Thursday, May 29, 2014

Scruffy Hospitality



You may read a very good article on the grace & joy of hospitality (the "scruffy" sort, not the anxious sort) by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Family Discipleship



The thing about human beings is that we're very susceptible to discipleship, one way or another.  If you let the television (to take just one possible example of a mentor) "disciple" you & your children, it surely will.  It will teach you (& them) what to think, how to live, and when & where to think & live it.

Or we could seek to be discipled by the Lord Jesus, who is still today calling out, "Come to me... follow me... believe upon me... learn from me."

And while the church is the chief place in which Christian discipleship is to take place (see Jesus' command to his church in Matthew 28.19), there is another important arena of Christian discipleship that is often neglected:  the home.

And the sad result of the absence of any real, intentional family discipleship?  Rootless, culture-shaped children.

What else could we expect?

A word to fathers and mothers:  If you want to see your children grow strong in the faith, enjoy the glories and wonders of the Kingdom of God, exalt the Lordship of Christ in all of their life, and pass down the faith to the next generation of your family... do not neglect family discipleship.  Make a plan for it, commit to it, and be willing to neglect almost everything else in favor of it.

Make it a huge emphasis in your family, make it real, make it joyful, make it a matter of prayer, and make it happen.

And if you don't know where to start, ask a fellow believer who's made some progress down this path to share some of what he or she has learned.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

~Deuteronomy 6





Friday, May 16, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Starting May 25...



On Sunday morning, May 25, we're starting a new sermon series at DPC.  The question for this series comes from Mark 8.27...

"Who do people say that I AM?"

We're going to spend 9 weeks letting Jesus himself answer that question, in his own words.

Come join us!

"What did God do?.... He selected one particular people and spent several centuries hammering into their heads the sort of God he was... Those people were the Jews and the Old Testament gives an account of the hammering process.  
Then comes the real shock.
Among the Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if he was God.  He claims to forgive sins.  He says he has always existed.  He says he is coming to judge the world at the end of time...
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God.'
That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  
He would either be a lunatic---on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg---or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut him up as a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.
He did not intend to."
~C.S. Lewis

(Thanks to Christine for the image used above!)




Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fathers & Daughters... & dolls broken beyond the hope of repair




LITTLE FRIENDS
MEDICAL & SURGICAL
CARE CENTER
Decatur, AL



May 7, 2014

Dear Ms. Caitlin,

We thank you for entrusting the life of your dear friend, Ariel, to our care at the Little Friends Medical and Surgical Care Center. 

To be honest with you, when your father first brought Ariel in, we were very worried.  Her injury was gravely serious, and we were not at all sure that she would be able to pull through.  But after many hours of careful preparation, surgery, recovery, and rehab, we are pleased to report to you that she is as good as new.

Now, because of the nature of our efforts towards her healing, you may notice some slight differences in Ariel’s appearance.  Do not let this concern you in any way.  There is nothing wrong with her.  Those changes are merely the side effects of some medicine that we put her on, so that her body would not reject the new arm. 

We trust that you and Ariel will enjoy many hours of wonderful play together. 

And as a thank you for choosing Little Friends Medical and Surgical Care Center, we’d like to give you the envelope full of special gifts for both you and Ariel.

And please tell your father what a pleasure it was to work with him.  We can tell that he loves you very much and thinks you’re a very special young girl.  He told us to spare no expense in saving Ariel’s life.

If ever you need our services again, please just inform your father.  He knows how to get in touch with us.

Sincerely,




Dr. Jamakin M. Krasy
MD, LFM&SCC

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"...but I watch TV church from home..."



One of the saddest things I hear from time to time is the comment that goes something like this: "Well, I don't make it to church because [insert some variation of the excuses offered in the Luke 14.12-24 parable], but I do..."

...watch TV church... or listen to a sermon on my ipad... or read and pray on Sunday morning... or...

Real worship in a real community with a real pastor and real elders and real deacons and real widows and real children and real whole bunch of other real sinners who are really singing & repenting and believing and praying together before a real Savior simply cannot be reduced to someone listening to another person talk through the first person's ipod.  

What God intends in the word ekklesia (the called-out-from-the-world, called-to-Christ assembly, which the New Testament translates as "church"), which we are commanded in Hebrews 10.25 not to neglect, is much more than merely having your brain introduced to another passage of Scripture.

There are a thousand ways to demonstrate and describe this great truth... but below you'll find an excellent and characteristically colorful commentary in this direction from DPC missionary & member Sean DeMars.  I recommend it to you.


Dead People and Online Worship,
by Sean DeMars




O’two dark thirty in Mosul, Iraq. Slow night. Little action. I’m playing ping pong in the back room of the level 2 ER when I hear armored truck tires tear into our parking bay and the usual “Medic!” cry for assistance. We run out, open the back door, and find a medic on top of a soldier, pounding away on his chest. He’s been doing CPR for about forty minutes on the way to the Combat Hospital. As we get the soldier in and begin to work on him we can clearly see that he’s dead and has been so for some time. That was the first time I saw a recently dead person, but not the first time I saw someone die. 
The first time I saw someone die was shortly after a two hundred pound bomb blast tore into the Mosul police station just two clicks to my west at three p.m on a friday. I was supposed to be sleeping (night shift and all), but was called in to the ER for the patients that were sure to come. I drug myself out of bed and opened the door to the blow dryer that is all of outdoors Iraq, and I began to make my way to my station where I hear that we are expecting thirty-plus inbound casualties. As they come in to the triage, we could see that many had died on the way, but many were fighting the good fight. It’s go time.
I get assigned to bay six and begin to work on my patient. Airway: Check. Large bore IV: No good. His pressure’s down. Time’s up. Time to drill the IO. Blood warmer: Check. AED: Check. It doesn’t matter; narrowing pulse pressures. The docs are hitting him with everything they’ve got in the crash cart. Everything and the kitchen sink. Nothing. Chemistry has failed us so it’s time for the good ol’ fashion manual chest pump. The machine is registering every pump only faintly, and when I stop, it stops. We keep trying for another ten minutes and then the doc calls it. Time: 3:45 p.m. No one had time to stop and think. We had to keep going. Next patient. Next patient. Next patient. 
I had several more patients who made it that day, and a few that didn’t. My last patient of the day passed around six p.m., and it was then that I stopped and took it all in. I didn’t want to, really. I wasn’t trying to; Osmosis. The reality and depth of the situation left me punch drunk in a matter of seconds. He was alive, then he was dead. I’m not going to exhaust the limits of my writing ability by trying to explain to you what it was like that day. It wouldn’t work anyways. No matter the giftedness of the writer, if you don’t see a person die, you can’t understand it. 
I’m sure some Cormac McCarthy slash Hemingway’esque slash Dickensian writer could do a decent job of making you feel like you were in the room that day, but you weren’t. You weren’t in the room that day. You can’t understand. You didn’t have your hand on his body as he passed from death unto life. You didn’t feel the temperature of the skin change. You didn’t try to adjust his dead weight. The way the blood made my boots stick to the floor. The strange way in which he was breathing as he let it all go. The way you feel when you realize it’s done. You can’t know what that’s like from a book, or movie, or t.v. show. 
Shows like ER (for those stuck in the 90’s), House, and any number of reality t.v. medical shows try to help us know and experience what it’s like to be in that room; the production value, the gritty grimy reality of it all, the fast panning of the cameras, and the intensity of the direction. It all makes us feel like we’re in the room. It makes us feel like we’re injecting the adrenalin with them, but we’re not. It’s superficial. There’s something missing. The reality of what’s taking place in the realest of reality television medical dramas is still a reality for those in that room, and for them alone. The reverberations will be felt by those on the outside of that reality, but that room isn’t there’s. They will forever be outsiders, and so are we with our noses pressed up against the operating room glass, fogging it up as we press in to feel the pulse of that room. Press your nose up against your forty inch flat screen all you want, it still isn’t your room. 
That’s what online “church” is like. That’s the simile. No matter how much you may learn from an online sermon, or how enthralled you may be (or silly you may look), during your living room worship, it’s still just you on the outside of the operating room, nose smushed up against the glass trying to be a part of something that, for all intensive purposes, might as well be an entire universe away. You can’t hear your neighbor singing those praises. That pastor doesn’t know you. You don’t know him. You don’t, nor can you know, the reality of the flock that he is preaching to. Your life is not their lives, and that’s a pretty big part of the sunday gathering.
I don’t want to bend this metaphor (simile, whatever…), to the point of breaking it, so allow me to wrap it up here: as “real” as your little sunday morning service may feel from your bedroom/living room/hammock/Starbucks counter/master bathroom, it isn’t. It’s not real. You’re not there. That reality is not your reality. You want it to be, and I’m sure you often feel that it really is, but it’s not. You’re an outsider. That room isn’t your room. 
Like the person addicted to the “reality” of Nat Geo or RealTV, you want to believe that you are a part of what’s happening on that screen, but you’re not. You’re not a part of it. You’re a spectator. As entertaining as that may be for you, I promise you that entertainment isn’t the point of this thing we call church. You’re missing the beautiful reality of communing with your brothers and sisters under the power and authority of God’s proclaimed Word, and unless you have a really, really good excuse, not only are you missing out on one of the most profoundly rewarding experiences you could possibly have in this life, but you’re living in a pattern of habitual sin. (Heb 10:24-25) You’re losing twice. Close your computer, or turn off your t.v., find a good Bible believing church near you and go get your hands dirty. Your worst days there will be better than your best days on the couch. Put your finger on the pulse. It’s your room.