Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What Color Is Your Brain

Your Brain is Yellow

Of all the brain types, yours is the most intellectual.
You crave mental stimulation, and your thoughts tend to very complex.
Your thoughts tend to be innovative and cutting edge, though many people don't understand them.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about science, architecture, and communication.

Our Mailbox Is Gone

Our Mailbox Is Gone

It was a difficult Sunday morning when we woke up and found our mailbox laying on the ground. Though we would not be receiving mail on Sunday, the Sunday morning paper was in the middle of the driveway, not in its normal tube. With two services and a son's birthday to celebrate, it would not get repaired that day. And Monday was scheduled for one of the last matinee ballgames to be played by our local minor league baseball team. It might have been better to fix the mailbox on Monday rather going to the game - but no way was that going to happen. So we again received Monday's paper in the middle of the driveway. And we received no mail.

So Tuesday was set aside for fixing the mailbox - and getting blood drawn for the tests my doctor had ordered. I picked up the paperwork at the doctor's office, when to the lab to have my blood drawn. This was followed by a late lunch with my son (hey, it was 11:00 AM by this time) and a trip to Home Depot to pick up some tools and hardware. By 2:15 we had the mailbox and two paper tubes back in place. We had already missed Tuesday mail - so, other than missing two days mail, the job was not too bad.

I really don't know who knocked down our mailbox. It may have been the person driving the car that delivers our Sunday morning paper, or perhaps the neighbor across the street backing out of his or her driveway. Or maybe just a prank - who knows. But it is back up now.

Messages don't always get through. Mailboxes do get hit. E-mail gets lost in cyberspace. Mail gets misdirected or delayed.

But there is one group of messages that do always get through - they are the messages we send to God. He hears our prayers, He answers our prayers, He knows our needs even before we express them in words. And if we keep our hearts open, we may also find that God is willing to speak to us.

And when the relationship has to be rebuilt, when we are ready, God is in the business of repairing it.

The mailbox never has to go missing when we are communicating with God.

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.

In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight:
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize;
And shout, while passing through the air,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”


Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

Monday, August 13, 2007

Trinitarian Doctrine

I am occasionally asked about the trinity. I usually summarize it this way:

  1. There is only one God
  2. The Father is called God
  3. The Son is called God
  4. The Holy Spirit is called God
  5. No one else is called God

Though I am sure that I was introduced to the Athanasian Creed in seminary, I do not remember it. I recently stumbled across it - and find it to be a much more inclusive statement of the Trinitarian doctrine.

Athanasian Creed

  1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;
  2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
  3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
  4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.
  5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
  6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
  7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
  8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
  9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
  10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
  11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
  12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
  13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.
  14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
  15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
  16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
  17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
  18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
  19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
  20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.
  21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
  22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
  23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
  24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
  25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
  26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
  27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
  28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
  29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
  31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.
  32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
  33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
  34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
  35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.
  36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
  37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
  38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
  39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;
  40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
  41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
  42. and shall give account of their own works.
  43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
  44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

On a side note, my wife and I considered naming our first son Athanasius. I am glad we did not - we chose "Jonathan Edward" instead.

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

How High Can You Go?

During our morning worship service we give an opportunity for members of our congregation to choose a number of songs to sing. This morning someone suggested Hymn 418 from the United Methodist Hymnal, "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder."

Sitting in the back of the church was our Church Lay Leader - a man who spends a great deal of time on a ladder. After church we thought that this might be a good theme song for his job - and he agreed.

There was only one problem - the ladders he regularly works on only go so high. They reach the top of many buildings, but there are some that he cannot reach with the ladders he has available. But Jacob's ladder has no limits - except those put there by God. If we take the time to climb Jacob's ladder, who knows how far we can go in service to the master.

We are climbing Jacob's ladder,
We are climbing Jacob's ladder,
We are climbing Jacob's ladder,
Soldiers of the cross.
Every round goes higher, higher,
Every round goes higher, higher,
Every round goes higher, higher,
Soldiers of the cross.

Sinner, do you love my Jesus?
Sinner, do you love my Jesus?
Sinner, do you love my Jesus?
Soldiers of the cross.

If you love him,
why not serve him?
If you love him,
why not serve him?
If you love him,
why not serve him?
Soldiers of the cross.
Afro-American Spiritual
Yours because His,
Pastor Patrick

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Are You Being Watched?

My wife and I received a complement this week. A wonderful, unexpected complement.

It came from a former student of mine - a young lady that now works for my wife in our college library. Over the past week or two, the library has been moved from its old cramped space to a beautiful building which includes a 24 hour computer lab and a on-site cafe situated near a fire place.

During the school year, my wife supervises 20 students - as she is responsible for the circulation department and the computer lab. During the summer the number of students is greatly reduced, but so is the work load.

My wife completed her move this week. For the first time in her life, my wife has an office, a real office, of her own. Not a cubicle, not a desk set up with a three other desks - an office with a desk of her own that is not shared with anyone else.

To help her celebrate the move, I had a dozen roses delivered to her office. They came in a bright red vase that goes well with the cherry wood finish on my wife's desk.

And that is when it came, the complement. She said it to my wife - "You and your husband have the example of the perfect marriage." Now, if she had just met my wife, we might question it. But this student has known me for two years and my wife for a year-and-a-half.

Do we have the perfect marriage - no way. If you knew us 20 years ago, you would have thought we we had the marriage least likely to survive. At that time, both my wife and I wished the other one would leave - but we were both too weak to leave. And then God started working in our marriage - and we started working at our marriage. It was 17 years ago that a mutual friend commented on our marriage that she never had never seen a couple work harder at their marriage. I don't know if that is true or not; but whatever work we did, has paid off. Do we have the perfect marriage - no way. What we do have is a good marriage, one I am proud to be part of and one I enjoy being part of.

But there is another lesson to be learned. And it is this - we are being watched. Our faith is being lived out before others. We have no idea who is watching, but others are watching our successes and our failures. I wonder what else I am teaching others as I live my life. I trust that I set an example that will draw others to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Savior, like a shepherd lead us,
much we need thy tender care;
in thy pleasant pastures feed us,
for our use thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, thine we are.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, thine we are.
Attr. to Dorothy A. Thrupp, 1779-1847

Friday, August 10, 2007

What Do I Miss?

My wife and I are taking a brief weekend trip away from home. On the way here Sandra saw a ground hog (or some similarly sized critter) walking up the bank along side the road. I never saw it - and sorry that I did not.

I know that those critters are there - they are usually dead when I see them, hit by some vehicle or another. But I rarelly see them alive. And that is sad.

But I am also left wondering what other blessings God may bring my way that I miss. I may not be driving the car, but so caught up in my life that I do not see what God is sending my way. I really want to see all that God has for me - yet I miss it. I am too busy, I am to involved, I am not listening to God, even when he is there.

Maybe tomorrow I can see more of what God has for me. I trust the same is true for you.

Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!
Clara H. Scott (1841-1897)

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick