Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Legacy

 I took a vacation the last week of 2021. Well, it was a working vacation as I was hard at work on my book. I am updating and expanding our tenth minister Dr. Parker’s 1892 history of South Church. I am almost done. I finished chapter ten, which follows the pastorates of Dr. Gray and Dr. Elmore. This now brings our story up to 1991. I have only Dr. Jay Terbush and myself to go. I will definitely get it to my publisher this summer.

I mention this because as I immersed myself in research again, I was constantly amazed at the people who came before me. Names, neither I nor most readers, will find familiar. People we did not know. Yet, there they are, singing, praying, painting, cooking, serving the community, supporting missions, teaching Sunday school, leading Youth Group, the list is endless. Their joy and energy emanate off the pages of the church newsletters, bulletins, and newspaper clippings. You know they love God. They love their church. It is because of them that there is a church here today for me to pastor.

At the same time these articles brought a smile to my face, I also realized that one day all that will be left of my time here will be photos, articles, newsletters, Facebook posts, and blog entries. Church members fifty, sixty, one hundred years after I am gone, will not know me either. I will be just a face on a page. A name in a book. This led me to think about the idea of legacy. What impact would I like to leave behind? How about you? What influence of yours would you like to see continue after you have entered eternity? I found my answer in a psalm of David.

“I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power” (Psalm 145:1-4).

 Yeah. For me, although we do have a beautiful building, it’s not really a building I want to leave for those who follow. More than anything, I want the next generation, those who will have no idea who I am, to hear of God’s mighty acts. How He sent His Son to save them. How He changes the hearts of everyone who believes in Him. Including, the brave thirty-one brothers and sisters-in-Christ who founded South Church three hundred and fifty-one years ago. Should that not be our goal? With our children. With our families. With our friends and coworkers. I don’t need someone to remember me. I want them to remember Him. Think about making that your legacy as well. There is nothing you could leave more valuable than that.       

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Remember to email your praises and petitions to southchurchprayer@gmail.com. We lift them up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Go to Hell!

Happy New Year, my friends! Do you have a sense of déjà vu? I mean, we all struggled through 2020 into 2021 and thought last New Year, finally, we made it through all the covid stuff! Well, 2022 looks too familiar does it not? At least, so far it does. Covid infection rates are currently at the highest they have been since the virus first arrived. Then, CNN medical analyst Leana Wen said on December 20, that the cloth masks we all love are useless in preventing the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. “Don’t wear a cloth mask,” Dr. Wen said. “Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There’s no place for them in light of Omicron.” What? Oh, and have you noticed that a high percentage of fully-vaccinated people are getting Covid anyway? Yeah. Happy New Year. 

If that were not enough, how about the US inflation rate is the highest it has been in forty years? The average price of a gallon of gasoline in $3.81. (Up 45% since November 2020, when it was $2.10!) Grocery prices are also on the rise. Kraft Heinz – makers of Oscar Mayer lunch meats, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Jell-O pudding – just announced they are planning to raise prices on some items by as much as 20% this month! Fortune magazine reports the cost of meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 10.5% in 2021 – 17.6% for beef alone, and Consumer Price Index data shows bacon jumped nearly 28% over the last twelve months. Sacrilege! Keep your grubby paws off my bacon!

I am just full of good news, now, aren’t I? Why, yes, I am. The Good News. In the midst of all of this chaos, we would do well to remember what the angel said to the shepherds. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David” (Luke 2:11)!   

Yes, while things may be a bit rough right now, Jesus is still Lord. God still loves us, and He sent His one and only Son to forgive us. John 1:12 reminds us, “…to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” That is correct. If you are a believer. You are a child of God, and “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?” Paul asks us, “Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?...No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Romans 8:35, 37).

It's okay. We will get through this. Jesus warned us, “The thief’s [Satan’s] purpose is to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10), and right now he is throwing everything and the kitchen sink at us – illness, inflation, impediments of all kinds. His goal is that we would despair. Do not give him that! Before we know it, we will be looking at all of this in the rear-view mirror. In the meantime, keep your chin up and stay strong. Just so you know, few things irritate the devil more than someone he cannot defeat. Stick it to him! Oh yeah, Satan? You can just go to hell, or, in your case, stay there, because in 2022, “I [am going to] praise [the] Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things [He has] done. I will be filled with joy because of [Him]. I will sing praises to [His] name” (Psalm 9:1-2).     

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Remember to email your praises and petitions to southchurchprayer@gmail.com. We lift them up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live.