We need to ensure we are spending at least as much time in the "official" guide (the Bible) as we are spending in secondary guides (commentaries etc.). 

Throughout our journey we need to "Merge" and "Share the Road" with our fellow followers of Christ. Corporate worship practicing the "one-another's" (i.e. encourage one another, exhort one another, rebuke one another, etc.), and the incredible power and blessing of being there for one another will make the journey easier. 

I'm grateful for my friend's email, and am hopeful that he will understand that graduation is simply a mile sign on the road of life. As he "commences" his journey I am grateful that he travels not alone, but with his Lord, Savior, and Shepherd. 

With the "slippery road" ahead of us all, I pray we stay alert, focused, and strong, through we all need a "rest area" to catch our breath, to be fueled by the faith-giving power of the Word, and to refocus, we dare not fail to heed the "No Stopping" signs.

We have a race to be run; a race that is more cross-country than sprint. 

As we travel with our eyes on the "author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1)," we can also remember that He has provided an "evacuation route." Soon perhaps very soon, we will see the real "King of the highway."