Saturday, June 14, 2014

Thanks Dad

Today, Jared Moore wrote a tribute to his recently departed dad that was very good! It’s here: http://sbcvoices.com/dad-if-i-could-talk-to-you-i-would-say/
It struck me as I read it how many of these things I could apply to my father and I was chagrined that I had not thought of all these things. So I'm using some of his headings and adding a couple myself, maybe they'll stir your own thoughts.
Now I know none of our dads were perfect. Some of us had less functional dads than others; some have no earthly father that they know. As sad as that is, I'm grateful for a father that taught me a little about my heavenly Father. And for those with horrible fathers, know that God is everything your earthly father wasn't.
If he wasn't faithful, know the Almighty is. If he wasn't generous, God has lavished His grace upon us. If he wasn't there, then remember, God is our very present help.
But dad, if I could talk to you, I would say. . .
Thank you for reading the Bible in front of me when I was a young boy. I don't remember it clearly, it’s a vague image of the family gathered in the living room. But I know it happened. I have your Bible now and know it wasn't unread.
Thank you for dragging me to church. I didn't often truly enjoy it. But I found that I was loved by folks, and looked at with favor because of the kind of people you and mom are. More importantly, I heard the gospel time after time. And God's word is surely a hammer that shatters the rock hard heart.
Thank you for teaching me that you need Jesus. You admitted to me your faults on occasion. I’m glad I don't have perfection to try to live up to! Your hard-working, stoically suffering, high integrity persona is hard enough. But I know, you knew, you needed Jesus.
Thank you for helping others in private. I know you were a faithful giver. I don't know what all you did for others. But I inherited this someplace! I can't help but think that you were free with your money as you were with the time you gave to others.
Thank you for teaching me the importance of honesty and integrity concerning vocation. You were a hard worker. You seemed to enjoy it for crying out loud! You worked at Randolph AFB as I was growing up and then you'd come home and work. I'm glad you liked to sit and watch football and baseball; otherwise I'd feel guilty about sitting around as much as I do! But also, you were an honest guy. Not just because you handled the church's money and their 'books' with integrity, but you always expected me to tell the truth!
Thank you for serving your country. To know that you were part of the military machine that brought an end to the holocaust, set Europe free and ended the scourge of the Nazi's and others, makes me proud of you. And I hope I too would rise to the occasion if it was required of good men to take up arms.
Thank you for demonstrating humility. Both when you apologized to me once when I was a kid - You weren't doing something right by the family but I didn't really know what you were talking about - but I know you felt bad about it and wanted us to know you did. But also when I stood behind you as a boy, when you walked into your boss’s office to ask off time to take me to the doctor, when I was having way too many doctor visits. I'll never forget that image. You were there in suit and tie, standing at attention in front of your boss's desk, telling him you needed to go a little early to accompany mom and me to my specialist. And the way he looked at you. There was interest in your explanation and what now seems to be a bit of deference on his part. I remember thinking at the time that you were older than him, why was he the boss? But you seemed to command respect and a certain gravitas there as well as at home.
And while I’m not going to thank you for your temper, I’m glad to know there were things that were important to you and you backed them up. I know you wouldn’t abide back-talk, and now that I am grown, makes sense! I know you didn’t want us back-talking or disrespecting mom, too. I’m glad you backed her up as well. I remember you giving a certain uncle some significant grief when he lit up a cigarette after you informed him that smoking was no longer tolerated in our house. Dude! I thought you were going to hit him!
And dad, I bet there are an awful lot of life lessons I learned from you that I don’t even know I did. But I will say, I don’t know that my older brothers share all these views. I think you mellowed with age. I think you were probably harder on them, less reasonable at times, and I think I was probably a tad too much afraid of you growing up. So, I didn’t want to my kids to be afraid of me. Maybe I could have used a bit more of that ‘fear’ factor, but so be it. I do know you were a bit ‘easy’ on your only daughter and to a little boy that hardly seemed fair. But now that I am older I know you were a lot easier on me, the baby of the family, than you were on my siblings. And for that, I am glad!

I love ya dad. I wish you could hear this. And say hi to mom and my big brother Paul. But I imagine the heavenly plane is so far beyond my existence it’s a faint memory to you. So suffice it to say. I've said my thanks, expressed my heart, and I’ll see ya someday, and oh what a day that will be.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Death and Life in Christ: On the Loss of My Brother Paul

2Co 1:3  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

On Tuesday of this week, when Marney and I were driving home from Houston after enjoying Memorial Day with our kids and grandkids, I received a phone call from my brother John that our older brother Paul had died. He had just turned 72 years old.
It was a bit of a surprise. I knew he’d battled cancer for over a year. But I had just learned on Sunday that He had become very ill in the last few weeks. And within 48 hours of learning that, He passed on.

All of us here have lost loved ones. And I know you didn’t know my brother Paul, but I just want to say a few things about Him and about death and the believer.

We just celebrated Memorial day, and my brother, both actually, were Navy veterans. They served during the Viet Nam conflict. And I’m glad they both came home safely.
My brother was also a master electrician, and late in life an interstate truckdriver.
He was also a graduate of Southwestern Seminary here in Fort Worth. His undergrad was in History from Old Dominion University in Va. And for close to 20 years he served in several churches in south and central Texas; including First Baptist Canyon Lake, Tx. It was his pastor from those days who preached his funeral. And I was glad also that I got to play a role in that.

My brother was a little over 12 years older than me. So I spent all my childhood years looking up to him. I was 7 when I saw him going off to college. I was about 12 when after coming home from the Navy he lived at home for a little while and left early every morning for work.
Then, he went to Seminary a little later in life, and I was going to Bible College in the late 70s while he was in Seminary so we had something in common in those days despite the difference of years

Paul Dunlap left behind a wife of 45 years, Ruth, who was a preacher’s daughter.  Also two sons and a daughter, each of whom have children of their own, all of whom loved their dad and grandfather.

Paul and Me
When I look at his life, it wasn’t one of great material wealth. He never won the Nobel Prize or earned a PhD. He never was famous or rubbed shoulders with the famous. But who wouldn’t call 45 years of a good marriage a great success? Who wouldn’t call three children, who all are born again believers, a great prize? Who wouldn’t call a man with nine grandkids, all of whom love him and look up to him, wealthy with the things that matter?

And yet we are saddened when they get to go on to their reward and hear Jesus say “Well Done, good and faithful servant!”
Why do we cry when the reality of their death strikes home?

His wife Ruth insisted that we have a memorial service that was a celebration of his life! And it was! I never saw her cry, but I’m sure she did. In fact, it may have been after all her family finally left and she was all alone Friday evening that she had a real good cry! I don’t know.
But I know this. Would any of us want or loved ones who have gone on to heaven, to leave the glory of God’s presence and come back?  I don’t think so!
Sure we hope to see them again! And we can!
Sure we would like to hear their voices again. And we can!
Sure we would like to feel their embrace.

But we serve the God of all Comfort!
Marney was sharing with me Friday as we drove home from New Braunfels, the lesson she learned so many years ago, when we were newlyweds and our best friends lost a little baby. We were devastated. We were grieving and hurting. But we saw in this young couple the comforting grace of the Holy Spirit. Yes they were hurting and sad, but they were comforting us and telling us, the Lord had given them His grace and He was comforting them.
Paul with my Grandson Phillip
     Marney knew at that time, that when the time comes for us to grieve the loss of a loved one, that the God of all comfort can even comfort us.

One of the ways He comforts us is to remind us of two things.
1)      For the Believer, death is not forever! 1Ths 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
Death is not nothingness! Death is not being swallowed up like a drop of water in some cosmic ocean of existence. It is real, we will be aware of what is going on, and we will have personal relationships. Not the least of which will be with our Lord and Savior the Man – Jesus Christ!
2)      And secondly God has a plan for the life after we leave this world! He will come get us. He will make a New Heaven and a New Earth. I think we will have work to do. Did you know that Adam and Eve had responsibilities before the Fall? Having a job to do was not part of God’s curse. Having to earn bread by the sweat of the brow, maybe, but not the idea of being engaged in a worthwhile task! That is a good thing?
      I don’t know what the future holds for all of us, but I know who holds the future!
      And here’s the bottom line. You know how we can best honor our loved ones who have gone on to be with Jesus Christ.  I can let others know how my brother came to be with Christ forever.
      Because at some point in his life, when he was just a youth, he realized He needed a Savior. Why? Because he was a sinner and sin separates us from God. Until a person understands that sin has offended a holy God and has brought God’s judgment on them, they will not understand they need a Savior.
But \knowing we are sinners, and who can deny that? We find out we can have peace with God, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus volunteered to come and take our punishment!
God had people sacrifice bulls and goats in the Old Testament times as a sacrifice for sins. But it really didn’t pay the price. The Blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin!
But in the fullness of time, Jesus came. Jesus said, I will be the perfect Lamb of God. I will fulfill the law and therefor qualify to be the Lamb who CAN take away your sins.
So Jesus gave the first Gospel Invitation. He said: Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, And I will give you rest!
What kind of labor was he talking about? Having a job? Earning a living? No. He was talking about the labor of trying to get into God’s heaven by doing good works!
Jesus just said, “Come to me.”
Have you come to Christ? Do you KNOW that you know that you know that your sins are forgiven? How can you go on another minute without knowing?

Come to Christ Now!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

7 Reasons Jesus Came to Earth - The First Time

Why Jesus came the 1st time:

1.     To Rule His People
     Mat_2:6  And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

2.     To Fulfill the Law and do His Father’s will
     Mat_5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Joh_6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

3.       Not for the righteous but to call sinners to repent, to seek & save the lost
     Mat 9:13 But go ye and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mat 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. Luk 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luk 9:56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. Joh 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. Mar 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Luk 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

4.       To bring division, not peace, between those who believe and reject
     Mat_10:34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Mat 10: 35  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Luk_12:51  Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: Luk_12:49  I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? Joh_9:39  And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

5.       To preach the good news and be a light
     Mar 1:38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also: for there-fore came I forth. Luk 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God… John 18:37, "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." Joh 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

6.       To give abundant life
     Joh 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

7.       To give His life as a ransom and die on the cross
     Mat_20:28  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mar_10:45  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Joh_12:27  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. (Arrest and crucifixion)

All of these point to the ultimate purpose, the cross. He came to proclaim the good news, be a light, and give life abundant to those who would believe. He came in total obedience to give His life as a ransom. That means he paid a price. To whom? Not to Satan. He owed Satan nothing. All Satan claimed to have he got as a usurper. No, Jesus came to expiate and propitiate. Expiate means to remove sins and Propitiate means to satisfy the wrath of God. That is the One to whom He paid the price. God the Son, satisfying God the Father. God the Father so loved the world that He sent God the Son. God the Son so loved the Father that He came and died and when all things were accomplished (Jn 19:28), He stated "tetelestai." (JN 19:30) The purpose is accomplished, it is finished, the goal is achieved! 
And He came to rule His people. And He shall reign forever and ever.