December 31, 2009

The Close of Another Chapter

As I watch the last few hours of 2009 drift by, as I look back on the year closing out, 2009 has proven to be a year full.

Effective tomorrow, I start full time in ministry with a position at EvanTell as Chief Operating Officer. A journey that started two years ago with my retirement now moves off in a new direction. Ministry, not business, but a position that allows me to use 30 years of business skills to come alongside a ministry team and try to help them be better at what they already do quite well.

I have come to terms with the struggle I have had at seminary since I started in 2008. I am not a good student, at least I do not have good, student-like habits. I have been getting decent grades, but have not enjoyed the student-ness (I know that isn't a word but so what?) of being a student. I didn't in the 70's when I got my undergraduate degree; I certainly do not think a 30 year business career helped me hone my student skills. But I can accept that now and face my education with a better frame of mind.

As the year draws to an end, I am facing the fact that my Dad is dying and it is only a short period of time before he is gone. Given his alzheimers, in many ways I lost him some months ago. That is what is the most painful, watching what he has become while waiting until he is no more. A generation comes, a generation goes. All this as my niece is pregnant with the first child of the next generation on my side of the family, although my Dad will not get to be a great-grandfather as we may have hoped. All this as my Mom struggles with a situation in which she is soon to lose the man she has been married to for 61 years. I know I am blessed to have had both my parents for this long, yet the pain is there now. It will not be a good New Year's Eve for me. I will shed some tears tonight that I know.

Yet, 2010 is full of such promise and excitement. The Lord is sovereign, and I seek and struggle to walk alongside Him each day. There is pain in this life; I face it now, I have in the past, and know I will in the future. But I walk towards a future that will be joyous beyond the belief of the present world.

May you all have a blessed 2010.

December 19, 2009

The Suddenness of a Long Wait Over

("Behold, I am coming like a thief Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.")
Revelation 16:15 (NASB)
I like the parenthetical nature of this passage, it is an aside to the reader, a warning directly from the Lord Himself. He is coming quickly, do not get caught with your pants down as it were, or you may trip and fall.

When I think about what He is doing in my life, I stand in awe of how suddenly He can make things happen, even if I think I an standing around in some quiet, dark place. It may feel I have been seeking Him and coming up empty, then I realize the quietness was Him preparing me for the task He had already decided. After what I think is some rather fruitless waiting, He enters into my focus with stunning suddenness. And I realize I have missed seeing things coming together. it was not quiet, I was deaf to the sounds of His preparation. It was not dark, I was blind to the growing light of His activities. Suddenly, He is captivating my awakening thoughts, honing my senses to His will. And it inspires a sense of awe in my life. He was always there, standing next to me, even the times I reached out and missed touching Him, maybe especially those times, for He wanted me near Him as He was near me.

Dear Lord, come quickly.

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December 12, 2009

A Colossians 1:18b Christmas

I just finished the Fall 2009 semester at seminary. Christmas is straight ahead with school in the rear view mirror for a month. A time to reflect on what the season means, a time to reflect on my Lord. And here turns out to be a great place to start:

and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
Colossians 1:18b (NASB)

This is the Bible reference one of my professors for this term, Dwight Pentecost, put with his signature in a couple of his books (Things To Come and The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. Great stuff) I asked him to sign yesterday. Did not get to ask him why, I did not see them until I got home and school is done so it will have to wait. But it means something to him, enough to write it with his signature twice. And the class I took was a study of Hebrews, but no quote out of there (Another great book, Faith That Endures. I love reading him). Something about patient endurance or about let us go on, two phrases he used to summarize Hebrews yesterday. Or maybe this one:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 (NASB)

I wrote my notes right in my copy of Faith, I have a bible study of Hebrews all lined out just by following what he taught us this semester. It was an incredible privilege to study it under him.

Getting back to Colossians, I will think about this verse, what it means to me, what it might mean to him. And his meaning will go way deeper than mine. after all, he has been teaching over 50 years, and ministering over 70. With a love of the bible that is awesome to see in a man in his 90's. I hope I remember to ask him next time I see him, which might take a while since I will not be on campus next semester as I am taking an online course.

Jesus is my hope and my assurance, my comfort and my strength. He has become the great constant in my life in a world that is ever-changing and more rapidly so as time goes past. Yes, it is the season of His birth, I need to meditate on it, and I have been pointed in a specific direction by a professor I admire deeply and have come to both respect and love. Thanks, Dr. P!

Let me know what you think of the verse and maybe I will come up with something pithy by the time I have to respond in the comments box.

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December 10, 2009

Time is Short

I just recently listened to this chapel service from Dallas Theological Seminary. It is a sobering message to say the least. If you have the time, give a watch.

It makes you think what we should be doing to be responsible citizens as well as responsible Christians. Given the current economy and our deficit spending that is only growing, you have to wonder when it reaches a breaking point. An interesting message to hear in a seminary chapel service, not the daily topic, I can assure you. Which makes it all the more intriguing to listen to.

All this was addressed recently in a chapel featuring Ethan Pope, founder and president of Foundations for Living, based in Dallas. Mr. Pope gives a lot of food for thought. As he says in the talk you may disagree, but what if he is right? Are you ready for the type of scenario he is depicting? Can anyone really be ready, or can we just be prepared to face it?

December 8, 2009

Busy in Prayer

I have not been blogging much of late, but I have been quite busy the past month. Visiting family for Thanksgiving, trying to wrap up the semester at seminary. I have also stepped into a full time ministry position at EvanTell, joining the team there in the past week as Chief Operating Officer. I am excited about my role there, and what the future holds for the ministry and me.

I have also been in prayer, for my role within kingdom work, for on going support for the ministry I am now joining, for the planning of new year at my church. As I have watched my schedule grow fuller and activities escalate, I have come to realize I need to be in prayer more often.

The busier life is, the more to need to stop and come before the Lord. It is clear that there may never be enough time to do all I want, but there is never too much to do that I cannot stop, thank Him for His blessings, ask Him for His strength and acknowledge that His will, not mine, be done. The danger of a busy, productive life is in thinking that one is the prime mover in it, not God.

So I look to Him in prayer and thanks. For giving me opportunities, for filling my day with reasons for joy, for giving me what i need to do what he wants. A new role awaits me in 2010, one I would not have thought of as I entered 2009. But the comfort I have is the fact that He may have surprised me, but I am doing just what He planned.

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