Monday, February 29, 2016

What Time Is It?

Up until the third-grade, we lived in Old Town, Maine, on Center Street. My grandfather, whom I am named after, and grandmother lived a short distance from us. On many a Saturday morning we used to walk to their house on Elm Street. We couldn’t wait to get there, because Papa Bill would cook up flapjacks and scrambled eggs, and we would have breakfast together. I loved going there.

Like the two old souls that lived there, their home had the aura of something aged, too. It had orderliness to it; there was a place for everything, and everything was in its place. And everything in its place was antique and of a time long past.
Do you have similar memories?
A story is told of a little boy who love to go to his grandparent’s home during summer breaks from school. It was a serene place, and in particular, he loved the steady tick-tock of a big grandfather clock standing in a corner of the sitting room. Each morning his grandmother would pull the two long chains that rewound the old time-piece. Its steady cadence seemed to set the pace of the elderly couple’s day. But what he loved most about the big clock was the way it sweetly chimed every hour on the hour. In the mornings the little guy would wait for it to chime seven times. At seven a.m. he knew when he came downstairs breakfast would be cooking.

One morning, as he lay in bed, the clock began to chime…once, twice, three times, four, five, six, and finally seven. It’s time for breakfast he thought. But it kept chiming. Eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, and then thirteen! Thirteen, the little boy thought! Throwing off his blankets, he hopped out of bed, and ran down stairs, yelling. Grandma! Grandpa! Wake up! It’s later than it’s ever been! It’s thirteen o’clock!

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. ~ 1 John 2:18

In the passage we just read it’s not a little boy, but instead an old man; the Apostle John. In tune with the Divine time-keeper, he’s like the grandfather clock, but he is not sweetly chiming. No, he is more like the resounding throb of a gong. John is exclaiming to his spiritual children in Christ, Wake-up! It’s later than it’s ever been!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Enigmatic to the End

In 2010, I wrote a blog. Revisiting it - I revised it a bit. Nothing of any consequence. The title was changed.

I spent hours in the Scripture sifting through its pages and passages. I mulled over the tragic and triumphant, confounding and confusing, comforting and conflicting, pitiful and precious, gritty and glorious life of David. A collage of contradictions . . .

His is a story of the great heights to which a good man can ascend, and the great depths to which a good man can descend...

David was God's man - he was a fallen man.

His passion shaped him - his passions broke him.

A fountain of poetry and praise - A sea of poison and pride.

A man after God's own heart - he broke God's heart.

He lived close to God - he was estranged from God.

Men adored him - men loathed him.

He could be righteously crafty - he could be ruthlessly shifty.

He was brilliant - he was stupid.

He raged against God - he rested in God.

David's story gives me hope - David's story frightens me.

I want to be like him - I fear I am too much like him.

Like father - like son. Solomon penned the wisdom of the Proverbs and the vanity of Ecclesiastes.

In the end, the New Testament Scriptures had the last word on David. Chiseled into the foundation of eternity is David's epitaph: David served God in his generation - then he died.

In our journey . . .

It's not the beginning or the middle, the highs or the lows, the kudos or the curses, the seen or unseen that is most important. No. Most important will be God's summary of our life.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What's Love Got To Do With It?

Tomorrow's Message: What's Love Got To Do With It?
Few people know Anna Mae Bullock. She grew up in poverty, in Nutbush, Tennessee. Raised a Baptist, Anna Mae Bullock also had vocal talents and joined a band as a backup singer. Later, she married the marquee musician. As a duo they had astronomical success. But her husband snorted virtual snow banks of cocaine, and their tumultuous marriage ended when Anna Mae divorced him. For solace Anna Mae turned to a spiritual mixture of her Baptist roots and Buddhism.
The world hadn’t heard the last from Anna Mae Bullock. Later she wrote a biography about her music and marriage. She included the retelling of her famous Ex’s physical abuse. Anna Mae was not done with music either. Embarking on a solo career, she became an even bigger sensation. Her biography became a movie. Anna Mae became the #1 female recording artist of all time; a career spanning five decades. She was voted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. In all, her albums and singles sold over 180 million copies. 
BTW, Anna Mae Bullock changed her name. We know her as Tina Turner—her Ex’s name was Ike… 
Tina Turner’s first million-copy song, What’s Love Got To Do With It garnered 3 Grammy Awards, and the Record of the Year. Obviously, it connected with the populace. Read the chorus. Millions found in it an ethos of common ground. 
What's love got to do, got to do with it?
What's love but a second hand emotion?
What's love got to do, got to do with it?
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?
What's love got to do, got to do with it?
What's love but a sweet old-fashioned notion?
The Apostle John saw love differently, and his wasn't a philosophical discovery--It was a revelation that Jesus gave him. Love, says John, It's more than emotion. It's not a notion. 
That's what we will be talking about at 11 a.m. on Sunday at Hamilton Baptist Church.