Monday, September 25, 2006

2 Corinthians 5:8

I watched a man die yesterday.

I know some of you think that’s probably a crappy, dramatic way to start this, but it’s true. I accompanied my best friend yesterday to the hospital, and watched his father die.

He (the father) had Lou Gehrig’s disease. I have included a web link so you can find out for yourself, if you like. ( ). He was bedridden for the last couple of years and couldn’t even talk. He communicated through blinking and eye movement.

Sunday, they took him off the ventilator. There I was, with my friend, as he watched them disconnect his father from the life support. It was the only way he was still alive. But he was conscious and alert to what was going on.

He wanted to go. He had communicated that to his son. He wanted to go. He didn’t want to live like that, and he had made it known, even before he was bedridden.

There was his family, and me. I felt like an intruder; like the odd man out. But no one made me feel out of place. I was there for my best friend, and that was enough for them. His Mom was taken care of by everyone else; they left me to support my friend.

I held him as he held his father. I comforted him as he spent his last, fleeting moments with the man who had raised him. And then, God walked into the room.

How do I know? I saw it in his dad’s eyes.

He smiled.

I don’t mean a smile like you have to sort of hold your head in the light and look at it a certain way smile. I mean a beatific, wonderful cheek to cheek smile that filled the whole room. It was a smile that warms you right down to your marrow.

And at that point, I knew Jesus was there, welcoming him into the fold. He didn’t go terrified, with a panicked look on his face; he slid gracefully into death, escorted by the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

2 Corinthians 5:8- “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

I’m crying now. Not because I’m sad, but because I’m hopeful.

I can’t wait until those gathered around me see the smile on my face as I am escorted into the presence of the Lord. As He takes me into the throne room I have heard so much about, and been comforted from so many times, and introduces me personally to His Dad.

I can’t wait until I too, stand face to face with the Person who didn’t make me feel like an intruder. He didn’t want me to be the odd man out. He wanted me to feel like family.

So He let His Son leave His home, and come here to be with me. He dropped everything, and everyone, and said, “It is okay, go take care of him. Be his friend, so he doesn’t have to go through this alone.”

We are NOT alone.

And we don’t have to be scared of dying. We have a path that has been set forth before us; a beautiful path; a path lined with gold. A path that leads us straight to Heaven.

We sometimes forget that death is NOT the end. It’s the beginning of a GREAT eternity.

Hey Satan, stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Be blessed in the Lord,

Bo J.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Romans 1:16-17

Okay, it’s going to be another one of these e-mails. You know the ones; where I tell you that I had one idea, but God had another and changed it. Only this time, He at least let me keep my verse (I think).

See, I had this great dialogue about how God was talking to me. He was going to tell me about all these e-mails I receive from people about Him. You know the ones, where at the end of the e-mail they “challenge” you to send it to everyone in your address book. And if you don’t, you MUST be ashamed of Him.

He was going to tell me how I couldn’t possibly be His child, because I refused to continue the chain of sending those e-mails. I broke the chain, and so now, I had to beg forgiveness.

The only thing is, I don’t believe in that kind of stuff. If my faith is to be judged by passing on an e-mail and inferring that if I don’t it means I am ashamed of Christ….whoa boy! Do you want to be judged like that?

So, here I am, getting ready to do this.

You should know, I have a kind of…ritual…I do when I am going to send out the weekly verse. I usually start up my e-mail program and have it running in the background, while I type. It’s just something I do.

Anyway, I get this urge to see what I have received. And I got an e-mail from God. Here is what it said:

Dear daddy,

John 3:16 God so loved the world that he gave his only forgoten son that
whoever beleves in him shal not parish but have ever lasting life and
thats my favorite memory verse. Thank you for your memory verse. Love, Sammy

Yeah, I know, it says it’s from Sammy (my 8 year old) but it’s really from God. You see, I just recently allowed my two youngest daughters to set up an e-mail account. And I just added them on to my e-mail list, so they would at least receive something.

And this is what I got in return, something special from God. You see, I don’t put anything in my e-mails about sending them on to someone to prove you love Jesus. I don’t challenge you like that, because it’s not me, and it would be wrong on my account.

Now don’t get me wrong, if you want to send those e-mails on, and you feel led to do so, by all means do so. But what if someone who receives it is new in the faith, or isn’t comfortable sending something like that to everyone in their address book?

What if you have caused someone to doubt, because they don’t feel right about it? I know it’s an extreme case, but the Bible talks about it a lot. Remember, if eating meat in front of someone causes them to stumble, don’t do it?

Romans 1:16-17- “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”

All I’m doing is asking you to be careful what you ask of others. I ask you to send these on to others, not to prove you love Jesus, or are a super Christian or anything like that. I don’t need it, because this is a God thing, and God will prosper it and spread it like I said before (remember Isaiah 55:11). Pass them along IF YOU THINK that someone else will learn something about our great God through my experiences and my stumbles.

My daughter showed me that I am doing well by training her up in the way she should go. I didn’t beat her up with it; she learns by watching.

Lots of people learn lots of things about our Christian walk by watching. They don’t get it from e-mails, or chain letters, or fancy poems or anything like that. They learn about our God by watching us, and seeing how we deal with the same world they live in.

Please don’t get upset with me. You have a perfect right to delete all these e-mails that you want. Trust me; it won’t hurt me in the least. I’m doing what God (through Jim and Linda Jenkins) asked me to start. They didn’t tell me that if I didn’t, God would be disappointed in me. They asked me to use a talent I have for God.

But don’t equate someone’s walk with passing this, or anything like it, on to others. We are told to go out into the world and preach the Gospel, not e-mail it to everyone in our Contacts list. Take what you learn here, and go out and touch someone else in your circle of friends; someone that I can’t touch or reach.

Be there for someone; allow them to watch your example. Let them see firsthand and experience the love and power of an awesome God. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of words.

Oh, by the way; if you don’t send this to 10 other people in your address book, your life will be crappy for 777 years and God will look down His nose at you. You’ll be ashamed and shunned for the rest of your life and have to marry someone with a wart on his/her/its nose.

Okay, maybe not. But God will still love you, no matter what you do with this.

Be free AND blessed in the Lord,

Bo J.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Memory verse

Character is what you are in the dark.

Do you know what that means? It means that character is a virtue or trait that comes out of you when no one is looking or when you THINK no one is around.

Character is integrity, honor, sacrifice, and a whole lot of other things rolled into one word. It is something that you have, and something you exhibit.

I usually don’t do this, but I am specifically directing this one at the high school ministry, especially our students. Each one of you has a mission and a goal to see that those who are lost and dying around you come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

How do I know? Simple, a LOT of you told me, or another small group leader. You make these big pleas and speeches about how you want your friend’s lives to be changed by Jesus Christ.

How about yours? How about showing them through your life? (Now adults don’t look down your collective noses at the youth, either. We have REALLY dropped the ball when it comes to character at times, haven’t we? So don’t just tune out until the verse comes up.)

So students, what do your friends see when they look at you? “Well Bo, I talk to them and try and get them to come to church and they just won’t come! I don’t know why they won’t listen to me!”

I’ve got some news for you, and some of you won’t like it. I fully believe that I may make some people mad with this like never before. But it MUST be said, for we are in the last days. We are seeing the throes of what must happen before Jesus shows up one day for His Bride, the Church. And we MUST be ready.

So anyway, as I was saying; I know why your friends aren’t listening. Do you want to know?

MySpace, Xanga, Facebook; whatever else is out there. Go and take a look.

“Oh that is just great, Bo! You’re just going to beat up on us because we have a __________ page!” Nope, it’s quite the contrary. I am going to take you task for the PICTURE you present to the people who come to your page and visit. I am taking you to task for the things people see/hear/do when they come to your page(s). I am taking you to task for the things your friends see when they are with you, and your small group leader is not there.

What do your friends see when they come to your pages? What do your pages represent to them? I have a MySpace, it’s located at . (At least for now I do. I don’t know if I’ll be keeping it.) Go there if you want. I’m not ashamed. I try and present a positive message and something that connects me to the youth I am trying to be a friend and a mentor with.

If there is something there that would cause someone to stumble, I would take it off-IMMEDIATELY! I wouldn’t want one of the students to get something bad from me, because that would be my fault for leading them astray. (I know that some of you are going to go to my page now, and critique every little thing. That’s okay, as long as you are doing it IN LOVE!!!!)

It’s all about what you want people to know. I want them to know that Jesus has changed my life. He is the ultimate Rock. He is the Foundation that I need to build my life upon.

We are going to take a test, now. But don’t worry, there are multiple choices. You know, you get more than one answer. You can pick anyone you would like to choose.

1 Peter 1:16- “ …because it is written, ‘Be holy for I am holy.’”

Leviticus 11:44-“For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Leviticus 11:45-“For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

Leviticus 19:2-“Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’”

Pick one. I don’t care which one. And then, look at your life. Are you holy, as the LORD your God has set you apart to be holy? Are you?

God has called us to a holy life. A lot of you students have a calling on your life to reach out to those who are around you. How you do it is completely up to you. But, how you do it DIRECTLY affects how successful you are going to be in the long run.

One last thing, if anyone is still here. This is not an indictment of the internet, MySpace, Xanga, or anyplace else. These things are like anything else; they are tools. A tool can do NOTHING on its own. It can only be used by someone in one of two ways-the right one, or the wrong one.

Don’t take from this that I think these sites are bad. But be careful what you put out there for general consumption by the masses. Remember Who called you out of the darkness into the light.

I’m sorry this is so long, but I felt it needed to be said. I hope you take it with the love which was intended.

Be blessed in the Lord,

Bo J.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Isaiah 55:11

I promise.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David…..I promise.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, Andrew, Thomas….I promise.

Pain, suffering, persecutions, death….I promise.

What have you been promised? What did God say to you when you accepted His offer of salvation?

Better yet, HAVE you accepted His offer? Or are you still looking around to see if there is something better?

All those people listed above received a promise of something better when they gave their life over to God. Some of them didn’t see the promise in their lifetime, but it didn’t mean that He who promised wasn’t faithful.

God said He would do it, and they believed. That was the end of the story for them; period. They had a promise from the Almighty; the Creator of the universe.

He had entered into a bargain of sorts with people whom He didn’t owe ANYTHING. He told them that if they gave their lives over to Him, to use, that He would bless them mightily. And they did it gladly.

Me, I get mad when I get my paycheck and it’s gone before I even know how much has been deposited. I get upset when things don’t go my way and fit into the perfect, logical box I have created for my life. Each piece should fit just so, and make a wonderful picture.

Isaiah 55:11-“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Did you get that? His Word shall accomplish what He pleases, not what I want. My desires may coincide with His, but not always. At that point, the Word is accomplishing His Will, not my own.

When I got saved, I met God right at my dinner table. It was a night in January, 1997. He appeared to me, in the midst of turmoil, pain and heartache in my family. I was at a turning point of my life that night. I truly believe that I would not have lived much longer had He not visited me that evening.

Of all the things He said to me that night, one has always stuck with me. Jesus looked at me and said, “You have done it your way for so long, and it hasn’t worked. Do you want to try My way now? I promise it won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.”

Sometimes, I forget that small part of the conversation. But it comes back, and reminds me that He promised it would be worth it. God promised that it would be worth it.

God promised.

So, I may not see it in my lifetime. My wife may not see it in her lifetime. My kids may not see it in their lifetime. But that doesn’t mean that God has welched on His promise. It means that God is God, and the life I live is used to accomplish His will, not my own.

Today, I have been reminded of that fact.

And now, so have you.

Be blessed in the Lord,

Bo J.