Two more children…

workers

Parable of the Two Sons:

“But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.

“Which of the two obeyed his father?”

They replied, “The first.”

Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins. Matthew 28:28-31

This is a powerful parable and if you are honest with yourself (and had siblings) how many of you were like, “Yup that second slacker would have been my brother or sister!” or if you didn’t have either, you can quickly point your finger at a coworker? Jesus was here specifically rebuking the religious leaders of his day for giving lip service to their relationship with God the Father while those who had said, “No!” for so long were stirred into spiritual action and healthy relationship with God through John the Baptist’s inspired preaching on repentance and right living.

Rather than leave this in context as we smugly condemn someone else I offer us an option for contemplation. If Jesus was willing to expand his audience (which I think the cross allows us) there are in this world…two more children!

We know of two from Jesus’ teaching but if we get past our judgment of who plays the original two sons it doesn’t take long in deeper contemplation to understand two more:

  1. There will be a child of the Father who simply says, “NO! I won’t go! I won’t enter into an obedient life of service to you!” and they never do.
  2. There will be a child who says, “Absolutely I will go!” and they ALWAYS do!

[We could also add a “Rich Young Ruler” sibling who earnestly desires to enjoy the blessed relationship with the Father but sees the row to work too long in the vineyard and severs his ties – but we won’t today]

Which of those four children trouble you the most?

The first “child” – if you know one – makes you want to pound your head against the wall because it doesn’t take long for you to see how empty, hopeless, and futile their lives are and I am NOT talking about material poverty – as the most joyous people I know have less than most! Agathe and I were invited (once) to a gathering of wine and cheese consuming couples in a beautiful home and as I don’t drink I ended up at the bottom of the funnel for their voiced disappointments in life. It was quite sobering. My wife and I eventually returned to our 900 square foot home feeling blessed beyond measure. These couples weren’t active in a church family or real obedient relationship with God. They had LOTS of very little, while true blessings were a simple response to the Father of, “I have changed my mind and heart! I AM your child! I WILL go!”

How should we deal with them? Keep hammering them with LOVE and leave the real forging of their soul to God’s Holy Spirit!

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?” Matthew 28:12

It is NOT our job to convince them to become “religious”. It IS our commission to example every day what a blessed life of doing as the Father asks looks like!

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise [of returning], as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 2 Peter 3:9

If we have lived in this world for some time we probably know that type of spiritually obstinate person – hold fast in your prayers though because when they turn they can be some of the most zealous practitioners of faith you will ever meet which brings us to the kind of God’s children who disturb me even more than the ones who deny God…I am talking about the “Enochs” who walk stride for stride in REAL daily company with God himself and even when it’s knee deep… …mud… …they are singing a happy song!! Like Job they never deny God in the midst of DIRE trial and just keep their eye on the prize EVERY moment of EVERY day!! They just keep throwing up their hands like Horshack in “Welcome Back Kotter” shouting, “Oh, oh Father call on me!! I’ll go!!” except they don’t need to because as soon as they see a “God void” they have rushed in to fill it!!

Frankly, they drive me a little nuts – because I long to be like them!

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Matthew 5:3-10

These blessed children of God don’t pick one of these aspects to concentrate on as they live them as their circumstances warrant!! AMAZING!! I know one or two such people and it is a POWERFUL reflection of Christ and a bright shining light of what has CONSUMED them HOLY!!

Which child of the four are you?

Closing Thought

We all have transitional “seasons” in our life as regards our relationship with our heavenly Father.

We can transition from the rebellious denier, to the aware but unwilling laborer, to the initially begrudged but eventually blessed worker, and finally into the fired up “anywhere anytime – you don’t even need to ask me!” always accurate in discernment, golden child. But… we probably drift like the seasonal worker between the last three. We have mountain top experiences where nothing impedes our joyous connection with our heavenly Father and then there are times when are like, “Well, okay… I will go,” and then we never rise up off our spiritual couch!

What helps keep my relationship a linear progression of improvement with God the Father?

THANKSGIVING!!

Whatever befalls us we must take stock and count our blessings! I can’t guarantee you an overnight transformation into one of those incredibly active workers for the Lord…but it will open the gate to the vineyard daily!

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!   Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Psalm 100

Sometimes we have to move stuff!

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See that stud and nut? Can you reach the other 6? Me neither… Looks like we’ll have to move some stuff!

“See all that?” my brother Rob asked after we lifted the hood on my old Jeep Wrangler, “ALL of that is going to have to be moved. Are you in? We are going to have to drill out the broken exhaust manifold studs and bolts and replace them and there is NO WAY we can do it without pulling out all that stuff which is in the way.”

Well, there are supposed to be a total of 7 studs and bolts and I was down to 3 and I wasn’t wanting to be asphyxiated by the increasing carbon monoxide  inside the Jeep – neither was Agathe – so what choice did I have? “How much would it cost to have someone else do it?”

“This is about a $400-$500 job to have done,” my brother a lifetime mechanic replied.

“Let’s get to it!” I concluded immediately. What else was I going to do on my Monday off?

We finished late Wednesday afternoon…as it was a three day epic, often working through the pouring rain and spending as much time buying special bits to drill out a broken easy out in one bore and welding a small rod to pull out a broken drill bit in another. About whatever could put a hurdle in front of us did just that. I’ll tell you what though, my old ’91 YJ Wrangler gets down the road just smooth as new right now, quiet (sort of) and comfortable (at least a bit more) – as an old Jeep might be!

Here’s the thing about our spiritual lives; we want them to be smooth and easy, calling on God for his promises, but we want him to follow us down our road without considering where he might want US. We want a comfortable “clean air” existence but we don’t want to have to move stuff in our lives to make it happen. We want refinement sans the fire and smoke! We want to cruise with no bloody knuckle maintenance.

Let’s look at Abraham and how he is perceived theologically: Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Romans 4:1-3

What did God tell Abraham that he had to believe?

 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3

After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17

Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” Genesis 15:1

Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”

And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. Genesis 15:4-6

Wow!! How many of us have that kind of communion with God Almighty? If God took me aside in dreams, visions and visitations – AND – made those kinds of promises to me…I would believe God too!

But belief in God is a WHOLE LOT different than faith in God. We can’t simply call God out for what we think we are promised in his word and not be willing to move some stuff – and ourselves – in the direction of God to realize them!

This where it all started for Abraham (previously Abram) with God’s communication:

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. Genesis 12:1

This was NOT – Hey Abram move from Lake Odessa to Hastings – this was a complete life shift! New languages, new cultures, new places, incredible challenges! There were no “movers” to call to pack up your goods and turn the key on a truck! This was a desert wilderness, wild animals, hostile people, herd your flocks, conflict guaranteed MOVING OF ALL HIS STUFF kind of change!! And Abraham goes through ALL of this with God!!

And along the way he meets Melchizedek the High Priest King of Salem tithes to him the spoils of war – oh yeah Abraham was a warrior too – becomes extremely wealthy and sees God’s promises start to take shape in his lifetime! Abraham was 100 years old and his wife Sarah not far behind in her 90’s when they have God’s promised heir!

So we can’t just believe God’s promises and be considered righteous. We have to follow through on belief into mature faith and be willing to be moved by God, stirred by his Spirit and act faithfully in all He requires of us!

Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? [God didn’t have Abraham go through with it!] You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. James 2:21-24 NLT

Belief, faith, actions – Abraham had it all!! (Paul and James have eternity together to work out which side of the faith cart the action horse should be hitched to)

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

Closing Thought

To breathe the free air and avoid having to drive your Jeep down the road with your head sticking out the window like some traveling, tongue-wagging, ear flapping dog – you are going to have to move some stuff, bloody your knuckles, break some stuff, replace some stuff, get soaked, invest in some new tools, learn a lot and feel like you’ve been run over by a truck more than once before it’s said and done for all the contorted stretching you’ll have to do.

It isn’t much different in our faith journey yoked to Christ working for our Lord and our God.

Belief, faith action – be a warrior like Abraham and move some stuff when God commands it!

Are you in?

Or will you let God use someone else to be ultimately blessed because you think the price is too high?

A ride home from the middle of nowhere.

24hr Challenge III 001

Our brothers and sisters in the faith from far and wide joined us last month to celebrate the life of Helen Mudry’s sister – Nancy Dzick. She and her husband Arnie rode incredible miles together, often on their tandem bicycle so I rode ours here to display at the service. Tandems don’t ride well without a “stoker” (the rider in back) and tandems are hard to transport so ours sat here for a few weeks occupying most of the space in my church office. I think my reluctance to ride it home ran deeper than transport challenges but last week Agathe and I had work at the church and I finally loaded my riding gear in the car and threw a leg over the tandem to ride it home alone.

I was strapping on my helmet and getting ready to roll out when I noticed an attractive runner passing by the church. Now, as Nancy’s service was concluding and people were heading to fellowship at the luncheon someone said to me, “You have a beautiful church here but it isn’t easy to find because…”

“It’s okay,” I laughed at their awkward hesitation, “you can say, ‘because it is in the middle of nowhere’ because WE ARE!” The person seemed a tad embarrassed to have me finish her sentence but we don’t take offense – it is what it is – we ARE kind of “out in the middle of nowhere” which means if you are a runner and are passing our church you are seriously fit or off your rocker!

So, I swivel the tandem to point down the road, clip in the pedals and shove off going a fair distance until I find myself on a parallel course with the pretty female runner.

Now if you spend any time out on the open road, running, riding, or walking you get accustomed to hearing all kinds of “wisdom” from passersby. I could have retired comfortably YEARS ago if I got a dollar every time someone yelled at dad and me riding tandem, “HEY THE GUY IN BACK ISN’T PEDALING!” therefore the lady runner cast a nervous glance to see me pacing her along Coats Grove Road wondering what a fellow athlete may “suggest”. I just grinned and accelerated enough for her to see I was on a tandem and then pointed to the vacant “back seat” wordlessly inviting participation in our VASTLY superior sport of cycling.

For a millisecond I could tell the invitation to get a “ride” home from the middle of nowhere was being joyously contemplated but then she threw her head back laughing happily and declared, “YEAH RIGHT!”

I just cocked my head, shrugged my shoulders as if to say, “Oh well, I tried,” and headed home but a few minutes later I started laughing wondering what if she had taken me up on the offer? The laughable problem here for me was the fact I had removed the stoker’s pedals because they act as cumbersome counterweights flopping around awkwardly behind so it is best to remove them and while I made my ride offer, the critical components were being whisked homeward by Agathe. How troubling it would have been to possibly hear, “Oh thank you! You are a God-send, I am out of water, exhausted, my feet are blistering, and I was not sure if I was going to make it home!” and then have to deny transport for being absent of the necessary footholds!

Whew! I dodged a bullet there!

What if you passed someone on an obvious spiritual journey? Would you be confident enough to offer them a “ride” in our Christian Faith or would you hesitate wondering if you were fully equipped to answer their inevitable questions? Would you stop your pilgrim’s progress certain to gain a travel companion or would you hurry along on the other side of the road and silently say a prayer for the intervention of God’s Holy Spirit – exhaling, “Whew, I dodged a bullet there! They are in God’s hands! Thank you John Calvin!”

I believe one of the reasons we (Christian Church Universal) are so weak in evangelism is we can’t accurately convey what it is we actually believe! And even if we are certain of our salvation we lose our balance when it comes to telling the uninitiated exactly how we enjoy this truth. We may be able to ride a bike but our “tandem” is missing some critical parts if anyone wants to ride with us!

Most of us have heard of the “Roman Road” – a collection of verses compiled from Paul’s arch stone of theology which can take the seeker logically through the nuts and bolts of building a necessary and beautiful saving relationship with God. Here is a link if you need a refresher: https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2016/09/evangelism-the-romans-road-to-salvation/

Today as many of my fellow riders are taking to the safer dirt roads – I want us to travel what I am calling the “Titus Trail” (also mapped by Paul) to gain in knowledge and thereby help us exercise the truth of our faith when the occasion arises:

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:11-14

Let’s ride the “Titus Trail” together!!

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 2:11

God humbly entered this world as Jesus the Christ – God incarnate – experiencing HUMAN life just as we do with all the emotion and challenges involved with it. He was surprised, sad, hungry, angry, frustrated and yet lived a sinless life. Jesus lived, taught, healed, died, and was raised from the dead to sit at God’s right hand reconciling those who believe and profess into the pure holiness of the Father for eternity!

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 1 Peter 1:18-19

We should be able to share this Good News!!

And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God… Titus 2:12

The road to heaven is described as the “straight and narrow” but we need to exit the old road we were on to ride it!!

We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. Romans 6:6-8

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

And this truth we should proclaim JOYOUSLY and LIVE LIKE IT… … while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. Titus 2:13

I have said it before – the revelation of Jesus Christ upon our meeting will put everyone on their knees. The believer will kneel in humble adoration and the unbeliever in humbled desolation. We should be equipped to invite everyone to ride with us!! We will either meet Christ upon his return or upon our passing – either way – we meet him!

He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:14

Free from sin, no longer in its stranglehold, made new, adopted into God’s family via repentance and faith in Christ to move forward re-birthed by grace, mercy and the Holy Spirit and committed to the good work of the Kingdom!

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. Colossians 1:21-23a

Because now…

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:13-16

Closing Thought

A few years ago two Mormon Missionaries came to my door while I was out in my shed turning wrench on bikes. It was a miserable wet snowy day and I called out to them, so they wandered over from the house and asked if I had a minute to hear some good news. I was dressed warmly and in the mouth of my secure dry shed so I agreed to hear them as they stood outside. They had their approach down pretty cold (although they did need correction on the finer points) as they spoke shivering in the wet sleet.

Finally I asked them, “Are we saved by the cleansing blood of Christ, repentance, faith in him, grace and the renewing of the Holy Spirit?”

They agreed we are. (these young men were really pretty cool guys – truly)

“So what does Joseph Smith have to offer me – and you – beyond that?” I inquired.

They pondered shivering now, soaked and cold… “Well… …” they paused as long as our sister who didn’t want to tell me our church was in the middle of nowhere, “can we just leave you with some stuff to read? We need to get going!”

“No,” I grinned shaking my head, “I’m good.”

Well it doesn’t end there… Later that Spring Agathe and I were sitting down to dinner and it was pretty late when suddenly there was a knocking at the door. It was my Mormon Missionary friends…and they had BICYCLES…and they didn’t mince words!

“Hey,” they demanded, “we KNOW you work on bicycles and were wondering if you could help us tune these up!”

I busted out laughing, “NOT A PROBLEM! Come back tomorrow and we’ll go through them.”

Tandem Challange

Here’s the deal – if you are a CHRISTIAN and have your “I am commissioned antennae” up at all you will come across people seeking to learn about your faith. Have your ride prepared, your toolbox filled, and KNOW WHAT YOU TRULY BELIEVE! And ALWAYS be ready to give anyone exercising their soul on a quest to find God…a ride home from the middle of their nowhere!

We don’t need Robin to tell us what is Holy!

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I have a Bible set up in the order current scholarship believes the writings, and events occurred. It is also organized in daily readings allowing you to complete it in one year. I hungered for the word and finished “the Good Book” ahead of schedule on Friday so when people ask me if I have read the works of a certain author I like to respond, “I prefer my particular Ghost Writer and have read 66 of his books – again this year.”

Today I want to share a few “standout” scriptures the Holy Spirit inspired me with!

And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness! The entire top of the mountain where the Temple is built is holy. Yes, this is the basic law of the Temple. Ezekiel 43:12

During God’s revelation of a new temple to the prophet Ezekiel, God commands absolute holiness for this sanctified place.

Absolute holiness!

What does that mean for us?

Well obviously – NO RUNNING IN THE CHURCH!!

No of course that is not what it means. Neither does it mean once we step inside these doors our behavior suddenly has to become holy by Divine edict or we will suffer the fate of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu who disregarded the solemn instruction of entering God’s Tabernacle and were killed for it.

Part of what it means is, as a healthy member of the Body of Christ, we should be CONSTANTLY striving along the direction Peter had for early believers.

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16

“…holy in everything you do…”

Aren’t you glad you came today!?

ABSOLUTE holiness and having to be holy in EVERYTHING we do? I can hear the echo of the young Luke Skywalker to the Jedi Master Yoda – “You ask the impossible!”

Well – it’s not ME asking, it is God commanding.

But God isn’t one to simply respond to our cries of “Impossible!” by shrugging off our pleas as his flawed, free will creations without a little assistance. Even in Peter’s invocation of Old Testament scripture regarding holiness he offers inspired direction!

“So prepare your minds for action…” When is the last time you prepared your mind for ANYTHING outside of worry or fear or an algebra test? Have you conditioned it for the journey into HOLINESS? This isn’t some vague notion or metaphysical mumbo jumbo this is REAL with tangible results when we follow this wisdom!

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

And this isn’t something to be done in the cozy confines of a hammock under a shady tree where we can readily please God with joyous pure thoughts and abounding holiness as we sway lazily back and forth! No! This is preparation for the fray!!

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:22-25

“You never learn more than when you teach.” We have probably all heard this and maybe even experienced it. If we are ACTING (not play-acting) in the charge of God Almighty, as Peter is encouraging, we MUST grow in HOLINESS!! If we hear the word and DO as it directs in James we grow in appearance to Christ and thereby HOLINESS being blessed by God there in the ways of life that truly matter!!

Peter continues “…and exercise self control…” Oh mercy, the treaded SELF CONTROL!!

Last night I finished grilling up some brats and on my way in the house stopped at the big garbage can next to my garage to throw away the packaging of the raw meat. Holding the platter with the finished meat in one hand I deftly attempted to throw open the lid and toss the Styrofoam tray into the container with a minimal of touching the big brown, filthy, stinky, waste container. I wish video was running because I got it right!!

You see while trying this clever maneuver every single brat slid off my platter and rolled into the dusty leaf strewn ground next to the oversized garbage can!

How can this be “got it right”?

I sighed, scooped them back up, and returned to the still hot refining fire until all signs of their succumbing to my grave fumbling where burned away. AND I noticed the two which broke in half weren’t grilled through so I actually avoided having to head out and throw’em back on after discovering this and the fire had died. So my self control was rewarded – save for a few gritty bites because there will ALWAYS be consequence to what leads us back to God’s refining fire but at least my dinner was palatable and everyone on the block didn’t hear some fiery, foul tirade of cursing!

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Colossians 4:6

“Why did you go back to the fire? I thought you were done grilling,” Agathe asked.

“Well I dropped them all on the ground next to the garage,” I replied, “but the fire was still hot and they needed to be tickled by the heat some more anyways!”

Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then…

WOW – just WOW!!

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

Wrapping this up full circle then in the light of Paul’s teaching, absolute holiness and our command to be holy as God is holy is impossible to achieve through self discipline. Any attempt to do so can lead to a false self righteousness where we think we are on the high road but we are actually heading downhill on our high horse! What we MUST do in order to celebrate where this quest takes us is submit WHOLLY to the new person we become in Christ and the infilling of his Holy Spirit!!

That is where I put my eternal hope! It assures my forever embrace of the Divine AND transforms me RIGHT NOW!! My confidence one day soon to stand in front of purely holy God is placed in the newness of being I have been gifted by my Lord and Savior and Reconciler – Jesus the Christ – and it is my constant growth and striving to let the world know there is CELEBRATION in holiness – even if it only starts with me grinning as I pick up 5 dusty, leafy bratwursts to put back on the fire!

Where will it start for you?

Closing Thought

Absolute holiness for us CAN NOT appear as “Holier than thou”.

Being holy as God is holy for us SHOULD appear as “Humbler than thou”.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Philippians 2:6-8

Last week we talked about how Peter was commanded to “kill and eat” and how that changes the complexion of our responsibility under the New Covenant. Christ gave up his life in extraordinary humility which resulted in extraordinary honor…

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11

Take an inventory of your life with the Holy Spirit. What are you growing? Is it righteous fruit? Is your attitude befitting the sacrifice Christ made in order for you to be renewed and reborn in him?

Kill what is unholy in your life by submitting it to the Holy Spirit – it moves like fire and can refine you clean through making whatever you do, and say a fitting sacrifice to God!

Better to feel that fire now…than be turned away from the Banquet Table because our faith was half-baked.

Who knew? What fun finding out!!

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“Is that your Corvette?” I was asked last night in the Skatepark.

“Well,” I hesitated, “It will always be my father’s…”

Then there was no more hesitation as I was happily interrupted… “My grandfather has a 1985 Corvette, we had a 2002 Firebird, my uncle had a Bonneville, not sure on the year, and I have a ’69 Volkswagen Beetle, we named him Henry, my father painted him white but I didn’t like that so we painted him grey now, we bought him a top hat and a moustache!” deep breath ensued, “I love working on cars, some 23 year old guy asked me to change his tire for him…no problem… I do brakes, complete with calipers when they need doing too…”

“Wow!” I laughed joyously, “Have you looked into the Gilmore Museum’s Garage Works Program? It’d be right down your alley!” (The Gilmore Car Museum is one of America’s premier auto museum experiences and they have an internship program for area High School Students who can work on sight with learned mentors surrounded by INCREDIBLE cars and motorcycles from myriad eras)

“No I am a Senior and really want to be a diesel mechanic!” our SISTER of the Skatepark Family announced.

“You know that guy who asked you to change his tire,” Justin inquired, “he’s not marrying material.”

“I know!” she laughed too and they both agreed he had not been brought up right. “I’ve done a lot of research and want to attend a specialized program because I see where millennials aren’t pursuing mechanic careers and I enjoy it so… …”

“GOOD FOR YOU!” Justin and I echoed and he continued, “You will do well in a skilled trade.”

“You should talk to my brother when he gets here,” I encouraged, “he’s been a lifetime mechanic. You can’t miss him, he’ll be in the ’69 Roadrunner.”

Her eyes lit up at the mention of the car and she responded, “My dad and uncle are diesel mechanics…”

“Gotcha,” I jumped in, “you already have an ‘in’ and that’s great!”

So, I got to show off dad’s ’92 Vette in factory Black Rose Metallic, Pat’s ’67 Olds 442 looked CLASSIC in spotless black but my brother’s ’69 Roadrunner in era correct MOPAR Sublime was by far the most well-received machine there and multiple requests of, “Can I sit in your car?” were graciously granted.

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Eventually a pair of girls managed to bump the horn on that Plymouth muscle car and unleashed the “Peep, Peep” tuned in keeping with it being a… …Roadrunner!

“How did you like that horn?” I asked grinning when I saw them crossing the park.

“I bumped it by mistake!” one of the young ladies confessed red faced but giggling.

“I didn’t know how to work the seat belt,” her friend admitted, “then once I did, I didn’t know how to unclasp it! AND then we didn’t know how to get out with those door handles!”

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Which might have explained why they spent half the evening in the car!

Almost every week I am left marveling at my Skatepark Family and I think after 13 years I would finally throw my broad brush out of my paint set but you have to admit a bright-eyed, braided-hair, young lady slamming brake jobs, reciting the family car pedigree (this was just a small sampling of her wonderfully detailed description – which I overheard her sharing with my brother AND mother with no less zealousness), and desiring with an obvious passion to turn wrench on big engines, is a tad… …outside the stereotypical “norms” we conjure in our heads. And for a generation identified as solving problems (which I have no problem with) with their phones after quick online searches; it was fun to witness them having to figure out seat belts (which we never used back in the day) and door handles from cars to them which must look like Model “T”’s looked to us at their age.

Planning the evening, I just thought they might take a passing interest in the cars and simply ask if I had more pizza (which they did and I did) but I never assumed we would connect via the cars with our family down there on such a “common bond” level and/or see the excitement in their eyes like we get when we cross paths with cool vehicles!

Who knew? I thought this entire generation believed the internal combustion engine to be the certain demise of life as we know it but instead I watched as a steady stream of young people giggled and laughed happily latching onto the steering wheel of Rob’s Roadrunner!

Don’t get me wrong – I rode my bicycle over 4,000 miles last year and many of them were doing trips I could have driven in my car. AND a few days ago Agathe and I were following a ’67 Chevelle Super Sport down the street in town and Agathe said, “IT STINKS!”

I wanted to reply, “No dear, that is the perfume of a beautiful bygone era!” as I drifted back to the days of cruising in my brother Andrew’s ’65 Chevelle Super Sport but the truth of the matter is we have – gratefully – made wonderful strides in emissions, economy, AND performance. So, I am glad we are raising an aware generation desiring to be good stewards of this good earth. I am also glad to see a young lady with grease under her fingernails, and blazing light in her eyes to fix stuff – because I like fixers and problem solvers and who knows what she will INVENT one day?

If we had a really good crystal ball we might be able to see it…

Then again, I was joyously surprised last night – yet again – and think I will keep enjoying the surprises as our Skatepark Family grows, learns, contributes, and keeps doing positive things which let me marvel at their abilities!

If you see a seed growing around you reaching for the sun of a bright future, nurture it with what you know, what you have done, and where you have been. You might be amazed at how much you have in common with this seeking generation and help them plant deep roots in this good earth ensuring a bright future for those who follow them!

 

BIGGER than BBQ!!

Grill

I like to grill meat.

25 years ago I put down a three foot square base of firebrick in our rock garden and on three sides of that I shaped three layers of firebrick in a “U”. I then walked to the hardware store and purchased a round wire grill like you would find in the ubiquitous Webber and rested it atop my crude construction. I use wood that falls from the trees surrounding our property for fuel. That’s how I saw my dad grill when I grew up (but we had a field stone fireplace and a grill insert my dad’s father welded up for us) and it is how I grill.

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I have always liked grilled meat – ANY grilled meat – but especially the pork steak because it is a fat greasy cut that shrugs off high flames as I don’t often (ever?) wait for the hot coals to establish and I can flip’em as often as I like. Grilling is an action sport for me – start to finish! But there was a time my favorite pork steak offering from the grill was taboo to those desiring a right communion with God, until… …

It was about noon, and he [Peter] was hungry. But while a meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.”

“No, Lord,” Peter declared. “I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.”

But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven.

Peter was very perplexed. What could the vision mean? Acts 10:9b-17a

What could that vision mean? Well my humorous definition of heaven is an eternity of, “Randall, wake up, and eat!” but this is much bigger and if we are selfish and willing to select only certain cuts of scripture for our theological grill it may only mean PORK STEAK IS GOOD TO GO!!! And for a long time I was fine with that sizzling away but I don’t think serving one dish with this deep revelation has been a pleasing aroma to God.

The Bible is a BIG picture book and it needs to be considered, consumed and digested as such and this passage (like so many others) carries with it a whole lot more than our “new” ability to order every kind of meat at the butcher!

Let’s expand our spiritual diet with this passage and start at the beginning!

In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. One afternoon about three o’clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. “Cornelius!” the angel said.

Cornelius stared at him in terror. “What is it, sir?” he asked the angel.

And the angel replied, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering! Now send some men to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. He is staying with Simon, a tanner who lives near the seashore.”

As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier, one of his personal attendants. He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.

The next day as Cornelius’s messengers were nearing the town, Peter went up on the flat roof to pray. Acts 10:1-9a NLT – and that is when Peter fell into his trance.

So we have a Roman Captain of their conquering army who is ALSO a devout, God-fearing man.

This is HUGE and needs to be gnawed on.

Back in this context “to the victor go the spoils” was the order of the day and a Roman Captain certainly had NO reason to give generously to the poor of a conquered land and pray to their God! Additionally back then another held belief was – If we won, our gods are bigger than your gods – and this Captain was risking his rank and very life for not honoring his emperor who the Romans deified along with all their other gods!

Well he must have kept it all on the “down low” to keep his head on his shoulders!

NOPE!!

He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household.

No fear of a whistle-blower here!

And now enter Peter’s vision from God which was followed immediately by the arrival of Cornelius’ men…

Just then the men sent by Cornelius found Simon’s house. Standing outside the gate, they asked if a man named Simon Peter was staying there.

Meanwhile, as Peter was puzzling over the vision, the Holy Spirit said to him, “Three men have come looking for you. Get up, go downstairs, and go with them without hesitation. Don’t worry, for I have sent them.”

So Peter went down and said, “I’m the man you are looking for. Why have you come?”

They said, “We were sent by Cornelius, a Roman officer. He is a devout and God-fearing man, well respected by all the Jews. A holy angel instructed him to summon you to his house so that he can hear your message.” So Peter invited the men to stay for the night. The next day he went with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa. 10:17b-23

Are you starting to see the spark? And notice, although God said to go with them without hesitation, Peter invites them in, they stay the night, and leave the next day… Hm? “without hesitation” nudges me like “immediately” but… PETER WAS STILL HUNGRY! I am glad we serve a practical God who understands our very basic needs! It wouldn’t have been any good for Peter to rush off devoid of calories (and thinking of ALL he can eat now) and pass out along the way!

They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 10:24

Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. So I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. Now tell me why you sent for me.” 10:28-29

Cornelius recounts the angelic visitation and instruction to seek out Peter and concludes with this:

“…So I sent for you at once, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here, waiting before God to hear the message the Lord has given you.”

Feeling the wonderful heat yet? Hearing the Tongue of Fire speak?

“…Now tell me why you sent for me.”

“…we are all here, waiting before God to hear the message the Lord has given you.”

Oh yeah!! There is a LOT more at stake here than what’s on the grill! Notice Peter doesn’t end with a question mark; it is a command to enlighten him on the purpose of his visit. Almost like Peter saying, “I could do wonderful things for you here, for your very soul, but I need to hear directly from you why you sent for me!”

When we are young our parents should take an active role in our choice of friends and as we mature they allow us – with wise counsel – to walk where we can best shine the flame of our proven foundational faith. “Don’t drink, don’t chew, don’t date girls who do!” Has merit because we should not court challenges beyond our youthful ability to overcome but when we are filled with the Bread of Life and Living Water don’t hesitate to go out into this hungry world!

AND – never quench the leading of the Holy Spirit by saying, “NO Lord, I would NEVER frequent with THAT kind of people!”

Lepers, Prostitutes, and Corrupt Tax Collectors? “Receive healing, pour out your life on me, weep, repent, be saved, dine with me – feed me today, welcome salvation to your house!” – Jesus says to them ALL!!!

God deems Peter prepared, (what is it about Peter and the number 3?) tenderizes the “meet” before him and…upon hearing the Good News of Christ, the Holy Spirit fires things up!!

Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too. For they heard them speaking in other tongues and praising God.

Then Peter asked, “Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. 10:44-48a

And then QUICK before any Jews saw Peter and his brothers in the faith hanging out with the Gentile, Cornelius – they dashed out of town under the cover of darkness!!

NO WAY!!

Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days. 10:48b

We have to process how much is involved in the New Covenant for us and what we have to GO DO with the in-filling of the Holy Spirit!! Peter’s dream has nothing to do with enjoying more grill fare and has EVERYTHING to do with the harvest field God opens to us! Our freedom from the law isn’t about pork steaks it is about who we can ignite with the Holy Fire within us!

Borders and boundaries have been removed! The sheet has ascended, the veil has not only been removed but torn asunder and no one is so unclean as to be beyond the cleansing power of the blood of Christ!!

We should be unleashed not to run, mouth watering to the butcher, but into the fields ripe with people who hunger for the Truth which can set them free!

Closing Thought

Notice God’s initial command to Peter: “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.”

When I lived in Colorado I was hankerin’ a big ‘ol steak so hoofed down the road to the grocery store in a strip mall and as I was excitedly approaching the door, passed a giant cattle hauling semi loaded with beefy beasts heading to “the great ribeye supply in the sky”. Then, I noticed one of them gazing out at me from the punched hole in the aluminum frame of the long tall trailer, his big brown eye…desperate!

So I started dancing and singing, “I am gonna eat your brother!!”

Nope…I came home with a couple cans of tuna.

True story.

Here is the thing about the New Covenant and the Holy Spirit, they aren’t about keeping our lives comfortable. They ARE about making our ETERNITY comfortable but right now – they will ask us to KLL some stuff in our lives if we want to dine forever with God!!!

I officiated a wedding yesterday and at the rehearsal one of the bridesmaids said, “I wish we knew about you before our wedding! We asked 18 different people to marry us and they all refused because we have two sons…” I almost fell off the giant rock I was sitting on at the park where the wedding took place and was speechless for a millisecond for my sorrow and then just quivered with anger! She continued, “Finally someone agreed for $2,500 and preached at us (scolded was implied) through the entire ceremony.”

Jokingly I announced I would have gladly done the wedding for $2,450 because if I said what I wanted to say about how awfully they were treated it would NOT have been pastoral. When I recovered, I confessed, “I am so sorry that happened to you. For TOO LONG the church has been its own worst enemy and that NEVER should have happened!” I avoided the benediction of, “EIGHTEEN TIMES!!!”

What do we need to kill? That kind of self righteous STUPIDITY in the church!!! And after killing it, we must completely incinerate it because it ain’t a cut worth eating!!

Imagine if Peter had stood outside Cornelius’ home and refused to go in because Cornelius didn’t commune with God exactly like the Jews did? What if Jesus condemned the woman at the well? What if Jesus said, “Yup! Stone her!” to the woman caught in adultery instead of offering her saving grace? What if Jesus said to you, “I can’t welcome you into the embrace of the Divine because you have done… … … and I can’t call you my child because you already have one.”???????

WE NEED TO KILL THAT because the New Covenant is BIGGER than BBQ and LOVE does not mean we condone everything – it means we LOVE people like Christ did thereby entering into RELATIONSHIP vs. sending a couple off shaking their heads 18 times over the “love” they had offered them!

There is no “Interim Covenant”

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There are these three ON FIRE Jewish Christians who were raised in the Jewish Faith and with open hearts and minds connect the “Old Testament” to the “New Testament” in very real understandable ways! You can watch them on “Day of Discovery” at Channel 64.1 (we only have antenna TV so I don’t know how to dial that in with cable or satellite) on Monday nights at 8:00. Listening to them makes you see how the 12 year old Jesus could spend THREE days in the Temple asking questions and providing answers – and forget to consider his mom and step dad might be distraught at his absence from the pilgrimage home!!

If I was sitting in with these three gentlemen I too would lose complete track of time – Their insight is AMAZING! My scholarly-wired wife also gives them HIGH grades!!

So, one of these guys will mention something from his Jewish heritage and before he is even done the other two will practically be jumping up and down excitedly – and they are older than I am – with how they too executed a certain Jewish ritual AND it pointed RIGHT to Jesus! GIANT thinking but they present it in such a common sense way you might just start giggling as your “Bible Brain” is tickled joyously!!

This past Monday they were connecting the dots between the sacred days on the Jewish calendar and the fulfillment of the purpose of those days in the life/death/resurrection of Christ and the delivery of the Holy Spirit. There were too many connections for me to recount here but as I started my devotional reading Tuesday morning it was spot on with what struck me most the night before from “Day of Discovery”. As I understand it, a portion of the Jewish Festival of Weeks related to the giving of the law to Moses…

Guess what day falls within the Festival of Weeks on the Christian Calendar?

Pentecost (my favorite day)!

Guess what my Bible reading was Tuesday morning… 2 Corinthians 3…

It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. 3:5-6

A neat transition from last week’s encouragement to do the good things God created us anew to do in Christ and the thought for today…

Paul goes on, as he is good at that!!

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! 3:7-11

Can you see why the three “Day of Discovery” guys were jumping up and down?

Their Festival Weeks celebrated God’s delivery of the “Mosaic Law” but then in the midst of that remembrance, almost 2,000 years ago God delivers the promised Holy Spirit which seals the New Covenant initiated with his sacrifice and resurrection and a freedom from the old law!

Now, I think Paul was jumping up and down!!

Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.   3:12-15

And Paul was nearly killed numerous times for this message because in the Jewish mind you don’t mess with Moses and the law but Paul saw EVERYTHING pointing to Jesus and Paul was LEARNED in the Law of Moses being the equivalent of an Ivy League Lawyer! But Paul realized it was all nothing in the light of the Good News!

This is where we find initiation of the New Covenant – and it is critical!

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 3:16-18

WE should all be jumping up and down now!!! Yes, it is a beautiful truth that God revealed his glorious law to his people with the intention of sanctifying them to himself. But it failed and Christ had to establish the New Covenant through his sacrifice and our renewal via grace and the gifted Holy Spirit – HUGE STUFF – but if the veil has been removed from you, are you reflecting the glorious image of God?

You see, there is no “Interim Covenant” you either shoulder the “Old Covenant” or you dance with the Divine being freed under the “New Covenant”. You can NOT shrug off the 613 Mosaic Laws, and think you are free unless you have put on Christ like new clothes!!

People should have to shade their eyes because you are shining like the Son!

Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2

Being Spirit-filled MUST permeate EVERY aspect of our lives and our testimony must bear up under scrutiny from the Divine!

There is no “Interim Covenant”.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 4:7

Do people who cross your path daily get to see you “lift the lid” on the source of your power? What happens when you really “crack”? What comes out? Is it the shining light of Christ or something much thicker? Does your every word and deed make it obvious you are in communion with the Author of the New Covenant?

Does the “Good News” radiate boldly from your life?

Don’t worry, you aren’t called to be Paul. You probably won’t have to endure flogging, caning, stoning, and imprisonment. You won’t be seen as a murderer as a poisonous snakes hangs from our hand while starting a bonfire after being shipwrecked and then, when God spares you, being considered a god (for the second time in your life).

Chances are you won’t travel that missionary journey.

But if you claim salvation through grace and have been touched in your heart-of-hearts by God’s renewing Holy Spirit – YOU SHOULD BE DOING SOMETHING DIRECTED BY THE DIVINE WITH YOUR LIFE!!

There is no fence to sit on between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. We can’t claim freedom from the Law and operate freely from the teaching, commands, and example of Jesus Christ. Freed from the law puts the wheel in the hands of the Holy Spirit and that will be an inspired journey!

Closing Thought

So what do our lives under the freedom of the New Covenant look like? Without all those laws written in stone to follow how do we freelance a successful faith-full life? Well we talked last week it should make us tremble fearfully with the joyous responsibility of our salvation in Christ but there are no hard and fast formulas other than your life under the New Covenant should reflect Christ in all you do… As you do what Jesus through the Holy Spirit instructs you to do!

I received this communication on Thursday and was asked to share it with you all as my Church Family. Please take note ALL who uphold our Skatepark Family relationship in your prayers and with your generous support because it is for you too:

Hi there Randall!

I just got done reading your post about the last night at the skate park this summer, and I just wanted to say thank you.

Without you going down there every week, giving these kids a place to eat, giving them advice that they NEED to hear, that some wouldn’t ever hear because some parents don’t care enough. Without you, I know my skatepark generation, and the ones before and after mine, would definitely not be the same.

You have changed the lives and paths of sooo many people, all because you just WANT to help.

Ever since I started going down there, I have read every single one of your blog posts about Wednesday’s, and every time I read them I can’t help but tear up because of how amazing of people you, your wife, and your church family are.

I am truly so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet all of you.

You all changed my life for the better, and not just mine, every single kid at the skate park lives have been changed.

I thank God for bringing you all into our lives. I will never have words to thank you enough.

Please pass this message onto Aggie, as well as your church family. Without you guys, I’m not sure where I’d be today. I probably would’ve chose the wrong path.

You all will FOREVER have a special place in my heart god bless

I wish I could say it was my idea but it was God’s and honestly I was profoundly reluctant to even light that first fire in the grill…How would these wild spirits see some old road cyclist coming into “their house”? But if I am free from the law I am a servant of Christ led by the Holy Spirit and what a wild ride it has been!

And what I WANT is to love these young people so they see the love of CHRIST and hunger for that Bread of Life and Living Water!

THANK YOU ALL for responding to the Spirit and being part of it!

And Saturday I officiate the wedding of the first young man to ever accept a hotdog (he ate three) in the Skatepark 13 years ago!!