Friday, August 24, 2012

An Average Age of 98.75

Our church is blessed with some pretty amazing senior adults on the upper end of the age scale.  In the past couple of weeks I’ve had the privilege of visiting with folks who are 101, 100, 99, and 95 years old.  Each of these four still retains a sharp, clear mind and is a wonderful conversationalist.  I relished the opportunity to sit with each for a while and hear them recount stories of God’s faithfulness in their lives down through the years.  A couple of them expressed wonder and amazement that God has permitted them to live this long—far beyond the ages of their parents and siblings.  They were unanimous in their expressions of gratitude to the Lord for His continued presence and guidance in their lives.  Their testimonies and stories greatly inspire and encourage me in my own walk with the Lord as they model what it means to finish well.  May their tribe increase!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bill Hybel's Thanksgiving Turkey

Bill Hybels (pastor of the Willow Creek megachurch in Chicago) told a humorous, tongue-in-cheek account of his exploits last year in preparing the family’s annual Thanksgiving Day turkey. He had volunteered to do so and went through elaborate steps of preparing all the details, even down to doing a trial test run 3 days earlier on a practice turkey. He elected to do something a bit unusual with the turkey and grill it outside on the gas grill. He spoke at length of the power of the grill (laughingly noting that it had sufficient power to fly a jet plane) and indicated that it was hooked directly to the house’s gas lines. The turkey turned out to be a wonderful success and everyone enjoyed the meal. Hybels graciously declined an invitation from the family to do an encore at Christmas time last year. In January, he had a fellow over doing some yard work who asked Hybels what he had grilled out the previous evening as he discovered that the gas grill was still warm. Hybels told him that he hadn’t cooked anything out the night before, nor even earlier that week. Further investigation revealed that two of the grill’s burners had been left on since the famous Thanksgiving Day turkey was prepared. Hybels said that it proved to be the most expensive turkey they had ever eaten and that he was the real turkey.

I appreciated the fact that this well-known and respected pastor could poke some fun at himself and laugh at his own misadventures. I’m convinced that most of us take ourselves far too seriously and could benefit from a good dose of humility-inducing, self-deprecating humor. Of course there will be times that our mistakes produce painful consequences that we cannot rapidly dismiss with a good round of laughter. Nevertheless, the ability to laugh at ourselves and our own ineptness is sound medicine for our souls. Trying to serve as the world’s CEO isn’t anyone’s God-given calling or assignment. He already has that title securely locked up.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Value of Reminders

Allen Baker (our Minister of Discipleship) and I had the opportunity to attend a simulcast this past Thursday and Friday of Willow Creek’s annual Global Leadership Summit.  The summit always brings together an outstanding selection of both business and church leaders to speak about leadership principles.  There were lots of inspirational moments and some great ideas to take away from the gathering.  One noted leader said something that caught my attention.  He quoted Samuel Johnson who said that people need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed. 

Sometimes I think we subtly fall into the trap of thinking that since we’ve heard a message before from a certain passage, or we’ve studied it often in the Bible, that there’s nothing new to learn from it.  Peter wrote these words about the value of being reminded of truths that we already know: “Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you” (2 Pet. 1:12).  A more important question to ask ourselves than “Have I heard this before?” is “Am I practicing and experiencing the truth of this passage?”  James reminds us that it isn’t the hearers but the doers of the Word that are blessed.