Pop Pop Epistle # 147 – About May the 8th

 

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Dear Grandkids,

Today is what is known as V-E Day. Victory in Europe. It is the day in 1945 that the German army laid down their arms in surrender and officially gave the Allied forces victory over the Nazi war machine in World War 2. It is also a great day to remember the victory that has been secured for us at the cross  – and even though the enemy of our soul still fights a hopeless battle we take heart knowing that we have victory in Jesus.

May the 8th!

For the 4th year in a row I want to pronounce some benedictions over you – benedictions that reflect the great victory that Jesus won at the cross when He defeated death and the evil one.

May the 8th verse of Acts 1 remind you that as believers we are empowered by God via the presence of His Spirit to boldly proclaim the gospel wherever we go:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

May the 8th verse of Romans 5 help you to never forget the incredible depth of the love that God has for you:

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

May the 8th verse of Ephesians 2 cause you to live gratefully knowing that it is the magnanimous gift of God’s grace that has granted you salvation and a restored relationship with the Father:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

May the 8th verse of Philippians 3 inspire you to forsake anything that this world might seduce you with because of the incomparable value of knowing Jesus:

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

May the 8th verse of Philippians 4 stir you to think great thoughts of God and fortify your mind against the assault of the enemy:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

May the 8th verse of 1 Timothy 4 and may the 8th verse of James 4 energize you to pursue  daily disciplines that strengthen you unto godliness and provides nourishment for your soul.

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

May the 8th verse of Psalm 34 reassure you of God’s goodness and blessing as you look to Him for refuge and refuse to find your identity in the eyes of this world.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

 

And may the 8 of you (soon 9) never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

 

 

Brick #90 – James 4

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I am an adulterer! There, I said it. Unfortunately most of you reading this are also adulterers. James is writing to Jewish believers and in 4:4 he calls them out (and us) when he says, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world makes you an enemy with God.” 

I think he is trying to shock his readers by using such graphic language – and he no doubt does a good job. He wants them to see themselves as he sees them – a people who are on the one hand trying to love God but on the other hand are having an affair with the world. This pretty much describes most believers today. But James does not just lambast them with the truth – he also tells them how to correct the situation. In effect, he gives them 6 tips on how to “affair proof” their relationship with God.

Tip #1: “Submit yourselves therefore to God” – First of all there has to be an acknowledgement that God is God and we aren’t. And because He is God He gets to set the rules of the game and we must play by His rules. The cool thing is that when we do play by His rules, when we obey what He says, we find ourselves experiencing and enjoying the blessings of God.

Tip #2: “Resist the devil” – The devil will work hard to get us to ignore the rules of God and play by his rules. He does a good job of conning us and making us think that his short term benefits are better than God’s eternal blessings. The word “NO” must become a regular part of our vocabulary when the devil tries to seduce us – and most of us are not very good at saying NO.

Tip #3: “Draw near to God” – It’s hard to have an affair with the world when your focus and priority is on staying close to God. It is when you separate yourself from God – stop going to church, stop reading His Word, stop spending time in prayer, stop fellowshipping with other believers – that an affair with the world becomes not only possible but probable. 

Tip #4: “Cleanse your hands” – We all mess up. We all need forgiveness. We all need to come to God and confess our sin and say “I’m sorry!” When we have no desire to make things right with God, that is when we are susceptible to the allures of the world. When we become numb to our sinfulness we make dumb decisions that often lead us down the road of no return – and adultery becomes an easy option.

Tip #5: Be wretched and mourn and weep”– Confession (Tip #4) is vitally important. But if it is not coupled with sorrowful repentance then it is meaningless. Repentance acknowledges that we have turned away from God but then deliberately and intentionally turns back to God with a desire to please Him and restore the broken relationship that our sin caused. True repentance grieves that we have grieved the heart of God who loves us so much and hates what sin does to His beloved children.

Tip #6: “Humble yourselves” – “Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” (CJ Mahaney). Humility demonstrates a posture of dependence upon God. We love to exercise our independence. Humility requires a day by day fight against the pride and self-assertion that is hard-wired into us from birth. Adultery (both spiritual and physical) is just one short step away when we declare our independence from God and decide to do what we want to do regardless of the cost to our relationship with God or others.

May this brick help you to guard your heart and keep you from entering into an adulterous relationship with the world – and/or help you to find your way back into the loving arms of your heavenly Father.

 

 

 

Brick #89 – James 3

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The first half of James 3 talks much about the battle to tame the tongue. James pours on word picture after word picture to try to get his point across. His point is summed up by what Proverbs 18:21 says, Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Scripture uses lots more word pictures to try to make this point:

  • Matthew 12:34 – You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
  • Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
  • Colossians 4:6 – Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
  • Proverbs 26:20 – For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
  • Proverbs 10:11 – The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
  • Proverbs 12:18 – There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

1 Kings 12:6-14  gives a great example of the consequences of using our words foolishly, as well as the consequences of listening to foolish counsel. King Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, lost 5/6 of his kingdom just because he spoke rashly and his legacy of ungodliness was cemented  – all because he could not tame his tongue.

Most of us don’t have a huge problem with destructive speech. Believers do a pretty good job of not saying the wrong things but a lousy job of intentionally saying words that bless others. We really need to work on doing what Ephesians 4:29 talks about above – building others UP and speaking words of grace.

I came across this prayer in Psalm 141:3 which is a great prayer to pray often and repeatedly: 

May this brick help you to to think before you speak and to be intentional about using your words to bless and build others up.

 

Pop Pop Epistle # 146 – Happy Birthday Miller: God’s Not Dead

 

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Happy Birthday Miller,

It was lots of fun spending this past weekend with you and your family. It was fun to hear your excitement for your Chick-fil-A themed birthday. It was also fun to hear your enthusiasm for your new favorite song – God’s Not Dead.

I love the way that you contrast your loud voice and your quiet voice to emphatically proclaim that God’s not dead. Let me tell you a little about the backstory to your song…

It was the year 1884 when Friedrich Nietzsche famously said in his Parable of the Madman that “God is dead.” 82 years later, that quote  inspired one of the most iconic magazine covers of all time when Time Magazine published it’s cover that asked the question, “Is God Dead”? (April, 1966). The story, and the magazine cover, became a symbol of the tumultuous decade of the sixties (which your Pop Pop lived through) and inspired the movie entitled “God’s Not Dead” 48 years later (2014). It was this movie that featured the song that you are singing.

The song was written by Daniel Bashta in 2010 but made famous by The Newsboys when they covered it in 2012 and then released as part of the soundtrack for the God’s Not Dead movie. HERE is the YouTube version of the song from the movie.

The movie is about a committed Christian college student who is confronted  by his atheist professor and challenged to prove the existence of God. The student ultimately confronts the professor with the question, “Why do you hate God”? In my experience, it is hard to deny the existence of God. But most people who do deny His existence have dismissed Him because they can’t make sense of tragic circumstances in their life and have turned their anger and hate towards God into a complete dismissal of Him. It is easier for them to NOT believe in God than to believe in a God that allows catastrophic suffering to happen – especially when that suffering becomes intensely personal. Scripture tells us that the existence of God is the ONLY way to make sense of the evil and suffering in the world – not the other way around. I believe this wholeheartedly.

I promise that you will indeed experience suffering in your life. I can also promise that God is not dead and that he will be with you every step of the way through that suffering. May this song that you sing so passionately be an anthem for your life as you experience many more birthdays in the years to come.

God’s not dead – He’s surely alive!

Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

 

 

Brick #88 – James 2

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There are two major sections to this chapter. I will make a few comments about each.

 

James 2:1-13 The Sin of Partiality

In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days he read the Gospels seriously and considered converting to Christianity. He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India.

So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian. When he entered the sanctuary, however, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested that he go worship with his own people. Gandhi left the church and never returned. “If Christians have caste differences also,” he said, “I might as well remain a Hindu.” That usher’s prejudice not only betrayed Jesus but also turned a person away from trusting Him as Savior.

In my church experience we don’t tend to favor the rich over the poor, the white over the black, the “Christian” over the Hindu – but we do play favorites. We don’t do a very good job of being on the lookout for first time guests and new people to our fellowship. We favor our friends and those we enjoy talking to and just hope that someone else – like the pastoral staff – is doing a good job with newbies. It is not uncommon for us to have visitors come to our church and never have someone initiate a conversation or introduce themselves to them. Who knows how many “Mahatma Gandhi’s” have come through our doors only never to return because they were not intentionally welcomed.

I realize that it can be awkward to introduce yourself to someone that you don’t know. But take the risk anyway as an act of faith, knowing that perhaps the Lord will use you to make an eternal difference in someone’s life.

James 2:14-26  Faith Without Works Is Dead

How do you reconcile what James says in these verses with what Paul says in Ephesians 2?

James:

  • What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (v. 14)
  • So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (v. 17)
  • You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (v. 24)
  • For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (v. 26)

Paul:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The simplest way for me to explain it is this: Ephesians answers the question how are we saved? James answers the question how do you know that you are genuinely saved? They are not saying different things they are just looking at salvation from two different timelines. We are saved not by our own work but by the work of Christ on the cross. But genuine faith will produce good works in the life of a believer. In other words, his faith will be backed up by his actions.

A young man at our college Bible study put it like this… I can say that I work at Chick-fil-A. I can even really like the food at CFA. I can wear a CFA hat and even be able to tell you how great the food is at CFA – but if I never actually work at CFA and I’m not on the payroll – then I really don’t work for CFA no matter what I say.

May this brick encourage you to be on the lookout for people new to your church as well as to help you understand the role of good works in a believer’s life.

 

Pop Pop Epistle # 145 – About National Haiku Poetry Day

 

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Dear Grandkids,

Apparently there is a “national day” for just about everything. It turns out that today is National Haiku Poetry Day. What is Haiku you might ask?

Haiku poetry is a form of Japanese poetry that is non-rhyming and usually consists of 3 lines with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5. English haiku however does not always follow the strict syllable count found in Japanese haiku. The typical length of haiku in the English language is 10-14 syllables.

The challenge with haiku is trying to say a lot with only a few words. And trying to be profound in only a few words. And trying to capture a breathtaking moment in only a few words.

I generally like poetry. You already know that I have tried my hand over the years at writing poetry. And I generally like challenges. So in honor of National Haiku Day here are a few haikus for your enjoyment and amusement.

A Pop Pop’s great joy.
Almost nine little munchkins.
The Lord’s handiwork!

A gift from the Lord.
Your Nona. My wife. My joy.
Forty years of adventures.

Pondering the Word.
Abiding in the Lord’s love.
Strength for each new day.

A rainbow of colors
Red, yellow, blue, green, and brown.
Peanut M&Ms.

Sleep. Glorious sleep.
Yet dreams that keep me awake.
Anticipation!

When you get some time try your hand at writing a haiku and then send it to me. It’s not as easy as you might think – especially if you stick to the 5-7-5 pattern of traditional haiku.

Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

 

 

Brick #87 – James 1

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Before we jump into our pondering of James 1, here are a few things to know about James the man and James the book in general…

 

About James:

  • Brother of Jesus – Comedian Michael Jr. does a bit that is hilarious about what it might have been like to have Jesus as your older brother. You can check it out HERE.
  • His Story – He did not believe prior to the resurrection – the resurrection changed everything for him!
  • Became the leader of the Jerusalem church
  • Keynote speaker of the Jerusalem Council – AD 49
  • Nicknames – 1) James the Just – he was known for his righteous life;  2) Old Camel Knees – he was known as a man who spent a lot of time on his knees praying
  • Probably Married – 1 Corinthians 9:5
  • Martyred ~ AD 62

About the Book of James

  • Probably first NT book written  ~ AD 45
  • Written to a Jewish audience (James 1:1)
  • Controversy surrounding the book: Salvation by grace through faith (Apostle Paul) vs salvation by faith plus works. James is NOT saying this. He IS saying that genuine faith is a faith THAT works not a faith by works – Focus is on the application of the gospel not the gospel itself. 
  • Written to combat “easy believism” which was an issue then as it is now. 

There is much to be pondered in this chapter. I will focus on these few verses for the sake of brevity:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5-6)

Verse 5 – It should not be surprising that Old Camel Knees recommends prayer as the first order of business when facing a situation that calls for wisdom. Too often we try to figure things out on our own and leave the Lord out of our decision making. It’s no wonder that people make so many bad decisions. Two additional questions that I would ask that would demonstrate a willingness to hear from God would be these:

1) What does God’s Word say – does it give any insight into the situation?

2) What do the godly people that love me and care about me say – do they have any insights that can help me as I try to make wise decisions?

Verse 6 – Doubt is one the strategies that the enemy of our souls will use to try to defeat us. If fact, it was the very first tactic he used to bring down Adam and Eve way back in Genesis 3:1. So how do we combat doubt when it assails our mind? Three things:

1) Satan asked Adam and Eve the question, “Did God actually say ‘you shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And it planted a seed of doubt in their minds. Always go back to the Word of God and remind yourself of what God actually did say. If you allow the seed to grow to fruition you are well on your way to a fall of your own.

2) Develop an apologetic faith – what I mean by that is to know the why behind the what that you believe. And specifically know why you believe that Jesus is the resurrected Christ.  James was a doubter – until the resurrection. But after the resurrection he was absolutely convinced that his older brother was the Lord of life. Thomas was a doubter – until he was absolutely convinced  that Jesus rose from the grave. HERE is a really good testimony from Lee Strobel – an avowed atheist – until he became convinced that the resurrection was indeed fact not fable. You might also check out this book by him: The Case for Christ

3) Remind yourself all the times that you have seen God demonstrate his faithfulness to you. You might even create a book documenting God’s faithfulness over the years. We tend to have short memories. When doubt begins to creep in we need to remember how He has faithfully provided for us in the past so that we can confidently rebut any doubts that the evil one assaults us with.

May this brick help you be wise in your decision making and to know how to fight the enemy when he uses the strategy of doubt to try to defeat you.

 

Pop Pop Epistle # 144 – Memories of The Masters

 

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Dear Grandkids,

It’s that time of year! I am sure that you are aware of how much I love the Masters Golf Tournament.

Sitting here watching the Master’s and reliving lots of memories. I grew up in Aiken, SC – about 20 miles away from the course. I have had the rare fortune to be a patron (that’s the word they use) at the tournament more times than I can count. I started going in the early 70’s when friends from NC would come down and stay at our house – but not want to use their tickets  everyday. Then from the late 70’s to the present my cousin Alan, who lives in Columbia, would make his tickets available to me for the Friday round every few years. (Alan, if you happen to read this – mega thanks for all the memories.) Here are some of those memories from over the years:

Jack Nicklaus – I was a huge Nicklaus fan growing up. I would follow him around the course – and because I was young, fast, and knew my way around I could always finagle a good spot to watch him – even though he had the largest crowds. As a kid I was an autograph hound and managed to get his autograph 3 times.

Ben Crenshaw’s autograph – In 1972, Ben was playing in his first Masters. No one knew who this young kid was. I saw him standing by himself next to #1 – it appeared that he was almost in awe of the fact that he was there. I walked up and asked for his autograph. He would go on to win the tourney 2 times during his career and often credits me and the encouragement I gave him that day for his success. Not!

Tiger – I’ve also been a huge fan of Tiger, the golfer. I’ve always enjoyed watching his excellence and finesse on the course. I was there for the Friday round when he won for the first time in 1997 and I was there for the Friday round when he won in 2019 – “a win for the ages” and “a return to glory.”

Ham sandwiches – Never been a big ham eater but Augusta National had the BEST ham sandwiches. And you would be surprised to know that the food at The Master’s is priced very fairly – unlike other sporting events where you pay $10 for a sandwich and drink.

The pristine environment – Absolutely gorgeous! If you’ve ever watched The Master’s on TV then you know it is a pretty place. But I promise you that even HDTV cannot do justice to how spectacular it really is. And you will never see a speck of trash anywhere. And rumor has it that they even make sure the pine straw all lays in the same direction. Incredible attention to detail.

Taking family and friends – Because of the generosity of my cousin I have been able to take quite a few folks to see the tournament. In case you are not aware it is a very difficult ticket to get. It borders on a high and holy privilege to be able to go to The Masters. Scott has been able to go 4 times so far and Tucker once. And 2 years ago, Chad and Mary got introduced to the course. And then a bunch of my buddies. I will single out one memory. A college chum of mine, Andre Hawkins, went with me when we were at Tulane. He idolized Jack Nicklaus and loved The Masters. I remember standing beside #1 with him when Jack was on the first tee and he literally broke into goose bumps because he was so excited. That’s kind of the effect this great tournament has it’s patrons.

The roars of the crowd – You really have to be there to experience the electricity of the place – especially when it goes from being soooo quiet (again, hard to explain how quiet a crowd of 10,000 can be) to so loud when the crowd reacts to a great shot. There is a buzz that reverberates around the whole course in seconds and everyone is scoreboard watching to see what just happened.

The Greatness of the Greats – I’ve been able to see all the greats of the previous generations play the game of golf – Sarazen, Sneed, Palmer, Nicklaus, Player, Floyd, Casper, Nelson, Seve, Watson, Tiger, Phil, etc. It is unbelievable how good these guys are. I remember watching on the practice range as Tiger would land 300 yard shots within a few feet of each other at will. The commercial that says, “These guys are good,” is so understated. You realize this when you play the game of golf and then watch great players play the game of golf. It is a VERY hard game to be great at.

Amen Corner – This 3 hole stretch is tucked away on the far side of the course. #11 – a very difficult par 4 fronted by a pond, #12 – one of the most famous holes in golf with a tight little postage stamp green (fronted by Rae’s Creek) where many a tournament has been lost, and #13 – one of the greatest risk/reward holes in the game of golf. This little patch of property also serves as a metaphor for my life – which I have blogged about before.

A chance to play! – Okay, no not really, I haven’t had a chance to play Augusta National – but it is on my bucket list – so if any one else reading this has a connection and wants to make one of my dreams come true then you have my blessings to try.

It would be my great joy to take you to Augusta National one day. That may or may not ever happen. But perhaps we can sit in the comfort of my den and I can share some of the many memories I have of running around the course when I was a young lad.

Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

(Before the Pop Pop Epistles existed, and before you were born, I published a post similar to this in 2011. This is an updated version)

 

Brick #86 – Psalm 1

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The question that this Psalm prompts in my mind is this: I know that I should delight in God’s Word. I know that I would be blessed if I delighted in God’s Word. But I don’t delight in God’s Word. It feels more like drudgery than delight. How do I get to the point where pondering the Word of God is a delight and not a duty?

Great question. I want to give you an illustration and then some thoughts  by godly men who have wrestled with this very question.

The illustration:

Most people know that they should exercise. They know how much better they would feel if they exercised. They know that exercise would benefit them physically, emotionally, and mentally. But the idea of exercising defeats them before they get started. They don’t like the idea of all that sweat; those sore muscles; those dirty clothes; the cost of a gym membership or running shoes. They don’t like the time it will take and what they will have to give up if they are going to exercise consistently. But they do like the idea of feeling better; looking better; sleeping better. So they decide to start and find it to be drudgery just like they thought it would be. But they keep at it even when they don’t feel like it; even when it just feels like they are going through the motions. And after six weeks they begin to notice the benefits starting to kick in.  The have lost weight. They can run a mile without feeling like dying. They have gone from an ab to a two-pack. And before too long they realize they are looking forward to their scheduled exercise time rather than dreading it.

What once was drudgery and duty has now become delight!

Thoughts from John Piper:

So someone may ask: How can I come to delight in the word of God? My answer is twofold:

1) pray for new tastebuds on the tongue of your heart;
2) meditate on the staggering promises of God to his people.

The same psalmist who said, “How sweet are your words to my taste” (Psalm 119:103), said earlier, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). He prayed this, because to have spiritual eyes to see glory, or to have holy tastebuds on the tongue of the heart, is a gift of God. No one naturally hungers for, and delights in, God and his wisdom.

But when you have prayed, indeed while you pray, meditate on the benefits God promises to his people and on the joy of having Almighty God as your helper now and forever. Psalm 1:3–4 says that the person who meditates on God’s word “is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.”

Thoughts from David Platt:

I just want to encourage you to pray for this kind of delight in the law of the Lord. Ask the Lord for this. And pray this, and then think through, “Okay. How can I meditate on this word day and night? How can I make sure at the beginning of my day to fill my mind with God’s word? At the end of the day, to fill my mind with God’s word in a way that saturates the whole course of my day with God’s word?”

I guarantee you that if you are intentional about meditating, fixing your mind, your heart on God’s word in the beginning of your day, at the end of your day, and thinking through how can that saturate your life during the day, I guarantee you, you will see, discover, experience this word as delightful. Full of delight.

Thoughts from George Mueller:

I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord…. I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the word of God, and to meditation on it…. What is the food of the inner man? Not prayer, but the word of God; and… not the simple reading of the word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.

May this brick help you to experience delight as you come to the Word of God each day – anticipating how the Lord is going to use His Word to strengthen you with everything that you will need to deal with whatever comes your way that day.

Pop Pop Epistle #143 – About Keith Green (and the Easter Song)

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Dear Grandkids,

As a teenager growing up in the ’70s (way back in the last century), music was a big part of my life – as it was for most people my age. I was a fan of some of the greats of the Rock and Roll era. But my very favorites included The Doobie Brothers, Chicago, The Eagles, and The Marshall Tucker Band as well as solo artists like Elton John, Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot and James Taylor.

But the artist that had the most influence on my life was not a part of the secular music scene. I had become a believer in Jesus in 1974. Christian music was still in it’s infancy when Keith Green began his ministry as a young man of 22. He and his wife Melody, as very new believers living in the Los Angeles area, began taking people in need into their home and discipling them. Many of them were drug addicts, prostitutes, and homeless. They bought several more properties in their neighborhood as their ministry grew and as more and more people found out about their ministry. Their home was dubbed “The Greenhouse” – a place where people grow. In 1977, the Greens outreach became a non-profit ministry they called Last Days Ministries and in 1979 they relocated from the The San Fernando Valley to northeast Texas near Lindale.

Meanwhile he was writing music and performing concerts. His music called people to follow Jesus in a way that was at the same time encouraging and prophetic. People were drawn to his message because he radically lived out everything that he was singing about. (Don’t miss the lesson there). Not only was his music really good but it pierced people’s hearts like few artists were able to do. This was definitely true for me. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that you are alive because of the influence Keith Green’s music had on my life. (Read THIS and you will understand what I mean).

Tragically, at the age of 28, he was killed in a plane crash along with two of his children. But he left a legacy that many people, like myself, still tell as a part of their story.

He crafted a lot of memorable songs such as O Lord You’re Beautiful, Your love Broke Through, and You Put This Love in My Heart. But one of my favorites was actually a cover that he did of another artist. I think about and find myself singing it at this time of year. It’s called The Easter Song. It was written by Annie Herring of a group called 2nd Chapter of Acts.

The lyrics go like this:

Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing
That You can be born again
Here the bells ringing, they’re singing
Christ is risen from the dead
The angel up on the tombstone
Said, He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell His disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead
Joy to the world
He has risen, Hallelujah
He’s risen, Hallelujah
He’s risen, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing
That You can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing
Christ, He will reveal it now
The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus’s power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour

 

I had a chance to see Keith in concert in Dorton Arena in Raleigh not too long before he died. Check out his music when you get a chance. I think you will find that it nourishes and challenges your soul.

Never forget that you are very loved!

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