Thursday, December 20, 2007

The End of 2007

This will be my last blog of 2007. Sometimes I wonder if writing these little snippets of my mind is worth it. But then I'll get an e-mail from someone or somebody will say, "I really appreciated what you said on your blog." Then it makes me all the more determined to continue.
It is my hope that your 2007 has been a good year. I also pray that 2008 will be a new opportunity for you as you follow Christ. Next year will bring about some major changes in the White household. Our youngest will be leaving for college in August and we'll be empty nesters. I'm excited, yet fearful. Glad and sad. It's the realization that life goes on, people get older, and we must move on in our lives.
So here's to 2007. It was a good year. And here's praying that 2008 is the best ever. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Enjoy the time off. Rest. Eat. Rest some more. And above all, be thankful. Thanks for reading. JW

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Creature of Habit

I am a creature of habit. I hate to admit it, but it seems I do the same things in the same ways all the time. My first item of business is to read my Bible, do the Sudoku and Crossword Puzzle from the USA Today, then I read my e-mail. But it's even more disgusting than that.
Today I was talking to my wife about Christmas in Searcy. My mother-in-law tells me it's my job to make a fire. You have to realize in Searcy, Arkansas, it's not always cold on December 25th. There are times when it's just downright balmy. But that doesn't matter, we have to have a fire. I make it the same way every year. You get one of those starter fire block things, then add the wood. I stuff myself silly with the cooking of so many good cooks, especially my wife's.
But one habit that I hope to never get out of is to be thankful. Count your many blessings, name them by the ton. Paul was the epitome of gratefulness. Don't be anxious about anything but with prayer and thanksgiving make your requests known...I thank God every time I think of you...Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Take some time to write down what you are grateful for. This year is almost over. Time for a new start. Our God, however, is the God of new starts every day. Don't believe me? Read II Corinthians 4. I hope your day is a good one. By the way, that's how I end nearly all of these blogs, isn't it? JW

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

God With Us

I preached a sermon Sunday about the birth of Jesus and the Westroads Mall tragedy. Some might say, "Those two events have nothing in common." My point was they had everything in common. Jesus came so that we would have life. This young man felt as if he had no life. Jesus came to be light. Robbie Hawkins' life was full of darkness. It became evident that it is our responsiblity to make sure that life, which was the light of men, is proclaimed to as many as possible, including the many Robbie Hawkins of the world.
Some might say, "Where was God in all of this?" He was right there during the murders. He was with them every dying moment. In fact, it added new meaning to the name given to Jesus...Immanuel. God with us.
There is hope. There is a new day. There will be more opportunities. I pray that we will continue to allow Jesus to work in us and to change us. That is where real change will occur. I hope your day is good. JW

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Westroads Mall Tragedy

Yesterday afternoon at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, about 1/2 mile from my house, a young man went into to Von Maur (an upscale store similar to Dillards) and opened fire on innocent Christmas shoppers. Try to understand why and you'll come up short. Attempt to understand the loss of those whose loved ones were innocently murdered and you'll find yourself feeling empty.
Why did this happen? We live in a fallen world. Satan and his minions work hard. And we allow God to be kicked out of Christmas, out of our government, out of our schools, and we wonder why this happened. The only moral standard, if there is one, is the common good. Situational ethics allows us to do what's "right" in light of the present circumstance.
The answer? I can think of only one. Jesus. Only Jesus could have given young Robbie Hawkins the sense of value that he so longed for. Instead, he felt like human debris. It's a sad day, but one one that helps us to realize our need for the Savior. JW

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pundit Christianity

I've noticed something that is getting worse in our culture. As a result, I think it's creeping into the church. My biggest pet peeve with television right now are the talk shows. Turn on Pardon the Interruption on ESPN and you'll find Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon discussing various aspects of the same time....loudly. They yell at each other and they disagree with each other and they talk so you can't hear what the other is saying. The only way one wins the argument is to yell louder than the other.
I'm dreading the upcoming political season. It's already started way too early. The "experts" (and by the way, it doesn't matter which party, which network, conservative or liberal, they're all the same) sit around and table and interrupt each other, talk over the other, and virtually outrude each other to win the argument. "Let me finish" becomes the favorite saying.
I think this attitude is creeping into the church. There is a note of disagreement or dissatisfaction, so what do you do? You begin talking to each other and the conversation gets louder and louder. Finally, the bond frays, the relationship suffers, the hurtful words have been said, and the friendship is, at best, tense. So we gripe at everything the other does. It becomes fashionable to complain about the preacher, the elders, the deacons, the worship leader, the Bible class teacher, the ministry leader, the others in the church. Finally, it's a place you don't want to attend because "nobody does anything right at that church."
"But doesn't the Bible say to be ready to give an answer?!!" Yes, it does. But did you read the rest of the verse? Here it is in it's entirety.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. I Peter 3:15, 16
While we're at it, how about another verse?
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and deparaved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. Philippians 2:14-16
As God's children, we are to settle disputes differently. We are to think differently. We are to respond differently than the world does. And if the world cannot see a difference, we're no different than the pundits on TV. It shouldn't be hard and it won't be hard to act differently. I hope your day is a good one. JW