Saturday, January 31, 2009

Old Friends, Old Bridges, and the Fire that Refines

I have been Blessed to be able to relive certain parts of my life. Even though at times these re-living moments are a struggle, I'm appreciative. I'm fortunate enough to get to struggle through college classes that I totally and completely bombed when I was younger. With some of this re-living comes old memories as well. I think of old friends and some good times we had. I also think of some folks I hung out with that are probably dead or serving very long sentences at the Gray Bar Hotel. Out of all of those old memories there are many folks I dont talk to anymore. Not because I dont like the folks, but more because of the seperation that time has given us. I know some of the friends and I parted on less than ideal terms. I've even made contact with some of the old friends through sites like Facebook, and you know what ever ill feeling we had in the past is forgotten and I find myself completely rejoicing in their beautiful families and wonderful accomplishments. I'm sure I didnt feel that way when went our seperate ways. Some of the reasons I remember and most I have forgotten. I dont know if that's because of my faith, the period of a wild lifestyle I lived, or if all in all the reason just really wasnt probably could be a little bit of all of those!
Now I often tell some of the young people I'm around, that sometimes you have to seperate yourself from certain people. I always stress that if they can "pull" them up, out of where they may be stumbling or have stumbled then that's okay.... but if they seem to Drag them down, it might be time to let go and allow some distance from that person. If we look at Jesus, who did he Hang out with?..... No He didnt!!! He hung out with His disciples! He ministered to and served the prostitute, the lepers, the blind, and all of those other folks, but He didnt hang out with least not until after they allowed Jesus to "Pull" them up. Yeah the disciples were a rough crowd too.... But they allowed Jesus to pull them up as well. Now look at the Pharisees they started off being amazed at the Authority Jesus taught with (which is not that amazing considering He ultimately wrote the Book!!!!!). Then they wanted to kill Jesus..... and Jesus didnt "Hang out" with those guys, although he continued to be in corresponding places with them. At one point in the Bible, Jesus even told His disciples that if they were not helped or accepted in these towns they visited to shake the dust off of their sandels as they left. That's Bold! and that's one of those bridges I mentioned in the title.....and yes that is also the fire.......That bridge is TOAST!!!!
You know I've been on both sides of that bridge. I've burnt those bridges and I have had them burned ( some I was still standing on at the time). I can truly say that God is good, because some of those bridges needed to Burn to help me and the others involved change direction and to teach us life lessons. So it's okay to burn some bridges..........
Now here is another reason I wrote this.... A friend of mine that I met last summer, Passed Away last weekend. He was 62 years old and he Blessed me and some of the Youth Group by allowing us to serve him through ASP. Roger was a good hearted man dispite his troubles and vices. You see the Bridge between Roger and his Son had Burned. His son found my phone number in a letter and pictures I had sent Roger. So upon his death the son called me. We talked for quite a while on the phone and the Son told me that he had not seen his Dad in years, because of his Dad's vices. As we talked, the Son relived my experiences with me and remembered how his Dad did have a good heart. He told me how he had been with his Dad the whole time he was in the hospital and I reassured him that he was the one Roger wanted there with him......and I knew this from just some of the conversations Roger and I had last summer. I dont remember them exactly, but I remember him talking about his son, and I could tell he missed him. But you see, a bridge that had been burned earlier in their lives was repaired when they both needed it to be. The two spent 3 full days together before Rogers passing, and I know it's not the best memories to have with your Dad....but Brian knows now that his Dad did love him...... Pray for Brian..... I told him we'd be praying for him.
Okay so I just went off on too many directions......... but if you have a bridge that has been burned, and you know you things have changed, repair it or just build a completely new one.
Peace y'all.... before I start talking politics or something!!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Gospel of Billy Madison....or something like that!

I guess you know now that I enjoy a good Adam Sandler movie on occassion. Well I was thinking a little while ago about the story they read in Billy Madison. The story of the lost dog...... where Billy basically lost it and got loud saying, "You dont give up! You go out there and find that %*&#*^@ DOG!!!!!" Well sometimes that's how I feel about some of my friends that are "lost". I just want to go out and find them or help them find the "Truth". I want to take an aggressive stance in leading them back to "The Good Shepard", but that's not how things necesarily work out. If I go out and hit them with everything that is on my heart with out being tactful, or flex what little bit of Biblical knowledge I have to shine a light on their sin, I've failed! My objective is not to show how I'm better than them or to pick a fight with them.... heck they are my friends!!! Why would I want to do that? On the other hand how long has it really been since anyone reading this has really heard a fire and brimstone message? Probably longer than you originally thought until you really start trying to remember. I would imagine the last Fire and Brimstone message I heard was probably sometime in the late 70's early 80's and that was when there was a revival at the church and we had a guest preacher! Maybe we all need to think about that message for a moment. As a Christian this message of the possiblity of Hell should have an immediate answer. If I am truly what I say I am, I know that this Earth will be the ONLY Hell I will ever experience. It also should awaken some that have pushed God away, either exploring other options or just getting comfortable with the world. I admit, it's scarey thinking about an eternal seperation from God. And no I dont even consider the joke about, "I'm going to Hell and party with my friends" to be the least bit funny..... you see that's just a lack of understanding. There are no parties in Hell or atleast not by anyone other than Satan.
Now I may have friends that have known Christ and pushed Him away or even just flat out denied Him, and feel that they can not be forgiven for that. Well boys and girls I've got good news!!!! Do y'all remember that Boy named Peter from the Bible? Yeah, the guy that cut off one of the ears of a guard when he arrested Jesus in the garden. Yeah, that same guy that was the only one to walk on the water with Jesus. I'd say Peter knew Jesus pretty well and had accepted who Jesus was, wouldnt you? Well if you remember Peter also denied Jesus THREE times just before the Crucifxion. After the resurection, Jesus met up with Peter again. Jesus asked Peter, "Do you Love me"? And He asked this three times (see a pattern?) Jesus decreased the amount of love each time, while Peter increased the amount each time. Peter answered on the third time "I Agape You". With each time of repentance, Jesus gave Peter more responsibility. First Jesus said feed my lambs, then Feed my Sheep, then Tend My Flock.......Three times, Three repentances, and Three increases in Responsibility. Oh yeah, didnt Peter have over 3000 converts shortly after that at just one of his sermons? I know it seems just too easy..... In a world that is Dawg eat Dawg, how can something SO important be so easy? Because it's NOT of this WORLD! It's of GOD! We all know that we've ALL messed up, and that includes Sweet lil Lee!!! But ya know just by taking it all back to Jesus, and admitting that we have messed up ( or we are Sinners), that we can't make it on our own, that we need Jesus to enter our hearts and cleanse us of our many sins, and that We Believe Jesus Is Our Lord and Saviour....... We will all be together again in Heaven. The real question doesnt deal with is there life after death. Life is eternal, you just have to pick where you want to spend eternity!
I'm always available to discuss this and to pray for or with anyone that needs it. Just let me know!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Yes, The Panthers let us down!!!!!!

Right now people all over the Carolinas are talking about how the Big Loss in the NFC playoffs. I'm sure we'll be hearing about how this person needs to be fired, and that person needs to be fired.....In fact I'll probably joining in just because I have a few names I dont really like so much right now. In the big picture the whole game really doesnt matter, It's just a game! Right now in the Gaza strip Isreal is fighting back against a bunch of Scum Bags called Hamas who have been attacking Isreal for a while now. The people over there are worried about a rocket landing in their living room, and I'm all pissy about a stupid football game! I guess I need to get my priorities in check.
Ya know maybe instead of complaining I think I need to pray for those with REAL problems! Ya know, I know of people right now that are sleeping in a church building somewhere because they dont have a home and have to rely on the goodness of others. I even dreamt about that last night.... If we were really living like Jesus has taught us, we'd be trying to fill every open room in our churches, empty bedrooms in our houses, and open office locations.....but we dont. Jesus said, Love your neighbor as you love yourself...would you allow yourself to sleep in the cold and rain? NO!!! Well, who is our "neighbor"? Everyone around us is our neighbor. Not just the person next door, but the people down the street, the people in the neighborhood around the corner, the next city over, State, and Country...they are all our neighbors. We need to absolutely Love each other and lift each other up in Prayer...... In just a week we will be celebrating the life of a man named King. He preached Jesus' message and just as Jesus warned His disciples, King was killed because of it! So when I look at all of these angles, the Ball game just doesnt really matter....but hey Thank God I am soooo Blessed to have the opportunity to be angry at a Ball team! Thanks Be to God!!!

Peace ya'll have a good night, and there is always Yankees Baseball just right around the corner!