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Blogger, Christ-follower, Encourager, Friend, Husband, Dad

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Going to Church with Mom

I can’t remember the last time I went to church with my mom on Easter Sunday at her church. I think it must have been 1984, since that was my last Easter Sunday as a single man and that Easter Sunday just happened to fall on Mom’s birthday.  From 1985-2008, I was on the staff of a church and was at my own church for that Sunday. For the past 3 years, I have been in one of the 61 churches that are a part of my current ministry network.

So, the fact that I was with her in her church this Easter Sunday morning was pretty significant. Moms like to have their kids with them for church on Easter, even when their kids are 50-year-old preacher types.  Mrs. Sweetie and I even attended the Senior Adult Sunday School department.  My step-dad scrounged a guitar for me to use and asked me to sing a few songs with them. I did songs by request for about 20 minutes.  Fifty-year-old preacher type kids still like to make their parents proud and I think I succeeded.

The majority of the Christian faith community worships on Sunday because the Bible tells us that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.  We especially acknowledge that day on the Sunday that we have come to call Easter Sunday.  Some people don’t like all the Easter bunny and Easter egg stuff, so maybe they refer to it as Resurrection Sunday.

I’m not going to get too worked up about how people celebrate or worship.  Whether one is a person of faith or not, the fact remains that this day commemorates an event that changed everything.  I assert week after week in this column that our lives matter to God.  There is no greater support for that assertion than what occurred on the other side of the world about two millennia ago.

Our lives matter so much to God that He came to us in human form in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God … So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son.” (John 1:1-2;14)

Our lives matter so much to God that He made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Those truths are the foundation on which I build my life.  They affect what I write.  They affect how I love Mrs. Sweetie.  They even affect the songs I sing for my mom.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Is This Mark Campbell?

I had a new adventure this week in my continuing quest to become an award-winning columnist and blogger.  I actually don’t know what awards they give for columnists and bloggers, but it would be kind of cool, especially if food is involved.  But, back to the adventure.
When Bob Buckel retired from the Azle News, my new point of contact for submitting my weekly column became Sports Dude Extraordinaire, Mark Campbell.  It took us a week or two to get our communication system worked out, so we exchanged cell phone numbers just in case.
Three weeks ago, I emailed my column to Mark on Monday morning.  Late that afternoon I realized that I had failed to actually attach the column to the email.  I know I’m the only one who has ever done that.  Since it was already at the end of the business day when I emailed it, I thought he might have already gone home, so I texted him to let him know it should be in his inbox. 
My text: “Sent column to you about 45 minutes ago. Sorry forgot to attach this morning.  Gerry”   
His response: “Wait, what column and who is this?” 
Ha, Ha, Mr. Sports Dude. (After all, I included my name in the text).
Fast forward 19 days and I get this text from Mark: “I got a text message from you, but not sure who this is?”   
My response: “This is Gerry Lewis.  Haven’t sent you a text in the last three weeks.” 
Mark: “I am so confused?”   
Me:  “Is this Mark Campbell or have I been texting the wrong person?” 
Mark: “Wrong person?  Is he over at the FTW Animal Shelter?  This is Dustin.”
OOPS!  Fortunately Dustin was a patient and understanding guy.  On further investigation I discovered that I had entered one incorrect digit when I saved Mark’s number to my cell phone.  One little digit!  I got nine of them right, but that one made all the difference.
I heard a sermon in the church I attended last Sunday morning.  The preacher made this statement:  “You are one decision away from changing your life forever.”  He gave examples of both good and bad decisions that can change the course of a person’s life. 
There is a verse that appears twice in the Bible. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25) In a world full of choices, how do we keep from making the wrong ones?
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” 
Our lives matter so much to God that He wants to help us make good choices.
I’m glad Mark made the choice to be a writer instead of working at the animal shelter.  But I do have Dustin’s number just in case.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

What's the Big Deal about 9C?

“You’re in my seat,” said the very large, unfriendly, and intimidating man looming over me as he blocked the aisle of boarding passengers on my Southwest Airlines flight out of Atlanta last Saturday morning.
Now, if you have flown Southwest recently, you know that they have “open” seating.  You get on the plane, find a seat you like, and fold yourself into it.  First come, first served. And since they don’t want anyone to get trampled in the stampede at the gate, they assign you to boarding group A, B, or C and give you a number 1-60 within your group. Since I am a person of the long-legged variety, and I like a little extra shoulder room, I prefer an aisle seat.  The first open one I came to was 9C, so I parked myself there and waited for everyone else to get boarded so I could take a nap.
9C: a seat that will live in infamy.
When this fellow told me I was in his seat, my first approach was to explain that, on Southwest Airlines, there are no assigned seats.  That didn’t go over so well, so I moved into the aisle to allow him to have the middle seat on the row (9B).  He shook his head and pointed toward the middle seat and told me to move over.  So now it was obvious that he was seriously contesting my claim on 9C.
At a little over 6’2” and 215(ish) I am usually not one of the smaller people in the room. But this fellow had at least 5 inches and 125 pounds on me.  He also was way ahead of me in the intimidating stare factor.  So, I did what any red-blooded, testosterone fueled man with semi-functioning brain synapses would do. 
I told him he should take 9C and I moved back a row next to the window.
As I stewed and fumed and thought about all the things I would like to say and what I wished would happen to this interloper who invaded and snatched away my precious 9C, I had the proverbial “aha” moment.  Though I never saw it, I’m pretty sure his boarding pass had him as passenger number 9 in boarding group C.  If I had been in any other aisle seat on the entire plane, this whole exchange never would have happened.  Who knew that 9C was such a big deal?
James 1:19-20 says, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”
I wonder how many silly little squabbles turn into major conflicts because we don’t take time to listen.  I wonder how many relationships have been irreparably damaged because everyone was talking and no one was listening. I wonder how it might be different.
That’s what I hope I always remember about 9C.