Wednesday, November 12, 2003
The “Great Commission” began with a directive from Jesus to his apostles to make disciples of all the nations. I’m sure it seemed like an impossible task for the eleven individuals at the time. After Jesus’ death, the apostles had taken to a life of fear and doubt. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, these same men would be transformed, and would become bold, powerful preachers of the gospel who would change the world.
The “Great Commission” continues today. I was reminded of that recently when I heard a powerful message from Rick Warren, who shared the story of his father who had dedicated his life to serving Jesus. On his deathbed, his father struggled to get out of bed, and repeated nearly one-hundred times, "Got to save one more for Jesus!" He then turned it into a directive to his son: "Save one more for Jesus!" Warren would become the leader of one of the largest churches in the country, and his book “The Purpose Driven Life” is currently a best-seller.
The “Great Commission” applies to each one of us who has accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. Our individual directive from the Lord may not be as vast as making disciples of all the nations, but it may be to live our lives with the desire to reach “One More For Jesus!”
Thursday, July 10, 2003
I've sung a lot of worship songs over the years, but Michael W. Smith's "Worship Again" CD brought me in contact with one of the most beautiful ones I've ever heard, Here I Am To Worship.
Towards the middle of the song, the chorus begins a heart wrenching repetition of "I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross." I've never thought about it to be honest. The fact that I'll never know the exact number of blows Christ received in my place, or how much of His blood was substituted for mine, or how painful those nails felt as they were driven into His hands and feet, or the precise amount of time He hung on that cross - enduring the most excruciating death imaginable for me.
Even when I'm in His presence in heaven, I'm sure the full details of that day will remain undisclosed. It wouldn't be in Christ's nature to disclose it, nor would I have the strength to hear it. I'm sure our discussion about that day will be brief. I'll give Him a long hug followed by the most sincere "Thank You!" I've ever said. He'll return the hug and say "Frank, for you, I'd do it all over again."
Sunday, June 8, 2003
Last Saturday, my family threw a surprise birthday party to celebrate my Dad's 75th. It was an extremely emotional day for me as I spent most of it thinking back on all of the wonderful memories I've shared with my parents over the years. I counted my blessings as I thought back on all of the sacrifices they've made for me, and prayed that they knew how much each one was appreciated.
I could go on listing each one individually, but it would take up too many pages. The example of love, sacrifice, and devotion they have shown to my sister and me from day one has made the fulfillment of this commandment an easy one; for any child not to honor and respect these two parents would be a travesty. Although I honor them from afar now, the 1,008 miles of separation only makes me love and appreciate them all the more.
The one memory I'll always cherish from the party was the surprise on my Dad's face when he noticed me there and said, "You flew all the way from Minnesota for this." Hopefully, he knows that I would have done everything in my power to be there. I would have driven, biked, walked - whatever it took - but I wouldn't have missed his party for anything in the world. How blessed am I to have two parents who would have done twice as much for me.
Sunday, April 13, 2003
I'm sure many people will never forget the images of this past week in Baghdad, as three Iraqi citizens climbed up a monstrous statue of Saddam Hussein, and did everything in their human power to bring it down. It took help from American soldiers to topple it, but when they finally did, a celebration ensued that was heard around the world. It vividly summed up the type of leader that Hussein was - a brutal, prideful dictator who forced others to serve and worship him.
What a contrast to the king of kings, Jesus Christ. Born in a manger, the reign of Christ began with very modest beginnings. It depicted right from the start, the type of leader He was going to be - a humble one. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve, and not just to serve, but to die for all who would put their trust in His name.
I look forward to the day when I will be united with Him in heaven. There will be no statues of Him to bow down to in forced reverence. There will be no dictatorship rule to fear. Rather, there will be a loving, approachable king that I look forward to worshipping for all of eternity.
Friday, February 14, 2003
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)
A couple times a year my parents venture out for a weekend "polka" adventure filled with good friends, good music, and good food. A few years back they met an older couple that would become dear friends of the family: "Uncle" Joe and "Aunt" Lil. We had some great outings together - one outing Uncle Joe told about 100 jokes over dinner - never missing a punch-line to boot. My favorite memory was my wedding reception party in New Jersey, when the two of them dressed up in Hawaiian shirts (our theme), and danced the night away.
Unfortunately, after my move to Minnesota, I lost touch with Uncle Joe and Aunt Lil, but I never forgot them and they never forgot me. Although I wasn't around to celebrate occasions like Uncle Joe's 90th birthday party, we did exchange a Christmas card or two. This year, I received a quick but very special note from Uncle Joe right after New Year's Day:
"May your New Year be a blessed one."
I was going to immediately write back, but sadly I didn't. Uncle Joe passed away a couple weeks later.
I can't tell you how many times I've stared at that note and wished I hadn't delayed my response, but sometimes life just doesn't give you a second chance. It's been a hard lesson to swallow but hopefully it's something I'll grow and learn from. Today sounds like as good a time to start:
- To all my dear family and friends,
"May your New Year be a blessed one."
All my love,