Archive for the month “January, 2019”

Pop Pop Epistle #52 – About Satisfying Our Thirst

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Dear Grandkids,

I probably preach about 2-3 times per year at my church. Last Sunday I preached a message from John 7:37-39:

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive….

My main point was that Jesus is the Fountain of Life and is sufficient to satisfy our deepest thirsts. It was a fun message to preach because I got to talk about the background of what Jesus said – which was the Feast of Tabernacles. So I delved into some of the Jewishness of my faith which is always interesting to me.

screen shot 2019-01-26 at 8.30.13 amBut I didn’t have time to share everything that I wanted to share. Those 3 verses are so full and rich that they pretty much preached themselves. One of the things that did not make it into the morning message was a little story that I found from C.S. Lewis’ book The Silver Chair, which is book 4 in his Chronicles of Narnia series. Here is the story about Jill and her thirst – you will easily see how I could have used it in my message if I had more time…

The birds had ceased singing and there was perfect silence except for one small, persistent sound, which seemed to come from a good distance away. She listened carefully, and felt almost sure it was the sound of running water.

Jill got up and looked round her very carefully. There was no sign of the lion; but there were so many trees about that it might easily be quite close without her seeing it. . . . But her thirst was very bad now, and she plucked up her courage to go and look for that running water. . . .

The wood was so still that it was not difficult to decide where the sound was coming from. It grew clearer every moment and, sooner than she expected, she came to an open glade and saw the stream, bright as glass, running across the turf a stone’s throw away from her. But although the sight of water made her feel ten times thirstier than before, she didn’t rush forward to drink. She stood as still as if she had been turned to stone, with her mouth wide open. And she had a very good reason: Just on this side of the stream lay the Lion. . . .

How long this lasted, she could not be sure; it seemed like hours. And the thirst became so bad that she almost felt she would not mind being eaten by the lion if only she could be sure of getting a mouthful of water first.

“If you’re thirsty, you may drink.” . . .

For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken. Then the voice said again,

“If you are thirsty, come and drink.” . . .

It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. . . .

“Are you thirsty?” said the Lion.

“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.

“Then drink,” said the Lion.

“May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. . . . The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic. . . .

“Do you eat girls?” she asked fearfully.

“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”

“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.

My hope is that you will always look to Jesus to satisfy the desires of your heart. There are lots of other places you could look to try to quench your soul’s thirst but you will ultimately be disappointed unless you respond to Jesus’ invitation to “Come to Me and drink.”

Never forget that you are very loved!

Gkids2018

Pop Pop Epistle #51 – Happy Birthday Bowen

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Dear Bowen,

screen shot 2019-01-13 at 7.58.27 pmI hope you have an awesome birthday celebration today. I believe that you have been celebrating all week – going back to last Monday night when your Clemson Tigers won the national championship. And then this past Friday when you had a party with all your friends to help Officer Bowen turn 4. Celebrating is always fun and your Nona and I hope to continue the celebration this weekend when we see you.

I am doing a little celebrating here in Durham as well.

4,339,747.

That is the number of steps that Fitbit tells me I walked in 2018. That averages out to over 83,000 steps a week – far surpassing my goal of averaging 10,000 steps a day (70,000 a week)

With that in mind and in honor of you being 4, I want to give you 4 STEPs that I hope you will take each day. I think that these 4 STEPs are a key to building great relationships with other people and living a life that pleases God. I have put them in the form of an acrostic using the word STEP.

S stands for Serve – Look for a way to serve someone everyday. The Bible tells us that Jesus “did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) What a great example to follow. Who can you serve today?

T stands for Thank – Make sure that you thank people for all that they do for you. Be a grateful person. This starts by being grateful to God for all the blessings you enjoy. Scripture says: “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

E stands for Encourage – God’s Word says that we should “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13) We all need lots and lots of encouragement. Make it a point every day to encourage the people around you by speaking words that build them up instead of tearing them down.

P stands for Pray – You have the incredible opportunity to bring the people around you before God’s awesome throne of grace. Don’t ever take for granted the power that is unleashed when you pray for other people. And if you ever need a prayer to pray for me (or really anyone) here is a great one:

 I pray that out of (God’s) glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Serve.
Thank.
Encourage.
Pray.

Those are 4 great STEPs I hope you will learn to take each and every day.

May God continue His good work in your life as you grow up and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. You have already demonstrated a love for other people and a contagious enthusiasm for life. May the Lord use you to advance His kingdom as you keep in STEP with the Spirit.

Never ever forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

Gkids2018

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