Monday, May 25, 2015

New Memories

Memorial Day is a time set aside for Americans to remember and show gratitude for service men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We often mix in our gratitude for veterans and current armed forces personnel.

Because men and women have fought and died for our freedoms, we enjoy life like most in our world do not. I am thankful.

My grandfather served in the Army during WWII. He never talked about it. I never heard any stories. I never saw pictures or medals.

When my grandmother died last December we began going through box after box of pictures. Wow, what memories! I had a great childhood with lots of family.

Tucked away in one of the boxes or drawers was a treasure of pictures and postcards from the war years. My grandparents were so young. Dado was a handsome soldier. Mom was a beautiful young bride and mother.

We're not sure where those pictures and postcards are. Misplaced, not lost.

But new memories fill my mind. I read each postcard. I soaked in each picture.

If I never see the pictures and postcards again, I'm glad I got to spend a few hours filling in some of the blank spots in my understanding of my grandparents' lives.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Features and Benefits

I am looking to buy a new DSLR. Mine is this first generation Canon Rebel. Yes, it's old! And the computer on it is bad.

So I'm in the nice camera shop in town talking with a 10-year veteran of camera sales. He's pointing out feature after feature. I think that this sounds a lot like an iPhone camera.

iPhone cameras are pretty nifty but I want a DSLR because of what it can do that a phone cannot. And for the commission he could have earned I would figure he would sell me on the differences and advantages rather than the similarities.

I could have shopped online or at a box store and learned as much. Or more.

I wonder if our Christian witness is like that. Jesus is the one true God. There is none like him. He is the only way to salvation. His is the name with the power to save.

The Christian life is more than a new and improved version of what you have now. There really is no comparison. So do the people around you get that? Are you living and telling a testimony true to the Savior?

If people are getting more information about Jesus from sources other than those who are called to bear witness to the truth, we Christians aren't doing our jobs.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Headed Home

I turned 51 yesterday. It was a good day. So many friends contacted me via mail, email, phone, text, or social media that I lost count.

One of the first to send me birthday greetings was my friend Forrest. He serves as a deacon and leader in our church. He's the one who got me out on Rushing Road and keeps me there.

Forrest's text went something like this:

F: So you're half a century +1

B: Yeah, I figure I'm about two-thirds the way home

I've been saying that I peaked the hill, reach mid-life when I was about 38. I can't imagine living more than 75 years. Even though medicine is helping to prolong life, I've abused my body to the point I'll be pleased with 75 years. That's one of the reasons I'm out on Rushing Road three days a week!

So 51 is about 2/3 of the way home.

This life is not all there is. I know people - you do, too - who live like this life IS all there is. They try to get all they can, do all they can, achieve all they can, etc. It's like they think if they don't maximize the pleasure and gain in this life that they will have missed out on something.

I have learned that something awaits us after this life is over. Whether we live 51 years, 75 years, or 90+ years, this is not all there is.

The Bible talks with certainty about life after death. Followers of Jesus Christ take comfort and assurance in knowing that we will spend eternal life in heaven with Jesus. Heaven isn't the only after-death destination. Hell exists as a place of torment where those who reject Jesus Christ will spend eternity.

My Dad used to say that hell's too hot and eternity's too long for anyone to want to go there. Maybe nobody does want to go there but the truth is that plenty will go there. And for only one reason. Not that they have sinned. Not that their sins are greater than someone else's sins. Not that they were one of the most evil people to ever live.

The only reason a person will spend eternity in hell is because they rejected Jesus Christ and his offer of salvation and forgiveness. Jesus died on the cross for every sin every person will ever commit. Jesus died on the cross and resurrected from the grave to defeat death, hell, and sin.

Lots of people are trying to be good enough to make it to heaven. Others reject the idea of heaven and hell. Some don't believe in life after death.

But I'm headed home to heaven. And I want the remaining years I have to help others see the way home, too.