I believe I may have worked myself into a doc­tors vis­it recent­ly. I start­ed by gut­ting my par­ents flood­ed home in Texas and then gut­ting flood­ed homes in Flori­da after Irma, along with try­ing to keep up with teach­ing and grad­ing papers and work­ing on the DBA bud­get and annu­al meet­ing, the prison min­istry, … and the list goes on. You’re prob­a­bly famil­iar with what I’m talk­ing about, most min­is­ters are. Upon return from Flori­da, I find myself in the doc­tors office. I’ve had to slow down. I’m not com­plete­ly still, but even slow­ing down gives you a lit­tle mar­gin to reflect. I’ve had sev­er­al thoughts on recent developments.

First, I need to obey the Sab­bath. The Sab­bath was made for me, I wasn’t made for the Sab­bath. I need to heed the wise com­mands of my Heav­en­ly Father. For one, I don’t make the world go round. God does. Two, If I’m down, phys­i­cal­ly and spir­i­tu­al­ly, then I’m not much use to anyone.

Sec­ond, turns out, I don’t want to be sick and I don’t want to die. I’m not as “ok” with endur­ing sick­ness, suf­fer­ing and death as I thought I was. At first, I felt dis­heart­ened. I com­pared myself to Peter, who told Jesus he would die with him, but it turned out, at that point, Peter wasn’t real­ly ok with suf­fer­ing and dying for Jesus. Peter didn’t know where he was in his rela­tion­ship with Christ, but a dif­fi­cult  sit­u­a­tion revealed to Peter the truth about himself.

But after I con­sid­ered things fur­ther, there’s a sense in which I’m not sup­posed to be con­tent with the state of death and suf­fer­ing of this present age. Death and suf­fer­ing are a result of sin and Satan and the bro­ken­ness of our world. I’m not sup­posed to be “ok” with that. I think I’m sup­posed to be sad­dened over it, fight against it and long for the full­ness of redemp­tion that will be ours at the reveal­ing of the sons of God.

That being said, I can think of no bet­ter rea­son to use up my body than on mis­sion for king­dom pur­pos­es. We have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to offer our bod­ies as a liv­ing and holy sac­ri­fice, for the joy set before us. Our bod­ies are going to ache, break and even­tu­al­ly, wear out. If I live long enough, I will even­tu­al­ly have a bad back, decay­ing teeth, weak­en­ing eyes and thou­sand dis­eases and futil­i­ties will bring me to my grave. It is the result of sin, Satan and the bro­ken­ness of our world. It comes to us all, it is inevitable, but the cause for which I live, suf­fer and die, that will make all the difference. 

Accord­ing to news reports, on this past Sun­day, 26 of our broth­ers and sis­ters at First Bap­tist Church Suther­land Springs in Texas were killed by a gun­man as they gath­ered to wor­ship. I cer­tain­ly pray that this hor­ror does not hap­pen again, but we draw com­fort in know­ing that these broth­ers and sis­ters met Christ in wor­ship. May we all be wor­ship­ping our Lord when we cross the Jor­don into that great Sab­bath rest.

The moral of the sto­ry: Wor­ship! Work hard for the king­dom. Be spent on behalf of the King, but be wise and obey the Sab­bath. In the end we will be bet­ter able to live and die well, if we do things God’s way. I pray you enjoy the hol­i­days and wor­ship well.

Sep­tem­ber 1, 2017

Christ referred to us as his body. The

mem­bers of our phys­i­cal body have a spe­cial kind of union with one anoth­er. They have a con­nec­tion that goes beyond uni­ty. When I think of uni­ty, I think of a col­lec­tion of dif­fer­ent parts that are orga­nized and work togeth­er to accom­plish a task. A mechan­i­cal watch, for exam­ple, is a col­lec­tion of sep­a­rate parts that are orga­nized to keep time. If one were to dis­as­sem­ble the watch, each part could exist inde­pen­dent­ly from the others.

The church, how­ev­er, is not mere­ly assem­bled parts, placed togeth­er to accom­plish a task. The church is a body, and the mem­bers of a body are liv­ing, and they impart life to one anoth­er. Sep­a­rat­ed, the mem­bers of a body will die. My fin­gers, toes, heart and lungs, with their spe­cial func­tions and abil­i­ties, are designed to be life giv­ing. As each mem­ber of the body of Christ walks in the Spir­it, we con­tribute some­thing life giv­ing to the oth­er mem­bers of the body.

I’m encour­aged by the life giv­ing rela­tion­ships that we have with­in our Asso­ci­a­tion. Over the past 7 months, many of you have breathed spir­i­tu­al life into me through our dis­cus­sions, prayer and serv­ing togeth­er. Our Asso­ci­a­tion has the poten­tial for more and deep­er con­nec­tions, and that is a very excit­ing and ener­giz­ing prospect. My hope and prayer and work is increased fel­low­ship among the saints, so that we might impart spir­i­tu­al life and vital­i­ty to one another.

Novem­ber 2017