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I lost something very valuable.

December 29, 2017

lost leather purce/wallet with money and cardsIn order to pay my way through college, my summertime employment was in helping deliver Pepsi products to stores throughout the Ocean City, Maryland region.  My driver was a thin amiable guy named Randy who introduced me to a number of other vendors along the route, including a talkative Entenmann’s cookie man,  a serious but friendly Frito Lay’s driver, and a burly 7-Up foreman.   Through the summer we also befriended Denny, a happy-go-lucky muscular twenty-something who drove a truck for a local propane company whose name I cannot remember.  We struck up a fast friendship with Denny and even invited him to join up with our ragtag but successful local league softball team.  He was good; so good, in fact, that he became our clean-up hitter.  We found him invaluable.

Our softball playoffs began in the first part of August and Denny tended to be a bit air-headed at times, so while we delivered Pepsi products around Ocean City, we would make it a habit of meeting up with Denny and reminding him of the next game coming up.

“Denny!” Randy called out at the Safeway parking lot.  “Game’s coming up on the ninth and we need you.  You coming?”

“I think I can, but something is telling me that I have something going on that day,” shrugged Denny.  “Can’t remember what.  I’ll let you know.”

Next day:

“Denny, we really need you to be with us on the ninth,” said Randy.  “Did you find out whether you can make it?”

Denny shook his head.  “No, I can’t figure out what it is.  I really want to play, but, well, something is on the calendar and I just can’t remember what it is.”

This went on for a week.

Finally on a Friday afternoon, Randy leaned out of the Pepsi cab and called to Denny, who had just pulled up in a convenience store parking lot.  “Well, did you find out if you can make it on the ninth?”

Denny looked sheepish. “I finally went back home and called my girlfriend to check on that date. I can’t make it, guys.”

“Why not?”

He blushed.  “Because that’s the day I’m getting married!

To say the least, Denny had forgotten something very, very important.

And I am reminded of that whenever I think of how we as this generation of believers live and breathe and exist in this day and time.

Let me ask you:  when was the last time you had a decent, honest conversation with someone about Jesus the Christ?

No, I’m not talking about generic God-talk, or some vague “the Lord will help me” type of banter.  I’m talking about deep-down serious talk about Christ the savior and King of your life.

Or is your conversation more of a Christian behavioral talk?  Maybe of a social gospel?

Christmas is now like going to a birthday party and ignoring the Guest of Honor.  Exchange gifts with one another and not the Host?

We were often told in seminary to “burn out, not rust out.”  Yet, the true Reason for our energies was often pushed to the back.

As many of you know, I withdrew from a number of responsibilities in these past months, removing myself from virtually every office and ministry possible.

I needed time.  Serious alone time.

Because I think I lost Someone.  And I want to find Him again.

Acts 1 tells us that after Jesus ascended into Heaven, the group that went back to wait for the next step included Jesus’ step brothers.  One of these brothers was James.

James wasn’t always a follower.  In chapter 7 of John, verse 5, none of His brothers – James, Joses, Simon or Jude believed that Jesus was the Messiah – until the resurrection.  Let me key in on James.   James was there.

James had a personal appearance of Jesus.  James is not one of the “inner circle” apostles of Peter, James and John.  James was the unbelieving brother of our Lord, but he had a stunning incident with transformed him.

1 Corinthian 15:7: “He (Jesus) appeared to more than 500 brethren at the one time, and He appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”  James had a personal appearance,

Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance to James led to his conversion of James and, I believe, the conversion of the rest of the brothers.  James led the Jerusalem church, and wrote the powerful book in the New Testament.  James was so convinced that he ended up being martyred for his faith.  Amazing what happened to this man when he simply saw Jesus for Who He really was.

Well, that’s what I want to get again.  I’d lost the focus, and I want to get my sightlines back again.  Jesus is there – I was the one who lost the vision of Him.

I imagine James saw Jesus every day but in the hectic life of the world of the first century, he filtered out the need to see the true Jesus and went about his way until the truth smashed him into a sobering reality check of eternity with the Savior.

I really relate to James.  I want that intense, personal encounter with Christ.

Daily.

Our Christian world has relegated the mention of Jesus to children’s cartoons, baby-ish songs and a social call for mere perfunctory assent to Christ through over-emphasizing emotional self-awareness conferences.  We’ve not only lost the ability to dig the depths of the Scriptures, we’ve willingly tossed aside the shovel and meandered off in search of wildflowers.  Where are our academic callouses?

Well, I’m not here to grandstand on a soapbox about other Christians; I’m here baring my soul in confessing my emptiness.

I have forgotten something very, very important.  More specifically, Someone.

Time to change.

 

 

 

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A year's blog as a Bible teacher

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