Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Created in His Image

An afternoon with Madison, my daughter, is a rarity these days.  She's 18, a senior, and is interested in her friends, cheerleading, driving, spending the night with friends in our home and away from home, and she loves her time alone; the usual teenage girl things.  But, she also likes to spend time occassionally with me, her mom; an unusual teenage thing.

Madison shared with me on this particular morning, that as she was reading in her Bible, she liked a verse she came across in Proverbs.  Since we were going out together anyway, she wanted to know if she could get some blank canvases and paint the Scripture on it to hang in her room. As she said this, the thought occured to me, "Just as God commanded His people in Deuteronomy 6 to impress truth, the teachings of God, on their children's hearts, we are commanded to do the same. God said to "talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  He said to tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." (Deut. 6:7-9 NIV) God's Word should be at the forefront of our conversations with our children and visible for us to see in our homes.

So, of course I'm not going to discourage her from focusing on Scripture, so off to Hobby Lobby we went.  She purchased paint, paint brushes, and canvases.  Everything she needed to create, we bought.

The moment we returned home she set up in her room and went to work.  She was up there the rest of the afternoon working away on her creations (Time alone well spent.)

When she finished, she came downstairs to get me so I could come see what she had created.

Not only had she created the one with the Scripture, but she had created two more canvases.

Created in God's image...God creates.  He is the Maker of all things.  The Creator of heaven and earth.  Why should we not create?  We have His DNA.
"So God created them in His own image, in the image of God, He created him; male and female, He created them. (Genesis 1:27 NIV)
I love to watch my daughter create.  Whether it's with her photography, writing, painting, a school project, or a card, she is being like her Creator; she's being the creator (little c) He created her to be!

"Thank you, Jesus, for Madison.  She is such a grace gift to our family.  Thank You for the way in which You have created her with a sensitive and compassionate heart.  Help her to express her love for You as she gives back to You through her creations. I praise You for the precious time she and I have together. I know that my time with her in this season is waning. I pray this day was well spent and that together we created a memory that we will both cherish for a lifetime. 
In the sweet name of Jesus' , Amen."

My Pleasure,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Think it On Sunday...From Passover to Crossover

When Christ came to earth,
He changed things.

When Christ came to earth,
He improved things. 

When Christ came to earth,
He fulfilled all things!
Our sermon on Sunday was a trip!  Not in a funny way, but a trip through time.  We began with Moses making a request of Pharoah to let the Hebrews go into the wilderness to worship their God, and we ended with The Lord's Supper.  It was a breath-taking journey through history to discover how the Passover began and how the Cross changed everything!  (Powerful, Pastor Eddie!)

Earlier in the service, as the pastor was talking to the children, I was at the piano scribbling on a piece of paper this thought, "Passover/Crossover." 

Many times on Sundays, the Spirit will speak to me through a play on words and/or visuals.  I'm sharing with you the path He took me on during this trip through history.

In the Old Testament, the Passover became a Jewish celebration. It was a way of remembering the plague of death.  When the death angel passed over the homes of those who, by faith, believed that if they splattered the blood of the sacrificial lamb over their doorpost as God directed, they would not experience the death of their first born during the night.  But oh, what horror came to those who did not heed the Word of the Lord.  The angel of death wouldn't pass over but instead plague their homes that night with the death of the first born.  You see, DEATH is the result of sin- not obeying or heeding the warning of the Lord which has been proclaimed.  God had warned and those who believed were saved!

In the New Testament, Jesus steps out of heaven and into the world to become the sacrificial Lamb for the whole world.  His blood was spilled, poured out, and smeared all over the cross; the cross- our doorway into heaven!  DEATH came to the Son of God on our behalf so we wouldn't have to die.  For those who believe, by faith, they will not experience eternal death but will live forevermore; eternal life.  For those who do not believe, death will be the final step into an eternity with no more provision for salvation- only an eternity without God.

The Passover preluded the Crossover!  In the fullness of time, Christ came to earth and became our passover into LIFE. The Cross bridged the gap between us and God. By way of the cross, we can cross over into an eternity with God.  Jesus is the only way to redemption, salvation, and a restored relationship with God, the Father.  Jesus provides the Crossover so we can escape a godless eternity.

Through history in Scripture, God's plan comes with promise and warning:

Promise: "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 

Warning: For the wages of sin is death,

Promise: but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:22-23 NIV)

If we want to be saved from DEATH, then we must choose God's Son.  Real life is only found in Jesus Christ.  And the full life doesn't begin when we cross over into heaven; the full life begins the moment we meet Christ at the cross. The moment we choose LIFE, our God-full eternity begins.

Which eternity have you chosen? I pray you choose to heed God's warning and choose His Promise;  LIFE. I hope to see you there (in heaven) if we don't get a chance to meet here (on earth).

Jesus said, "The thief comes to steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV)

My Pleasure,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


It was an unseasonalbly warm, winter morning, January 11, 2013, when Rick Stilwell stepped into the presence of Jesus Christ with seemingly no prolonged illness, pain or suffering; just mercy, love and grace. His life wrapped in flesh was immediately transformed into his forever life wrapped in glory.  His unique life-book, only 44 chapters (years), concluded peacefully and with a well-written glorious ending. 

Since then I've read many posts on Facebook which have memorialized Rick and his life on this earth.  He seemed to have captured everyone's attention with his niceness, his love for social media, his pleasant and fun personality, his obsession with coffee, as well as, his endearing love for his wife, children, family, and friends. 

Although Rick was an all-around great guy, there was this stress-less-ness he carried that was very captivating.  And that smile...just being around him made you want to relax. 

Calm, cool, collected; that was Rick. But that's not all!

The hashtag, gone viral, attached to his legacy is #LIVELIKERICK.  But what does that really mean?  To some it means to just enjoy life.  To some it means to keep improving social media so we can more easily connect with people. For others, a cup of Joe is raised to remember him and his love for coffee, but for me...


Rick understood that Jesus was the Master at relationship building and Rick lived out that mastery.  Rick also believed in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of his life.  The most important relationship in his life was the one he had with Christ.  This relationship spilled over into every other relationship. 

Jesus Christ was his reason for living.  Christ was why he could love his wife, Vicki, and his children, Trace and Cammi, in a godly fashion and be the spiritual leader of his home.  Christ was the reason his close friends adored him and why he served on a church staff as a pastor for a period of time. 

Christ.  The hope of glory.  Rick lived life to the fullest because Hope was the centerpiece of his faith and love. He sought to live a life full of Jesus and the indescribable joy that a Christ-centered life brings. Without this Hope, Rick would have just been another great guy who loved life.  Hope made the difference. It's what he lived for! Therefore, #LIVELIKERICK means to #LIVELIKECHRIST. 

Hope in Christ; the core of who Rick was.

"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1 20-21 NIV

So as we remember and celebrate Rick's life tonight, I'll be remembering the hash-tag #LIVELIKERICK because he sought to #LIVELIKECHRIST.

My Pleasure,