Just Visiting

Sunday Morning circa 1972
Growing up, we attended church on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday night prayer meeting.

Instantly, some of you will know what kind of church I'm talking about.

There are self-help groups for former members of this "christian" club, but you did not hear that from this baptist.

One of my favorite things about growing up in an atmosphere such as this, was that regularly, my parents would invite folks over after Sunday night church.

Back then, one said, "We're having company."

We'd serve ham sandwiches, Jay's potato chips, colorful jello molds, with a dollop of Miracle Whip, and root beer from mugs which had been stored in the freezer. You heard me, I said  "Jay's not Lay's, and mayonnaise, not whipped cream.

Sometimes we'd play the latest card game, or revert to trusty old board games. Sometimes we'd sit and "chat" about the Sunday services. And by chat, I mean, discuss, and by discuss, I mean gossip.

We'd beg mom and dad to invite our favorite families.  "Can we please have the Wilcoxsins' or the Flecks, or the Lelle's over, please, huh, can we please?"  When the company included the church piano or organ player, or my sister or younger brother learned to play piano, we'd have a good old-fashioned hymn sing.

We'd sing, Blessed Assurance, Love Lifted Me, At The Cross, Power In The Blood, When We All Get Heaven, When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder, O For a Thousand Tongues To Sing.

One evening after the last verse of "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"  had been sung, and the last visitor had headed home, I knelt with my parents, right there by the organ bench, and asked Jesus into my heart. I wanted my name on the list up yonder.

Oh, I could go on and on about what the word "visit" conjures up in my mind. I could also go for days about baptists, and saying the "salvation prayer" versus leading a life filled to overflowing with the holy spirit. And don't even get me started on getting to church once a week, let alone three times. But my 5 minutes are up.

I'll leave you with the words to another one of my favorite hymns.

This world is not my home I'm just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

I have a loving mother just over in Gloryland
And I don't expect to stop until I shake her hand
She's waiting now for me in heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

Just over in Gloryland we'll live eternally 
The saints on every hand are shouting victory
Their songs of sweetest praise drift back from heaven's shore
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore
Oh Lord you know...

Five Minute Friday


Yesterday, Today, Forever

This morning I'd like you to turn in your Bibles to Genesis and you will find a cacophony of errant wayward, and disobedient people. Yet, overpowering all the messes is a creative symphony of grace. 

Grace, grace, God's grace. Grace that is greater than all our sin.

I feel like I could preach today, and I may later on, but for now, along with 'Snowbird', this is the song that carries me through this Lord's day, January 19, 2014, and gives me hope for tomorrow.

Let's all stand together and sing all the verses, 

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Sharing today, even though it's Sunday with:


Spoiler Alert

I watched some of the red carpet and Tina & Amy's opener on the Golden Globes last night.  One celebrity announcer stated, "Last year I was on the couch in my pajamas with popcorn and tonight I'm on the red carpet, in the limelight, and this lovely dress ... this is the best night of my life." Really?
Today there will be a worst and best dressed list to hit the front page.
Tomorrow, no one will care anymore.

My attitude towards hollywood is way too blasé to call it a love-hate relationship. I enjoy a Tom Hanks movie and "Return To Me." I hope to see "Noah", but won't get bent outta shape if it's not verse by verse from the Bible. It's a story, and that's what I like about hollywood.

Isn't that what the Bible is, as well? A giant collection of stories from when the world began! Stories which all point to the greatest story ever told.

I can't help think of hollywood, politics, and us self-addicted americans, when I read about the Tower of Babel, in Genesis. A tower built out of pure selfishness and pride. We candy-coat it today and call it self worth or ambition, but we're still climbing and struggling to elevate our selves. Maybe that's why we would call an awards show the greatest night of our lives or why we clamor for "likes" on the pages of our lives.

God told Noah to build an ark.  He was quite specific. Seems God was pretty upset and judgement for sin was imminent.  

The Lord saw that the human beings on the earth were very wicked and that everything they thought about was evil. He was sorry he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.  Genesis 6: 5&6. Whoa Noah.  Ya know, I've always thought that Noah preached to everyone during the years he was building the ark. I don't read that anywhere in Genesis. He mainly got his blueprints, along with instructions to save his family, and he obeyed.  Do you really think the ark would have been big enough if more people had repented?

Nobody is invited on the boat except Noah and his family.  God's mind was made up. A precursor to another judgement day?  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,
And they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  Matthew 24: 38 & 39

As surely as I live,’says the Lord,
every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God Romans 14:11

I do believe our time is running short.

Right before all this ship building started God shaved about 700 years off our life-span. The Lord said, "My Spirit will not remain in human beings forever, because they are flesh. They will only live 120 years." God was and is calling all the shots.

A few posts ago I got pretty upset with so-called Christians, myself included.  All I was trying to say was this; we spend a lot of time not acting like Jesus, and so little time loving the Lord God with all our heart and minds and loving our neighbors as ourselves. We spend even less time going into all the world to preach the gospel. The gospel, not our blog posts, high horses or soap boxes. The plain and simple gospel ~

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
 Romans 3:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him 
from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right
 with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved...
For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 
Romans 10:9, 10, & 13
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 
Romans 5:1
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 
Romans 8:1

The flood demonstrates God's wrath toward sin but also His mercy to those who follow after him.
Faith and the foreshadowing of God's grace run rampant through Genesis, right alongside the people and their obsession with sin.  Even Noah fell hard probably before the boat and most definitely after.

Thankfully, God was full of mercy and made an agreement, along with a rainbow reminder, that he would not destroy us again.

If He hadn't, we wouldn't be here making movies about Noah.