Author: Allan (Page 2 of 391)

Big Day for C-A

Happy Birthday to my darling wife, Carrie-Anne.

I’m going all out for you, sweetie. How about a trip to Israel in a couple of weeks? How about a Caribbean cruise next month? How about a new air conditioner for the house? And a new front door?

And, maybe a brand new job at a local high school or middle school somewhere in the Permian Basin? I can’t help you there. But I know you’re close, and I know you’re excited to start working with students again. It makes me smile to think about your enthusiasm and desire for pouring your abundant love and grace into those young people. I’m proud of you and I admire you so much for the all-nighters, term papers, research, new technology, presentations, and speeches you’ve put into your counseling degree and the next stage of your selfless work with and ministry to teenagers.

How about just a really nice steak dinner tonight? Not quite Perini’s. But almost.

I love you, babe. I hope you’re having a really great day today. I hope everybody you’re with today at Legacy High appreciates your sweet spirit and your remarkable gifts. And I am grateful to God for the joy and the love you bring into my life.

Happy Birthday,
Allan

If Not You…

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God.” ~Hebrews 12:15
As children of God and disciples of Christ Jesus, we demonstrate his grace to the people around us. We make sure all the people we contact every day know the truth about our God because they experience it in us. They encounter his grace in us. They see it and feel it in you.

This is as practical and tangible and as real as the Christian life gets. Whatever you have received from the Lord, you generously pass it on to others.

“Forgive each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” ~Ephesians 4:32
Forgive the person in your life who doesn’t deserve it. Forgive the person who’s never apologized. We’ve got more than enough people out there accusing and condemning. Who’s going to forgive? Christians who, by God’s grace, have been forgiven.

“Accept one another just as Christ accepted you.” ~Romans 15:7
Invite somebody over to your house who is 30 years older or 30 years younger than you. Take somebody to lunch who’s a different race or speaks a different language. Have a conversation with somebody from a different culture than yours and learn something. We’ve got lots of people out there dividing us and categorizing us and drawing lines and excluding others. Who’s going to accept others? Christians who, by God’s grace, have been accepted.

“Love one another as I have loved you.” ~John 15:34
Take a Sonic drink to your grouchy next door neighbor. Say something kind and encouraging to the customer service agent. Compliment the cashier at the gas station. Give up your own rights and give in to the demands of someone else. There’s enough hate out there, there’s enough haters – more than enough. Who’s going to show love? Christians who, by God’s grace, have been eternally loved.

Peace,

Allan

Happy San Jacinto Day

It was 186 years ago today that the Republic of Texas secured its independence from Mexico at San Jacinto. Celebrate responsibly with tacos or barbecue (with a Dr Pepper, of course) or Stevie Ray Vaughan or Willie Nelson or Bernie or Lonesome Dove or anything else that similarly reminds you of how grateful you are to live in this great land with all these great people. You might also think good thoughts for the Dallas Mavericks.

Luka, be careful.
Go Mavs.

Allan

Deciding to Die

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” ~Galatians 2:20

We all want to be raised with Christ. We want to claim God’s will for our lives that we be raised with our Lord to walk in newness of life. We want to experience the divine promise that we will be raised with Christ and seated with him in the heavenly realms.

But, first, you have to die.

The apostle Paul goes beyond saying Jesus was crucified in his place. Paul says he’s been crucified with Christ. He died with Jesus.

Of course, resurrection life and power is available to you. It’s available to you right now. But you have to die first. You can’t be raised until you first die – that’s just common sense.

Look at our Lord. Jesus did not resurrect himself. The Father raised him. What part did Jesus play in his raising? He died. He submitted to the will of God and he died.

Resurrection life and resurrection power is what God does in you when you decide to die to yourself and die to the world and die to your sins; when you die with Christ, when you’re buried with Christ, when you die, then God resurrects. It’s your call.

And it’s not really about your feelings. It’s about your will. It’s about what you decide to do.

When a guy gets married, the preacher doesn’t ask him to take out the ring and then talk about how he feels. Before you take this woman, tell us how you feel. “Man, I feel like I’m about to throw up. My hands are shaking, my knees are weak, and I’m sweating like a cow. I feel terrible.”

No, we don’t ask that. The question is: Will you take this woman? “Will I? Yes. I will do this. I will make the decision now to take this woman and commit to her as my wife.”

It’s a choice. It’s a decision of the will.

If you’ve never been baptized…

…will you? Will you die with Christ this Sunday in the waters of baptism in order to share in the resurrection?

I don’t care if you’re twelve-years-old or in your 30s or 50s. I don’t care if you were born and raised in the Church and, for whatever reason, you’ve never been baptized. I don’t care if you’ve never been inside a church building before.

Will you be buried with Jesus and be raised to walk in the life and power of his resurrection? Will you make the choice? Will you decide to die with Christ?

Peace,

Allan

Resurrection Rejoicing

The great biblical scholar and writer N. T. Wright asks, “Is it any wonder people find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus if we don’t throw our hats in the air? Is it any wonder we find it hard to live the resurrection if we don’t do it exuberantly in our liturgies? Is it any wonder the world doesn’t take much notice if Easter is celebrated as simply the one-day happy ending tacked on to forty days of fasting and gloom?”

Yes, the Resurrection of Christ is our greatest event. Yes, Easter is the Church’s greatest day.

And we had a good one today at the Golf Course Road Church. The energy and enthusiasm for worship and fellowship was electric as 664 of us came together to praise God and remember the life and power we share in the resurrection. The morning began with an Easter Brunch – breaking my Lenten fast with that spread of breakfast casseroles and pastries was almost overwhelming. We sang songs together with gusto. We ate and drank the Lord’s Meal together in celebration. Three of our young people were baptized into Christ and experienced their own resurrections as we witnessed and participated with them as a community of faith. I met lots of our members for the first time, folks who hadn’t been to church in months – in some cases, years – but had decided that Easter Sunday would be the day they came back. I met several guests, people who have just moved to Midland and are looking for a church home. As far as this preacher is concerned, praise be to God, it was an absolutely perfect Easter Sunday at GCR.

But it can’t just be Easter Sunday. It can’t be a once-a-year thing. Easter has to be an every day, every week, every Sunday thing.

Take Christmas away and, in biblical terms, you lose two chapters at the beginning of Matthew and Luke. That’s it. Take Easter away and you don’t have a New Testament. You don’t have Christianity. As Paul says, our preaching is worthless and so is your faith; we are still in our sins and are to be pitied among all people.

We should rejoice in our Lord’s resurrection today and every day. Every Sunday should be Easter Sunday – the same expectant crowds, the same exuberant worship, the same careful planning and rehearsing, the same enthusiastic participation, the same commitment to be in town so we can be in church.

Let’s rejoice in our Lord’s resurrection next Sunday, too. Let’s celebrate his current and eternal reign at the right hand of the Father every week. Let’s declare the gracious gift of everlasting life that comes to all those who share in Christ’s resurrection every Sunday. And let’s live – man, we should live! – into the resurrection, through the resurrection, because of the resurrection.

Peace,

Allan

He Did Everything

Palm Sunday begins with so much glory and promise. At last, God’s anointed has come! There’s shouting and singing and celebration and anticipation. Jesus has come to save us! He’s come to defeat the evil oppressors and to destroy the enemy! We’re in those swelling crowds around Jesus, following Jesus, praising Jesus, putting all our hopes for salvation in Jesus. And Jesus rides that donkey right into Jerusalem, through the Eastern gates, into the holy city, right into the heart of the temple precinct, and he does…

…nothing.

Nothing. Jesus doesn’t do anything.

“Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” ~Mark 11:11

Jesus doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t lead the crowd against the Roman garrison, he doesn’t physically confront the powers and authorities that are oppressing the people, he doesn’t even take the temple steps to make a stirring speech. He looks around for a little bit and then goes back to Bethany for dinner.

What a disappointment. What a letdown. What kind of Messiah is this? What sort of Savior?

I know sometimes it can feel like Jesus is doing nothing. And somebody has to do something! Jesus can’t just look around at everything, he can’t just look at my life and my struggles and my problems and just shrug his shoulders and go back to Bethany. He has to do something!

Jesus did do something. Jesus did something to finally and completely and ultimately destroy the effects of sin and death in your life and throughout the whole world forever. Jesus resolutely set his face toward Golgotha and walked to the cross. He died. On a cross. On purpose.

He allowed himself to be beaten and tortured. He allowed them to nail his hands and feet to the blood-soaked wood of that cross. He died willingly. He sacrificed himself. He could have called ten thousand angels. But he died alone. For you. For me. That’s what Jesus did. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

This is how he saves you. This is how he loves you, to the point of absurdity. He loves you all the way to the cross. Purposefully, willfully, stubbornly even, dying on a cross.

Peace,

Allan

 

« Older posts Newer posts »