THIS SUNDAY, 7/13
CHOIR: “Bye & Bye Medley”
PREACHER: Jim Gerlt
PRAY FOR OUR PEOPLE IN PERU
Our folks left for mission work in Peru yesterday (7/9). Lift them, as well as the Peruvians, to Jesus. God said, “Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” (Psalm 2:8)
“THE GOLDEN AGE OF APOLOGETICS”, SAYS “CASE FOR CHRIST” AUTHOR, LEE STROBEL
AND THIS IS WHY I CHOSE HBU TO TAKE MY NEXT STEP IN PASTORAL TRAINING
HBU continues to show the world how serious the institution is about reaching a world desperate for answers in regard to God. This news item was posted over the July 4th holidays. NOTE: the incredible Apologetics Faculty is listed in the 3rd paragraph from the bottom.
QUOTE(s) OF THE WEEK
“Many in today’s Church do not know the Bible as well as they should; people outside Church and faith hardly know it all. As a consequence [Christians are] ill equipped to provide the answers that seekers and objectors need.” — Craig A. Evans, Ph.D.; Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College
“When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.” Mark Twain
COMMENTARY: A THEOLOGY OF PASTORAL AGE
“It’s more difficult for people in their 20’s and 30’s to connect with a pastoral staff in their 50’s and 60’s.”
When I first read this quote (written by a pastor in his early 30’s) I thought to myself, “So that’s why God called Moses when Moses was 80?”
The quote is not in the least bit offensive to me. And I honestly don’t think the guy who said it is arrogant or theologically myopic. I think he’s just young – i was exactly like him with I was his age. When I was in my early 30’s, pastors in their 50’s looked to me like they were in their 70’s. But, truth be told, when I was in my early 20’s, pastors in their 30’s looked like they were in their 50’s.
The only unfortunate thing about the man’s quote is that, taken out of context, the quote comes across as an authoritative statement on generational leadership. But our sole authority is Scripture. And nowhere in Scripture will you find this sort of mentality literally, or in principle. In fact, brokenness & humility – not age – was always God’s requirement for being used to lead. (cf. Isaiah 66:2)
I remember sitting in Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, CA, (suburb of L.A.) a few years ago with around 2000 people packed into the worship center. Every seat was filled so the rest of the folks who couldn’t find a seat sat on the floor right in front of the pulpit. It was awesome. Was there anything special going on? No. Cash Give-Aways? Nope Just a house full of people hungry for the Word of God. Why am i sharing this story with you? Because the mass of people sitting on the floor at the front of the worship center were in their teens and early 20’s. The preacher? Chuck Smith – he was, at that time 73 years old. And, by the way, this was a Sunday night worship service. As far as i could tell, the people in that room had no problem connecting with that 73 year old pastor who did nothing “hip” or “cool”, but simply systematically and lovingly exposited the Word of God. The people (including myself) hung on every word.
Lastly, I’ve been in Youth Ministry now for 31 years, 24 of those years were full-time. One month ago, at 50 years of age, I stood before over 100 eleventh graders and taught/preached six different times. You’d have to ask those students, but as best as I could tell – based on the conversations I had with those students throughout the week – we connected every single time. I quoted Jesus’ words in John 13:35 a dozen times: “By this all will know you are My disciples – if you have love for one another.” I’ve discovered over the decades that when a pastor is known “by the love he shows”, the people he/she leads don’t see “age.”
Why am I sharing this? Because I want to encourage you pastoral guys & gals who are in – or approaching – your “50’s & 60’s”. Not only does your age have absolutely nothing to do with how effective you are with “millennials,” (think: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Zech. 4:6), but it could very well be that, just like with Moses, God is just getting started with you.
Soli Deo Gloria, nw
JORDAN’S BIRTHDAY IS SATURDAY, JULY 12th
It took me 8 months to come out of shock after the death of my son. I’ll never forget the morning this past January when I awoke noticing something was different psychologically. Powerfully different. After a few minutes, I finally realized i had not woke up trying to “undo” my son’s death – which was a sort of psychological torture I had endured both consciously and subconsciously every minute of every day since he took his life the previous May. It was as though my mind finally exhaled. I’ll never forget that moment. Truth was slowly having its way with my broken mind & heart.
It’s taken over a year for me to finally accept the fact that Jordan’s never coming home. Perhaps it’s a psychological defense mechanism, or part of the shock – but, somewhere in the recesses of my mind – even though i fully knew the truth – I believed he was simply on a trip overseas. This “choice of acceptance” I learned through Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane. Choosing His Father’s will over everything else, Christ prayed, “Not my will, but Your will be done.” In other words, “Father, I trust You with my pain & suffering.”
It took 9 months for me to get to a place emotionally where I didn’t cry every day. Grief created from suicide is, as psychologists describe, “complicated grief.” I don’t cry daily now. But, I will say this: the grief is very present and is inexplicable. If i allow it to surface, it will cripple me emotionally. I’ll never forget Jordan asking me once, “Dad, is it okay for guys to cry?” Without really thinking, I quipped, “Sure! Jesus wept.” For whatever reason, Jordan always thought that was funny. I guess because my reply was so matter-of-fact. I don’t know. But, he agreed with me.
A year ago, a counselor friend looked at me and said, “I wish it were different, but this next entire year will be horribly painful & difficult.” He was right. I know now why 98% of marriages fail after the death of a child, and i completely understand how a person can go insane. I discovered that insanity is a very short “walk” from where we live our everyday “normal” lives. More time than I can count, I have taken Jesus up on His invitation to “Come to Me, all who are weary and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11)
I’ve never in my life been taught so powerful a lesson about the Body of Christ than after my son’s death. Make no mistake: I have been through some dark times (a violent childhood, a job loss, a broken back). But, I would live all of those very painful experiences over a million times in order to never have to experience the death of my son. I simply cannot overstate this: I believe I would have never made it without Christ’s love and grace lavished upon us through His Body (you.)
Finally, I’ve learned that Jesus Christ is enough. As David wrote, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want of any good thing….” And, centuries later, Jeremiah would write, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;…” God has used these, and so many other passages, to “restore the souls” of the Watts family. The truth set us free at Calvary – and it sets us free on a daily basis now. Satan, the premier liar, is defenseless against the Truth. (Psalm 23:1; Lamentations 3:22-24; John 8:32)
Today, Jordan Blake Watts is with Jesus Christ in Paradise. He is whole. He can’t even remember what Clinical Depression is. And, because of the cross and the empty tomb, we’ll join him one day in the presence of the One who made absolute certain that death would not only not separate Jordan from Christ, but that death would not separate Jordan from us either.
TO MY SON: Jordan, I love you, my angel. I know you’re well – better than well. You’re more alive than I am. I want you to know something very exciting, my child. I begin further schooling on August 25th for the sole purpose of helping the thousands among whom I live also know that, although life is messy and this world can be unspeakably painful, there is HOPE in Jesus Christ. Satan has tried to make me give up so many times this past year. His “flaming arrows” have found their mark numerous times. But, Jordan, “I have been crucified with Christ (the One you see face to face!), and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” My precious son, I have dedicated the remainder of my life to helping hurting people know the truth of Christ’s love so that they – just like your mom & sisters & me – will know that they can be set FREE by that truth – not just in eternity, but right here, right now, on planet earth. This is my calling. This is my assignment. Love, Dad
GREAT A-J ARTICLE ABOUT BHBC MEMBER, JAY JACOBUS
THIS YEAR’S WORLD’S BIGGEST OIL PRODUCER (WAIT FOR IT): USA!
I would’ve never guessed that WE were leading the way where oil production is concerned.
LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE
You know you’re a member of a Redneck Church if…..
1. When they learn about Jesus feeding the 5000, people ask whether the two fish were bass or catfish.
2. The pastor says, “I’d like Bubba to help take the offering,” and five guys and two women stand up.
3. The choir is known as the “OK Chorale.”
4. Finding and returning lost sheep isn’t just a parable.
5. The choir robes were donated (and embroidered with the logo from) “Billy Bob’s Barbeque.”
6. The collection plates are really hub caps from a ’56 Chevy.
GRACE NOTES: “What is Truth?” (Pontius Pilate)
This is from a series I’m currently preparing from Ephesians 6:10-18, otherwise known as the “Armor of God.”
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick