reckless and dangerous

We hear the term gospel all the time. It is widely used and abused. The word actually means “good news.” And believe it or not, people respond to the gospel in one of three different ways.

Before I discuss the three responses let me explain how we get good news from gospel. It all begins with God. There are a few things we need to understand about God’s nature. God loves us with an eternal love but He is also a just God who detests sin. Therefore when we sin there is a punishment due. That’s how justice works.

Meanwhile, the reality is that as human beings we have all sinned. In fact we have sinned big time. If we ever get sinning down to once a day and live to be 65 we will have sinned 23,275 times. It piles up. The Bible says that sin brings with it the penalty of death. Death is eternal separation from God in a place called hell. Hold on, it gets worse. The Bible also says that there isn’t anything we can do to make ourselves right with God. Sounds pretty desperate, doesn’t it? Well, it is!

Here’s where the good news enters the picture. Jesus came into this world to pay our sin debt for us. He came to do for us what we could never do ourselves. He came to offer us the opposite of what we deserve. In a word it’s called grace.

And when we accept the grace He offers, turn from our selfish and sinful way of life to a life of surrender to Him, a decision that leads to baptism for the forgiveness of our past sins, we are forgiven and adopted into His eternal family. Does that sound too good to be true? Well it is. This is about the only time when sounding to good to be true is actually true. Not only is this good news, it is the best news we could ever be the recipient of. It is tremendous, awesome and stupendous news.

So what is all this three responses to the gospel stuff? It sound to me like there is just one response, yes or no. I accept the grace he offers or I reject it. I am in or out. But hold on. There’s more to responding to the gospel than just that. In fact, there are three ways people respond to the good news. Here they are.

“I believe in the gospel enough to benefit from it.”

“I believe the gospel enough to contribute comfortably to it.”

“I believe in the gospel enough to give my life to it. It is never ever about me again. It is all about Him.”

Here’s my point in taking up your time in this blog post. If Jesus died the most heroic death the world has ever known, doesn’t He call us to live a heroic life for Him. Doesn’t He call us to be hard core, reckless and dangerous followers of Him? How can we settle for just a selfish or lukewarm response to the best news the world has ever known and we’ve ever experienced?

Eloise Rose Arrives

We got the call at about eight PM on Thursday, April 9. We had nothing packed, so we went into rush mode. By 9:10 we had it all together, the animals taken care of, and we were on the road to Ohio.

Daphane, our daughter-in-law, was due on Saturday, but since her fluid level was low her doctor decided to go ahead and induce her labor. The induction began at about the time he got started on our trip. We were resolved to the fact that it would probably happen before we arrived.

What a long drive in the middle if the night—across Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and to Cincinnati. We arrived at 5:45 AM, a record trip for us in all the times we had made it. We proceeded directly to the hospital. To our delight, delivery had not happened and it was nearing time to take step two so at about eight AM Daphane’s physician decided to break her water. At 9:55 AM on Friday morning, April 10, Eloise Rose made her grand entrance. Eloise is Audrey’s new baby sister and is so adorable to hear Audrey say her name.

Eloise weighed in at six pounds, fourteen ounces and is twenty inches long. She is a beautiful baby and everything is healthy, normal and working. Her features and looks are perfect with a full head of black hair. Of course we have lots of pictures and have included a few.

Mother and baby got home on Easter Sunday afternoon and are making the adjustment with Audrey and the family dog, Benson. We are staying a couple more days to help with Audrey and any other ways we might be needed. Thanks for your prayers for Daphane and Eloise during her pregnancy and deliver. We are so delighted about this new arrival and grandchild #3. Grand parenting is every bit as great as people said it would be.

So here are the pics. They include Eloise with Timothy, Grandparents, Timothy and Daphane with Audrey at the hospital, Eloise in her “home from the hospital” outfit, Audrey in her Easter dress at Church, and Matthew our youngest son leading part of worship at his church on Easter Sunday. How do you like his Easter outfit?

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The grass is greener on my side

I am into lawns and landscaping. I am excited about having the best yard in the neighborhood. I hate weeds. I hate bare spots. I spent time on Monday of this week transplanting grass, which somehow got in my mulch beds, to bare spots in the yard. Now that is obsession gone wild.

Neighbors are always asking me how I get a yard like mine. Some of them just stand at the road in front of my house and salivate all over my yard. Well, it’s not that bad, but the envy does run deep.

This has not been a lifelong obsession of my life. It is just something I have developed in recent years. And I guess without kids at home to fill up my time I have to fill up my life with something else. Of course my first priority is my wife but my yard is right behind her.

So what is your obsession? For some it is their car. For others it a clean house, their desk at work, their looks, a good tan, physical conditioning, shopping, celebrities, guitars (that’s for Wayne), clean hands, shoes, making money, Facebook or even mint Mentos.

I think, if we would be honest, we all are obsessed about something. Here’s a question; what about if we were as obsessed about honoring God with our life as we were about our other obsession(s)?

As I said, I hate weeds. I will do anything to get rid of them. I have already applied my first treatment of weed killer. My second is coming in another week or so and in between the two I have hand pulled a large bag of “disgusting” ones. I will go to great pain to eradicate weeds.

I ask you, are you willing to go to the extent I am with weeds, or you are with your obsession, to root out anything in your life that does not honor God? In fact, if you are, would you stop at the end of reading this blog and write down the top three things about you that you feel God isn’t pleased with or would like you to change? And then write down the first step you will take in that direction.

Would you join me in becoming as obsessed about honoring God as we are about the lesser obsessions of life?

Check out the grass!house-pics-0181

what are people saying?

A few weeks ago I was contacted by someone working in conjunction with Virginia Commonwealth University. She was assembling a greater Richmond area directory of churches. In her communication she talked about New Venture with more understanding than just another church on a list. So I asked her, “How did you hear about New Venture?” Sometimes the answer to that question is, “You are on the master list of all the churches in the area and I am just calling all of them and soliciting information.” But it is highly possible that we are not on the “official” lists due to our short existence. All the more reason to ask, “How did you know about us?”

Here’s the response to the “How did you hear about us?” question. “Well I live in the area, and have for many years, so I know your church from word of mouth, advertisements and just driving down Courthouse.”

So that means people know we exist. We are a known entity in the community even in our new and rented status. To be honest, I think we have done a pretty good job on “exposing ourselves.” We are out there in people’s mind.

But there was a part of her response that both excited and frightened me. It was the “I know your church from word of mouth.” That means we are not only known in the community but people are talking about us. That excites me and frightens me because it makes me ask, “What exactly are they saying?”

Can you help me on this one? What are people saying about NV? What comments have you heard? What “gossip” is being passed around? What accolades are being offered? What have you heard? Would you care to share any of it, the good and the bad? Go ahead, we can take it.