Friday, January 30, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
After taking these pictures I wish I had gone out with my camera sooner! Earlier today it was snowing much harder than what is pictured here. Obviously, nothing stuck to the ground where we are but it was certainly pretty to look at. Right outside my office window is the preschool playground. It was quite a joy this morning to see the children playing in the falling snow. I bet some of them had never seen snow before. Although it was cold they were all having a wonderful time. Do you remember your first snowfall? Do you remember your favorite snowfall? I don't remember my first snowfall, but I do remember my favorite. I was in elementary school. To the best of my knowledge it may have been the only time we had for real snow in Athens while I lived there. We had sleet several times but rarely actual snow. This time we had a good three or four inches. My sister and I went down the street and joined in a neighborhood snowball fight with people who were merely acquaintences. There is something about the snow that can knock down barriers. We had the best time getting soaking wet and cold. After the fight we rolled a snowman up in our yard. I only wish I had raked the yard before the snow fell! We had a pretty trashy looking snowman with all the leaves and pine straw. Leave a comment with your favorite snow story and let's relive childhood together!
Friday, January 16, 2009
How many times have you found yourself on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night for that matter looking at your watch and praying just this once that the minute hand would move a little, okay a lot faster? Don't be ashamed; we've all done it. In preparation for next Wednesday's message I was reading through Nehemiah 5-8. In these chapters we read about the completion of the wall and the gathering of the people back to Jerusalem after the exile. As a part of this gathering Nehemiah had Ezra bring the Book of the Law to be read to the people. He did this so the people who had been scattered about for generations would be reminded of their heritage and the laws that they are to follow. Chapter 8 of Nehemiah tells us that Ezra read from the Book of the Law from daybreak until noon. And what is more? The people were standing the whole time out of reverence for the Law! Not only did they listen to the Law being read for 5 or 6 hours while they were standing, but they were convicted. We continue reading in Nehemiah that Nehemiah, Ezra, and Levites who were teaching the people from the Law and interpreting what it meant had to chide the people not to weep and mourn. They reminded them that this was a great day in the Lord, "Be Still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve."
Then, the next day they came back and did it all over again. But, this time they read about the festival of booths. The people went and gathered branches with which to make their booths. They proclaimed among the hillsides that they were celebrating a festival in Jerusalem. During the festival the people of Jerusalem lived in their booths as a reminder of the 40 years that Israel spent in the desert with Moses. They festival lasted for eight days. For every one of those days the people gathered to hear from the Book of the Law. This is an example of a people being rejuvinated for the Lord. Since the time of Joshua son of Nun (Moses successor) the festival had not been celebrated like this. The people are glad to be back in the homeland and able to celebrate the festival the way it was intended. That's one long sermon that turned into one great revival!
I pray that as these uncertain economic times have befallen us we may turn back to the Book just like the people of Jerusalem did. May we read the word with fresh eyes. This is our time to realize some of the things that we have neglected. Let us not circle the wagons and take care of our own. Rather let us be reminded that we are to be the Light in this dark world. May we recognize those who are hurting around us. As Allen Walworth reminded us, now is the time for the church to "be about my Father's business." It is during these times that we, God's people, should be reminded of God's provision for us, be reminded that all we have is not our own, and be reminded that we should hold loosely those things we have always being ready to let it go as God sees fit. May this word challenge your heart as we seek together to Do Hard Things...