Monday, November 21, 2011

The Blessing of Childishness

This past weekend as a Vintage Church family, we had the opportunity to celebrate God's gift of children [Psalm 127]. We dedicated 7 young children to the Lord as the parents and our church family both made commitments to allow God to work through us to raise and train each child to follow and serve Jesus Christ.

As I reflected on our vKids this weekend, God gave me a new understanding for why they are a blessing for both the parents and church family. One of the main ways they bless is the way in which they help teach us some of the spiritual realities that can be hard to grasp at times. By this I mean that children provide a picture of our relationship with God.

Jesus knew this and even used children as an illustration in this way. In Mark 10, as he discusses the faith needed to enter the Kingdom of God, he says "I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their [children around him] kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God." Jesus is referring to the innocence and complete reliance that children naturally have in their parents as a picture of the way each of us should relate to God the Heavenly Father.

This picture shows our relationship with God in this way: new life always comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul discusses this in Romans 3:22-24. You and I can have all of the knowledge in the world about God and Scripture, but experiencing the full effect of salvation in our lives happens when we trust in God's work through Jesus Christ. No matter how much you learn the point of transformation in life only comes when you trust in that which you know about Him. Children are trusting by nature. Humans have been made in such a way to trust in God the Heavenly Father.

For me this is a liberating truth that breaks my reliance in myself and my performance. The Gospel isn't about what you do or don't do for God. The Gospel is about what God has already done for you and I through Jesus Christ. "The Gospel isn't based on your goodness, it's based on His goodness" - Scott Thomas Gospel Coach.

So the lesson is that in the same way that a 3 year old trusts in his/her father's love to care for, provide for and protect him, so you and I trust in the Heavenly Father. As our Father, He loves us, cares for us, provides and protects us. I pray you will believe this truth and maybe surrender your life to Him today.

We are thankful for all of the families that are a part of our 2 campuses. Children, with their joy, energy and excitement truly are such a blessing. I don't know what it's like to be a father yet, but Pastor Rob and Pastor Dustin continually share lessons they are learning through the children God has given them.

Some other blogs:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's been 10

On November 17, 2001 over a landline telephone I asked a gorgeous young girl named Sarah Monday to be my girlfriend.

We had just endured a freezing cold UT - Vandy football game together. As a Junior and Freshman in high school we were so young. In hindsight we had no idea what the next 10 years of dating would bring for us as individuals and a couple. In 4 days we will celebrate our 2nd year of marriage with a date.

In the fall of 2001 I remember I was drawn simply to her sweet spirit and giggle. Today, 10 years later I want to share 10 reasons I celebrate her as my best friend:
  • She loves and follows Jesus Christ.
  • She is the most fascinating person I know.
  • She is my "excellent wife" which Solomon spoke about in Proverbs 31.
  • She is compassionate and cares for people.
  • She laughs at my jokes.
  • She makes me look better in pictures.
  • She has been by my side through my high-school years when I was awkward, my college years when I matured, my seminary years when I sought clarity in God's call and now my pastoral years as I serve Christ at Vintage Church.
  • She is my great helper, spoken about in Genesis 2, who builds me up and supports me.
  • She doesn't have braces anymore.
  • She prays Psalm 67 and serves Christ in New Orleans alongside me.

To my married friends I encourage you like Paul did the Philippians in Philippians 4 to fill your mind, relationship and home with love, sacrifice, fun and forgiveness. Remember to constantly cultivate your relationship with Christ and each other. For more check out this blog: "Dating in Marriage....Really?"

To my single or engaged friends I encourage you from what Solomon said in Proverbs 4 to wisely pursue Christ and allow Him to work in your life. He is preparing and shaping your heart in this time. Taking His wisdom, as given in Scripture, into your heart will literally bring you new life. This will enable you to follow His plan for your individual life and a future spouse if the opportunity comes.

1 more flashback photo - Senior Prom (2003)
Mullets were cool back then.....