lessons from a dreamer

If you’re following Lynwood’s chronological bible reading plan then you just finished reading about Joseph.  Man, so many lessons can be taught from his life.  How to face adversity.  How to maintain your integrity.  How to avoid temptation.  How not to relate to your brothers!  But this time, God spoke to me about something different.  He showed me a glorious picture of redemption from two sides.  Redemption from two different perspectives.

On one side, there’s Joseph.  Not a bad kid growing up.  Maybe a little naive.  Maybe a little cocky.  So his brothers threw him in a pit, faked his death, and sold him into slavery.  The guy who bought him trusted him greatly and gave him much responsibility.  But he also believed his wife when she lied about Joseph’s “advance” towards her so he threw Joseph in prison.  He helped a dude who promised to remember him, but that took another two years.  Two years of prison.  But finally, finally, God delivered him, and gave him favor with Pharaoh.  God redeemed Joseph and gave him great power and influence.  With this power and influence he was able to save his entire family from death during a great famine.

At the same time, there are the brothers.  Jealous.  Ruthless.  I won’t even discuss some of the stories the bible tells about them.  They were selfish, self-indulgent kidnappers, liars, and slave traders (at least when it came to Joseph).  But, in the end, God redeemed them.  He used the brother they sold and discarded to save them all from starvation.  Ultimately, our Savior would come from one of their families.  And from one of the worst brothers!

But what does Joseph say about all of this?  He sees God’s purpose in it all.

And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Genesis 45:7, 8

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Genesis 50:20

So, we see in the life of Joseph the redemption of God.  Redemption for the one so seeks God but encounters horrible hardship and injustice.  All along, God was working His glorious plan of salvation.  There WAS purpose in the pain. And redemption of the one who forsakes God and follows his own way.  He does horrible things and seems so lost.  But there is redemption.

So when we look at people, who do we see.  One who seeks God?  One who rejects God?  Peoople in need of redemption?  Someone whom Jesus died for?

 Think about it.  And if you need redemption, it’s available. Just email me at the link on the right.  I’d love to share about it.

Brian

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another one for the bucket list

I can’t stop watching this video.  I have a new entry on my bucket list.

Who’s with me?

Brian


39 years too many

I am 37 years old.  I have never known a world where man has not walked on the moon.  I’ve never known a world without color T.V.  And I’ve never known an America without legalized abortion.

Monday was the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America. For almost 40 years we have allowed this horrific practice.  It’s not at all unlike God to have my read-the-bible-through reading in Job 10 on Tuesday.  Job 10 gives even more clarity and perspective to Psalm 139.  Read what Job says to God in the middle of his reply to one of his well-meaning “comforters”:

Your hands fashioned and made me,

and now you have destroyed me altogether.

Remember that you have made me like clay;

and will you return me to the dust?

Did you not pour me out like milk

and curdle me like cheese?

You clothed me with skin and flesh,

and knit me together with bones and sinews.

You have granted me life and steadfast love,

and your care has preserved my spirit.

“Why did you bring me out from the womb?

Would that I had died before any eye had seen me

and were as though I had not been,

carried from the womb to the grave.

Job 10:8-12, 18-19 (ESV)

Wow.  What a passage on life.  Notice Job’s use of personal pronouns. The one’s he uses for life outside of the womb are intricately connected with the ones he uses for life inside the womb.  But the real money comes in verse 18, just three lines from the bottom of the quote above.  He states, “Would that I had died before any eye had seen me.” That “before” is a big before.  He’s saying that he was alive in the womb.  Alive before anyone had seen him. Death in the womb is death of life.

Thank you for writing those God-breathed words Job. And thank you, God, for creating and loving us the way You do.  May we fight with every breath to protect everyone You have created.

Brian


and a little child shall lead them

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Look at us.  Great minds must think alike.  We totally dressed this way on accident.  Unless Sonya had something to do with it. Hmm.

Anyway, that’s not why I’m writing.  No, not at all. Right now we (Lynwood) are being challenged in many ways by the Lord.  One of those is to live a more inviting lifestyle toward the lost and unchurched.  To stop being afraid and get to know them intentionally to share the gospel.  This is gonna lead to some pretty cool, challenging stuff.  But right now the task is simple: invite people to a service on February 5 where the gospel is gonna be shared.  Sounds easy, right?  So why isn’t it that easy?  I mean anyone can do it.  Right?  Right.  And let me tell you about someone who does it.

Brotey.  My little man.  My best buddy.  He does it. Over Christmas break, my parents took us to The Olive Garden.  Brotey got chicken strips.  Yes, chicken strips at The Olive Garden. But, again, that’s beside the point. My mom told us later that Brotey asked her if he would go to jail if he asked our servers where they went to church.  Of course, she told him that he wouldn’t.  Without hesitation he asked both of them if they went to church and, when they responded in the affirmative, where they went to church.  I was so proud.

A few weeks later, we took the kids to Applebee’s.  Brotey immediately asked us to ask our server where she went to church.  We agreed but apparently didn’t get it done fast enough.  As she lowered Brotey’s food over his shoulder he asked her and probed until he got an answer!  And he made it look so easy!

Then, we find out that he’s been reading the bible to one of his friends during recess at school. I can’t begin to describe how that makes me feel. He has always had a heart for the lost.  He’s always concerned for friends, family, or anyone he sees on T.V. Literally, I can’t tell you how many times he has asked us if a particular person on T.V. loves Jesus.

So, Brotey can do it. We can too.  Come on Lynwood.  Let’s get to it.  And if you go to another church, get to it as well!

Brian


Abram, I know what you mean man

Lynwood is reading through the Bible chronologically this year. I’m following a little different plan than our church but it’s pretty close.  Today, I began to read about Abram (the guy that eventually becomes Abraham). And, man, I think we’re kin cause I do the same things he did.

I mean, at a general glance, how can you complain about him?  He follows God when God calls.  Even when he doesn’t know where he’ll end up. And he’s blessed.  Things, people, money.  He’s got ’em all.

But, at the first sign of trouble, watch out! A famine hits so Abram packs up heads to Egypt for help.  Mistake one. Then, he gets nervous about his beautiful wife (apparently old pharaoh was rounding up the beauties for himself) and tells them that she is his sister.  A half truth since she was his half sister, but also his wife. Mistake two. Spoiler alert: this won’t be the only time Abram tells that lie.

So, where does he mess up?  He doesn’t stop to ask God what to do.  He doesn’t stop to think that the God of the universe might know better what to do or can provide for and protect him. So, when trouble hits, he “knows what to do.”  And Abram does what he thinks is best.

Me too.

How many times have I done that? Trouble hits and before I stop and take time to seek God’s face I’m off trying to fix it. Or should I say messing it up more.

So Abram and me, we’re com padre’s.  Members of a club that I’m pretty sure has many members. They just don’t stand up and announce it, not with words anyway. So, I’m trying to learn this lesson now, while there’s no emergency or trouble.  Seek God.  When all is well.  Seek God.  When trouble hits.  Seek God.  When I don’t know what to do.  Seek God.

Anyone else trying to learn this or is it just me?

Brian


Guess what?

Our older kids only teach the younger ones the important stuff I assure you. For example…

So proud,
Brian


this day in 2010

One year ago today, I flew from Birmingham, AL to Cape Girardeau, MO.  I remember our new pastor, Mark Anderson, picking me up from the airport and taking me to dinner at Olive Garden.  I remember him sharing about what God was doing in his life.  The vision that God was giving to Lynwood.  I’d heard most of it before, but I could tell how personal it was.  I was so excited to hear God speaking to him and challenging him and his wife.  We are so honored and blessed to serve with Mark and Karen.

I can say that this has been challenging year personally.  If you follow this blog at all, you know what I’m talking about.  But I can also say that this has been one of the best years.  We serve a great body of believers.  They have loved us so much.  They have taken care of us.  They have responded to our leadership and challenged us to be better at what we do.  We love leading worship with them and serving our great Savior together.  We look forward to many more years.

My family stayed in Alabama that week to oversee the packing and loading.  It was tough.  But my first choir rehearsal was definitely the highlight of the week.  It was so exciting.

One year has passed, but our excitement is just as alive as ever.

We love you Lynwood!

Brian