Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Here I Go Again!

I seem to restart this blog over and over. So, here we go again. I just had another birthday pass, not a major one, but I turned 57 yesterday. What I found out is that facebook has more Birthday wishes than Hallmark! I stopped counting after 100 + FB Birthday wishes. It was good to have so many greeting. (Even if facebook does give reminders.)

We drove to South Carolina to see Adam, Dana, Emma and Chloe and half-way there the a/c went out in the car. What a birthday present! But, I really love being a Grandpapa and the girls always make me feel young (and a little old at the same time.) These girls and Wynn too make me feel so loved.

Also, Lynn's mother, Janet Williams is in the hospital, ICU in Tennessee right now, please keep her in your prayers. We will keep family and friends updated on her condition.

In two days Lynn and I will celebrate 38 years of marriage. Some thought we were to young and would never make it, but we are still going strong. She is God's greatest blessing on this earth to me. Only the gift of His son, Jesus exceeds the gift of my wife.

While I was out of town this weekend, I understand that two people responded at the College Avenue Church of Christ requesting pray. God is good! We have lost several families over the last six months at church however we are gaining several at the same time. May God bless us and use His church here in Enterprise.

We start our Summer Series on Wednesday nights tomorrow with my good friend and brother Claude Flynn us off. I am pulling together Camp Wiregrass (my week is June 12-17) The Sr. High week begins Sunday.

I will be reviewing the book, First Time Dad by John Fuller. If you would like a copy I have a freebie to give away, so write me by Father's Day and the first response I get gets the book.

I will get my thoughts together and be blogging once again. Hope you will drop by and visit from time to time.

Love ya,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review

How To Reach Your Full Potential for God, Never Settle for Less Than His Best by Charles F. Stanley and published by Thomas Nelson is a call to break through our state of meritocracy. The subtitle should become our challenge, “Never Settle for Less Than His Best.”

Stanley begins with mankind’s settling for where we are. He suggests that the problem is that we have lost sight of who God is, and as a result we are not actively striving to achieve what our Father has purposed for our lives. The author begins with a reminder from Psalm 139 we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Stanley discusses in various chapters the following seven essentials to pursuing and reaching ones life’s potential:

• A Clean Heart
• A Clear Mind
• Using your Gifts
• A Healthy Body
• Right Relationships
• A Balanced Schedule
• Taking God-Approved Risk

As he concludes, the author encourages his reader to keep on keeping on. We must be sure that we accept only those opportunities placed before us by God. Secondly, we are challenged to broaden our horizons. There are lessons to be learned from many sources that can well be put to use in our personal God given pursuits. How To Reach Your Full Potential for God, is a challenge for the reader to reach for more in life and to “Never Settle for Less Than His Best.”


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

(Following my last post I received this from a sister in Christ. It is well worth reading. Thanks for sharing it Marla.)

Letter from Jesus about Christmas --

Dear Children,
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. . . although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:
  • 1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.
  • 2. Visit someone in a nursing home... Not just during Christmas time, but all through the year. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
  • 3. Instead of writing the president complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sends out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family? Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.
  • 4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
  • 5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
  • 6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
  • 7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families
  • 8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.
  • 9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.
  • 10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions and words that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :



Monday, December 07, 2009

What About Christmas?
Each year I get some version of this question. Lately, it seems to be coming up more than it used to. Traditionally, members of the church of Christ, at least during in my life time, have taken a non-birthday view of the holiday. The rationale usually goes something like this:
  • Acts 1:7-8 "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. (NKJV) Therefore, we should not put one day above another.
  • The history of Christmas is of Catholic origin. The term Christmas appeared in Old English as early as 1038 AD as Cristes Maesse, and later as Cristes-messe in 1131 AD. It means "the Mass of Christ." (http://christianity.about.com/od/christmas/f/christmashistor.htm)
  • The history of Christmas is of pagan origin. Corresponding to the winter solstice. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas)
  • The date of Christ's actual birth is unknown. It is not recorded in the Bible.
  • It is the wrong time of the year. Shepherds would not be in the field in winter. Luke 2:8 "Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night." NKJV

While I could recite other objections, I give these as those that I have heard and considered in my own search for an answer to this question. Historically, churches of Christ tend not to have Singing Christmas Trees programs, Christmas Cantatas, Manger Scenes or Christmas plays/ programs. In the past few years this seems to be changing among some churches of Christ.

I have decided this is a Mars Hill situation for me. Acts 17:22-23 "Paul stood in the midst of Mars' Hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." KJV By that I mean, just as Paul spoke to the Athenians about Jesus, I can speak to a Christmas saturated society about Jesus.

Over the years I have preached sermons with tiles like: "More Than A Manger," "Wise Men Still Seek Him," "No Room in the Inn." My prayer is that God will use these lessons to help me proclaim, "...the way of God more perfectly." (Acts 18:26 - KJV)
I am fully aware that all my brethren do not agree with me. I mean this both literally and figuratively. I find myself identifying with the apostle Paul as he studied the question of eating meats offered to idols recorded in 1 Corinthians 8:4-13. I note, verse 13, "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." NKJV. While this verse could be taken out of context and used to say, "don’t do anything lest you offend," Paul is really saying, in context, that it is ok; but I will not cause a brother to lose his soul over a matter of conscience...not just his preference but his conscience.

So, What about Christmas? I do not believe any student of the Bible will claim that Jesus was born on December 25. However, I hope that all will acknowledge that He was born of a virgin.

Whatever theological differences exist regarding the birth of Jesus, I am thankful that He was born, died for my sins, was resurrected, and has prepared a place in heaven for those who serve Him. Philippians 1:18 says, "in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice , yes, and will rejoice" NKJV. So, I am thankful for any reason the world is interested in Christ Jesus.

If you hear me say, "Merry Christmas," just know I believe this is more than a baby in manger. His story is the greatest story ever told.

I found the quote below from Alexander Campbell very interesting:
MUSINGS ON CHRISTMAS MORNING. THIS morning being Christmas, and, as the Roman superstition would have it, the nativity of man's Redeemer; assuming it as true, my thoughts naturally lead me to Bethlehem, Calvary, and the sepulchre of Joseph. And what mysterious, sublime, and animating associations cluster around those three places! How near the point of distance! Eight short miles measured the whole space from the manger to the cross! And how short the interval of time between the first birth from Mary, and the second birth from Joseph's tomb, of Arimathea! Not quite the half of three-score-years-and-ten completes the labors and the life of Heaven's and Earth's First Born! And yet what scenes and transactions crowd this narrow space of earth, and this short interval of time! -The Millennial Harbinger, January, 1844. (http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/acampbell/mh1844/MOCM.HTM)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Book Review

Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain “Uncover the Hidden Potential in Life's Most Common Struggles” by Paul Meier M.D. and David Livingstone Henderson M.D. is a fresh look at the age old question, “Why does God allow pain?” However, this Christian psychiatric team goes beyond the question “why” to answer a deeper question - What is the lesson that God wants me to learn through pain?

As a preacher and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, I look for good resource material to recommend to hurting Christians as well as my clinical clientele. The first section on “Injustice” is an excellent introduction. It speaks to the, sometimes, “unfairness” of life, and addresses the potential benefit that can be gained from pain and difficult circumstances that appear to befall those who have done nothing to deserve it.
One can certainly benefit from reading the book as written. However, the reviews at the close of each section are very helpful, and each section could stand alone. One can go directly to each section to gain specific insight.

This book is a welcomed addition to my library. It is both professional and spiritually accurate and useful.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Will the World End in 2012?

I’m really not much of a movie goer, but I love watching the ads used to promote the movies. Such has been the case since they began showing ads for 2012. I read the reviews, this movie and the plot seems to revolve around the idea that, the ancient Mayans predicted that the world as we all know it would cease to exist in December 21, 2012. I have seen it described as, "The mother of all disaster films..."

CNN recently reported that NASA has weighed in on the issue. The NASA website http://www.nasa.gov has several post regarding the ending on the world on December 21, 2012. Their answer is that "Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012..."
Over the years of my lifetime there have been numerous end time predictions. I list here just a few:
  • Y2K (year 2000) may be the last doomsday many people remember. The computers did not all fail and we did not all die.
  • Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) founded the religious sect now known as the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1872. He and other witnesses have given three different end dates: 1874, 1914 and 1975.
  • Jeane Dixon (1918-1997) an astrologer and alleged psychic, predicted in 1970 that a comet would strike the earth in the "mid-80's" at a place that she knew, but did not deign to tell.
  • David Koresh was the leader of the Branch Davidianus in Waco, Texas. Koresh said that the Apocalypse would begin when the American army attacked Mount Carmel, their compound outside of Waco. The showdown between the government and the cult began on Sunday, 28 February, 1993, when agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempted to arrest Koresh on charges of illegal firearms and explosives charges.
  • Randy Weaver, a former Iowa factory worker and Green Beret, moved his family to northern Idaho (Ruby Ridge) during the 1980s his wife Vicki saw as a corrupted world". Vicki, the religious leader of the family, believed that the apocalypse was imminent and had dreams of her family surviving the apocalypse in a remote mountainous area.
    The one thing all these dates have in common is that the world did not end on any of them.

We need to remember the Biblical instruction:

Matt 24:36-37 "But of that day and hour no one knows , not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. NKJV

Mark 13:32-37 "But of that day and hour no one knows , not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming -- in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning -- 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!" NKJV

Salvation does not come from figuring out the date. That according to scripture is reserved for the Father alone. Salvation will come from being ready when ever he comes. So as Jesus said, "Watch." Oh yes, you may be wondering if I’m going to see 2012.... I think I’ll rent it later, say around January 1, 2013!

Bless you all ,

Friday, November 13, 2009

Keith's Komments:

For years I wrote a column in church bulletins where I have preached with the above title. Since we no longer do bulk rate mailing of our bulletin, I had discontinued the weekly article. The College Avenue Church of Christ now has an updated website (thanks Joey). This seems to me to be a good time to renew my communication with friends old and new.
So, what will I share with this expanded audience, maybe a hodge podge of things. Certainly I will share some church and spiritual insights. Also, as a Marriage and Family Therapist I will write on a number of issues of interest to families. Topics could include mental health issues, parenting, topics about adolescences and couple issues...

Maybe a sermon or sermonette will show up from time to time.
Look for pictures of our grandchildren too. Lynn and I love being grandparents. We have been blessed by great kids who married well. Updates on the Ellis family will show up along the way.

So, this is a renewing of Keith's Komments, now on the web. I hope you will follow along with me as I try to reflect on life and beyond.
Special thanks to my sweet daughter-in-law Dana for her technical help with the lay out. You should check out her blog as well as Adam's and Jan's. There are links on the right to all their blogs. God bless.

Love ya,