Monthly Archives: August 2012

REMEMBERING

My Pop Pop in 1955

Tomorrow morning (September 1) will be the 113th birthday of my grandfather, George Huber. He lived to enjoy the first 100 of those birthdays.

As a boy my paternal grandparents were around a lot. Until my grandmother became bedridden with cancer, they often drove down from Lambertville, NJ to spend Sunday with us. While growing up, a vacation meant going to my grandparents’ house for a week or two.

Yet it was not until my adult years that I really got to know my granddad (or Pop-Pop as I called him until I was too “grown up” to use such terms). While recuperating from surgery my granddad came to stay with my parents and lived with them most of his remaining years.

Since I love coffee shops and my granddad was looking for stuff to do, we began having breakfast together on Thursdays. This continued for the next 17 years. I estimate that we had breakfast approximately 800 times (he paid for about 794 of them). And I know we ate breakfast in 359 different restaurants – because I kept track of them and still have the list.

Sharing life over those thousands of eggs and many thousand cups of coffee I learned a lot about my granddad and I grew to love him more and more. I heard most of his life stories hundreds of times each, which also rooted them into my memory. His favorite saying was “As the old widow used to say, ‘Live and learn or die dumb as the devil’”. I think his favorite stories were those recounting his experiences as a mounted artillery scout during World War I.

I am thankful God allowed me to have those breakfasts with my granddad, and occasionally I wistfully look back and wish we could have one or two more.

Is there someone in your life who has always been there, but you rarely take advantage that they are there? Someone you would deeply miss if they were suddenly gone. Now breakfast may not be your cup of coffee, but you can still find a way to share life with those who God has put in your life.

We all have many regrets, make sure you do not add to them by neglecting the relationships that are precious to you.

People often ask which restaurant was our favorite place. I would have to say the Fox Manor Hotel on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City, because we went there more than any other location. The walls of the small dining room were covered with photos of old Atlantic City. There was no menu, chef or servers. Tony would come out from behind the tiny front desk, peer into the refrigerator and offer a suggestion. After he cooked and served our meal, Tony would pull up a chair and sit down with us, while Italian opera played in the background.


SOME OFFLINE TIME

This week I am away and on vacation! As part of the relaxation theme there will be no computers or blogging allowed . . still working on the no smart phones. Maybe God will take care of that too by making sure where we go has lousy network connection. The blog will pick up again next week – see you then

YOU ONLY THINK YOU KNOW HOW

I bet you think that you actually know how to dry your hands with a paper towel. Well, paper towel expert Joe Smith shows us how to actually get it right. I know this is nothing earth shaking or life changing, but I couldn’t resist – and you will save a lot of paper according to Joe.

 

LIVING OUT GOD’S STORY IN US

Debbie Huber, Guest Blogger

We all have stories to tell: You may have funny stories or interesting stories, even sad or tragic stories.  These stories give others a glimpse into who you are as a person.

But if we are a part of the body of Christ, we share in the same story.  This story should define our lives more than any story of our past. Our story should give others a glimpse of our great God.

God has written His story of grace through all of scripture.  We begin to see it in Creation in Genesis 1 and 2 where God creates mankind to reflect the image of the 3-in-1 God, to be in relationship with each other and with God, and to worship Him.  Seeing God’s power in Creation and that we are dependent on Him for the workings of the universe and for our every breath, we should want our story to show that our lives are devoted and thankful to Him.

We learn more of this story of grace in The Fall in Genesis 3.  We see Adam and Eve taking their lives into their own hands because they believed Satan and thought they would get something even better than all that God had provided for them.  This resulted in shame and alienation from God.

We live this part of the story all too often.    Sin permeates our lives more than we can know and left to our own we would write our stories based on the sinful darkness of our hearts.  We continually take our lives in our own hands and go after other things that seem better than God’s way.

But God makes a promise in this story of a sinless Rescuer: Jesus, who died so we can be freed from our bondage to sin.

Jesus is the main character in the story of Redemption (II Corinthians 5:17-21).  We were helpless and could do nothing about our sin debt, but God gave us grace and mercy when Jesus paid this debt for us!  Because of this amazing grace given to us, how can we keep from living a life of loving God and loving others, even in the difficult circumstances of life?

But our story has a promised eternal future – The Fulfillment as seen in Revelation 21 and 22.  There will be perfect peace forever; we will worship Him fully, without any of the interferences of this sinful world.  We will live as we were created to live.  In our story we can look past our burdens of life to the promised hope of seeing Jesus clearly, face to face.

We have the most important story to tell.  If you do not know the story, how can you tell it?  We must remember and rehearse God’s story of grace to share with a world in need of this life-changing story.

How do we remember and rehearse God’s story of grace?  In her book, Learning God’s Story of Grace, Elizabeth Reynolds Turnage shares these thoughts:

1.  Turn away from a stubborn persistence to live life on our own terms.

2.  Trust in God to rescue and redeem this wrecked world because we see His faithfulness throughout Scripture.

3.  Hope in God in the present because of what he has already done and what He will do on the final day.

4.  Love others well by showing grace because we have received mercy and by telling the story that is the basis for our faith and hope.

NEW WORDS TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS

As most of you probably already know (he said sarcastically), “The Dictionary of American Regional English” has recently been updated. At one of the most impressively named blogs that I visit, “Cranach, the Blog of Veith”, some of these new words are listed with their definition. Start using this list, and you can impress your friends with culturally savvy vernacular from around our nation. Or, then again, your friends may just look at you funny.

SERMON LEFTOVERS 8.06.12

‘What Does Faithfulness Get Us?’

Acts 21:8-23:11

What did years of faithfulness bring to Paul?

After many years of faithfulness to God, Paul is “rewarded” with trouble and persecution

In chapters 21-23 Paul is mistrusted by Jewish believers; he is falsely accused and beaten by the crowd; the soldiers who rescue Paul wanted to “beat the truth” out of Paul; and the Jewish Council misused him as badly as everyone else

Paul spent years being faithful to God, and you may be wondering, what did it get him?

Do you ever wonder at the results of your attempts to be faithful?

There are some common false expectations about faithfulness

Faithfulness should protect me from bad things happening

We wrongly treat faithfulness like a charm that wards away evil

The Bible repeatedly punctures that expectation (2 Timothy 3:12, Acts 14:22, John 16: 33)

Why do faithful people have to endure hard things?

1. The world is corrupted and evil splatters on all of us

2. The testing of our faith produces godly character in us (James 1)

3. Suffering enables us to be a witness to those who are in dark places

Faithfulness will keep away sin and its corrupting influence in us

Faithfulness works at transforming life from the inside out

Faithfulness will earn the answers from God that I want from my prayers

Perhaps you accept that trials will come

In those times you try to be more earnest and so expect a reward for that faithfulness

When God doesn’t do what we ask after being faithful we feel let down

Why doesn’t God reward our faithfulness with relief from our difficulties?

1. We are looking for a good answer to our prayers, but God is preparing a great answer

2. We want our rest now, before all our work is done

What is often missing from our understanding of faithfulness?

(1)  The understanding that faithfulness is about God’s expectations not ours

(2)  The understanding that faithfulness looks toward eternity; our prize is not here

What does faithfulness get us?

God will be pleased!

This may not seem to be a good enough reason, but it truly is the best reason for faithfulness

As we grow to know God better, the thought of pleasing Him becomes the most wonderful accomplishment of all

God will make our life good

We all want a “good life”, but we define that from our narrow and immediate perspective

Faithfulness leads us into life that is good from God’s perfect and eternal perspective

We experience goodness that has great depth and breadth; goodness that comes from the outside and from the inside

God will fruitfully use us Acts 23:11

Outside of faithfulness, every use of our life will be utterly wasted

Our hearts need to be captured by the reality that we can daily share in the work of God in this world

Faithfulness keeps us involved in the greatest things happening

DON’T BE DISCOURAGED

True Christians love to see people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ; and when our actions and words are part of that process we are overjoyed! The disappointing reality is that it is more common for people to seemingly not be impacted by our witness. This discourages us and can keep us from being ever active in building relationships that help us to naturally share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In a recent blog post Francis Chan wrote about being encouraged in sharing Christ even when we don’t see any response. I hope it leads you to keep pressing on with the gospel which is powerful and which is the only hope anyone can have to be saved from judgment and to life!

I have spent most of my days developing new friendships and trying to explain to them their need for Jesus.  I wish I could tell you a bunch of stories of lives that have changed as a result.  I wish I could tell you that hundreds have repented and are now serving the Lord faithfully.  Instead, I’m pretty sad as very few of my new friends are ready to ditch their lives to follow Jesus.  Some are not convinced they need to repent.  Others are not convinced He is worth it.

Jesus never promised revival; in fact, He told us to expect the opposite (2 Tim. 4:3-4).  Even when people saw the supernatural, it usually didn’t lead to repentance (Luke 10:13).  What Jesus did promise was that we would have His presence with us as we made disciples (Matthew 28:20).  This I have definitely witnessed.  Supernatural answers to prayer never get old.

Like most speakers/pastors, I like to share about conversions and victories!  But by only sharing those stories, it may make people think that something is wrong if they don’t see a lot of fruit in their efforts.  Maybe this post is a strange word of encouragement for those who have been sharing Jesus and not seeing much result.  We may not often see repentance, but we do experience God being with us; and we do enjoy the peace knowing we tried.  And that makes it all worth it.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain1 Corinthians 15:58