Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Christ-Centered Community

The first phrase in our vision statement declares that we want to be a Christ-centered community.

The Copernican Revolution truly changed the world.

For most of history, humans believed the earth was the center of the universe and the sun rotated around the earth. But in the 1500s, that idea began to change. Copernicus released his hypothesis in the year that he died that the earth rotated around the sun.

At or around 1610, Galileo began to publically support the idea that the earth was not the center of the universe. This idea did not suit the church very well. It was around the time of the Roman Inquisition and the church denounced Galileo’s premise as heresy. After all in Joshua 10, the sun stood still in the sky, so Galileo’s premise couldn't be correct. Galileo was warned to stop his heresy, which he agreed to do, but 16 years later he published a book that argued that the earth wasn’t the center of everything. He was then tried in the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy,” and spent the rest of his life (8 years) under house arrest. But as we’ve come to find out, Galileo was absolutely right and the church was wrong.

But the Catholic church of the 1500s wasn't the only one to put itself at the center of history. It's a common problem we all have, isn't it?

We've been told a lie. We’ve been told that we are the main actors in our lives. Culture tells us this, but even scarier, Christianity has also assumed the same plot.

It’s all about having “your best life now.” We’ve somehow believed the lie that everything is about us. Salvation is about us. Grace is a reward for our works. The church service is about us. We’ve made Jesus out to be a means to our best possible life on earth. Somehow we’ve been led to believe that we are the main actors and that God sent Jesus in order to help our story. Almost as if Jesus is our life coach.

Our church is trying to proclaim another story. We want to acknowledge that God is at the center of God's story and we are not. Too often, churches make individuals the center of the story. We think that God's grace is given to us because of our faithfulness. We mistakenly place ourselves at the center of the universe, which makes us into consumers who are take the place of God at the center of the story. But we are beginning to understand more and more that God is the writer and director and somehow he has graciously written us into his script of redemption. For some reason, God has chosen to use his broken church to redeem the brokenness within all of humanity.

We want to be a Christ-centered church. God is the subject and he enacts the verbs.

In addition, we want to be an authentic community of people.

So many of us live in a world of pseudo-community. We ask how each other are doing each Sunday, and we're shocked when anyone would tell us anything other than "Great!" We've resigne ourselves to seeing church as a masquerade ball. Many of us wear masks to church in order to hide the pain of our lives.

Through connection groups and other ministries, we are striving to become a more authentic church. A church that seeks to find a place for everyone in our community. We, at the Littleton Church, desire for community to break out in more ways in the future.

The Copernican Revolution changed many things. And with God as the central character in our story, we hope he will change many things in our community as well.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Love God. Go Love People.

Love God. Go Love People.

Many churches have taken Jesus' two great commandments to be their church's vision. We want to be a church that loves God with everything we have and a church that loves others as ourselves.

Too many churches today are known for the number of people who go to their church and for their church's distinctives, but we want to be known for our love. For years, the Littleton Church of Christ has been known as a place where anyone is welcome. No matter your history or the mess you find yourself in, Littleton is a place where you can find acceptance and help to get your life back on track. Often, that has looked like accepting divorced people before other Churches of Christ were ready to do so, but in the coming years it will mean finding our pews filled with couples that live together, people of different social backgrounds, and homosexual couples.

I know, I know...How could a faithful church find such people in their pews? Because Jesus found tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners as followers around his table. And like Jesus, we don't invite these people to continue their broken lives. We invite these people to join with us (fellow broken people) to find ourselves again in the Jesus story. We invite them with us on the journey because we can't think of a more hypocritical way of life than to define our brokenness as more socially appropriate and less serious than "those" kind of people.

But more than anything, we join other broken people on this journey because we know that God wants to bring healing in all of our lives. So...we'll love God and love people.

But there's another word in our vision statement that can't be missed. GO!!! The call of the church doesn't stop with loving God and loving people. We can do that in the safe confines of our church building. We also believe the Great Commission calls us to leave the doors of our building each week and find ourselves again on God's mission in the world.

This charge is intended to be a short statement to describe what we are called to do every time we leave our doors. In fact, every week at the benediction, I end our service with this phrase (Love God. Go Love People). It's a reminder that we are called to live our the Great Commandments and the Great Commission in all that we do. While this statement, if taken seriously, would change the future of our church in major ways, these are two of Jesus' most fundamental messages. We want to be identified by our love more than any other distinctive we might want to hold up.


Littleton's Vision

Well, it's been 12 months in the working, but the Littleton Church has committed itself to a new vision that the Holy Spirit has led us to. The whole idea of vision is difficult at times. I'm much less concerned that our church has a vision and I'm much more concerned that God's vision has our church. But I feel like the words we have put together will guide us as we seek to be a community of faith that reaches the community around us.

Our new charge is: Love God. Go Love People.
Our new vision is: A Christ-centered community committed to being formed for missional living in pursuit of God's kingdom.

These two statements are packed full of dreams and imagination for what God might want us to become. Over the past six weeks I have unpacked that vision during my sermons. It was a challenging set of lessons focused on calling our people to a more positive vision. Over the next few weeks, I'll unpack more of what this vision is all about on my blog.

I'm excited about what God is currently doing in our body. We are becoming a much less self-obsessed church as we seek to find ourselves again in God's story of mission and redemption.

For a long time the Littleton Church has been a regional church that has reached out to people throughout the city of Denver, but we are beginning to focus more and more on our surrounding neighborhood.

The question that has been on my mind most over the 16 months I've preached at Littleton is this: If the Littleton Church of Christ were to close our doors, would our neighborhood miss us or shed a tear over our absence? More than anything, I want the answer to that question to be YES!!!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have walked our surrounding neighborhood with three other guys from our church. We have been knocking our neighbors doors, but this is not traditional door-knocking. Instead of handing them a tract and inviting them to church, our first words to our neighbors have been: "We're members at the Littleton Church of Christ across the street and our church has been here for over thirty years. We've been terrible neighbors for not getting to know you, so we're knocking on your door so we can get to know you better and know if there's anything we can do for you or pray for you about."

The response has been pretty amazing so far. People are shocked in a very positive way. We're not selling them anything or expecting them to show up at church. We're just trying to be better neighbors and for some reason they're finding that to be revolutionary.

Churches have to begin to reach their neighborhoods again, but not in the traditional ways we have in the past. We need to imagine new ways that we can get rid of any negative perceptions that might exist when we encounter our neighborhood.

What are some ways your churches are reaching their communities?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Maddox: That's a Wrap

Well, I've got so much more to share with my little buddy and fortunately I've got many more years to share my advice. I hope these words will be a blessing to him years down the road. In summary, I love my son and can't wait to see him grow in his love for the Lord. I'll be excited to watch him grow into a radical follower of Jesus Christ. I can't wait to see him do so many new things.

Fatherhood is a great challenge and a great joy! Life has certainly changed. I love his smiles and sounds. There will be many challenges ahead, but they will all be worth it in the end.

Maddox, in closing, I want you to live into a story that is bigger than most people live into. Many people settle for small dreams like the "American Dream." Most of our dreams are selfish. We want to become something big.

But God is begging for you to take on his story. He wants you to find your story within the pages of Scripture and join the heroes of faith on their journey with God.

Just this week I was preaching on Hebrews 11 & 12. We often call this passage the "Hall of Faith." We focus on the idea that all of the people in Hebrews 11 had great faith. And at the end of chapter 11, the passage conludes with this statement,

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Wow! I've always read Hebrews 12:1-3, as a passage focusing on the cloud of witnesses that surrounds us and cheers us on our journey, but the end of chapter 11 says something entirely different. Somehow, we are actually the ones who are making their story perfect. Only together with us, can God's story be completed as he desires it. God has graciously written us into his unfolding narrative and we are there alongside Abraham, Moses, and all of the rest of the heroes in Hebrews 11.

Maddox, don't accept a plotline that is too small. God has given you to this world for greatness. He desires to write you into his incredible story. So, dream big, get to know Scripture well, jump into the Bible's story and live like there's no tomorrow (knowing that there is an eternal city that will one day wait on you.)

I love you son!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Look...

This is Holly here and I have hacked into Collin's blog in order to give it a fancy little facelift :D. Since he is out of town, I needed something to keep me busy!! So this occupied me for a few hours at least.

I hope you like the new look babe...We miss you and can't wait for you to get home!! Love ya lots!! :D - Hols


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Maddox: Risk-Taking

It seems that more and more the greatest Christian virtue has become balance, which seems completely opposite of Scripture's story. Somehow we've been led to believe that good Christians are those whose life produces the least amount of risk possible.

One look at the life of Scripture's heroes shows something completely different. Abraham? Moses? Deborah? Elijah? The Prophets? John the Baptist? Mary? Peter? Paul? Jesus? I don't think so.

These are men and women of outrageous dedication whose lives looked completely out of balance. The world tries to form us into the same mold as everyone else, but the Sermon on the Mount beckons us to buck that trend.

Blessed are the poor in Spirit? Blessed are those who mourn? Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness? Don't be angry with anyone? Love your enemies? Pray for those who persecute you? Don't worry?

We're not called to be calibrated to the world's directional compass? We're called to be calibrated to the life of Jesus Christ, which puts us way off balance.

Maddox, may God bless you with an imbalanced life that looks like Jesus Christ. Along the way, you might want to take a risk for the kingdom of God. You might want to start an inner-city ministry or become a part of a Christian peacekeeping team in the midst of city torn apart by war. When you have those dreams, don't let your mother and I stand in the way of them. We might want you to stay safe, but don’t let our desire for your safety get in the way of God’s kingdom dream for you. I give you permission to defy us if we are standing in the way of you living out your kingdom vocation.

Should you choose to live this kind of imbalanced life, the world will look at you like you're crazy. However, few balanced people have ever changed the world. Be a risk taker for the kingdom of God. Perhaps nothing else will wake up Americans from our spiritual slumber than your risky life of discipleship!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Maddox: Heritage

I'm going to sound like an old man, but here it goes:

Tradition and Heritage, Maddox. Two words that you must learn to appreciate (Am I really 25?). Many children grow up unappreciative of the heritage they have been born into.

Maddox, should you choose to accept this mission, by my calculations you are a tenth generation member of the Restoration Movement. One of your long lost ancestors, Collin McKinney, was baptized by Barton W. Stone and helped to start some of the first Restoration Movement churches in north Texas. While we did not give you the honorable and distinctive name "Collin," this is your heritage.

Much like me, you have been born on third base, Maddox. Many children in the world do not grow up with grandparents and parents who all love the Lord, but you will. You will actually be born into a home with parents who have taken a combined 9 semesters of Greek and 2 semesters of Hebrew. (While your mom is not a nerd, I am open enough to admit that your father is.) While your mom and dad will not be perfect examples of Christ to you, we are committed to doing the best we can. You won't have to hit a homerun all by yourself and round all of the bases. You've been born on third base. You just have to find your way home.

I've grown up in the same situation. I was blessed to be born on third base. The walk home wasn't always easy, but it was a huge blessing to have parents, grandparents, and ancestors who paved the way for me to Jesus Christ. At times I took for granted my Christian heritage, but I encourage you to appreciate it. Even though being a preacher's kid isn't always the most fun, you will have advantages other kids won't have.

At this point, you don't know anything about Alexander Campbell, Barton Stone, Walter Scott, David Lipscomb, or T.B. Larimore. You don't understand the vision it took for your great-great grandfather, Robert S. Bell, to start the Bell Trust, which gives Churches of Christ a chance to do mission work across the world. You don't know the names Prentice Meador, Rick Atchley, Mike Cope, Rubel Shelly, Chris Seidman, Josh Graves, or Josh Ross, but these are men who have paved the way for what will come next in Churches of Christ and the Restoration Movement.

It's easy to be critical of things. Anyone one can tear down a wall. But there are few who can build a new one. I pray that you will be grateful for your heritage. Not grateful in a naive way so that you won't be able to improve things in the future, but grateful so that you can help the church become more faithful to our changing context in the future.

And ultimately, please know that I'm not most concerned about you giving your life to a specific church or movement. I'm most concerned that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ in the most extreme way. Never forget that!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Maddox: 2009

Maddox, you've been born into the world at a fascinating time. In 2009:

-America swore in its first African American President and Hispanic Supreme Court Justice
-America struggles with a recession that only falls short of the Great Depression in our history
-In my estimation, 2009 has not been a great sports year thus far:
-Golf (Major winners Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover & Stewart Cink)
-Texas Longhorns were robbed of a chance to play in the National Championship football game
-But things are looking up for the Cowboys because Tony Romo broke up with Jessica Simpson
-It's a long shot, but a Rangers-Rockies World Series could happen
-And we're on the brink of football season! (Maddox saw ACU for the first time last night)
-Coldplay continues to dominate the music charts.
-Television continues to put out better material than movies with shows involving lost a bunch of lost people and employees who can never seem to get work done in an office.
-Conan O'Brien took over for Jay Leno on the Tonight Show
-Several important people have died this year:
-John Updike
-Paul Harvey
-Walter Kronkite
-Michael Jackson

Maddox, you will grow up in a world where you are able to get to know your grandparents, aunts, and uncles over webcam instead of just hearing their voices over the phone.

However, many Christians are not very excited about the future of Christianity in America. Several articles have come out this year projecting the decline of Christianity, but this is only bad news for those of us who have a stake in the power of Christendom.

The truth is the kingdom of God is multiplying in many places throughout our world. The decline is only true of white Christianity. There was a time when Europe was the center of Christianity, but all that's left now are a few followers of Jesus and many empty cathedrals. And if I'm honest with you, I think we are entering a similar time in our nation.

But the exciting thing is that God is bringing incredible growth to his kingdom in other places. Christianity is exploding in South America, Africa, and China. Our God is a God of surprises and he is doing some surprising things across the globe. We're finding out that his mission doesn't depend on the West quite like we thought it did for the last millennium.

By the time you turn 25, there might be less than 50 million Christians in America. I tell you this not to scare you about the future, but to let you know that your generation will be crucial to the future of Christianity here. And God wants to recruit you to be his missionary to the United States for such a time as this. Like the first century, you will likely be persecuted for your beliefs. But God always grows his kingdom in times of persecution. He grows his church at the margins. You can be the next Moses or Joshua here. You can be the next Peter or Paul. God has great things planned for you, my son!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Maddox Austin Packer

I've been waiting to post about the birth of our son because I had an idea about a post I wanted to do for Maddox. But in typical Blogger Collin fashion I've procrastinated and come up with a better idea to hide my procrastination.

Instead of my original brilliant idea, I'm going to write an even more brilliant series of blog posts in the coming weeks in honor of my dear son. These posts are intended to orient him to this broken world and to prompt him toward God's healing kingdom that continues to blossom. While he might not be able to read these posts yet (he's pretty smart so we'll see), I hope these will be posts he can refer back to when he grows up.

I will preach an abbreviated series at Littleton in the next two weeks that will cover some of the content in these blog posts entitled "Finding God in the Delivery Room." My first sermon will focus on the the things the church can learn from our hospital experience. The second sermon will be a sermon directed to Maddox prompting him toward a radical kingdom lifestyle. That sermon will often be very helpful for Littleton to overhear as we seek to become a church that lives as salt and light in our culture. It should be good stuff!

So, let me end post one in the series with the stats. Maddox Austin Packer was born Monday, June 29th at 7:59 PM. He was 8 lbs. 8 oz. and 20 1/2 inches long.

But more than that he's the perfect gift of God that has been given to us for a time. Father, Holly and I commit to raising him in a Christian home. And we long for the day when we will hear the confession "Jesus is Lord" in the baptistry with him. Thank you for this gift!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I am currently in the middle of six week series entitled "Perceptions." In this series, I've tackled the top six perceptions 16-29 year old outsiders have of Christianity. The research behind this series has come primarily from the book unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity. The Barna Group has put out this research and I believe the church must consider these findings.

What are the top perceptions?
1) Christians are hypocritical.
2) Christians are only out to convert people.
3) Christians are antihomosexual.
4) Christians are sheltered.
5) Christians are too political.
6) Christians are judgmental.

It's easy to get defensive about these perceptions, but for the people we're trying to reach, perception is reality. It's been a great series so far! The church has certainly responded well to these difficult subjects.

We'll see how it goes this week. I'm preaching on perception #5 (too political), which might be a bit controversial. But if we can't talk about these things at church, where can we talk about them? I believe our people want to have these conversations. And so far, Littleton has confirmed my hypothesis.

What do you think about these perceptions? Are they fair? And what other perceptions aren't named in this list?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tribute to Prentice Meador

Prentice Meador was one of the most influential mentors in my life. My first preaching internship was under Prentice in the summer of 2003. Prentice not only showed me how to preach well, he tutored me in the way of Christ. And he was the first person to tell me that I had what it took to be a preacher. His encouragement and advice marked the path that I am still continuing down. And many people don't know that he is one of the biggest reasons I ended up at the Littleton Church of Christ.

Prentice passed away last year unexpectedly on November 21st at 70 years old. His unexpected passing was felt by so many people throughout the world. I was grateful to be able to express my appreciation to him during the Lipscomb Conference on Preaching last October. While many miss him, we are grateful for his life and the impact he had on so many of us.

I am excited to announce that, under the vision and leadership of Bob Chisholm (Prentice's long time friend and co-worker), there is going to be an upcoming book of sermons on the Psalms produced in tribute to Prentice. Psalms was one of Prentice's favorite books and he taught his last college class on the Psalms as well.

The book, currently untitled, will be published by Leafwood and released in October at the Lipscomb Conference on Preaching. The proceeds from this rich resource will go to fund a Christian scholarship in Prentice's name at Lipscomb University. Bob Chisholm and Dave Bland will write an introduction to the book and Randy Lowry, the President of Lipscomb, will write the forward.

Here is a list of preachers who will have sermons in the book:

Lynn Anderson – Psalm 23
Rick Atchley – Psalm 103
Bob Chisholm – Psalm 115
Mike Cope – Psalm 137
Jennings Davis – Psalm 112
Ken Durham – Psalm 126
Harold Hazelip – Psalm 90
Gary Holloway – Psalm 142
Tom Jones – Psalm 51
Jim Martin – Psalm 73
Royce Money – Psalm 71
Collin Packer – Psalm 32
Jack Reese – Psalm 89
David Rubio – Psalm 13
Scott Sager – Psalm 22
Landon Saunders – Psalm 27
Chris Seidman – Psalm 63
Tim Spivey – Psalm 122
John York – Psalm 34

I am so honored to be a part of this project. It will be a great resource for preachers and a great tribute to the legacy of Prentice Meador.


Thursday, April 23, 2009


Well, I've written the last sermon I will write for a couple of weeks. After 16 Sundays in a row of filling the pulpit, Holly and I will be taking nearly two weeks off while we are in California. This is a big trip for us. It will be our last vacation together as a married couple without kids. It will be our first experience at the Pepperdine Lectures in Malibu (It's great to be a preacher!). We will get to see my parents for the first time since Christmas. And I'm teaching my first class at a Lectureship. We're so excited!

The class I am teaching is entitled "Musings of a Young Minister (Reflections and Regrets from My First Year in Ministry)." In my class, I hope to give valuable feedback to members in a congregation with a young minister, leaders who are tending to a young minister, and to young ministers who are about to begin their ministries, with a bit of a humorous view into the life of a minister that most people never see.

So, as I prepare for my class, I'm thinking back on the past 9 months. Holly and I were talking today about how fast the time has gone by. It seems like just a few weeks ago that we were pulling our moving van into our apartment complex. God has been faithful. There have been blessings, curses, and challenges all along the way. But most of all, God has been faithful. And he is certainly at work at the Littleton Church of Christ.

Transitions are sure to come as Holly and I start our family together, but we are so blessed to be surrounded by the body of Christ in Denver. We know there will be no worry of finding baby sitters. We already have so many who have vowed to become surrogate grandparents, uncles, aunts, siblings, and mentors. It's nice to be able to preach about the Acts 2 community, as I experience it in my own congregation.

So, here I sit, penning my thoughts for my lectureship class. There are already so many good memories and laughs that can be told. And there are many times I have wept for the people in this city and within this congregation. God is at work and it's great to be in the center of his will!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Welcome Clint Askins

I'm excited to announce that we have hired Clint Askins as our new youth minister. We, at Littleton, are so blessed to have Clint join our team. He is one of the best youth ministers out there and he's going to add so much to our team.

I've known Clint for about 7 years. And while his personality lends itself so much better to youth ministry than mine does, he also brings a wealth of training and internships to his new role. Littleton already is blessed to have one of the best church staffs around, but Clint is going to help us as we move forward with our vision. His heart for reaching out to our community will aid us in our desire to continue becoming a missional church.

- - - - - - - - -

It's been awhile since I updated. So, here are a few things going on in the Packer household:

-Birth Prep Classes (Those videos are a bit too revealing for my taste)
-Two new preaching series before the baby comes (Get excited! No more Mark)
-Tax Day (Everyone loves April 15)
-We're closing on our new home later this month!
-Guys' Golf Trip coming soon
-Pepperdine Lectures
-Maddox on the way! (Our Son)
-5 Year Anniversary (Has it really been that long?)

Life is good! God is good!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

25...March Madness

Well, I turned 25 last Friday. I had a great day skiing with Holly's family up in Breckenridge. You can't beat having your birthday on Spring Break every year. I've been skiing on my birthday at least 6 or 7 times. We had a great time.

And on another note: 25 means that I'm able to be on the insurance of the church vans now. The office made sure to rib me about this. There aren't too many churches who hire preachers who aren't even allowed to take the youth group to any events in their vans. But as of Friday, I'm not the preacher boy, I'm the young preacher. Getting old doesn't feel so good!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

March and April are also two of my favorite months for sports. The Masters is coming up in a few weeks, which is perhaps my favorite sporting event of the year. But this weekend is the opening weekend of the College Basketball Tournament. You can't beat opening weekend of the tourney. 48 games in 4 days. My couch and I are about to become very good friends again! Make sure and fill out your bracket.

Here are my picks:

Final Four - Louisville, Memphis, Villanova, Oklahoma

Championship - Louisville over Villanova

Let me know your picks!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jesus Wants To Save Christians

I don't use the words "Must Read" too often, but Rob Bell's book "Jesus Wants To Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile" is as close as it comes. He has written the book I had hoped to write in about 15 years.

Rob has an incredible touch on the pulse of Christianity and culture and what it means to be the people of God in this particular time. He's incredibly knowledgeable about the Jewish background to Scripture. He's an incredibly helpful minister to other ministers.

In his book, Rob takes his readers through Israel's story. Israel was a people who began as slaves in Egypt. Then, God gave them commands of how they should live as his people at Sinai. Then, they became Egypt when they enslaved others in order to build God's temple. And finally, they entered exile and becames slaves once again.

God always hears the cries of the oppressed. And anyone with their boot against the necks of the oppressed are in God's line of fire. It's not going to fair well for them.

Bell gets into what it means to be the people of God when you are the empire or when the empire has its boot against your neck. And Bell makes an incredible case for why America is the empire today and what we, as Christians, should do about it. Incredible stuff! Challenging stuff!

Now there is a danger if you read this book and go to my church. It is possible to think Rob Bell came up with these thoughts, but the truth is I did and I failed to copyright them. So when you hear them from my pulpit, I don't want you to think I'm stealing them. (Wink!) God is doing a new thing among a new generation. Let's continue about what it means to be the people of God in our location and time!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's a Boy!!

Holly and I found out last Thursday that we're having a boy!! And I have to admit, I'm very excited. While a spendthrift like me is excited by anything that will lessen my child's wedding expenses, there's so much more to be excited about with this news. (C'mon people I'm not that shallow!)

The dreams are beginning for me. Dreams of what my child might become. The next Tiger Woods? (Although it sounds like the competition might be stiff because Tiger just had a boy of his own named Charlie Axel Woods.) The next Warren Buffett? The next Dave Matthews? The next Martin Luther King Jr.? The next Max Lucado? Who knows? And that is what's so exciting.

While Holly gushes about the opportunity to pick bedding and nursery, my dreams are about playing catch with my son, worshipping with him in my arms, and teaching him about the way of Christ.

What are your first memories of dreams you had for your first child?


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Greatest Feeling

While most of my posts are related to Christianity or some serious subject, Holly reminds me that I need to branch out with the content of my blog. So...

Holly's pregnancy has been a time for experiencing firsts. I remember being amazed by our first sonogram and seeing our miracle for the first time. It's beyond comprehension to think that somehow Holly and I have created a human that's growing inside of her. Hearing the heartbeat for the first time was also incredible.

But for the past few weeks, Holly has been able to feel the baby moving around and I haven't yet. Until last night! It was such an incredible moment to feel our baby move. And it's so reassuring to feel movement after our serious car accident about a week ago. There are many firsts to go. It's definitely an exciting time.

Also, Holly and I found out that we are going to find out if it's a boy or girl on Thursday. The dreams that every parent has for his/her child are beginning to form in my mind. And they will solidify when we find out the gender later this week.

But regardless of the many dreams I have for our child, the number one dream is for the day when our child will confess Jesus Christ as Lord in baptism. And I pray that he/she will live a life aimed at transformation into the image of Jesus Christ. And that prayer is more important than any other prayer I could pray. I want our child to be healthy. I want our child to do so many wonderful things. But all of the dreams I have are worthless if he/she isn't a child of the king. So pray with me! Continue to pray for the health of our child. But most of all, lift up prayers for his or her transformation into the image of Jesus Christ.

That's what being a parent is all about!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

On the heels of January 19th, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, today is inauguration day. And some are claiming Martin Luther King's dream speech is coming to fruition today. But I have to wonder if that is the case or not today.

Don't get me wrong. Today is a historical day that I will one day tell my children about. It's a momentous occasion when any country can overcome years of prejudice and racism to elect a person from a tribe once enslaved on our own watch. Today, I must say "I am proud to be an American," despite the greater allegiance I have to the kingdom of God.

Technology is amazing today. I'm able to watch CNN's live stream on my computer while watching the Facebook comments of my friends on the right side of the page. It's something would have been inconceivable only four years ago.

And I must say that I'm concerned. Not concerned about the direction of this nation today, like many of my friends on Facebook. I'm concerned about the civility of the comments of Christians about this moment. As Christians, our words are always to be seeded with salt and light. We are people who give comfort in times of distress and encouragement in times of grief. No matter the flavor of our politics, as Christians, we are called to speak words of grace and peace rather than words of hate and dissention. In fact, speech of this kind is unchristian and unbefitting of anyone who claims the name of Jesus Christ. And when our kids are spewing hate on Facebook, it is telling because they are learning this hateful speech from somewhere. And I'm afraid all too often they repeat the words they hear from their parents.

As Christians, who pledge their allegiance first to the kingdom of God, our call is to submit to the governing authorities (Rom.13:1-5) as long as they do not conflict with our calling as citizens of the kingdom of God (Acts 5:29) and to pray for our leaders and seek to live at peace (1 Tim. 2:1-3) as much as possible so that we can go on as citizens of the kingdom of God.

Now, back to our focus on Dr. King's speech and how today is the fruition of his dream. Dr. King's end goal was racial equality for all people, but for him, the possible means to that goal were few. Taking his cue from Jesus and Ghandi, Dr. King insisted that lasting justice and peace can only come through loving our enemies rather than retaliating against them. In several of his speeches, Dr. King demanded that no one participate in his rallies who harbored hatred in their hearts against their oppressors and who were not willing to commit to nonviolence regardless of the actions of those they encountered. Dr. King's dream was for freedom, but not at any cost.

And that is why I question the fruition of Dr. King's dream today. Today is a great day, but have we gained any ground on the heart of King's dream, which was exclusively about love, nonviolence and nonresistance? I'm not sure we have. And as Christians this should be our task. We are people called to live as citizens of a kingdom who refuse to engage in violence, hatred, and dissention.

I'm still after King's dream because it is Jesus' dream. The kingdom of God is expanding. I'm praying for our President today. I'm praying that he will receive wisdom from God. But more than that I'm praying that God will bring his kingdom and that he will reign over all nations and kingdoms today. Amen!