Archive for March, 2007|Monthly archive page

A Simpler Time

I wanted to share this picture with everyone. As you can see it was certainly not taken in the last few years. Actually, I am not sure of the date on the picture, only who is in the picture. The young girl is my Aunt Patty and the boy who looks as if he is having the time of his life is my dad. What a great example of what I might refer to here as a “simpler time.” Not simple in a negative way, but simple in a good way. You know what I mean. We all long for our lives to be simple, yet somewhere along the way they become complicated, busy, scheduled, and maybe even a little frustrating. We all long for a return to the unbridled, innocent joys of childhood. For a time when nothing mattered but playing until the sun went down. Where a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk could fix any problem. When we definitely found it much easier to get a good night’s rest. Oh what I would give to sleep as heavy and peaceful as my one year old! I admit it. I am envious. Pictures like these stir up good memories and they encourage me towards the joy that we will someday experience with our Father in heaven. Have you stopped lately to imagine what heaven will be like? No deadlines. No complicated relationships. No packed schedules with scarcely a moment to breathe. No cell phones, PDA’s, e-mail, text messaging, or voice mail! Can I get an ‘amen’ to that? Maybe it is time for us to slow down a little, take a look around, and remember why it is we are really here. The Father took great joy in creating us and great pains to redeem us while we were still dead in our sins. The Father is the One who pursued us, found us, and restored and gave new meaning to the word ‘joy’ in our lives. And it is pictures like this one that stirs up that joy somewhere deep in our hearts, brings it right to the surface, holds it there until God once again gets our perspective focused on what matters most. A simple relationship with a simple result.

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Missions-Minded or Missions-Hearted? What Will You Decide?

I often wondered growing up as a Southern Baptist why our legs seemed to turn to “Jello-O” and our eyes turned puffy-red when missions was brought up or talked about. No one ever adequately explained to me why grandma ratcheted up the checkbook and with trembling hands and a warm smile put her ‘mite’ into the offering plate for Annie or Lottie every year. “Who were these two girls and why do we need to pay them?” I thought to myself, “Surely, they must have a pretty important job!” No one gave the answers to my unspoken questions and at the time, I must confess, I was more concerned about riding my Big Wheel than learning the practical and theological nuances of missional endeavors. (Cut me some slack, after all, I was only 6 years old.) Much later in life I finally did learn the importance of missions and the impact that missions has both on us as individuals and as a church. Much later in life I could give you all the right answers about missions. I could articulate the stories of Annie and Lottie and their commitment to missions. I knew all the right verses and understood that this was something Jesus commanded us to do. Yet, I did not fully understand missions until I did missions. Here, I believe is where the line is drawn. One can say they are missions-minded and understand the crucial exegesis behind the passages, but being missions-minded is simply not enough. Yes, I did say that. Here is what I believe. I believe the bottom-line is that Jesus asks us to missions-hearted. The fact we must wrestle with is that a missions-minded church is not enough. Just talking about missions and applauding missionary speakers when they share is great, but it falls short of total obedience to Jesus’ commands. Jesus desires and craves a church that is missions-hearted. A church made up of resolute-hearted givers and goers that have a heart for the nations, namely, a church that has a heart for those who are hopelessly lost and walking in darkness. Is anything more important than this? A church that has a heart to encourage the fence-sitters who have never done missions to stand up, choose a side, pick the splinters out of their behind, and sit no longer. A church that is a missions-hearted church is church that has its heart in the right place. So, the question is: will you be missions-minded or will you be missions-hearted? Let me know what you think. Click on “Leave a comment” below to share your thoughts and begin discussion on this post.