Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Miracle

I was listening to the morning radio and they were talking of Christmas miracles. A lady told the story of her daughter's cat. The family had had the cat for many years and it disappeared. Finally, about a month later, they found the cat about a block away. Someone had been feeding it hot dogs. It was pretty dehydrated......Are you kidding me? THAT was her Christmas miracle!!????!!
Let's talk Christmas miracles. God, the God of the universe, the God who is All-Sufficient, El-Shaddai, Jehovah God, wanted us to know Him. So He sent His Son, not to glamor and glory, not to hype and hoopla, but to a dirty, dingy manger. Immanuel. God with us. He became flesh and moved into our neighborhood. He showed us the glory of the Father. God in flesh. Now THAT'S a miracle! Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Best Day of My Life

I was watching FOX News this morning when the host was talking about he and his daughter attending the White House Christmas party. His daughter made the comment, "Dad, this was the best day of my life."
How would you answer that? Was it the day of your baptism? Was it a particular time when you heard a beautfiul peace of music? Was it a beautiful sunny day?
I have to admit there have been some glorious days in my life. There have been some from which I thought I would never recover. But I started to think, "How would I answer that question?" What's the best day of my life?
I think it's today. Nothing particularly special has happened. I've gotten to eat lunch at Taco Bell with my wife, my son has called twice, I worked on my sermon for Sunday, oh, and I almost forgot, I drank my venti no-water chai from Starbucks this morning. I know what you're saying. "Dull! Dull! Dull!" Maybe, but today is the day the Lord made. And it puts me one day closer to heaven. What a day! Yes, I think today is my favorite. Tomorrow will be my favorite too. Have a good (favorite!) day. JW

Monday, December 08, 2008

Baptism vs. Immersion

In studying the word "baptism" I came across some interesting uses of the word. James and John asked Jesus if they could sit at His side in the kingdom. Jesus asked if they could drink the same cup and be baptized with the same baptism. In Luke 12:50, Jesus says, "But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!" In the Corinthian letter there is a statement about being baptized into Moses in the could and in the sea. All of these seem to talk about a type of immersion, but not the watery kind. It's an immersion into a life, a situation, Jesus tells John and James that they will be immersed into a difficult life following Him. They'll face trials and persecutions. Or as we say, "A baptism of fire!" Jesus had to face the ordeal of the cross and He called it a baptism. The whole Moses experience of wandering in the wilderness was called a baptism.
So when it comes time to follow Jesus, how foolish of us to just see the water baptism. Instead, we should see and should be teaching the immersion into the life of Jesus. His thoughts become ours. Our actions relect what He would do. We become Jesus with skin.
I truly believe that's what Jesus meant in John 6 when He said that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. It's not the Lord's Supper. It's the immersion into His life. And oh, what a sweet immersion. We truly become His followers. Our water baptism signifies the "pledge of a good conscience" toward God. That we commit ourselves to dying to ourselves and immersing our souls, our lives into the One who can truly make a difference. Lord, come quickly. Have a great day! JW

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Toothless in Omaha

On December 2, 1972 (that's 36 years ago) I was playing basketball for Ohio Valley College. The game before we had lost two of our starters because they had their noses broken in a fight which ended the game with less than two minutes remaining. (By the way, that game was against Robert Morris). Anyway, it was my first chance to start and we traveled to McKeesport, Pennsylvania to take on Allegheny South.
I had just found my groove and had hit two consecutive shots when it happened. Someone took a shot from the outside and I watched my man to make sure he didn't crash the boards. I boxed him out and faced the basket. About that time, one of Allegheny's players leapt high into the air to rebound the missed shot. As he returned to earth (his shoelaces were about my eye level....that's one reason I realized I was waaayyy to short to play college basketball) he elbowed me....right in the mouth. I thought he had knocked my tooth back into my mouth when one of my teammates said, "Here, Jim. Here's your tooth." Those who witnessed the event said the tooth hit the floor and bounced up pretty high. I can take real pride in that. After oral surgery, ulcered mouth wounds. pain medication, and not being able to eat anything more solid than applesauce and milkshakes, I still didn't miss the next game. In fact, I took another elbow on my chin in that game.
I've since had a root canal on that front tooth, braces, had the tooth pulled, and now have a wonderful bridge that gives me a beautful (yeah, right) smile. Those memories come back to haunt me every year on December 2nd. Who says basketball is a non-contact sport? I think it was Celtic great Bill Russell who said basketball is a non-collision sport. But I survived. I can still eat. My life is none the worse for it. But every year I still feel the jarring hit of that elbow in my mouth. And I haven't even told you about the time I bit clear through my lip in a game. Have a wonderful day. JW

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thank You

Once again another Thanksgiving has come and gone. It leaves me with a twinge of sadness but overflowing with gratitude. Sadness, in that that's one less year I'll be around to enjoy the blessings with my family. Overflowing in the sense that I can't even begin to name my blessings. I wonder why God has been so good to me.

Thank you, oh, my Father, for giving us Your Son, and leaving Your Spirit 'til the work on earth is done.

All the words that could be written, all the gratitude that comes from my heart, even if I could write a song, I could not say it any better than just to say to my God, "Thank you...thank you...thank you so much."

I hope your day is a good one. JW