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Archive for the category “Family”

The Reason for the World

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On a recent Sunday morning, I sat around a table communing with the Lord and with my parents. I find power in sharing the Lord’s Supper table with my family.  As we took the Lord’s Supper together, I shared with Mom and Dad a song that I recently found that has been instructive and comforting to me. It is a contemporary Christian song written by Matthew West, entitled, The Reason for the World. . My parents have a strong faith and continue to live their life with faithfulness and service to others. They have often told me that “growing old is not for sissies.” I am doing my best to listen and learn, so I can follow their example of courage as they find meaning in the twilight years of their life. As we face transitions and challenges in our lives, the temptation is to ask, “why?” I have fallen into the same trap and come up empty handed trying to find answers to the purpose of the difficult times of life.

There are no words in times like these.

No comfort in the greeting card
‘Cause God is good
But life’s still hard
And your heart just wants a reason for the world

But maybe the reason for the pain
Is so we would pray for strength
And maybe the reason for the strength
Is so that we would not lose hope
And maybe the reason for all hope
Is so that we could face the world
And the reason for the world
Is to make us long for home, home, home,

For God so loved your broken heart
He sent his son to where you are
And he died
To give a reason for the world

So lift your sorrows to the one
Whose plan for you has just begun
And rests here in the hands that hold the world

‘Cause maybe the reason for the pain
Is so we would pray for strength
And maybe the reason for the strength
Is so that we would not lose hope
And maybe the reason for all hope
Is so that we could face the world
And the reason for the world
Is to make us long for home

Well I know your past the point of broken
Surrounded by your fear
I know you’re faint and tired and lonely
From the road that you walked down here
But just keep your eyes on heaven
And know that you are not alone
Remember the reason for the world

No ear has heard
No eye has seen
Not even in your wildest dreams
The beauty that awaits beyond this world
When you look into the eyes of grace
And hear the voice of mercy say
Child, welcome to the reason for the world

Is it possible that the ultimate goal in life is not just to arrive in heaven? Is it possible that God’s purpose through both the joys and sorrows of life is to transform us into the image of Christ? Is it possible that the reason for the world is to prepare us for continual service in God’s reign. When I was younger, I would think of heaven as “eternal rest.” I have to confess that seemed boring to me. One of the greatest blessings that God gives us is a reason for our existence, a purpose for being.  And the reason for the world is to prepare us to serve and glorify our Father for eternity.

Which Superhero is Your Favorite?

I have to be honest, I am not sure that I get the whole superhero fad. I know I am probably alone in my confusion, but I just don’t get all of the Superman, Iron Man, Thor, Avenger movies. I do remember as a child donning a towel as a cape and jumping off the foot-high ledge of our fireplace. My superhero growing up was Daniel Boone. My sister knew that to really “get to me” all she would have to say was “Daniel Boone is a sissy, yes a real sissy” to the tune of the theme song of the Daniel Boone show. I don’t know why I liked him so much, perhaps it was the cool coon skinned hat he wore. Or perhaps it was the fact that he was “blazing new trails.” Daniel Boone had no cool superpowers. I guess I just like ordinary people who do extraordinary things. I look up to the real person, who through their faithfulness and persistence, accomplish what others think impossible.

Using that definition, I have a couple of new “superheroes.” They are officially my “in-laws,” although I really never use that term to describe them. To me they are friends and coworkers in the kingdom. Doug and Sandy Holcomb just returned from spending 17 years in Cuernavaca, Mexico as missionaries. They returned to be with their physical family, yet they left behind a large spiritual family in Mexico. Before working in Mexico, they spent six years in The Philippines. After their kids were grown and out of the house they went through the Sunset School of Preaching and formed a team for Manila. Again, they returned to be with family as grandchildren were beginning to be born. However, they could not stay away from the pull of people of a different culture who needed Jesus. They faithfully worked in Cuernavaca providing stability while other missionaries came and left; they loved on people through their gracious hospitality; they became masters of ministering to people in a small group setting, sharing the word and committing needs to prayer; they mentored young marriages and families. They leave a large part of their heart with our Mexican brothers and sister. I don’t know many people who do not have a great love and respect for Doug and Sandy. No, I take that back, I don’t know of anyone that has not seen the love of Jesus in them after spending just a few minutes with the Holcombs.

So, I may not really get the whole superhero thing, but I do see the world-wide impact of the steadfast life of a servant. I see the powerful sermon preached through the lives of a loving couple sharing Jesus with others. Perhaps it is too much to call them “my new superheroes.” I think I will just call them friends. Thank you Doug and Sandy for your wonderful example!

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Why I Can’t Walk on The Grass

SJ20001373AfixOn my run this morning, I was on a trail that went past my cut off and then cut back to join the trail I wanted to follow. I thought about cutting across the grass to save the extra strides. However, I just could not do that, even though it would be easier. Why you ask? I asked myself the same question and smiled.

My father was the Jr. High principle while I tried to survive my Jr. High years. Sometimes, this fact helped; but often it didn’t – as I’m sure you can you can imagine. Our Junior High school building in Friona had sidewalks that were laid out in a rectangle with large areas of grass and trees in the middle. During lunch break, the favorite activity of students was to walk around in groups (or as a couple, IF you were lucky or brave). Of course, as people do, many would cut the corners and walk on the grass. However, no one did that too many times until Principal Tom B. Jarboe (a.k.a. Dad) saw the perpetrator and made sure that did not happen again. Most students thought it was a silly rule and probably didn’t understand. But my Dad respected the work of our grounds keepers and enjoyed having green grass in front of the school. He felt a strong sense of pride in taking care of our blessings. A small item, perhaps, but somewhere he had learned that if we did not take care of the small things we would not take care of the big things – those things that really matter in our life and surroundings.

To this day, I still cannot cut the corners and walk across the grass without looking over my shoulder to make that my principle is not watching. Ok, I may not look any more, but I just don’t walk across the grass. It is small and insignificant to most, but very significant to me. It serves as a reminder of the larger matters of integrity that my father instilled within me, my sister, our spouses, the grandchildren and so many others who were blessed to fall under his influence. So I will keep taking the extra steps, not walking on the grass, as I remember the great blessing of a loving father filled with character and integrity.

 

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