On September 25, 2016 the golfing world lost someone very special. Arnold Palmer passed away at the age of 87. He was definitely one of the pioneers of the modern game of golf.
As a pioneer, there are books, videos, etc. with tips from him. There is one tip that I’d like to share with you that is attributed to Arnold Palmer. It is a tip that has saved me countless strokes.
He said, “I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone's golf game: it's called an eraser.”
Even though it is only Wednesday, I am fairly certain that when the Ryder Cup (that’s a team golf event pitting the United States verses Europe) begins on Friday, they will observe a moment of silence in memory of the great Arnold Palmer and what he meant to the game of golf.
And, I would venture to say, that during that moment of silence, people will be...silent. Maybe a bird will chirp or there may be some other noise that can’t be controlled: but for the most part, the people gathered will be silent as they reflect and remember a man who gave so much to the game of golf.
As I reflect on this probability, I can’t help but see similarities to a special “moment of silence” we observe each and every Sunday. You know, Jesus gave so much for us...and not just for golfers, but for everyone.
So when we reflect and remember a man who gave so much for us by participating in the Lord’s Supper, how does our attitude compare? Are we more somber and serious for a man who has died than we are for our Lord who died, yet rose again?
How do we spend those few moments? Do we spend them reflecting on what we have to do that afternoon? Do we sorrowfully mourn that the weekend is almost over?
Or do we spend that time reflecting on our Lord’s love that prompted Him to leave heaven and come to earth for the express purpose of suffering and dying for us? Do we, perhaps tearfully, mourn His innocent loss of life and what his death, burial, and resurrection means for us?
Paul is very direct in instructing the Corinthians on how they (and we) were (and are) to observe the Lord’s Supper (see 1 Corinthians 11:23-32).
In verse 26, Paul tells us why proper observance of the Lord’s Supper is so important. He says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
I challenge you to observe a “moment of silence” this Sunday, as you participate in the communion, to remember and reflect on the One who has done and continues to do so very much for you.
Most people do not understand what it is like to live in the home of a preacher. A preacher’s family is expected to be perfect: no faults. A preacher’s family is expected to always be kind to anyone, no matter how they themselves are treated. A preacher’s family is supposed to have been plucked right out of a Norman Rockwell picture.
Other folks can say whatever they want about the preacher’s family and they are to just take it. And a preacher’s family is always subject to being talked about...no matter what they do...good or bad...especially by the preacher himself!
Last week I wrote about one of Rachel’s driving experiences (she really is a good driver). So I should probably “pick on” someone else. I should probably not even mention Rachel’s name, but, alas, she is a Preacher’s Kid.
This past week, Rachel decided to drop one of her classes. It was a “zero hour” class (it started at 7:00 AM every school day), she really didn’t need the class to graduate, and it was the source of, probably, 75% of her homework: so we went through all the necessary steps to drop a class this late in the semester.
Since she had to be at school by 7:00 AM each morning, she had been getting up around 5:15-5:30. Tuesday was her first day to “sleep in” (until 6:00 or so). The problem was, she forgot to let her dog know that she no longer had to get up at 5:15!
Shadow would not let her stay in bed. He forced her to get up (and open her bed room door and Shadow came and found me; Rachel went back to sleep).
Sometimes we make changes. Sometimes those changes require other changes. But sometimes our “friends” don’t like the changes that we make. Sometimes they want us to keep doing the same things we always did with them.
When we decided to make the greatest of changes (the decision to become a Christian), some of our friends likely didn’t approve of our decision. Some of them, likely, tried to pull us back into our former way of life.
Paul writes in Galatians 4:8-9, “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” (ESV)
What Paul is saying is, “Look, you were once enslaved to the world...but Christ set you free! Why in the world would you want to go back and be a slave again?”
Rachel isn’t going to enroll in a “zero hour” class next semester. She has been set free from being “enslaved” to a 7:00 AM class. Why would she want to go back to it again?
Why would you want to go back to your former way of living?
The other day I took Rachel out for a drive… rather she took me for a drive. Yes, I know that most people get their driver’s permit as soon as it is legal and get their license as soon as they can. Rachel has waited, though.
She was doing very well in the eyes of her teacher, anyway. We were heading for home and were on Jefferson at the Mt. Olive light. When the light turned green, she immediately started through the intersection.
I cautioned her that she really needs to wait a couple of seconds before starting through an intersection after a red light because there could be an emergency vehicle coming or someone trying to beat the light, who didn’t make it and is now in the process of running the red light.
As I was talking to her, she was listening to me and proceeded to drive right through the stop sign at Jefferson and Wright (why there is a stop sign there I will never know...there are no other stop signs on Jefferson from where it turns off of Main all the way to Elm).
Fortunately there were no cars coming on Wright and, after stopping in the middle of the intersection, we made it safely home.
I am not trying to throw Rachel “under the bus” by telling you this, but I do see an important lesson concerning how Satan works (besides the obvious: putting a stop sign where it doesn’t belong).
Often times we can be so focused on something that just happened that we neglect to pay attention to what is happening right now. Maybe it was something good; maybe it was something bad; maybe it was something that was neither good or bad, but something we could do better.
But all Satan needs is that small distraction, just a momentary lapse in concentration, and BLAM! you are T-boned in a sin!
And it doesn’t have to be something that just happened either. We can be so focused on how we used to be so active and effective in serving God years ago that we fail to realize we have stopped serving God in the present.
By the same token, we can be so distraught over a past failure that we never forgive our self and soon see our self as nothing but a failure: with no redeeming qualities.
Don’t get sidetracked by the past: either the immediate past or the distant past. What has happened has happened; now God wants you to move forward serving Him!
The other day I was spending some time on Facebook and something in my newsfeed caught my attention. It said “Win a Romantic Branson Getaway!” The contest was sponsored by Branson Vacation and Tourism...sounded legitimate...and boy, could I use a romantic three day get away (with Monica, of course): and one that was no cost to us would be even better.
So I clicked the link, went to the site, entered my name, e-mail, phone number and a short paragraph about why I need a romantic Branson getaway and what shows or activities we’d like to do if I won.
A couple of days later, I received a call from Branson Vacation and Tourism wanting me to book a package vacation deal for only $139 dollars now and I could use it any time within the next year. Needless to say, I had not “won” anything.
I was polite and told the lady that I wasn’t in a position to spend $139. When she came back with, “What if I lowered it…” I was a little firmer with my no, thanked her for calling and hung up.
That’s an awful lot like how sin works. The temptation grabs your attention. Once the temptation has your attention, you begin to think it sounds legitimate.
Then it you start to really want what the temptation is offering. So you think, “Maybe I’ll just click the link and see what this is about...”
Soon you’ve entered your information and send it in...all the while thinking, “Boy this is going to be GREAT!”
But then, later on, you find out that what the temptation was offering wasn’t what you had thought and, well, isn’t exactly so great. Worse than that, it’s time to “pay the bill” for the temptation that advertised itself as free.
In James 1:14-15 we are warned, “...but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.”
It’s easy to see the scheme when a company is doing the enticing. It seems to be a little more difficult when Satan is trying to play a trick on us.
See through Satan’s game. Don’t click his link. Don’t send him your information. DON’T FALL FOR IT!!!
Monica’s parents visited us several weeks ago. When they came, they came bearing gifts...and not just for their granddaughters!
They brought us an antique radio that likely dates back to the 1940s or earlier. It’s a lovely conversation piece.
But they also brought us some different dishes. I can’t say the dishes are “new” because they are not new. They belonged to Monica’s Grandma Scaggiari (just wanted to see if I could still spell Monica’s maiden name).
Monica says she remembers eating off these dishes every time they would go over to her grandmother’s house. Lots of memories for Monica. But seeing them also brought up memories of my own.
I also remember eating at my dad’s mom’s house. Her name was “Muzzie.” Now when it was just my immediate family eating with her, we used one set of dishes. But if the whole family was together, then we used Muzzie’s special dishes (or I should say the “grown ups” used Muzzie’s special dishes).
These special dishes were her china and they were reserved for special occasions...mostly holidays and funerals. The rest of the time they were stored safely out of the reach of her youngest grandson.
Do you have anything like that? Something that you pull out for special occasions, then safely store away? Something that others may only see on holidays and funerals? Does that, perhaps, describe your faith?
In Matthew 5:16, Jesus says, “...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Your faith was not meant to be a special occasion only display. Your faith was not meant to only be shown on holidays and at funerals.
Your faith is to be displayed each and every day. When people look at you on a Thursday, at 1:47 PM, they should see your faith just as clearly as if they look at you on a Sunday morning at 10:45 AM.
Don’t save the sharing of your faith for special occasions either. Don’t wait until next year’s Friends Day (August 27, 2017 FYI) to reach out to your friends with an invitation to join you at church.
The problem with waiting for a special occasion to share your faith (or let your light shine) is that we don’t know if there is going to be an August 27, 2017.
So don’t wait. Let your light shine today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life. Remember: EVERYDAY you are alive is a special occasion!