Monthly Archives: March 2011

YOU MAY KNOW HIM

When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the infant  Christian group in Phillippi, he mentioned some important things he’d acomplished.  Almost boastfully he mentioned them, but then dismissed all his accomplishments as being worthless (as cow doo) by comparison to his one really driving, magnificent obsession:         “. . . That I may know Him (Jesus Christ)  and the power of His Resurrection. . . “

In that connection, here’s a point which has captured my thoughts:  Jesus chooses to make Himself known. He’s available to us. There are people whom I can never know, simply because they are not available or interested.

Between you and me, there are several people I’d really like to know. I think they could be a great inspiration to me. In some instances, I believe I might even be of some value to them.    For one example,  some of our mutual acquaintances told me recently of a very bright, successful young minister in a growing Church.  He got into a financial mess not long ago. Some of it was similar to the stuff I went through, with the result that I ultimately resigned, defeated, from my own ministry and spent years beating myself up.  I became a grand master of the blame/shame game.  But  I also  learned a lot of things which, I felt, might be helpful to the young pastor. I struggled with the idea that perhaps I should contact him and at least offer friendship. It sort of seemed that the Lord was “leading” me to do that. The young minister didn’t share that opinion. He responded,  politely of course, but directly refusing my offer, and assured me he had the situation well under control. But thanks, anyhow. Even when I wanted to know him on some level and felt I could help him avoid some of the mistakes I made.   Of course I understand.  He’s busy.  He has no idea who I am.  And he’s probably also a bit embarrassed and tired of talking about it. . . especially to a total streanger.

I’d also really like to know Josh Hamilton. A fantastic young athlete who almost self-destructed. With everything going for him, he blew it. Big time. But, through the grace of God, the love of a dedicated, godly Grandmother, and the support of some really good people, he made a soaring comeback and on occasion can still stand major league baseball fans on their ear with his feats. If he ever responds to any of the efforts I’ve made to contact him, he’ll definitely be the subject of a chapter in a book I’m planning for current day “comeback kids.” To my knowledge, he never got my message. I tracked him down to a brother who owns a business in the Research Triangle and his American Legion baseball coach who wound up pitching for him when he smashed all sorts records for numbers and distance in a major league homerun derby a few years back.

I would also really like to know Senator John Mc Cain. His courage and integrity under unbelievable pressure have caused me to rank him among some of the heroes about whom I read and admired as a child. Flawed? To be sure. So is Lance Armstrong. But their accomplishments amaze me. Even when I’ve disagreed with statements or actions of both, there’s something about guys like that which makes me feel I’d be very fortunate to be able to know them and be their friend.

Next time you see Lance or John, perhaps  you could mention that.  You also have my permission to give them my telephone numbers, gmail address, etc.
But Jesus actually wanted His disciples to be His friends. He wanted to know them. He wanted them to know Him. His heart was always open to them.  He was never “too busy to bother.”

There are lots of other people I’d like to know, but the opportunity probably will never be made available to me. More than likely, that is because they don’t have the time or the interest

If there’s ever even a slight possibility of “knowing any of these folks,” it is up to them.   Entirely.  I have no plans to stalk them or flood their mail boxes or telephone answering systems. They’re busy and I’ve done nothing which might make them feel my acquaintance would be of any importance to them.

The point I’m trying to make is, I believe, a valid one. Those who really desire to know Christ may really come to know Him. Truth be told, He’s probably more interested in your knowing Him than you and I are.

I’ve spent right much time lately considering that very idea. Hope you’ll think along with me and add your own observations.

Here’s a thought for you to ponder:  “How may I know Christ?”

God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student, ~donkimrey

TO KNOW HIM IS TO LOVE HIM

“. . . That I may know Him and the power of His Resurrection. . . “ (Philippians 3:10)

Truth is not seasonal. We should pay attention to it at all times. However, days of special emphasis provide opportunity to pause, and just think about things that really matter. Just meditate. No pre-conceived conclusions. Just think.

Thus it is, that at Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter most of us take time to at least briefly, even if superficially, think about these events.

During this season, my own spiritual quest is focused on a statement the Apostle Paul made in one of his letters to a young fellowship of believers.

Paul was as influential as anyone who ever spoke or wrote a word about the life of Christ. His courage and faith have been inspirational to millions, for centuries, around the world. The writers of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life introduce the Messiah and tell many of the things He said and did. But it was Paul who drew the implications of that single Life and put it into a cohesive theology. His words and work have been a major influence on Christian theology, evangelism, missions, art, etc.

To say he is an important figure in Christianity is to merely state the obvious. It is one of those hilariously ridiculous understatements. He held us to a high standard of excellence. His work continues to influence Christ’s followers to this day. He is certainly an admirable example of faith. A giant who stands head and shoulders taller than most of the “giants” of the Christian faith.

As he stated his priorities, I felt they were clear and that I should consider making them my own. If someone is that successful and influential, I believe he’s worth hearing. Paul’s courage, his faith, and his achievements and contributions certainly confirm that his example is one worth following.

Considering what was the most important goal of his life, Paul said it was simply: “That I may know Him (Jesus.). . .” That was Paul’s priority. It was his laser focus. Nothing. Absolutely no one and nothing ever distracted his attention or diverted his pressing toward that mark.

So, that is one of the things on which I’m concentrating during this Easter season: “That I may know Christ.” How then may I know Him? What must I do? The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not just knit together closely in time. They are two of the crucial elements of the Christian faith. Knowing Christ is going to carry with it an understanding of both the Death and Resurrection of Christ. On the other hand, when we grasp some of the significance of those two events, we also come to know Jesus Christ.

Let’s talk about that and think about it a bit. How may I KNOW Christ? No fancy language or impractical, unobtainable objectives, please. Let’s talk plain and real.

The Lord’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student ~donkimrey

Standing at the Edge of Eternity

There is so much in eternity and infinity which is beyond our comprehension (An understatement, to be sure!). Beyond the comprehension of even the combined brilliance of all the ages. There is a vastness which boggles the imagination, defies description. Even those who’ve stood on tiptoe and stared through sophisticated, powerful telescopes have only been able to stare in wide eyed wonder, knowing there is so much more in time and space.

And if, even using incredible computer technology, mankind can grasp the vast, extensive wonders viewed telescopically, there is the reverse of that: What if eternity and the endless vastness of space extend also microscopically? Can we ever have the audacity to think or say we “get it?”

On occasions, we are told in Scripture, that eternity and time intersect. They cut across each other’s paths. In my opinion, they exist together all the time. Eternity does not begin when time ends. It has always been here, but there are times when we find ourselves intensely aware that we are in eternity and eternity is right here.

There is, for example, the Creation event. For all its efforts, Natural Science has never been able to come up with a better explanation of that grand event than the simple, profoundly beautiful words of Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”

No mention is made there of a date (beyond “in the beginning.”) or a time frame (the word “day” in this instance could mean a definitive twenty four hour period of time, or an indeterminate period of time which could stretch for aeons.). No defense or explanation is ever offered, but the options are very clear and very simple: You believe that story, or you don’t. If you do not believe that story, you do believe another explanation.

Does anyone have a better one?

Those who believe the Genesis account is a statement of fact accept it as such based on faith. Pure and simple. Admittedly, that carries some “intellectual baggage.”

Those who do not believe the Biblical Creation account is a statement of fact are also making a faith presupposition. They believe in no God. In my opinion (which I also believe is fact in this case), they are faced with even greater intellectual difficulties than the simplest minded Biblical believer.

Later, there is the Biblical story of the Incarnation. One can only wonder at such a happening: It simply cannot be fully understood. Essentially, what the Bible teaches is that all the wisdom, love, and power of the Universe became concentrated and was focused in that Infant (Jesus) born to peasant parents in Bethlehem, Judea. The point made by the Biblical writers is simply that, in that incident, God, Himself, came here to live among, love and to save His people.

The next major happening was a public execution which occurred on a hill called Golgotha outside the Jewish city of Jerusalem. The Infant grew to become a man and claimed to be Messiah. The Savior. The Lord. When the people to whom He had come rejected Him, they murdered him. The form of that execution was one of the cruelest, most barbarian methods ever devised by man, crucifixion. Publicly, the criminal was nailed to a cross, which was then dropped into a socket of earth, tearing and ripping flesh and breaking bones. The Christian understanding of that eternal event is that two things occurred there that day: One is that it reveals the extent to which prideful sin can drive mankind: Deocide. The absolute, final, fatal rejection of the right of God to rule His creation. The second shows how far God will go to demonstrate His love for his created ones.

All around the Christian world, people in the next few days will be remembering that event. Hopefully, we will not consider it simply as an actual historical human event. There are eternal implications, if I have any understanding at all of its significance. There are also personal implications. Very personal implications.

If so, we’d all be wise to pause and ponder what Good Friday means to the world.

And to you. And me.

In my own studies, I’m trying to understand the implications of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Especially I’ve been drawn to consider the Apostle Paul’s expression of his desire: “That I may know Him (Jesus) and the POWER of HIS RESURRECTION.” ~Philippians 3:10).

God’s servant, your friend and fellow student, ~donkimrey