Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Should the Lord give us this Thursday, it will be the first Thanksgiving that my wife and I will celebrate without our grandmothers. My grandmother, Mary, and her grandmother, Lucile, both are experiencing the "far better" with Christ (Phil. 1:23). On top of my grandmother's absence this year is the selling of her home. While I'm thankful for a buyer, I realize that as the ink dries on the purchase agreement, I will not step foot in my grandmother's home again. A chapter that has been so sweet is swiftly drawing to a close. I will not bore you with all of my memories, but I'm thankful for each one of them. I'm thankful for the year she let my family live with her when we were transitioning back to Louisiana. I'm thankful for every Saturday lunch she made through the years. I'm thankful for all of the Thanksgiving breakfasts, lunches, afternoon snacks, and dinners. I'm thankful for the gumbo lunches on the Friday after Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for all the Christmas Eve gatherings, the finger foods & sherbet punch, and opening presents with my cousins. I'm thankful for the memories of watching football games together. I'm thankful for the hall closet full of jellies and pickles she had canned. I'm thankful for all the long nights of laughing and playing games with my cousins around Maw-Maw's dining room table. I'm thankful for every morning that I woke up to the smell of bacon, biscuits, and scrambled eggs (and for the secret place she kept the kind of syrup that I liked). I'm thankful for all of the 3:00pm coffee conversations that happened around her kitchen table and the intense games of dominoes. I'm thankful for the memories of playing Uno, Rummy, and Hungry Hippos together. I'm thankful for her proud displaying of all of her grandchildren's art projects (including the cow I painted blue in the nativity scene). I'm thankful for all the kind words I heard her share. I'm thankful for all of the food I watched her prepare and then take to others who did not have any. I'm thankful for every time she said "Let's pray together before you leave." Yes, the selling of my grandmother's home will be bitter sweet. A chapter that is full of more memories than I can record will be closed. But new chapters begin. New memories are to be shared with our 3 little ones and the little one on the way. There has never been a day in my life that I was not grateful to be placed in the family of Mary Graham. I'm so thankful for the Lord's providence and graciousness. I'm also thankful for the resurrection of Christ. For even now, my grandmother lives. And One Day, we will share a place that will never be sold and make memories that will never end.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Word for Elders

I read this verse yesterday:
Acts 20:28 "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood."

There is a sermon in this one verse.
Don't miss the charge: "pay careful attention to yourselves and the flock"
Don't forget how you became an elder: "the Holy Spirit has made you overseers"
Don't neglect our duty: "to care for the church"
Don't forget who the church belongs to: "church of God"
Don't forget what He paid: "which he obtained with his own blood"

To be an elder is both sobering and rewarding. It is both joyous and sorrowful. May we be those like Paul who do "not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears" (Acts 20:31). May we never take lightly the calling we have received. May we never forget the reckoning that is coming for our stewardship.

Heb. 13:17 "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account."

Heb. 13:7 "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mountain Dew Mess

Today for lunch, Barton and I decided to visit Papa V's. For those of you not in Tupelo, this is one of the coolest gas stations in town. I know, I know! You should never feed your face where you feed you car, but you've never seen Papa V's. Their lunch line is busy everyday because of their bbq and downhome cooking. Arriving earlier than Barton, I picked out my food and then picked out a place for us to sit. It was a high-top for two. In the course of taking my first bite, I knocked over my 32 oz. cup of Mountain Dew. Some may see this as God saving me from my own stupid choices, but nevertheless, a waterfall of yellow drink cascaded off the table onto the chair in front of me and all over the floor. Two men close-by immediately looked at me, so I quickly offered the ancient expression: "My bad!" As I surveyed the mess, I reached for the container of "tiny napkins" on the table. While I love Papa V's food, I do not love Papa V's napkins. They would be perfect if I was a Smurf, but they are far from the lumber jack Brawny man. It was evident the resources I had would not be sufficient to clean up this mess. Fortunately, one of the Papa V's workers was close by and wiping down tables. I tapped him on the shoulder and offered the astute phrase: "I spilled my drink." He immediately used the towel in his hands and began the first phase of clean-up. By the time all was said and done, he made four trips to the table with towels, a bucket, and a mop. When he was finished, the table was restored to its original condition and I had a cap on my new drink (which I would later drop again next to Barton's foot - but the cap held!!)

Even in this simple experience, I was reminded of the Gospel. More than a physical mess, I've made a spiritual mess but do not have the sufficient resources to clean up the problem. I need Another who is both willing and able to help me. I need One who will deal with the mess and who is not afraid of the necessary clean up work. I need One who will one day restore everything as it was originally intended. Thankfully, there is One. One who saw the most wretched aspects of my mess but was willing to have them charged to His account. One who in the clean up process experienced forsakenness, wrath, and abandonment. One who had all the required resources of holiness and righteousness. One who has removed the penalty of my sin, broken the power of sin, and will one day remove the presence of sin. Maybe you didn't spill your drink today friend, but if you've disobeyed the Good Words of our Good King you are in a mess. Good News! The King has taken your place in the mess that you might set your feet on solid ground. Look to Him. Yield your life to Him. If you do not, you will find your "tiny napkins of righteousness" will not be enough to clean up your mess on the day the Great King returns.

Thank you God for reminding me of the Gospel today in the spilling of my mountain dew. Thank you for reminding me that I do not have the resources necessary to clean up my mistakes. Thank you for reminding me that I need Christ to clean what I cannot. Thank you for rescue, regeneration, and reconciliation. Thanks for cleaning up my mess. Thanks also for giving someone wisdom to create tops for drinks...and straws.