Thursday, March 29, 2007

Favorite Hymns

About twenty years ago I was a member of the White Memorial Presbyterian Church choir and our weekly Wednesday night rehearsal fell on Halloween. THe choir director asked everyone to come to rehearsal that night dressed as their favorite hymn. One woman came wearing her husband's clothes, stating that she was dressed as her favorite "him." Our choir director, a rather buttoned down fellow, walked in that night wearing a cardboard steeple on his head and a woman's bra overtop of a black turtleneck sweater and proceeded to lead the entire rehearsal dressed in this manner. Only at the end of rehearsal did he tell us his favorite hymn: "The Church's One Foundation."

As favorite hymns go, mine has to be "It Is Well with My Soul." It speaks to me of the true meaning of forgiveness:
My sin, oh the bliss of that glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
prasie the Lord, praise the Lord, O My soul!

Jesus Christ died for my sins. On that day, He declared that I would no longer have to bear my sins. He said, "I'll take the burden from now on." I don't deserve His forgiveness, but I will gladly and humbly accept it. What a friend we have in Jesus!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Three Years of Aspen

Three years ago yesterday my daughter was born. Becoming a first-time father at 44, I was late in the parenting game, and I still find myself amazed that now at the age of 47 my life is filled with things like fixing Cinderella watches and watching "Barbie and the Twelve Dancing Princesses" on DVD. The most amazing thing, though, is watching what was a tiny little baby morph into this intelligent little person with her own personality and sense of wonder. In another ten weeks, she'll have a little sister, and I can be amazed all over again.

Chidren are indeed a gift from God.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Easter Cartoon

I know Easter is not for several more weeks, but I'm posting this cartoon in response to the "Easter Drawing Project" on Randy Glover's Chewing Pencils blog. (For those new to my blog site, this single panel is from my online cartoon Church Mice.)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Seeing the Big Picture

I am sitting here trying to put the pieces together at 4:40 in the morning... I received a healing during the night. Yesterday afternoon I began to get a sore throat around 6:00pm. I wasn't sure if I was coming down with something (I had been at the hospital quite a bit during the week) or if I had just strained my voice preaching yesterday. Yet as the evening progressed, I began to go quickly downhill. By around 10:30, I went to bed with a sore throat, very little voice, and chills.

During the night, I awoke on at least two occasions. The first around 2:15, and I felt like death warmed over. I got up with a very full bladder and went to the bathroom, which surprised me because I had very little to drink last night before I went to bed. As the night had been progressing, I kept feeling this sense of things coming to completion. Prayers being answered. Situations of unease being settled - all without any concern to their details. It was if I was receiving some big-picture assurance of things being in control and everything being taken care of.

I awoke a second time around 4:15 with my bladder once again ready to burst. And that same sense of "everything is always going to be okay."

I was also aware on several occasions during the night of another body in the bed. My wife has been sleeping in our daughter's room a lot these days, and with her pregnancy tends to have some transient sleep patterns. But at least one time last night I awoke, knowing she was in the bed, and then when I sat up, there was no one there.

Am I completely well this morning? No. Do I still have a sore throat? Yes, but it is significantly better. I sense that during the night my body was flushed of its toxins and made clean. God has given me a healing - this I truly believe.

But more important than that, I sense He gave me a message during the night: "You are never alone, and I am in control." I think He showed me that we get so hung up on details in our prayer requests, that we miss the big picture of just turning EVERYTHING over to Him. He is the one in control. And maybe He spent the night lying next to me in my suffering...

I wish I could better place into words what I learned during the night - what I experienced.

I also remember a still small voice telling me to "write all these things down," referring to the stuff I do and experience from day to day as a pastor. I hope that by doing so, like this morning, I won't forget the many times God personally reaches out and touches me.